Alan Titchmarsh speaks to expert about growing fruit in garden
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The green-fingered TV presenter is widely respected within the gardening community. He’s authored books, written articles and appeared on a number of TV shows where he divulges top tips for growing plants, fruit and vegetables. The 71-year-old, who appears in Love Your Weekend With Alan Titchmarsh today, gave his advice for planting at this time of the year in the UK.
The ITV star, who used to work as a journalist, is known for sharing hacks from both gardeners of the past and modern-day experts.
Recently, he revealed “old gardeners’ tricks” from “quite a few years ago”, including one that will shock many.
Titchmarsh claimed they could tell when it was safe to sow seeds outside by looking at the ground for weeds.
When weed seedlings began to emerge they “would regard the soil as being warm enough”.
If the gardeners of the past “weren’t sure”, he claimed they would employ two unusual tactics, in a YouTube video for Waitrose and Partners.
The first was dipping an elbow in the soil, similar to “the tests that you used to do with a baby and bathwater”.
If gardeners were still uncertain, they employed a more less common approach.
Titchmarsh said: “In extreme cases and quite a few years ago – and I have never used it.
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“Drop your trousers and sit with your naked bottom on the soil, if you go ‘Oh, that’s cold!’, it is too cold for seeds.”
The gardening professional gave other tips to help kickstart March, as part of a 12-month growing guide for Classical FM.
Spring is the growing season for many plants – but some can be sown later on in the year after the end of summer.
In March’s section of the gardening cheat sheet, Titchmarsh explained: “It’s the start of the planting season.
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“If you have gaps, prepare to fill them now.”
Titchmarsh suggested the gaps should be filled with border plants, perennials, roses, shrubs and trees.
Once this was accomplished, he told gardeners they could “look forward to a brighter summer”.
Titchmarsh advised that March was the prime time to get one “mucky job” out of the way.
He said: “It is time to get fertilising and sprinkling some well-rotted compost or manure on your beds.”
Titchmarsh explained while it was “a kind of mucky job”, it was one gardeners would want to “get out of the way”.
Once it’s complete, he said: “It will stand you in good stead for the rest of the year.”
Titchmarsh also advised planting something colourful on your doorstep to give you “hope” during this typically-chilly month.
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He said: “There is nothing better than tulips at this time of year.
“It can give you a bit of hope for the spring to come.”
Titchmarsh advised planting them in a large pot on the doorstep and said: “And just watch them bloom!”
For those with less outdoor space to grow plants, the gardener suggested a “pretty” type of daffodil, called the Snake’s head fritillary.
The flower is known for its unusual name and also the stunning chequered-patterns that develop on its petals.
Titchmarsh suggested it was a great fix for people with only “a window sill or perhaps a little table outside the backdoor”.
The star described it as “something pretty” and felt it was perfect to plant in March.
He added: “They will give you untold pleasure over the next week or two.”
For April, he advised gardeners to “be kind” to their daffodils to ensure “good flowers” the following year.
Titchmarsh said gardeners should keep their rhododendrons “green as grass” because it will keep them “as happy as Larry”
He also suggested planting magnolias but stated that they must have plenty of “room to grow” and “spread sideways as well as upwards”.
Titchmarsh added: “Pruned magnolias are generally butchered magnolias.”
Love Your Weekend With Alan Titchmarsh airs at 10am today on ITV and stars former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell.
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