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Geoff Hodge Web Editor Peterborough

I've been a horticultural journalist for 20 years, a gardener for longer than I want to think about and a veg grower for 25 years.

  • Date Joined: 21 Nov 2006

Early starters

Posted by Geoff Hodge on 28 Jan 2008 at 03:04 PM

This weekend I was involved in a couple of local radio gardening phone-ins - Garden Plus on BBC Essex on Saturday and Dougan Does Gardening on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire on Sunday. It would seem that everyone is desperate to get growing, probably because of our extremely mild January weather - is this climate change?

Everyone wants to start sowing seeds - both inside and out. Now I'm as mad keen as the next person, but as I told the listeners and as I said in my last blog - be patient.

In my own garden I decided the time was right to do some planting out. I have trays of broad beans in the lean-to frame and lettuce seedlings in the greenhouse, but wanted to get some of them into the ground.

First things first: it's too cold to grow them outside unprotected, so armed with a sponge and a bucket of warm water I cleaned the glass of the growing frame; at this time of year you need to make the most of the low light levels. With everything nice and shiny and clean we manoeuvred it into place on the raised beds.

The next day with the soil slightly warmed, it was time to plant out. There was enough room in the frame for four rows of broad bean ‘Aquadulce Claudia' with a row of lettuce ‘Arctic King' in between; they should crop before the beans get too big and steal all the light.

I was also hoping to sow some chilli peppers and early brassicas, but time didn't allow - there was far too much FA Cup football on the telly! But there's still plenty of time, so nothing to worry about.

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