MAKING YOUR PATHWAYS
Now you've made your bed, walk beside it!
As the days begin to warm slightly, and although you may be tempted to get started with early planting, use your next few weekends to get really prepared instead for real Spring in the garden.
When you’ve created your beds, you need to think about what surrounds them. The innocent seeming pathways around newly made and lovely beds are often a source of problems and need careful thought. How to finish them depends on what you want: permanent and clean paths, mown grass ones, or just soil. The latter is best where beds have no sides and you can lay cardboard on them for the first few months to smother any existing weeds.
Beds with wooden sides afford more choice in path covering and you could simply lay a membrane of Mypex or landscape fabric: the latter is cheaper and easy to cut. Both can be covered with some woodchips to look nicer but be careful to always pull any odd weeds growing in this surface mulch, before they root through the fabric and result in a tangled mess in the soil below. I would not use gravel on top as it often spreads into nearby soil and is not good for your growing vegetables!
These are just a few options, and there is of course much more on all of this in my Vegetable Course book.
For outdoor sowing, I suggest late March is the earliest time for lettuce, peas, spinach, spring onion, radish, carrot and parsnip, so right now is the perfect time to get these going. You can expect to harvest your carrots from late June onwards.
I suggest you then wait until mid May before sowing courgette, sweetcorn and summer beans. If you have a greenhouse, all these dates can be a month earlier. In other words do not sow yet, wait for the right dates! Peruse a seed catalogue instead and put some dates in your diary as a reminder.