1 Early Digging
If you intend to sow or plant in spring, the time to start digging is late Autumn or early winter, when the soil is not overly wet and sticky. Choose a spade that is the right size for your height and strength. Insert the spade blade vertically in to the soil, not at an angle. Turn the soil in lumps, the winter frosts will help break these down. Keeping the spade blade clean will help.
2 Good Seed Bed Preparation.
When the soil is moist and workable in early spring its the time to prepare a seed bed. Break down any clods of soil with a hand cultivator or garden fork. Rake in a general fertilizer and then walk over the surface, using the garden rake to fill any hollows as necessary. Remove any debris/stones, and rake to a smooth flat crumbly surface.
3 Sow Crops Little & Often
Numerous types of vegetables such as lettuce,radish and certain varieties of cabbage cannot be stored for later use. To avoid the situation of feast then famine, sow short rows every few weeks. For the busy gardener seed suppliers produce packets of seeds with a mixture of early and late maturing varieties.This gives a longer harvest period from one sowing.
4 Sow & Plant At The Correct Time
Books and sowing calendars will give the approximate time to sow and plant. The proper time is when the soil and weather conditions are right. The soil must be moist but it must not be cold, wet and waterlogged. Three main reasons for seed failure are, they are sown too early, too deep or too thickly.
5 Prompt Thinning & Quick Even Growth
As soon as practical after germination, thin the seedlings and remove any weeds. Gently firm the remaining plants and water to settle the disturbed roots. Water and feed the the growing plants as necessary to promote quick sturdy growth. A shortage of water and starvation commonly causes leathery leaves, running to seed, woody roots and a lack of flavour.
6 Pick Crops Early & Often
The peak time for tenderness and flavour of a crop is often at a young stage, turnips the size of golf balls and carrots no longer than your finger. Don’t wait for optimum size the quality diminishes. With certain crops such as beans, peas, cucumbers and marrows it is essential to pick regularly, as just a few mature fruits or pods can bring cropping to an end.