Get a head start on the vegetable patch

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13 February 2017 3:30PM

YOU can make a head start on your vegetable patch, even if your soil is cold and wet, by sowing early peas in some guttering in the greenhouse.

Just buy a strip of standard house rain guttering, cut it into manageable lengths and place it on your greenhouse staging.

Half fill the guttering with potting compost. Sow peas about 3-5cm apart, covering them with more compost, and water with a watering can fitted with a rose.

Once the seedlings have grown to around 10cm, they will be ready to plant outside in a sunny spot in soil with plenty of added organic matter.

Use a spare piece of guttering to dig a trench the same shape and depth and then slide the seedlings, compost and all, out of their guttering and into the space created.

You may then need to firm the ground around them and water them in.

Protect them from pigeons by covering them with netting supported by stakes.

Other gardening jobs this week could be:

* Top dress pot plants which are not to be repotted with fresh compost.

* Soil on the vegetable plot which has been enriched in autumn can now be treated by applying lime.

* Buy celery seed for sowing under glass in March or early April.

* Plan your summer bedding scheme so that seed orders can be made as soon as possible.

* Clear up debris which might be hiding slugs and snails.

* Continue to firm in plants that have been lifted by frost or windrock.

* If heavy frosts or cold winds are predicted, provide added protection to half hardy and slightly tender perennials.

* Start to harden off autumn-sown cauliflower as conditions allow to be ready for planting out in March.

* Plant plump, healthy lily bulbs outside or in pots to provide flowers this summer.

* Clean and sharpen blades of pruners and garden tools.

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