Get your soil in tip-top con­di­tion, says Pe­ter

Amateur Gardening - - This Week In Amateur Gardening -

“Suc­ces­sion sow­ing is best”

ILOVE this time of the year – all the fresh, green young growth and prom­ise of things to come, es­pe­cially on the veg­etable patch. For­tu­nately, most of my 30x40ft (9x12m) plot was dug be­fore the frost and snow in early March, such that when the sur­face is dry­ing it crum­bles down into a lovely fine tilth for sow­ing and plant­ing.

Where you have had nei­ther time nor op­por­tu­nity to do this, it is too late to dig deep now, par­tic­u­larly on heav­ier, drier soils. The best bet here is to very thinly slice off the top weed growth onto the com­post heap and then chip up the top few inches with a spade.

Deep-rooted peren­nial weeds will need eas­ing out with a fork. If you can lay your hands on some fairly weed-free well-rot­ted gar­den com­post, and even bet­ter a weed-free old grow bag/pot­ting com­post to cut into the sur­face as you go, so much the bet­ter.

There is the temp­ta­tion at this time to sow ev­ery­thing, but suc­ces­sion should be the name of the game. I try to sow a row of gar­den peas ev­ery two weeks from late March to late May, us­ing an early cul­ti­var such as ‘Feltham First’ at the be­gin­ning, and then main crop kind, usu­ally ‘Green­shaft’, sub­se­quently to get a steady sup­ply of fresh green peas.

I am not a great fan of mangetout/ sugar-snap types, es­pe­cially where peamoth mag­gots are a pos­si­bil­ity, although this may change with the ar­rival of sug­arsnap ‘Lusaka’ (Thomp­son & Mor­gan). The pods on a trial plant­ing sown late in my poly­tun­nel were so sweet chil­dren were eat­ing them like sweets.

I try to sow a row of gar­den peas ev­ery two weeks from March to late May

Hoe­ing a drill

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