Preparing your spring garden

Tulips at Torberry

It's that time of year again where any glimpse of sunshine has us knee deep in soil and we hope that the rain will hold off for a bit longer whilst we get just one last thing planted! Our gardens are the pride and joy for the summer months, whether you love to see a bed full of colours or neat rows of vegetables, there's nothing better than sitting on the garden bench in the evening enjoying the last rays of daylight. Spring is the time to put our plans into action, after we've been hiding indoors for the winter months we can start to enjoy the fresh air as our greenhouses get cleaned and we clear the leaves and debris from the borders.

A spring clean should be done in the first few weeks of spring. Begin by cleaning any pots that are not in use, clear out old seed trays and then wipe down surfaces and glass that has come into contact with plants, this will help to get rid of any previously used pesticides or insect repellents. Don't forget to allow your greenhouse to ventilate for a few days, this will ensure any damp and moisture has dried out and the fresh air will create a suitable environment for you to start your seedlings. As the weather gets warmer you may need to keep the side vents open or use the shades to help keep the temperature between 7-21°C.

Remember pests have probably been using the beds, pots and borders as hibernation spots. You'll need to hunt them down early so they don't get to your seedlings before they've had a chance to properly develop. Check your perennial plants for slugs, snails and aphid colonies, the sooner they've gone you can begin your planting without worrying as much. Continue to keep an eye out though, particularly for greenfly, whitefly, vin weevil and red spider mite, these are all active at this time of year and you don't want them to destroy your carefully nurtured seedlings.

Lettuce at The Pig
Many salad vegetables can be sown now and will progress quickly, your tomato seedlings should be doing well and some of you may have even had your first little harvest! The base of your salad are the leaves, a lot of lettuce variations can be grown now and you can enjoy a decent lunch time salad. There are many varieties of lettuce but to add different textures and flavours on your plate you could plant kale, chard, chives, leeks and parsley which will all grow well in the spring weather conditions. Nasturtium is another good leaf to plant now, it develops a beautiful flower which will add heat and colour to your salads.

Now your greenhouse is filled with trays you'll want to get the bulbs settled into their beds. Lilies, gladiolus and ranunculi's can be planted so you can see them flower in the summer time. We've currently got an array of colourful tulips in our flowerbeds, these grow best with well-drained fertile soil and a good view of the sun. Hyacinthus are also very popular in spring, we recommend planting them outside in a similar environment to the tulips as their wonderful colour brightens the bed, having them indoors does look wonderful but we've currently got their powerful scent filling the entire office!

So now the garden is tidy and the seedlings have been nurtured you can take a walk in that fresh spring sun. We love the promise of sunshine and the hope it brings for a good weekend. The fields are beginning to fill with bright green grass and adorable lambs that jump about as they find their legs. Spring is exciting, we want you to get the most from your garden and greenhouse, see our accessories and contact our TLC department for advice or find useful tips in our growing guide.

Tags: alitex, spring, cleaning, greenhouse growing