Page 49 - Simply Vegetables Winter 2020/21
P. 49

                                   Winter onions growing well
when they germinate. Peas are sown singly in small pots (I use drinking cups). I sow lettuce and beetroot in cell trays, like I described for brassicas.
If you have a heated greenhouse, preferably with a propagator, you can
still sow tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, cucumbers and celery as I described last month.
What can you plant this
month, assuming the beds
are ready? I don’t plant my
potatoes till April but you
can start planting your early
varieties now if you want an
early crop. I hope you have
already bought them and
started them “chitting” as I
said before. Plant them 12
inches (30 cm.) apart in rows
18 inches (45 cm.) apart. I
take out a trench, fork over the
base then put a thick layer of
lawn mowing in the bottom on which I place the potatoes before replacing the soil. If you plant them so early, though, lawn mowing may not be available. Their purpose is to help prevent scab disease which affects the potato skins.
Fruit trees, garlic and rhubarb can still be planted as I described before. Onion sets can also be planted .If you haven’t ordered any they will be readily available in shops and garden centres. Plant them 6 inches (15 cm.) apart with their tops just visible. However, I prefer to start mine off in pots in the greenhouse.
Jerusalem artichokes can be planted15 inches (37 cm.) apart and 6 inches (15 cm.) deep. Also asparagus, of which you can buy crowns from a garden centre or seed company. They are planted in trenches 8 inches (20 cm.) deep with a mound in the centre. The roots are placed 15 inches (37 cm.) apart with the roots spread over the mound before replacing the soil.
Now back to sowing and with flowers,
I mentioned last month beginning to sow half hardy annuals with a few types. Now there are a lot more that can be sown. Apart from those mentioned last month there
are ageratum, asters, cosmos, marigolds, nemesia, nicotiana, rudbeckia, stocks and many more. I described the method of sowing last month. Hardy annuals can also be sown now but they are normally sown direct in the beds. Rake the soil as fine as you can and rake in some general fertiliser such as Growmore or fish, blood and bone. The seeds can be sown thinly either in drills
Tomato seedlings ready for pricking out
or broadcast over the whole area and raked in. When they grow they are thinned out in stages to their final distance apart which depends on their eventual height. However, I sow mine in the greenhouse like I do with the half hardy ones because I don’t decide where I want them till later so I plant them out with the half hardy ones.
Sweet peas can also be sown now. They can be sown in the autumn and overwintered but I don’t sow mine till spring. They can be sown direct but
I sow mine in drinking cups
in the greenhouse like I do for peas. I plant them out in April or May on the same framework of canes on which I will plant runner beans in June
If you planted your dahlia tubers in boxes on a warming bench or in a propagator
last month they should have
started growing and it will soon be time to take cuttings. They should be 2 to 3 inches tall (5 to 7.5 cm.) with the lower leaves removed. Dip the ends in rooting powder and plant them in any good seed or multipurpose compost in trays or pots.
The first dahlia cuttings
They need the bottom heat of a warming bench or a propagator to encourage rooting. If cutting are not ready for taking yet, they should be next month. Also, if you haven’t got a warming bench or propagator you can plant the tubers in the garden but I would wait till April. You can split the tubers too if you wish making sure each division has a growing “eye”.
If you have started your Chrysanths into growth they may also have cuttings ready for taking. They are treated in the same way as dahlias.
This is the traditional month to prune bush roses but they can be done any time between November and March providing the weather is not frosty. Cut out dead, weak and crossing branches then prune the remaining stems half way to an outward pointing bud.
If you sowed onions, leeks or tomatoes last month they may be ready for transferring to small pots. Use a good quality potting compost. They can come out of the propagator but still need the warmth of the greenhouse.
Crops you may have for harvesting this month are spring cabbage, broccoli, kale, leeks, sprouts, celeriac and spinach.
 Hardy annuals can also be sown now but they are normally sown direct in the beds
  Annual seeds germinating
Simply Vegetables 49

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