If you’re keen to grow your own vegetables and create your own Kitchen Garden this coming season, and many people have during the lockdowns,  now is the time to start thinking about (if not actually doing) the first sowings of frost tender vegetables, such as Tomatoes and Cucumbers, chitting first early potatoes and planting things like Onions, Radishes and Broad Beans outside. You can use fleece or a cloche to protect newly sown or recently germinated plants if there is a cold night forecast.

How to start. . .

Frost tender vegetables need protection from frost (obviously!) and can be started in a cool light room in the house or a greenhouse – as long as you can keep it above freezing. They will need a little extra heat from something like a propagator to get them started. You want them to grow slowly and to remain stocky, so maximum light is a must, otherwise they will become etiolated (stretched) as they seek the light. Remember they will need frost protection as they mature and can be potted on when they have developed 2 or 3 sets of true leaves. The first set of leaves are called cotyledons (seedling leaves) and do not look like the true leaves.

Don’t over pot (move them in to a pot that is too large) when you pot them on and keep them just moist and the atmosphere airy and light levels as high as possible.

Final thought

A final thought – it has been a very wet and quite cold winter so the ground will not be in a good place for planting or sowing yet. There is no hurry with gardening – be guided by what the weather is telling you and work with it.

Items to get you started . . .

50 pack of Mixed Onion Bulbs https://www.bents.co.uk/onions-bulbs-50-per-pack-bulpot0210

3M Grozone Tunnel https://www.bents.co.uk/3m-grozone-tunnel-micromesh-ggsgre0040

G30 Plant Warming Fleece 1.5mx10m https://www.bents.co.uk/g30-plant-warming-fleece-1-5m-x-10m-ggsgre0178

Unheated Propagator https://www.bents.co.uk/standard-propagator-ropgen0021