Spring Gardening with Haxnicks
The moment that the days become longer and we get the first glimpses of new growth we are all encouraged to start preparing our gardens for Spring. For those of you with small gardens or no gardens we have so many ways to grow that you need not miss out on the joys of an early Spring vegetable garden. From growing in bags to pop-up greenhouses there is something here for all gardeners. We have a huge range of propagation and plant protection products that will help you get growing this Spring. We also have lots of Spring planting tips and advice here on our website…so dig in!.
Watch our Spring Videos
We've put together a collection of Videos from our Spring Gardening archives that demonstrate the great things our gardening products can do.
A-Z Grow Your Own Advice
- Beans - Climbing
- Beans - Dwarf
- Broad Beans
- Brussels Sprouts
- Chilli Peppers
- Courgettes / Zucchinis
- Onions (seeds)
- Onions (sets)
- Peas (and mangetout)
- Sweet Corn
- Zuchinnis / Courgettes
"I've used Haxnicks products for years - they're designed to do a brilliant job AND look good. Just what's needed!"
- Pippa Greenwood (Horticulturist, grow-your-own TV and radio expert, garden writer)
Have you got a specific gardening question? Just ask Pippa!
Click here for personalised advice from gardening specialist Pippa Greenwood.
The News by Haxnicks
Grow at Home - Pak Choi
8th December 2019
The standard Pak Choi (sometimes known as Bok Choy) is juicy, crisp and fast-maturing with a really good, strong flavour, good resistance to bolting and fast growth. A welcome green leaf in any winter kitchen garden.
The green-stemmed cultivars tend to have a better flavour than white-stemmed varieties. They can also be eaten raw, stir fried or lightly steamed and served with soy sauce.
Soil and Aspect
Grow Pak Choi in full sun or part shade in well-drained but moisture retentive soil rich in organic matter. Add compost to beds before planting and mulch with compost again at mid season to help with moisture retention.
Sowing Pak Choi
Pak choi is a versatile plant that can be cultivated as a cut-and-come-again crop - ready to harvest in as little as 30 days - or harvested as a mature plant.
It is best sown before or after the hottest part of the year, either around April, just after the last frost date in your area or in August for a late-season crop.
Cut and come again seedlings can be sown any time from April if you use bolt-resistant varieties and offer some shade in the hottest weather - Easy Net Tunnels will help reduce bolting.
Sow seeds in situ as soon as the soil is workable (early crops should be sown under cloches) and continue sowing until late summer.
Space 15cm apart for small varieties, 20cm apart for medium-size and 35cm apart for large.
Pak choi has shallow roots so needs watering little and often in dry spells rather than drenching.
A nitrogen rich liquid feed will help produce a bumper crop and shade from Easy Net Tunnels will prevent bolting.
Harvesting and storage
Depending on conditions, this could be within three weeks of sowing and two or three cuts should be possible. A headed crop (ready after around six weeks) can be lifted entirely. Alternatively, you can cut 2.5cm above ground level and leave to re-sprout.
Less likely to go limp than lettuce, Pak Choi is best kept cool and eaten within a week.
Pest and Diseases
Pak Choi is susceptible to all of the brassica problems. Flea beetle, aphids, cabbage whitefly, caterpillars, root fly, slugs, snails and birds.
But don't be put off! As it is so fast growing, it is perfectly possible to avoid most issues with some protective netting and regular watering. This will keep the plants in top condition.
Companion planting with Onions or Garlic can be very effective. A row of sacrificial radishes is also good to draw the flee beetle away!
Grow at Home: Chives
24th November 2019
Chives are a low maintenance perennial herb. The botanical name, Allium schoenoprasum, derives from the Greek meaning reed-like leek - a very accurate description as they are a member of the onion family. Their leaves therefore have a mild onion flavour and are great when chopped up finely and added to dishes. They add that little extra to a potato salad and give scrambled eggs a boost.
They are a great addition to your diet as they are a rich source of vitamin K, C and folic acid and minerals such as manganese, magnesium and iron. As well as eating the leaves, they also have edible pink flowers that make an attractive garnish for salads.
In early spring, sow a few seeds thinly across the surface a 3 inch or 4 inch pot or into plugs. Cover with a thin layer of vermiculite, water and place in a heated propagator or warm windowsill to germinate.
If you forget to sow seeds or want to save time, buy ready-grown plants.
Chives form 1ft (30cm) tall clumps. They grow well in ground or in pots of soil-based compost preferring a moisture retentive, well-drained soil. Outside, plant them in a sunny or partially shaded position.
Chives are very low maintenance. Just keep them well watered, especially during long dry spells in summer.
Lift plants every 3 years or so and divide them. Simply cut with a sharp knife and replant the sections. This will rejuvenate congested clumps in the ground or pots. If they are in containers, either divide them or you could move them to a slightly larger pot.
Chives die back in late autumn. Clear away any dead leaves to discourage pests.
You have a win win situation with chives. The more you cut the more they will produce. Simply snip the leaves with scissors close to the base of the plant. To keep plants going, remove the flowers as they start to fade. Don't forget to or use them for your salads.
Chives are best used fresh. If you want to store them then snip them up finely, pack into an ice-cube trays and add a little water and freeze.
Pests & Diseases
Aphids: Greenfly may be seen on the soft shoot tips of plants. If you catch them early then you can just wash them off or pick them off with finger and thumb and squash them.
Leek rust: This is a fungal disease causing bright yellow spots on the leaves. You are more likely to see this when the weather has been wet. Mild attacks of rust won’t harm the plant. There is no control for rust once the plant has it. so the best option is prevention. Avoid crowding the plants, to keep humidity down. Cut any badly affected leaves and don’t grow other members of the onion family: garlic, leeks or onions in the same spot for three years.
Grow at Home - Broad Bean
18th November 2019
The Broad Bean is the hardiest and earliest of all the beans to grow yourself. Like many vegetables, shop bought versions don't do the tasty flavour justice. They are well worth growing to enjoy fresh from the furry pod. There many varieties to try including the Red Flowered which has stunning deep red flowers and a beautiful fragrance as well as delicious beans.
Soil and Aspect
Grow Broad Beans in heavy soils that are well manured and have good drainage - Manure should be incorporated and dug in during the Autumn.
Choose an open sunny site, protected from strong winds, especially if growing over the winter.
Broad Bean Sowing
Overwintering varieties are sown in late Autumn. Other varieties can be started off from late winter through to the end of the Spring.
Sow in double rows in a shallow trench 20 cm wide and 4 cm deep with 20 cm between the seeds. Alternatively Broad Beans can be started off in Rootrainers in the greenhouse early in the year for planting out in the Spring.
Keep weed free throughout the growing season - a Speedhoe will make short work of weeds between the rows. If there is a dry spell, give plenty of water throughout the period until the pods start to swell. Provide support for taller varieties with canes or an Ornamental Frame. When the first pods start to form, pinch out the top 8cm of growth - This will reduce the danger of black fly attack and aid pod formation.
Harvesting and storage
Pick the pods when they have become swollen. Do not allow the pods to become too mature because they will become leathery and tough. Continuous harvesting extends the cropping season. Broad Beans are best picked and used fresh. Any surplus beans can be frozen or dried.
Pest and Diseases
The most serious problem for the broad bean is black fly - Removing the growing tips when the pods are starting to mature will help to deter this problem.