Well, looks like spring is certainly here in the garden!

Firstly, I have been having lots of fun sowing all my annual summer flowers – lobelia, petunia, alyssum, marigold, pelargonium, impatiens, gazania etc. My new greenhouse is starting to look full already!

Secondly, another indication of spring, is that some of my Asiatic and Tree Lilies have started to sprout. Now we love all God’s creatures, but lily beetles are pushing it a bit! A couple of tips to prevent 90%+ of lily beetles, all free and organic! 1) in Nov/Dec, when your lilies have died down and you cut them back, remove the top one inch or so of compost, adding fresh compost. This will remove 70% of the eggs in the soil. Now the eggs overwinter in the soil, and have a hard shell around them, but they drop that shell when the lilies start to sprout, ready to attach to the foliage, and are vulnerable. So 2) in Feb/Mar, just ‘disturb’ the soil with your fingers, as you see the lilies starting to sprout. This will kill another 20% of them. Not 100%, but nearly. Photo 1 shows some lilies in pots where I have disturbed the soil this week.

Thirdly, I checked on the broad beans I had sown in Oct/Nov, after the severe and prolonged frost that we have just had, and they are 90% recovered (photo 2). The best variety is Aquadulce, others are not winter hardy.

Fourthly, photo 3 shows my veg plot, and the overwintering broad beans, onions, garlic and shallots are doing fine. They can be harvested in June, just in time for the salad and other items to be planted.

Fifthly, I took the opportunity to sow some early radishes in between the shallots (photo 4). Also, it will soon be time to sow grass seed, to cover up any bare patches in your lawn.

Finally, as promised, outside my front door (64 Dudsbury Avenue, BH22 8DX), I have some pre-chitted Anya potatoes. For anyone who wants to take part in the competition for the heaviest crop, please take one (and only 1 please), put your name and contact down on the paper, and we will have a weigh-in around June time. Potatoes can be put in potato bags or containers in early March, and in the ground in mid to late March.

And don’t forget your birdboxes and feeders, the birds are pairing up fast, looking for nesting sites!

Happy Gardening, Spring really is coming fast now!!

Kevin Steele