Gardening Time with Leo Smith - The Evesham Observer

Gardening Time with Leo Smith

Evesham Editorial 24th Mar, 2018   0

IN THE first of his monthly gardening columns for the Observer, Leo Smith – head gardener at the Evesham Hotel and Spa – offers seasonal tips and fresh ideas to spruce up your garden throughout the year…

THIS year’s plan at the hotel is to grow a whole host of produce, particularly tomatoes, peas, runner beans, multiple varieties of beetroot, pumpkins, carrots and herbs.

I’ll also be maintaining the asparagus crowns I planted last summer but it’ll take three years for the asparagus to be ready for harvest and the hotel kitchen.

At home you can plan your vegetable plot for this year to ensure a good crop rotation. But how does crop rotation work?

Simply divide your vegetable patch into distinct areas. Identify the crops you want to grow and then keep plants of the same type together in one area.

Then every year, change the plants grown in each given area.

This will prevent pests and diseases building up in the soil, so that each group of vegetables can have the advantage of new fertile ground.

As the weather begins to improve, start to weed your vegetable plot and dig in some well-rotted compost or manure.

If you are planning for an early pea crop, then place a cloche over the soil for the next few weeks to allow it to warm up before sowing seed.

You can also start chitting early potatoes by storing in a cool light place and allowing to sprout.

Simply stand them on end in a module tray, or an empty egg box, and place them in a light sunny position that isn’t too warm.

They will be ready to plant out in around six weeks when the shoots are roughly 1.5cm to 2cm long.

Have a general tidy up and remove any fallen leaves and other debris from your flower beds, lawns and ponds.

You can also cut back any dead growth of deciduous plants (a tree or shrub shedding its leaves annually), grasses and herbaceous perennials now.

Ensure your water butt is also properly installed and in good working order, ready to collect the fresh spring rainfall you’ll need for planting out and the warmer months ahead.

Rain water is best for watering plants, as tap water can be slightly alkaline.

Inexpensive compost bins can be found at most gardening centres, or you could easily make your own using bits of wood or wooden pallets.

Not only will you have somewhere to put your garden and kitchen waste, but your plants will benefit from the rich compost created when it all breaks down.


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