Time to clear up beds and enjoy the bulbs!
Ways to Kick start the Vegetable Patch
• Hoe winter-dug beds to remove weeds and debris, then rake in all-purpose fertilizer to prepare for sowing next month. Asparagus is a perennial and needs its own patch – sunny, sheltered and extremely well-manured.
• Plant onion and shallot sets with their tops just under the surface to stymie foraging blackbirds.
• Dig a trench 5in (12cm) deep and line it with well-rotted organic matter before planting chitted first early potatoes.
• Fill a pit with well-rotted organic matter and plant dormant rhubarb crowns so the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil.
• Sow peas, lettuce, leeks, kale, carrots, broccoli, beans, sweetcorn and spinach, and keep the seed trays in a cold greenhouse. Peppers and aborigines need a warm windowsill.
• Pot up strawberries in the greenhouse for an early Jubilee weekend crop.
Sources of Free Plants
• Divide late summer and autumn-flowering perennials, herbs such as chives and mint, and marginal plants around your pond, including arum lilies.
• Split snowdrops into gaggles of three or four bulbs and redistribute around the garden.
• Layer magnolias, rhododendrons and viburnums.
• Take basal stem cuttings from delphiniums, salvias, lupins and asters.
• Scoop up self-sown seedlings of cerinthe and hellebores, and transplant or pot up to sell or swap.
Problem of the Month
Diagnosis: Daffodil blindness
Cure: Deadhead, leave foliage (unknotted) for six weeks after flowering and fatten up bulbs fortnightly with tomato feed. Divide if crowded.