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In the Garden with GiantVeg : The Growing Season

April was a relatively dry month for us here in Wales. We have seen huge variation in day and night temperatures and there is still that chance for a frost. This is one of the busiest times of the year. Remember to open greenhouse doors and vents on warm days, or install automatic vent openers, to improve air circulation.

 

The greenhouses are starting to fill up and soon it will be time to get the season off to a flying start. Before we do this, we will need to prepare the ground.  For this, we have used the STIGA.  This is a lightweight rotovator and is easily transportable in the back of an average car.

 

STIGA SRC 550 RB Petrol Rotary Tiller - Preparing the ground.

 

There are several things that you can do out in the garden now.

 

Jobs to do in the garden:

Keep putting out food for birds, as they're busy raising their youngsters.  We have a giveaway from SkylineGrower the Urbalive Finch bird feeder. 

Just simply share this blog for a chance to win.  More information can be found on the feeder here    

 

 

Check that guttering on sheds and greenhouses are clear of debris, so that those little spring showers will fill up water butts for the season ahead.

This time of year sees longer days and warmer temperatures. Spring bulbs are bringing colour to borders and pots and the veg garden starts to fill up with new plantings. There's still plenty to do to get your garden in shape ready for summer. 

Below are several tips and ideas to get you ready for the season ahead....

 

 

 

Cut your lawn

As grass starts to grow, it will need to be cut regularly again. We’ve started off the season with the battery-operated cordless STIGA Lawnmower, which starts every time without fail at the touch of a button.  It is important to gradually reduce the blade height over the coming weeks. 

 

STIGA Combi 748 SQ AE cordless battery-powered lawnmower - the mowing season is now in full swing!

 

Clean your patio area

We have had some surprisingly warm and sunny days, and we have been able to enjoy our first BBQ.  Prior to April, we cleaned the patio with the STIGA pressure washer. The garden furniture also had a brighten up with algae removed.  

 

 

STIGA HPS 345 R Pressure washer - cleaning the garden furniture, patio, decking and even the car! 

 

Plant potatoes

All types of potatoes can be planted out now. If planting in the soil, put the tubers 40cm apart in rows that are 60-75cm apart. They need to go in around 25cm deep. Cover the shoots with soil as they emerge ('earthing up'). This will protect the foliage from frost and help stop light reaching the tubers as they grow, which would turn them green.  

 

Planting potatoes 

 

In addition to ground grown potatoes, over the past few years we have had much better success growing in containers.  These need a small amount of feed as well as plenty of compost.  Below the base of the container, we add a tray and this helps with the watering from the base of the posts.  

 

 

Growing potatoes in containers

 

Take Dahlia cuttings

Our Dahlia tubers that were potted up earlier in March have now started to form lots of shoots.  

 

Potted Dahlia tubers forming shoots 

 

You can use a few of these to make new plants by taking cuttings.  Make sure you leave four to five shoots on the tuber so it still makes a good plant for the garden. 

 

Sweet Peas

In February, we started off our sweet peas.  There’s still time to plant the seeds.  We recently planted out our sweet pea plants into the ground.  

 

Growing Sweet Peas the GiantVeg way!

 

They are hopefully going to be growing up pea netting on the allotment and in 35 litre containers in the garden and will produce many fragrant flowers over the coming months.

 

Stake perennials

Our perennials are now starting to grow rapidly.  

 

Flowers in the garden

 

As they begin to grow, we put in stakes to avoid the stems being damaged. You can buy ready-made plant supports or make your own with bean canes. In the Summer, they’ll be brightening up the borders

 

 

Greenhouse

 

  • Prick out seedlings growing in pots and trays as soon as they produce their first true leaves
 

 

Seedlings coming along

 
  • Sow Sweetcorn
  • Transplant early greenhouse tomatoes into growing bags or large containers and tie in the stems to supports

 

Growing peppers, delphiniums and mixed lettuces 

 
  • Sow herbs in pots or trays, including basil, chives and coriander
  • Sow runner beans, French beans, cucumbers, courgettes, pumpkins and sweetcorn in pots

 

Growing courgettes

 

As the ground starts to warm up, ensure that you hoe between rows of veg seedlings regularly, as weeds will grow rapidly at this time of year

 

 

Growing runner beans

 

Sow sweetcorn now in pots under cover to plant out in mid-May.  Prepare the growing area with well rotted manure ready to plant out the young plants. 

 

Giant Veg growing

 

Our Giant Cabbage and our seed growing from our World Record beetroot are filling up their pots in the greenhouse and will be planted out towards the start of May.  

 

 

Giant Cabbage growing!

 

The ground will be prepared with the smaller STIGA rotovator/tiller and we will add a top dressing of Vitax Q4 into the planting area.  Here’s hoping for a Giant!

 

Growing Giant Beetroot!

 

In the next edition, we will be up and running inside the Keder Greenhouse and hopefully have all of the irrigation systems in place to show you how we maximise our precious resource. Until the next time, enjoy the preparations in the garden and feel free to ask any questions along the way.

 

Growing this year's Giant sunflowers

Photos credit : Kevin @GiantVeg

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