New beginnings in the garden

14 February 2021

2021 - Lets get started!

Spring is around the corner and despite the current pandemic, things will be brightening up. Now there is no need to beat yourself up if you have not been out in the garden in all weathers making the perfect garden patch. That's for the experts on telly, who I bet have help. I certainly don't advocate freezing to death to pull up a couple of weeds that will wait a while to be dealt with. My garden is, shall we say, relaxed in style. Most of mine is an allotment in character but squeezed in all around are the beautiful flowering plants that encourage the insects and pollinators who come to pollinate my fruit and veg.

What is a good time now, is to review what you want out of a garden in the coming year. Are you looking for a garden that warms your heart when you see it bursting with flowers or something more practical? It can be both, as I have discovered, to the point that my rough and tumble plot often attracts complimentary remarks, even when even I actually think it needs taking in hand a bit.

So, it does not have to be a clearly defined choice. Vegetables can grow in all sorts of places, scattered amongst the flower beds or the other way round mainly an allotment but a wonderful display of interest and colour dotted in and around. Pots can offer a wide range of vegetables as well as flowering plants.

The plan - what do you want generally and what do you need to make that happen. Seeds are a great choice, especially if you are willing to wait for some plants to reach maturity. The choice is huge. We used to have to wait for the catalogues and then it would be what the producers felt was interesting. But we are lucky today we have garden centres and the internet. Worth having a look at both. In person you can often get advice. Online it is easy to find the more unusual varieties and advice is also there.

Sadly, we could not hold the seed share this year. Seed shares are important to help protect biodiversity and keeps the diversity of locally adapted varieties going but we hope next year will see its return. It is also an opportunity to meet up with others and get information and recommendations as to what grows well locally.

Use this colder, quiet time to review your plot: what spaces are there, what do you want to plant there, find the plants ands seeds. Many people advocate starting sowing seeds now but in most cases there is no need to panic, especially if you do not have a greenhouse, lots can be sown much later when conditions are more favourable. One year when I was starting out events meant I sowed runner beans very late May and I still got a crop. Modern packets have great guides on them as to planting times and different varieties offer later or earlier opportunities. If all else fails - your local shops and garden centres offer ready grown plants ready to plug in.

Dee Ross