▷  Winter gardens


 
Sixteen gardeners zoomed again for an update on frost and snow casualties, and, on a more optimistic note, seeds and planting.

Our top tips

▷  Start sowing sweet peas now in root trainer pots if you have them, indoors to get them off to a good start. Opinions varied on soaking them.
 
▷  Coir plugs can be a clean and simple alternative to seed compost, they expand when watered, use a chop stick to make a planting hole.
 
▷  Capillary matting on the bottom of a seed tray will help keep seedlings moist but not too wet, avoiding them ‘damping off’ – going green on the soil surface and wilting.
 
▷  It’s seed potato time! Chitting is the way to start them off – place in a seed tray or egg boxes with the little shoots in their ‘eyes’ upright, in a cool, light, dry place away from risk of rodents until they develop strong green shoots. Plant out, or in large pots, old garden waste sacks etc, adding soil as the leaves grow. Makes it easier to harvest. Charlottes were favoured for early salads, Desiree for later and long lasting storage. A word of warning – chicken manure pellets can be good feed, but can attract foxes even when buried deeply under new seedlings. Tragic.

 
While on lockdown walks we continue keep an eye open for favourite gardens or plants developing spring growth and flowers, and share photos until we can visit again!