The Weather is Changing and Spring is coming

The Weather is Changing and Spring is coming

At this time of year the weather can change quite dramatically from bright sunny days to cold wet and windy. Many people have not really started to think about their gardens but it is a good time to do a bit of tidying up and if you have a greenhouse start a few early plants. Here are few of the things I have been doing over the last few weeks

Growing and Chitting Potatoes

I remember a number of years ago I cooked a range of different potato varieties for the same meal. It was a surprise to me how much difference there was in taste and texture between the types. Its worth trying new varieties and selecting a few favourites. 

I grow mainly early and second early potato varieties. There is nothing better than taste of freshly harvested early potatoes'

Early Potatoes are planted from March onwards and take around 10 to 12 weeks to start harvesting. They are quick growing and are harvested fresh as new potatoes. When planting early the main challenge is to protect from late frosts.

Second Early Potatoes take slightly longer to harvest at around 14 weeks. They are generally planted later from early April for harvest mid July onwards.

Main Crop Potatoes can be planted anytime from April onwards ready depending on type and harvested August through to September. They are easier to grow at the start of the season as the shoots appear after frosts have past. There are different problems later in the season with blight. I have lots of problems with blight so tend not to grow many main crop potatoes.

Chitting potatoes is designed to get a good start to the season. The seed potatoes are put upright in trays a few weeks before planting to give them time to form strong solid shoots before planting. This definitely helps the early crop get a good start but is less important for Main Crop Potatoes. I will cover more about growing potatoes in later blogs.

Starting to sow seeds

Although it is still early in the season there are some seeds that I like to sow in the greenhouse. Its always great to get an early harvest. My greenhouse is shaded by trees which slows things down in the early spring but is ideal in the heat of summer. 

Spring Onions

Spring Onions are a great and easy to grow addition to any salad. I have started a few seeds of Spring Onion White Lisbon in a pot. They have been grown in the greenhouse but I will move them soon to a sunny window in the kitchen. As its still early they will grow slowing but make a nice addition in a fresh salad. I tend to wait a couple more weeks for other salads in the greenhouse as overall they grow and establish a bit better when its warmed up. Crops like Lettuce, Basil and Coriander will be sown by the end of the month. 



Onions and Shallots from Seed and Sets

Each year I grow a red and white onions from seed as well as some from Shallot and onion sets. Growing onions from sets is definitely much easier. There are a great range of sets to choose from. I have selected Onion sets of Centurion and Karmen as well as a few Shallots.

One of the best varieties for local shows is Onion Toughball its a great time to sow them. I have sown mine in trays and placed in the greenhouse with a gentle heat. They will be ready to pot on in about 3 weeks. This variety produces a nice shape that can bring success in local shows.


The other seeds I start now are Cyclamen. I love the flowers which will start in August and last through to Christmas. I used to think they were difficult to grow but have had great displays over the last few years. The variety I grow is Cyclamen Giant Flowered 

To get them growing. Soak them on some tissue for 12 to 24 hours to soften the hard seed coating.


I sow them in a good quality seed compost and cover them with a thin layer of fine compost or some vermiculite. Having watered the seeds I put them in a black plastic bag as the dark helps germination. I put them on a windowsill and wait patiently. I will cover the next stages over the weeks.


A final thought

Take a few minutes to walk around outside, the bulbs are flowering, masses of snowdrops and early dwarf daffodils. In the garden there are purple primulas and Camelias already giving a great display.  























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