Early Spring Gardening

Home made cloche

Home made cloche

It’s time to sow broad beans, peas, onions, and leeks under cover, for early outdoor planting. Don’t forget to sow some sweet peas!

Seed potatoes should be placed with the buds facing the light in a cool place. The RHS say that shoots should be about 5cm (2in) when planting, but shorter ones are less likely to break.

Autumn fruiting raspberries can be pruned to ground level.   Fruit trees and bushes need to be given a good general fertiliser.

Roses can be pruned if there is no frost about. Winter flowering heathers can be trimmed once flowers are over.

Cut back herbaceous perennials before new growth starts. Some herbaceous perennials have dense crowns that can be cut into small sections to form new plants, and this will rejuvenate the old clump. Dig the clump up and put it on a firm surface, slice it into sections using a spade or two forks back to back. Perennials that are a little more delicate can be done with a knife.



In February/March start cannas and dahlias into growth. To take cuttings from dahlias, take a basal shoot cutting, dip it into rooting powder and then plant in cutting compost. Put into a propagator, or a warm spot out of direct sunlight. When rooted, harden off before planting outside.

Sow tomatoes, aubergines and peppers. It’s also time to sow for summer bedding. Start to plant summer flowering bulbs.



Take cuttings of tender perennials such as salvia, penstemon and diascia. Choose a strong growing tip without a flower bud, discard weak or leggy ones, place them in a plastic bag to protect them from dehydration. Place the cutting on a flat surface, take a knife and cut across the stem, just below a node. Then remove the leaves from the lowest third of the cutting. Dip it in rooting hormone powder, and insert the cutting into prepared pots of cutting compost and firm in with your fingers. The cuttings should not be touching each other, water and put in a propagator or use the end of a clear plastic bottle that will fit over the pot.                     

Barbara Clemerson