Sow, it's that time of year

PUBLISHED: 13:32 04 May 2006 | UPDATED: 14:40 12 May 2010

Sow your veg' seeds now

Sow your veg' seeds now

EARLY May is the second of the main vegetable seed sowing periods of the gardening year for people with greenhouses or suitable alternative indoor situations, such as a light window sill. It is time to sow the frost tender summer seeds destined for their

Sow your veg' seeds now

EARLY May is the second of the main vegetable seed sowing periods of the gardening year for people with greenhouses or suitable alternative indoor situations, such as a light window sill. It is time to sow the frost tender summer seeds destined for their outdoor positions in June.

For me, this includes climbing French beans, runner beans, sweet corn, and courgettes.

There are two or three ways of approaching this job.

Seeds can be sown in a tray of compost and left to grow on until they are large enough to place outside.

Alternatively they can be sown in individual seed modules or three inch pots, which I prefer, since the root disturbance is kept to a minimum when they are finally transferred to the vegetable plot.

If you have plenty of seeds it is a good idea to plant two in each pot or module and then choose the strongest and discard the other.

This also means that pots are not wasted if a seed fails to germinate for any reason.

Use good-quality potting compost, and keep it constantly moist, but avoid over-watering since this will lead to rot.

Camellias are beginning to go out of flower and if they are growing in pots they need to be pruned now to keep them in good shape and prevent them from becoming too large.

Using sharp secateurs cut above dormant buds which will then develop into new flower bearing stems. If plants have already grown too tall they will respond well to hard pruning in which the leading stem is drastically reduced in height.

After pruning give them sequestrene to maintain good leaf colour and remember that these acid loving plants will have to be given rain water throughout the summer period.

Move the pots into a shady position to conserve moisture and imitate their natural preference which is for woodland.

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