March, April and May are the months of spring (at least in meteorological terms) but can also present highly volatile weather. We tend to think of sunny days with daffodils dancing in the breeze and billowing clouds scudding across a brightening sky - although this isn't always the case!
The daylight length is crucial for seeds and for those with the advantage of glass this means that it’s the sowing season. Glasshouses, cloches and cold frames really come into their own in this weather and our range of seed tapes, discs and mats are the perfect partner.
With spring giving us low temperatures, the ground remains cold so don’t be over hasty in getting the productive garden into action. Cloches will help to protect and warm fledgling crops.
Try pak choi as an addition to the plot. Although they can be grown in rows they will also thrive planted into odd unfilled spaces between other crops. Start them in the greenhouse and plant out once the frosts are over or plant outdoors after the frosts. They can also be treated as a cut and come again crop. The variety ‘Red Choi’ also works well in salads.
Of the old favourites peas, beetroot and carrots are all up for spring sowing. If space is tight try growing between other garden plants in the borders. Beetroot, sweetcorn and runner beans all have decorative foliage or flower and even coloured lettuce will contribute towards the front of the border where they will get the best light.
All salad crops can be started in the spring and our seed discs and mats are perfect for smaller containers and windowsills. Slug damage can be limited in this way too. Rocket, chard, lettuce and radish will all work in this way and can be partnered with herbs such as chives, tarragon or fennel for greater height.
Summer is finally here and all the hard work you put in planning, planting and protecting is about to pay off. Your spring crops are ready to harvest, your flowers are blooming and hopefully it’s warm and sunny!
When planting for the summer, pick beautiful blooms like roses, fuchsias, sunflowers, geraniums, or anything that brings your garden to life with vibrant colour. It’s also important that you get the most out of your blooms, so remember to perform basic maintenance such as deadheading, weeding, watering and feeding.
A good tip for when your seed tape, disc, mat or carpet is sprouting, is to water in the morning before the day gets too hot, so your plants have time to absorb the water before it evaporates.
You will know whether your plants need a little extra water from time to time, but a good rule of thumb is to give them a good, deep soak every few days. This method is better than regular, shallow watering, as it encourages the roots to grow deep and hold a greater amount of water, which is great protection in short droughts.
Although we tend to think of the summer as the focus of gardening activity, it’s actually a period of relative relaxation. Autumn is the season for harvesting but also for forward planning. It’s an excellent time to prepare for the following growing season and to establish new planting.
The soil is still warm and temperatures tend to hold up well into mid autumn and sometimes beyond before night frosts start to make their mark. Rainfall increases to replenish groundwater levels and storage reservoirs - hopefully diminished due to a warm summer!
September is a great time to make a start on your annuals for the following year. Plan your colour schemes and summer combinations and ensure there is as much light as possible in the greenhouse.
Early vegetables such as broad beans, cabbage and carrots can also be started early and sown in Autumn. It’s possible to protect these behind glass in cloches or cold frames if you don’t have a greenhouse.
Seed tapes will help in the spacing and most economic use of your seed, preventing the need for thinning out as the season progresses. Click here to view our extensive range and keep up-to-date with our newest introductions.
Winter is not the most obvious season for activity and growth in the garden. Temperature and light levels are the main concerns. Generally growth starts in plants when temperatures rise above 6°C. Our lawns often look so untidy in the cooler months because in our maritime climate most daily temperatures rise above this level allowing the grass to grow.
The greenhouse is invaluable for those wishing to continue growing as the temperature can be moderated. Cold frames and cloches can also help but in the colder months really only provide frost protection.
Some stalwart species don’t mind the cold. Winter lettuces such as ‘Arctic King’ can be grown under fleece or a simple cloche and lamb’s lettuce is also a useful addition to the winter salad plate. Seed tapes will always help, saving time and labour in spacing salads and vegetables, avoiding the need to thin out as the plants start to establish.
Summer annuals can be selected and sown as appropriate if you have heated propagators or a heated greenhouse. Seed mats shaped especially for plant pots or hanging baskets provide an easy and time saving option and Seed Developments have a range of colour schemes and specie mixes available. Think about herb pots and even vegetable mixes – many species such as potatoes do well in pots rather than planted into the ground.
Try Sanguisorba Officinalis – the salad burnet as a tasty option for winter salads. Sow initially under glass although it can be transplanted outdoors once the plants establish. They will survive most frosts and snow. Broad beans are worth a try and other winter vegetables such as parsnip, sprouts, leeks and winter cabbage can be left out in the cold to provide you with warming soup or main course vegetables.
Click here to investigate the new range of seed tapes and mats now available from Seed Developments and taste the difference as you grow your own.