- Start sowing half-hardy annuals such as cucumbers or courgettes under cover. Outdoor cucumbers should be sown next month if you can't protect them sufficiently.
- Sow hardy annuals such as leeks and beetroot into plugs and lettuce or other salad leaves into trays, under cover.
- Self blanching celery and celeriac can be sown into pots and grown in a heated propagator or greenhouse.
- Sow herbs such as coriander, dill, and basil.
- Sow globe artichokes.
- Sow peas under cover, either individually into 3 inch pots, large plugs, or lengths of half-guttering, which makes it easy to slide the growing plants out into the soil when it comes time to be planted.
- Sow beans under cover ready for planting out in April.
- Sow broad beans outside if the soil is warm and dry enough.
- You can start sowing plants such as brussel sprouts, cauliflowers and parsnips which require long growing seasons.
- If you have a greenhouse, you can start tomatoes now. Sow seeds thinly or even singly in plugs - they germinate very easily and quickly, and are easy to prick out and replant, which should be done as soon as they are large enough.
TO GROW ON
- Any seeds or plants already growing.
TO PLANT OUT
- Plant out first early varieties of potatoes at the start of the month, and the second earlies later in the month.
- Maincrop potatoes should be stored in light conditions to encourage chitting; growth of short, stubby and dark shoots is the target. If potatoes are kept in the dark, elongated pale shoots will grow which aren't best.
- New asparagus crowns should be planted out. Plenty of organic material should be incorporated into the soil.
- Perennial herbs can be planted out, such as tarragon, mint, rosemary and lovage.
- Strawberries can be planted out now, but they should be protected from frost.
- Shallot, onion and garlic sets can be planted out now. The tip of the bulb should just poke up above the soil - this way birds won't find them easily and won't root them out.
- Bare-rooted fruit trees can be planted out until the end of the month.
- Salad leaves and pea tips, and other salad items such as chard, and spinach.
- Brassicas can still be harvested; including kale, cauliflower, early purple-sprouting broccoli, red and green cabbage and Brussel sprouts.
- Herbs - annual herbs such as parsley and chervil, perennial herbs such as lovage, sorrel, chives and fennel, and evergreen herbs including rosemary, sage, bay and winter savory.
- Forced rhubarb, grown under forcing jars can be harvested now.
- Prepare soil ready for planting out in the coming months - this is best done on a dry day. Heavy or double digging new ground is best done in the Autumn however, when the large clumps can be broken down by freeze-thaw action of frost over the winter. Incorporate organic matter into the soil where needed, such as compost or manure, or grit or gravel to improve aeration.
- Mulch around the base of fruit trees or established perennial fruit plants such as raspberries, using organic material such as compost or manure. Keep the mulch away from the main stem of the plant, or it may rot.
- Use black plastic or cloches to warm up the soil if it's cold and wet ready for planting next month.
- Protect blossom on fruit trees where possible - frosts can damage the blossom and reduced yields. Remember to remove the protection in the day to allow insects to pollinate the flowers.
- Prune autumn raspberries if they have not already been done. Cut all the canes down to the ground, and mulch and top dress with fertilizer over the roots.