IT'S time to prepare those perfect seedbeds. Use
fork, hoe and rake to break down the clods and work the soil
into a fine tilth. Avoid walking on areas to be sown, since
the weight of your feet will compact the soil and damage its
If the ground turns out to be too wet and is difficult to
work, stay away for a few days until it has dried enough to be
easily handled. If the soil will not run through your fingers
or crumble easily in hour hands, it probably isn't ready.
When drilling your seed, check the packet for instructions on
spacing between rows. If sowing in blocks, remember to sow
Carrots, parsnips and other maincrop
root vegetables can be
sown at anytime from now until late April, as can brassicas
like cabbage, and brussels sprouts.
In cold areas, it is better to wait until later to sow peas,
runner beans and french beans. Wherever you live, it is better
to be a week or two late and sow into a perfect seedbed, than
to try to force conditions and puddle seed in too early.
Foliage houseplants such as Ficus benjarnina philodendrons and
tradescantias will wake up as the light increases. Once they
have started to grow, begin regular feeding, using liquid feed
or fertiliser sticks.
Plants that are pot-bound can be re-potted, using ready made
potting compost. Lithe-hating species such as citrus fruits,
camellias and gardenias will be happier in ericaceous compost.
Winter flowering pot plants such as primulas, cyclamen,
cinerarias and azaleas are coming to the end of their season.
Azaleas can be re-potted in ericaceous compost, fed and grown
on until the end of May when they can be safely stood outdoors
Cyclamen and primulas are usually discarded and new ones
bought, but you can keep them growing by re-potting.