Seed sowing is at its height now as most of summer bedding plants can be sown. Half-hardy annuals such as ageratum, impatiens (busy lizzie), cosmea, gazania, petunia, lobelia and marigold can be sown in the heated greenhouse or indoors. Provided soil conditions are not too cold and wet, early sowings of hardy annuals can be made outdoors.
Suitable plants for sowing where they will flower include the following popular items - anchusa, calendula, clarkia, larkspur and nigella.
Sweet Peas can be planted in sunny borders but remember to tie stems onto supports as this will encourage quicker climbing and flowering.
Ensure good germination results for early sowing by warming the soil with cloches or envirofleece before putting the seeds in. As soon as soil conditions are suitable sow artichoke, beetroot, broad bean, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, lettuce, parsley and spinach. White sowings of aubergine and cucumber, along with other tender vegetables, can now be made in a heated greenhouse.
Plant shallot sets this month, spacing at 15cm (6") intervals in rows 30cm (12") apart, and once conditions have warmed up, generally towards the end of March, onion sets may also be planted. Seed potatoes should be set out in trays which are placed in a bright but cool, frost-free situation so that the shoots will form. Plantings of early varieties can be made during March, however, main crop varieties are best planted in April.
This is the time that early flowering bulbs should be dead-headed leaving the foliage to die back naturally.
Begonia tubers should be planted, the concave side being uppermost in the pot, in moist compost which only just covers the top. They should be kept in a bright, warm situation and watered when the compost dries out. Once the shoots are 5cm-7.5cm (2"-3") long they should be potted up individually.
Dahlia tubers can also be planted in trays of compost which will encourage shoots to appear.
Lilies could be planted into available spaces you may have in borders, or they can be put into pots.