Grow vegetables in hot beds for an early harvest

Just like summer: plants grow in frames hot beds placed on top of a bed of decomposing material
Just like summer: plants grow in frames placed on top of a bed of decomposing material Photo: Alamy

If you grow vegetables, you already know some of the crucial requirements: a fertile soil and adequate water for starters. You also know that, in a temperate climate like Britain, warmth is vital; nothing will grow outdoors in winter. You probably worry less about light, and usually of course you don’t need to because light tends to vary in tandem with temperature. Normally

Stages of germination

Furthermore, the latency of germination may require certain environmental stimuli such as light or low temperatures, or there is a weakening of the seed coats. Also contributes the climateof the place in which lies the crop . It is important to know and control the pests that may attack the future plant.
1.  Embryo development .
2.  Accumulation of food reserves . These are made in the green parts of the plant and are transported to the seed in development. In the seeds called endospérmicas, food reserves are deposited outside the embryo, forming the endosperm of the seed. In seeds endospérmicas calls, the food material is absorbed by the embryo and stored in special containers called cotyledons.
3.  Maturation . During this phase, the seed is dried and separates… Continue reading..

Gardening calendar: plant strawberries and prune roses

Margaret Merril, bred by Robert Harkness in 1977
A rose would smell as sweet: ‘Margaret Merril’ is highly scented for a floribunda  Photo: Ben Murphy

Get digging

1 On a sunny day, spend time getting a small productive patch ready for the growing season. For clay soil, you need to dig in lots of grit and organic matter. Use 5-6mm pea shingle from a builder’s yard. For organic matter, try to find municipal compost. Cover the whole soil surface with 2in (5cm) of grit and 2in of organic matter before you dig (or rotavate) it

The Yellow Book: one of the great achievements of the English spirit

Flowers at NGS open garden Watergate House in Kent
The gardeners of England and Wales are moved to more spontaneous heights of fanaticism by the Yellow Book Photo: NGS

Spring sees the release of one of the greatest achievements of the English spirit. Appearing around this time every year, it is known, to adoring readership, by nothing more than its colour. Followers of Chairman Mao waved his Little Red Book; Colonel Gaddafi has created, for those who remain loyal, a compulsory cult of his Green Book; the gardeners of England and Wales are moved to more spontaneous heights of

Gardening calendar: sow cosmos and cucumbers

Cranberry click cosmos
Sow “Click Cranberries” for a splash of colour Photo: Florilegia / Alamy

Cosmos collection

1 Sow cosmos this weekend. Go for C. bipinnatus ‘Purity’, or the dark velvet crimson ‘Rubenza’. I also like the semi-doubles such as ‘Click Cranberries’ and ‘Psyche White’. Sow two seeds into the dimple in the top of a coir pellet, or a modular tray filled with peat-free compost. Place them in a warm place and they’ll germinate in a few days. As soon as there’s any sign of green, move the seedlings to a frost-free spot in maximum

Thorny problems: how do I prune my clematis?

'Parisienne', considered the best for two flower flushes
Early flowering clematis should be pruned as soon as the display is over Photo: WHICH?

Help for clematis

Q Your help would be much appreciated. I have a clematis – ’Jingle Bells’ – which is an absolute delight this year. All the flowers are on top of a thick single stem. What is the right way to prune it and when should I do it? Chris Chitty – Sutton Coldfield

A Clematis cirrhosa ’Jingle Bells’ is one of a group of early spring flowering clematis, with

Gardening calendar: sow herbs and plant lilies

The new rose lily 'Fabiola’
Heaven scent: lilies make a lovely addition to the garden 

1 Follow the scent

Plant deliciously scented lily bulbs in pots and in your borders. Choose taller varieties such as ‘Casa Blanca’ or ‘Nerone’ for the back of the beds and shorter ones such as Lilium speciosum var rubrum ‘Uchida’ or ‘White America’ in the pots.

•Sarah Raven shares her tips on growing lilies

2 Sow herbs

Sow herb seeds under cover – hardy annual and biennials such as chervil, parsley and coriander. Wash

Grow to eat: tips from the RHS

Freshly picked Broad beans 'Aquadulce', shelled beans in stainless steel colander
Spring in to action: broad beans and peas suit an early start Photo: GAP photos/Gary SMith

Starter salads

If you are new to gardening, have limited space or want to get children growing, cut-and-come-again salads are a great way to start. Lettuce, spinach and chard are ideal but any leafy vegetable can be grown in this way. It’s also possible to buy special seed collections.

• Get in to the habit of growing salad

Fill your container, pot or window-box with multipurpose

Get Out Of The Garden Furniture Conundrum

The garden can be a place of extreme relaxation or extreme worry. Murders have been committed in gardens if we are to believe Agatha Christie and Ruth Rendell. It might be beneficial to invest in your garden furniture because you might spend you last few seconds on earth in that place.
On a slightly sunnier note, there is nothing like having an evening drink on your immaculately manicured lawn. There is a lot of hard work involved in the planting and weeding but you can get away with standard garden furniture. This article is not definitive in terms of giving you hints but it is an interesting addition to the list of tricks that you have up your sleeve.
1.Think about sets: Although they say that the best things in… Continue reading..

March 2015: Garden events

There are few sunnier sights than a field full of nodding narcissus
There are few sunnier sights than a field full of nodding narcissus Photo: Jo Whitworth

Until 8 March

Alluring Orchids exhibition, Princess of Wales Conservatory, Kew Gardens, Richmond, Surrey. Displays, workshops, tours, talks. Normal garden admission (020 8332 5655;

Until 22 March

Orchid festival, University Botanic Garden, Cambridge. The story of pollination, including giant cut-outs of iridescent bees, wasps, moths, flies and hummingbirds. Normal garden admission (01223 336265;

7 March

Upcycled Garden