Gardening: The best of the garden and what to do this week

Fresh kale

Fresh kale - Credit: Archant

Cyclamen can be quite difficult to grow in pots, particularly if they become waterlogged, their leaves droop quickly and don’t recover.

Hardy Cyclamen

Hardy Cyclamen - Credit: Archant

However, hardy cyclamen can be more successful if grown in moderately fertile, well-drained soil, ideally beneath a canopy of trees or shrubs, to protect them from excessive summer rain when dormant.

Cyclamen coum Pewter Group are particularly good winter-flowers, with pretty silver and green marbled leaves and reddish pink flowers. They self-seed freely and can form impressive colonies in time.

Kitchen garden: Preparing beds for brassicas

If you’re planning to grow members of the brassica family - Brussels sprouts, cauliflowers and cabbages - be aware that they like alkaline soil, so if you have acid soil, you’re probably going to have to add lime to it. Invest in a soil-testing kit first to assess just how much lime you’re going to need to add. Around seven is neutral, less than seven is acid and higher than seven is alkaline. Once you know your soil’s make-up, the instructions on the packet will help you add the correct quantity of lime.

What to do in the garden this week

:: Plant stored dahlia tubers in pots of potting compost in a frost-free greenhouse to give them a good start.

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:: Sow radishes and thin them when they are big enough to handle.

:: Pot up lily bulbs now for a summer show, but keep them in a frost-free greenhouse at first.

:: Sow seeds of busy lizzies in a heated propagator.

:: Prick out or pot up pelargonium seedlings that have grown from seeds sown last month.

:: Apply a top dressing of gravel around rockery plants to suppress weeds and ensure free drainage.

:: Sow seeds of tomatoes for growing in a cool greenhouse.

:: Bring strawberries in containers into the greenhouse for early fruit.

:: If you haven’t yet sown peas, round seeded varieties such as Feltham First or Meteor can be sown now under cloches.

:: Cultivate ground for an annual border, so no time is lost when conditions allow sowing.