It’s hard to believe Easter is already behind us, especially as the temperatures are making it feel more like February.
I think when the clocks went forward an hour, the calendar went back a month. Although it’s worth remembering that we have become quite accustomed to unseasonably warm spells in spring and this year temperatures are more or less where they should be typically.
Maybe you used your Easter weekend wisely and managed to get ahead in the garden but if not, it’s a good idea to start going and sowing now.
I spent the weekend preparing my veggie beds and had the huge satisfaction of shuffling seed packets and getting a lot in the ground. I love the saying, ‘The best way to gamble is with a trowel and a packet of seeds.’ Although I would add, ‘If you don’t get them on the soil, you have already lost.’
I have also sown some ‘duplicates’ in the greenhouse as a back up. I love Cosmos, especially ‘Purity’ and have sown that in the gaps in the beds but have also sown some to bring on indoors and plant out later.
I’ve done the same with sunflower and sweet pea seeds – some outside, some in old toilet roll tubes (they allow for a deep root system) and as I am still ‘running the gauntlet’ with the wild bunnies, who seem to be ‘running faster’ than me, I’m using more netting to protect young plants outdoors than I usually do.
I don’t like my garden looking like a Tough Mudder course with all the barricades and netting, but I like losing my hard work and easy pickings to rabbits and pigeons even less.
I’ve planted my spuds in old compost bags (stabbed with a few holes) as my brother has had great success with that method for the last few years and have sown cut-and-come-again lettuce, basil and coriander.
If you want to start growing your own but are short of time, confidence or space, I think salad leaves and herbs are the best way to start as even a small amount makes such a difference to dishes.
It’s all very well to start with radish and beetroot, which are usually recommended to start with as they’re ‘easy’ to grow, but so many people don’t like either and even if successful, don’t actually eat their ‘rewards. I don’t see the point in that.
Monty Don planted his lily corms in pots in Gardeners’ World last week and this is another thing I would recommend whether you are a new gardener or an ‘old hand’, as the sight and smell of the magnificently confident blooms are right at the top of the reward scale.
If they are in pots, you can move them to the best place to appreciate them and rotate with other delicious containerised divas as they take centre stage.
It can be a daunting time of year for ‘fledgling gardeners’ as all gardeners are like horses lining up at the start of a race now - full of energy and enthusiasm, chomping at the bit.
The best advice I can give is to choose a few things to focus on and do them well, rather than try to do too much and lose heart and confidence. There are already far too many overgrown allotments playing havoc with people’s dreams.