This month we notice longer days and the promise of Spring! However, the soil will be at its coldest and wettest so working it should wait until conditions improve. 

Winter pruning should be completed by the end of the month and if spraying, treatments done as the buds begin to swell to give the best protection from diseases and pests. 

In the green house early plant raising can begin, especially if you have a heat pad (night time temperatures will still be too low for seed germination or plant growth without any heat). I recommend that you use a thermostat to control the temperature for the best results. Once germinated, hardy plants such as the cabbages, lettuce, broccoli etc. can be moved from heated areas but tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and the like will still need some warmth for good growth.

The same applies to flowering annuals so always read the seed packet as these will suggest the best temperatures for germination. Remember, day length also has some influence on seed germination so it may be better wait until the middle of the month before sowing more tender plants.

Day time temperatures will get very warm on the sunny days so open up the vents to get some good air exchange, this will help to control any excess humidity which can encourage fungal diseases, but remember to close them before the temperatures begin to fall.

Spring bulbs will be starting to flower, remove the spent flowers to help the bulb to build up for the next season.

The lawns can look very untidy and yellow, however it is still too early to give them a feed (next month is a better time). 

Cut grass with the mower set up high just to trim the taller growth, by the very end of the month the grass will start to come into growth and more regular mowing may be required.

Late Winter has flowering shrubs that will benefit from pruning after their flowers have finished, this encourages the new growth for flowering next year.

In the vegetable garden rhubarb will need to have a good application of fertiliser as it moves into growth. Garlic and other onions are best kept weed free, broad beans will need staking and any green crops dug in when the ground is workable.

Good Gardening, Michael Coulter

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