This week, we find ourselves at the end of the spring flowering bulb season and right in the middle of broad bean sowing and hardy plant planting time. Whatever you do, be sure to get outside and enjoy your garden this week.
- Plant tulip bulbs if not done already and plant all other bulbs with urgency! They won’t look good if left un-planted on the shelf.
- Keep a lookout for bargain bulbs as retailers clear the shelves to make way for Christmas stock. But make sure that they are firm and not mouldy before buying.
Lily flowered tulips
- Check potted bulbs that you are going to force into flower early. Make sure that they are well watered. If they have made sufficient roots and, in the case of Hyacinths, the flower bud has emerged from the bulb, they can be put into a well lit and warm place to start the forcing process.
Strongly scented pink hyacinths
- Pot up Amaryllis (more correctly called Hippeastrum) bulbs. Use good quality multipurpose compost and leave the top third of the bulb standing proud of the compost. Water very little until leaves appear. Re-pot bulbs that you’ve saved from last year into fresh compost.
- Sow mix-leaf winter salads. These will contain lettuce but also mizuna, kale and varieties of mustard. Choose somewhere sheltered and warm if possible.
- Sow winter-hardy varieties of broad beans. ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ is the most popular variety, but it’s worth trying ‘De Monica’ or ‘Luz de Otono’ as these have done well for me. If your garden is windy then ‘The Sutton’ is a heavy yielding shorter variety.
Broad bean Aquadulce Claudia
- Grow ‘The Sutton’ in a big pot. Tuck the pot into some shelter during freezing weather but otherwise give it no other protection. You’ll have tasty beans in early spring!
- Plan next season by ordering the seeds that you’ll need. Try at least one thing that you’ve never grown before!
- Check any fruit trees for signs of canker. Cut off any small infected shoots. For larger branches, it will be necessary to brush away the dead, loose cankered tissue. Tidy up the cut area with a sharp knife and then paint the wound with Arbrex Seal and Heal.
- If you're planting a new apple tree or two, plant a variety with good resistance, as canker is more common in high rainfall areas. Plant varieties such as ‘Sunset’, ‘Fiesta’ and ‘Bramley’. Remember that this is the best time of the year to plant them!
- Attach sticky glue bands to the trunks of fruit trees. These will trap the winter moth on its way up the trunk to lay its eggs. Attach them to the stake as well.
Tying a sticky band to a tree. credit Harrod Horticultural