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Soil temperature

Seed packets will indicate when you should sow the contents. But these are general indications only. The crucial variable is the soil temperature, and the tolerance of the seeds should also be shown on the packet. As the soil temperature rises in March and April, you should be able to sow: l Brassica crops eg broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, sprouts


Plant now for a bumper harvest of fine, home- grown vegetables


pring: the season of renewal and regeneration. Especially, the time to sow the seeds that will yield this year’s food crop.

Once upon a time it would have been a matter of life and death; now it’s more a lifestyle choice. This, then, is our guide to the kinds of vegetables you could be getting started over the coming three months. We’ll also indicate whether they can be planted directly into the garden or whether they need to be germinated indoors in trays and thinned and planted out. And finally, there’s the question of when they’ll be ready to pick.

34 | Hemel Hempstead Living l Onions and radish

l Root crops: beetroot, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, turnips

l Some pulses: broad beans, peas. Potatoes

Plant earlies in Mar/Apr and harvest when flowers appear; sec- ond earlies in April and, again, lift on flowering; and plant maincrop in April but leave them in the ground some time after flowering.

Planting guide Veg

Artichoke Beans (broad) Sow

Mar-Apr Mar-Apr

Beans (dwarf French) May-Jun Beans (runner) Beetroot

Brussels sprouts Cabbage Carrot

Cauliflower Courgettes Leek

Lettuce Marrow

Onion (bulb) Parsnip Peas


Sweetcorn Tomato


May-Jun Mar-Jul Apr

Mar-May Mar-Aug Mar-Jun Mar-Apr Mar-May


May-Jun May-Jul

May-Jun Apr-May


Plant Out Harvest May

Jul-Aug May-Jun Jul-Oct Jul-Oct Jun-Oct Sep-Mar Oct

Jul-Mar All year Jun-Sep Jul-Apr

Mar onwards Apr onwards Jun onwards Mar-Apr Mar-Apr Mar-Apr Mar-Jun Apr-Jun May-Jun Apr-May

Jun-Sep Aug-Oct Oct-Feb Jun-Sep Sep-Mar Aug-Oct

Jun Apr onwards

Jul onwards June-winter

Herb garden

Most herbs do best under cover in spring. Exceptions that can safely be sown out of doors in March-April include borage, chives and rocket.

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