As a gardener, early-Spring is one of my favourite times of year. Although everything is still meant to be quite wet and cold outside, spring seems to have sprung early this year and is the perfect time to see the awesome power of nature. Despite the fact that the ground is still frosty here on some early mornings, spring shoots have recently started to force their way through the hard ground and have started to thrive. The snowdrops and daffodils are already in full bloom, adding beautiful splashes of colour to the garden.
Spring also means that I get the chance to think about what I want to grow in my vegetable garden in the coming year. I have just cleared out the last of the winter crops and now have a blank canvas for spring planting. A few fast growing crops, such as Spring Onions (salad onions or scallions) can work really well whilst summer crops are still in their seedling stage. Last year I had a dedicated salad bed where I was able to grow crops like lettuce, basil, spring onion and tomato. Perpetual spinach is also a firm favourite. Of course, salad beds are also firm favourites of a lot of garden pests, so I had to plant a range of companion plants to try to keep them all off my dinner!
I have just ordered some new packets of seeds, in anticipation of being able to grow a Mediterranean vegetables bed. Good fortune has meant that I have access to a new patch of allotment this year, which I am hoping will be perfect for recreating the Mediterranean climate. The new raised bed will be situated in a well-drained area which has sun for pretty much the whole day. Theoretically it should be the perfect spot for Mediterranean produce in the United Kingdom. The list of seeds which I have purchased for this new bed includes; chilli peppers, sweet peppers, aubergines, courgettes and fennel. I also have plenty of tomato seeds left over from last year.
I am also going to try growing a few fruit and vegetable varieties on my patio this year. Seed specialists are now starting to offer more and more varieties which are ideally suited to growing in small pots. As the housing crisis in Britain continues, more and more people will be forced to garden in smaller areas. Patio gardening is expected to become more popular than ever.
For my patio pots, I have bought a pre-established blueberry bush. It is a year old, so it will not have fruited yet. Hopefully I will be able to create the right conditions for a successful harvest. I have also chosen some carrots which are supposed to be ideal for pots. Carrots normally require a lot of space for deep rooting, but these carrots are a special stubby variety which needs very little downwards growing room. They almost look more like turnips and beetroots than carrots! Other easy patio crops include herbs and cut-and-come-again salad leaves. Lastly, I will add a splash of colour with some marigolds.