|Lotte, chief garden supervisor and bird scarer on duty|
With warmer weather and showery days the slugs and snails are out and about so get out there in the evenings with a torch and start collecting and crunching before they get stuck into your spring plantings.
Planting and sowing
This is the time of year when most things can be planted or sown. However there are a couple of exceptions. In most areas it is still too early for carrots, parsnips and beets. Wait another week or two. Seeds sown into damp cold soil will not germinate.
The nurseries are selling tomato plants but don't be fooled. By all means purchase your plants but be prepared to pot them up with a pinch of potash and give them full sun during the day but indoors at night until well into October. We all love to get a head start with our tomatoes and if you do decide to plant them early give them some protection, such as a plastic sleeve.
Dwarf beans sown now will be overtaken by seeds sown in October so be patient. I am planting a few into pots hoping to get a head start.
Heeling in Leeks
From past experience I know my overwintering leeks will start to put up a flower spike in September and become hard and inedible. Last year I practiced the old technique of heeling them in. I lifted my huge summer leeks in March and with roots intact bundled them together into another spare bit of ground. Pushed the dirt around them and there they stayed for several months. I pulled them as needed and used the last of them in June. Still in perfect condition. This technique seems to suspend growth but maintain quality.