Grow your own season starts

While spring brings extra work in the garden as we all venture out after the damp autumn and early months of 2020, it also heralds a time of renewal and opportunity. In the current climate, grow-your-own is becoming more popular for many reasons. It’s environmentally friendly, saves on road and airmiles, and produce is fresher and healthier. It’s also fun and more tasty too !

The most cost-effective method is from seed. Although a greenhouse is an advantage for early sowing, many vegetables can be sown directly into a finely tilthed ground. Seeds do not need a rich soil, so be careful not to over-feed the ground. Read the packet carefully to determine the rate and method of sowing for each variety. Some, such as carrots, will need thinning out for best results. Water sparingly and regularly, only feeding when well-established.

A popular alternative is to buy packs of vegetable plants. Many gardeners find plots and allotments are enough work without the effort and risk of growing from seed. Plants also have the advantage of making it easy to stagger crops over a period: by planting at regular intervals during spring and summer, you will not be over-burdened with crops all ready to harvest at the same time. Experiment with exotic and unusual varieties, particularly of lettuce and tomatoes – there are many different options. There’s plenty of time from May onwards to start on cucumbers, courgettes and outdoor tomatoes. By then the risk of damaging cooler nights will be over.

As a little extra, an easy and colourful crop of blueberries can be enjoyed by planting a bush in a pot of ericaceous compost. You will be well-rewarded both with fruit and excellent autumn foliage colour.

David Hogg

Buckland Nurseries

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