It’s finally here. Winter will soon be coming to an end and Spring will be upon us before we know it. If you didn’t find time over winter to tidy up the plot and prepare it for the growing season, then now is your last chance.
Get those greenhouses and cold frames cleaned ready for new plants if they’re not already occupied by winter veg. Get your beds dug over and get some good compost and well rotted manure mixed in. Now is also a good time to regularly dig over and cultivate the soil to break it down to a fine tilth, ready for sowing.
One thing I often forget to do, is check that I have everything I need for what I plan to grow. There is nothing worse than planting out all your brassicas, for example, to find you don’t have enough netting to protect them from those dreaded cabbage white butterfly.
Here is a basic checklist of things you may need for the upcoming growing season….
- Canes of different sizes for support
- Hoops for cloches
- Garden twine
- Polytunnels/plastic greenhouse
- Clean, undamaged garden tools
- Space for composting
- A trug
- A flask (very important)
- A plan
The last item is very important in my view. If you don’t have a structured plan, you risk either growing too much for your plot, or overlapping growth periods. You need to ensure you know what is going where and when each bed will be ready to harvest. This way, you can sow the next crop at the correct time to plant out after the previous crop in the bed has been harvested, in order to fully utilise the space you have. A sowing calender is a really useful thing to have for this purpose and as long as you have a pen and paper, you can easily create an allotment plan. Or if you’re a little more high tech, you could purchase some computer software that will help to plan every aspect of your allotment and sowing calender.
Most of us have already begun sowing seeds indoors. I find this a good way to motivate me to make sure my plot is ready for planting out. It puts a bit of pressure on you to get yourself and your plot prepared. Again, make sure you know where those seedlings are being planted out on your plot and prepare the soil accordingly, depending on the specific plants requirements. You should find this information on the back of the seed packet or online.
The last and most important thing you must do in preparation for a busy growing season, is to relax. Don’t stress. That’s not what growing veg is about. If something isn’t right, some of your seeds don’t germinate or some mini beasties munch all your cabbages. Don’t worry. Just work out what went wrong and do it differently next time. You will still have plenty of other veggie delights growing well. Every day is a school day and even the experts get it wrong. I bet even Monty Don has lost the odd cabbage to caterpillars.