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Spring Jobs & Growing Guide

Welcome spring into your UK garden with practical tips for planting and growing a variety of fruits and vegetables, promising a bountiful harvest in the season of renewal.


Sowing & Planting


- Last chance to plant bare-root fruit trees, and ideally plant container grown ones too.

- Plant cold-stored strawberry runners.

- Plant cranberries and lingonberries.



- Sow seeds outdoors in mild areas with light soil - be guided by the weather, and sow only if conditions are suitable.

• eg: broad beans, carrots, parsnips, beetroot, onions, lettuces, radish, peas, spinach, summer cabbage, salad leaves, leeks, Swiss chard, kohlrabi, turnip and summer cauliflower.


- Sow seed indoors

• sweet peppers

• tomatoes

• cucumbers

• aubergines

• celery

• salads

• globe artichokes


- Plant:

• onions, shallots and garlic sets

• Jerusalem artichoke tubers.


- Protect early seed sowings from slugs.


- Protect brassicas from pigeons.


- Look out for grey mould and brassica downy mildew on brassicas.


- Control aphids and other pests on fruit but don’t spray when in blossom.


- Get on top of weed control if not done in late winter and continue through to summer.

General Care


- Protect fruit blossoms from frost, but make sure insects can access the flowers or else hand pollinate them.

- Mulch raspberries, blueberries, cranberries and lingonberries with well-rotted farmyard manure (not mushroom compost as it is too alkaline).

- Apply a mulch around fruit trees, nuts, and bushes as long as the ground isn’t frozen.

- Repot or top dress container grown fruit if needed.

- Carry out formative pruning of newly planted fruit trees if the weather is dry.

- Prune blueberries.

- Untie canes of blackberries and hybrid berries that have been bundled together for the winter, and train into arches before the buds burst.


- Prepare seedbeds, covering them with clear polythene or fleece to warm up the soil before sowing.

- Protect early outdoor sowings with fleece and polythene.

- Put supports in place for peas.

- Start preparing runner bean supports


Sowing & Planting


- Ideal time to plant pot-grown fruit trees and bushes.



- Chit and plant out second early potatoes in the first half of the month, maincrop potatoes in the second half.

- Sow seeds outdoors for beetroot, carrots, Swiss chard, summer cauliflower, kohlrabi, lettuce, leeks, radish, turnip, spring and pickling onions, peas and perpetual spinach in well prepared soil.

- Sow seeds indoors of marrows, courgettes, pumpkins, squash, sweet peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines, celery, celeriac, salads and globe artichokes.

- In very mild areas sow dwarf French beans and sweet corn outside under cloches or fleece at the end of April. In cooler areas wait until May.

- Sow a seedbed of brassicas to provide transplants of sprouting broccoli, cauliflowers and cabbages for planting out in June or July.

- Transplant broad beans grown in pots.

- Plant shallots, onion sets and garlic.

- Plant Jerusalem artichoke tubers.

- Pot up tomato seedlings when they develop true leaves above the more rounded seed leaves.


- Apply apple and pear scab controls.

- Deal with aphids, apple sucker, pear sucker, pear midge, caterpillars and powdery mildew.

- Look out for red spider mite and aphids on strawberries under glass and treat accordingly.


- Keep on top of weed control and continue through to summer

General Care


- De-blossom strawberries planted after September in their first year to help establishment.

- Ventilate strawberries under cloches and mulch with straw or mats.

- Avoid using insecticides on crops in flower.



- Support pea plants with sticks, twigs, green support mesh, or wire netting.

- Thin out rows of seedlings as soon as they are large enough to be handled.

- Protect early outdoor sowings with fleece and polythene.

- Prepare runner bean supports for sowing (in May) or planting out (in June).


Sowing & Planting  


- Sow French beans, runner beans, squash, cucumbers and pumpkin seeds directly into prepared beds outside. Be alert to late frosts (for which a covering of horticultural fleece should provide sufficient protection).


- Sow cauliflowers and purple sprouting broccoli for harvesting next winter.


- After all risk of frost has passed, plant out tomatoes, courgettes and pumpkins that were previously sown under cover. Other young plants can be planted out once conditions are suitable, and once they’ve been hardened off for 10 to 14 days.


- Brussels sprouts for next winter should now be ready for transplanting after early or mid-spring sowing.


- Plant out artichokes that were previously sown under cover.


- Self-blanching celery can also be planted out towards the end of the month.


- Ridge cucumbers can be sown indoors now, for planting out in early June.


- Watch for the small holes flea beetles make on brassica seedlings.


- Water plants well to help them continue growing despite the pest damage.


- Protect carrots with insect-proof mesh to prevent carrot root fly.


- Slugs pose a threat, and slug controls are necessary now, as always.


- Protect brassicas and peas from pigeons.


- Pick yellowing leaves off brassicas promptly, to prevent spread of grey mould and brassica downy mildew.


- Deal with apple sawfly and capsid bug and prevent blossom wilt if it struck last year.


- Put up codling moth traps in apple trees.


- Look out for spur blight, cane spot and cane blight on raspberries, blackberries and hybrid berries.


- Put bird protection in place for all soft fruit.


- Deal with raspberry leaf and bud mite and raspberry rust from now on.


- Keep on top of weed control and continue through to summer.

General Care


- Pull off suckers appearing around the base of fruit trees.

- De-blossom strawberry runners planted since September.

- Water blueberries, cranberries and lingonberries when needed with rainwater, but use tap water when butts are empty.

- Move growing-bags into the greenhouse to warm up two weeks before planting indoor melons, and water well two days before planting.

- Make sure fruit isn’t drought stressed, especially those in containers, against a wall or newly planted.

- Make sure bees can access caged and cloched fruit flowers to ensure pollination.

- Keep a check on late frost forecasts and protect blossoms as necessary.

- Remove wayward shoots on fan-trained trees and tie in better placed ones.

- Thin out crowded raspberry shoots.

- Thin gooseberries if you want large fruit.



- Earth up potatoes when the shoots are 23cm (9in) high, in order to prevent the new tubers going green. Earthing-up is the drawing up of soil around the stems of the plants, leaving just 5cm (2in) of shoot uncovered so that the plant has enough foliage to continue growing.


- Start to remove side-shoots from cordon tomatoes as you see them. The side-shoots develop in the leaf axils (i.e. between the stem and leaf), and if allowed to develop will sap the energy of the plant and reduce the quality of the yield.


- Strings stretched along the tops of broad bean plants can support them, and prevent them flopping once pods develop. - Peas need staking with pea sticks, netting, or pruned twigs from the garden.

Learn more: RHS Allotment Journal (book) RHS Gardening Through the Year: Month-by-month Planning Instructions and Inspiration (book),die%20back%20to%20the%20ground.

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