With soil temperatures warming and windowsills overflowing, many gardeners are desperate to begin sowing directly outside during April. You’d think that making a seedbed would be a simple task, and…

HB9G5H oriental poppy at the garden pond. Image shot 05/2016. Exact date unknown.

© Alamy A pond adds so much to the garden on every level. It need not be massive – if space is tight you can create a patio mini-pond in…

J1W9EG CLEMATIS 'NIOBE'

© Time Inc   Clematis mingle well with existing climbers and wall shrubs, taking up little extra space. They can deliver flowers every month of the year and are largely…

Plant summer bulbs

If you are looking for lazy, low-maintenance gardening then look no further than summer-flowering bulbs. Yes, a few varieties – gladioli and dahlias – often need lifting for winter, but…

Blight on the landscape

As an organic gardener I like to grow my own food and, as I once had a lowly post at the National Vegetable Research Station in Wellesbourne, Warwick, I feel…

How to plant bare-root and pot-grown trees

The prime time to plant trees is during the dormant weeks of winter. This is especially important for bare-root trees, which are usually only available until around the end of…

Sow more sweet peas

I sowed my first batch of sweet peas back in the autumn and now, at the tail-end of winter, I am starting a second batch. Although sweet peas are hardy,…

How to prune autumn raspberries

We had a bumper crop of raspberries last year and I’m hoping to get the same result in 2018. The summer-fruiting canes were cut back after they cropped, and January…

Crop rotation – why and how

If you’ve ever looked at a burgeoning allotment site crammed with serried ranks of fabulous veggies and wondered ‘how did they do that?’, the answer is probably crop rotation. It’s…

Preparing your soil for sowing

The secrets to successful growing are healthy, nutrient-rich soil and crop rotation, so this week I have been preparing and warming my soil and thinking about what crops to grow…