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As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, many gardeners will be busy sowing seeds and preparing flower borders and vegetable patches. For those who are thinking about starting a vegetable garden, it is important to plan ahead for the growing season so they can enjoy a summer harvest. Firstly, gardeners should check for the last frost date in their area to identify the best time to start planting. Secondly, gardeners will need to choose the right vegetables for their climate and soil type and make sure they have enough space for them.
The gardening experts at Garden Street have shared a selection of spring vegetables, fruits and herbs that are perfect for both beginners and intermediate gardeners alike. They all produce a wealth of food to be harvested, and some can be picked over and over again too.
The experts said: “Spring is really the prime time for planting fruit and vegetables. As the temperatures begin to creep higher, your options for planting become more varied with fantastic choices of vegetables, fruits and herbs you can sow right now.”
Tools and equipment
Before gardeners start planting, they’ll need to check their equipment and tools to ensure they’ve got everything they need. Firstly, the gardening pros claimed that a pair of gardening gloves “is a must” to protect the hands. They said: “There are many options, but a standard, multi-purpose pair is all you need to begin with.”
Next, some hand tools are needed. A trowel and hand fork can be used for weeding, planting, and potting. For those who have a large garden and have plans to work outdoors, it’s worth buying a spade and full-sized fork to cover more ground.
The experts said: “A pair of secateurs is an incredibly useful tool. Ideal for pruning and tidying up plants and flowers. They are easy to hold in one hand and a worthwhile investment for your gardening plans. If you don’t already have one, a watering can is essential in spring and summer when rainfall is less frequent.
“For growing the vegetables, fruit and herbs in this guide, getting some good quality topsoil for a solid, fertile base for your plants to grow and thrive is a good idea.”
For the more experienced gardener, or for those who want to upgrade their setup, they might want to consider some garden machinery like a mower, tool rack, cart or wheelbarrow to help them transport plants around the garden. Then they’ll need a shed or a greenhouse (or both) to store everything.
What to plant in March
In March, gardeners can plant a “huge range” of vegetables indoors and outdoors, according to the experts. Indoors they can plant asparagus, aubergine, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, lettuce, onion, pepper, and tomatoes. Outdoors they can plant broad beans, beetroot, carrot, kale, leek, parsnip, peas, radish, rocket, spinach, and turnip.
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In terms of fruit, the gardening pros claimed that March is a “good month” for planting cane fruits. These include: cranberries, raspberries, blackberries and hybrid berry plants.
They added: “In the garden, March is the time to start thinking about planting fruit trees. Apple trees are a popular choice thanks to the versatility of the fruit.” Gardeners can start potting strawberry plugs indoors, and grapes can be grown in indoor hanging baskets. Fig or olive trees can even be grown.
According to the experts, some of the “best herbs” to start growing in March are basil, coriander, parsley, dill and chervil.
What to plant in April
In April, gardeners can start to grow celeriac, climbing bean, courgette, dwarf bean, marrow, pumpkin, squash and sweetcorn indoors. Whereas outdoors, artichokes, chard, chicory, kohl rabi, samphire, and spring onions can be planted.
April is about caretaking with plenty of “feeding and covering”, says the pros. They noted: “You might find it useful to write down the feed, feeding and pruning dates and attach this to the plant, so it’s easier to keep track throughout the year. April is a good time to cover strawberry plants with cloche or fleece. This encourages them to fruit earlier.”
By April, the risk of frost has decreased, so gardeners can begin planting herbs outdoors. The experts suggested: “Why not try growing some classics like lavender and chamomile? Or, opt for salad herbs like rocket and parsley.”
What to plant in May
With spring in full swing, gardeners can grow anything from March and April’s lists with the addition of climbing beans, runner beans and pak choi. For those who planted peas, rocket or spinach in March, they can start thinking about harvesting.
As spring progresses, “fruit will grow really well”, so it’s time to watch it closely. The experts said: “Any over-zealous trees can be lightly pruned to encourage them to fruit. Later in the month, you can start uncovering any protected plants. Be sure to check any strawberry and raspberry plants for runners and remove them immediately, otherwise there is too much competition for water and light.”
Basil is a “great herb” to grow in May, particularly in a greenhouse or a patio that gets a lot of sun. Gardeners could also sow perennial herbs like rosemary, sage, thyme and lemon balm.
What to plant in June
If June has crept up on gardeners, fear not, there is still time to sow. Runner and French beans can be sown directly into the ground, along with beetroot, carrots, courgette and squash. Gardeners could also check if any previously planted veg is ready to harvest.
June is the time when fruit “needs more attention”, urged the experts. They instructed: “If the weather is dry, you’ll need to water fruit plants once a week. To ensure water gets to the roots, you might want to push a tube, funnel, or empty bottle into the soil, then pour in the water.” In terms of planting, melon plugs can be sown in a sunny spot. They need rich soil and grow well in polytunnels and greenhouses.
Similarly to fruit, gardeners will need to make sure herbs are kept watered as the weather heats up and rain is less frequent. The experts said: “The good thing is that you can now sow herb seeds directly into the ground. Some good options for this are rocket, calendula and nasturtiums.”
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