The new season

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IT’S here – what I call the gardening new season, when all us gardeners get up in a morning every day and think what we can do in the garden or greenhouse today.

There is so much to do in the garden in March. Grass may need cutting if weather permits.

Remember it’s a good idea to check your mower before you cut your grass. I I was told some years ago by a bloke from Alne who left petrol in his mower from his last cut in autumn and left it in a shed that leaked and was very damp.

He told me it took him 30 minutes to get it started and when it did it nearly blew up – he said smoke was everywhere.

So don’t do what he did. Drain your old petrol out of the mower and check the mower before you cut your grass. It could save you a buying a new mower.

At Sewerby we have being emptying our compost bins and spreading the compost on our bare soil on our vegetable plots and cut flower borders.

It makes a great soil conditioner and improves the soil a lot and you get the added joy you have done the work – it hasn’t been bought from a garden centre.

Also well rotted horse manure is ideal to dig into your borders or plots this time of the year.

There is an open discussion on how often you add organic matter such as manure.

Autumn is a good time to do it as well, but you can dig in manure now as well.

I don’t do what some gardeners do and only add organic matter every other year. Some gardeners top dress their borders or veg plots with well-rotted compost or manure and leave the worms to do the work and, with time, the manure will decay into the soil, saving you digging if you prefer that slightly more relaxed approached.

Manure is brilliant for your soil – gardeners’ gold dust, I call it. If you have well-rotted leaf mould ready from your compost bins you can make a mix.

Mix leaf mould with an equal quantity of potting compost when potting up woodland plants in containers. The mixture will provide the correct level of nutrients and moisture retention required by plants such as trilliums, cyclamens and uvularias.

Living on the coast, evergreens and conifers are susceptible to salt burn. As soon as possible after a storm, remove the salt from the foliage by hosing down with clean water using a fine rose.

Mr Jones, who reads my article, came up the other week and asked advice on how to grow courgettes because he sowed the seed and didn’t get any to germinate at all.

It’s a good idea to soak courgette seeds overnight before sowing them. The water will soften the outer coating and speed up germination.

Plant the seeds on their edges in a pot or planting hole. Courgettes need temperatures of about 20c indoor to germinate. Do not sow outside until the weather is warm.

May is a good time. If sowing outside, put a sheet down to warm soil up two weeks before.

l I get a lot of people coming up to Sewerby to ask me gardening questions – but from March 14 I will not be at the Sewerby project full time.

I am on secondment as I have been promoted in my job. I will still be in charge of Sewerby Outreach but not as hands on as I have been. I will be based at Priory View Day Centre.

I will still be writing my article, growing plants for my own business, still be heavily involved in gardening and keeping a close eye on my beloved Sewerby Outreach and Sewerby gardens, as one day I may go back there full time because the secondment will not last longer than a year. I am going to organise a question and answer session at the end of April. Please let me know if anybody would like to attend. I would charge a small fee.

I could answer all your gardening questions and I am sure you would learn other gardening tips as well. Ring me on 403435 for more information.

Gardening Tip – Get sowing seeds and take softwood cuttings if you haven’t already started.