So Spring has finally put in an appearance and we have been a hive of activity over the last few days, trying to make the most of the good weather and the energy it brings before both disappear.
The BBC are running a gardening campaign called Dig In, trying to encourage as many households as possible to have a go at growing their own food, whether in window boxes or carefully mapped out vegetable plots. We sent off for our free pack of seeds and on Friday we got to grips with planting them. This year, the seed packs include carrots (specially short ones so that they can be grown in pots and window boxes as well as in the ground), french beans, sweet basil, courgettes and mixed salad leaves.
Bean got himself suitably kitted out – he chose his brown cords, his wellies, a tshirt and his new pink gardening gloves and together we filled our seed trays with compost and sowed our seeds. He was astounded at the variety of shapes and sizes of the seeds and it became a great game for him to try to guess whether the seeds would be large or small. The packet of mixed salad leaves was fantastic, because all the seeds were different shapes and sizes. He really was amazed.
As well as dealing with our Dig In seeds, I decided we should make a proper go of this and grow lots of other things too. Although we have a (very small) vegetable plot in our garden, we’re trying to sell the house, and I don’t want to put in lots of hard work only to abandon our crops when we move house, so I chose things that we could grow in pots. Over two days, we sowed seeds for red peppers (the long pointy ones. Bean was highly amused that the variety translated as “Cone Peppers of the Red Bull”), cucumbers, mint, thyme, parsley, salad tomatoes and cherry tomatoes.
We also transplanted some seedlings we bought – round carrots, beetroot, garden peas, more salad leaves and spring onions. I repotted a new oregano plant and a new rosemary plant. Finally I bought some young, but well established organic sweet pepper and aubergine plants and put each one in a pot, and created two troughs full of organic strawberries. Phew!
Oh, and I forgot, we planted several large tubs up with potato tubers! Bean really liked that – making holes in the compost and dropping a spud in and hiding it again. He thoroughly enjoyed himself. He began by using his gardening gloves and trowel, but soon abandoned these as he discovered that he actually liked to feel the earth in his fingers.
He’s not blessed with patience however – 20 minutes after we finished, he wanted to know if the carrots and potatoes were ready to pick yet!
Because it really was a lovely couple of days, I finally got round to finishing what I started a few weeks ago, and planted up the hanging baskets with pansies. I did some planters with them a few weeks ago, and they have really come on in leaps and bounds, so hopefully, the baskets will be overflowing very soon! I still had loads of pansies left though, so I dug out our old strawberry planter (which we never had a great deal of success with, strawberry-wise) and filled it with the remaining pansies. Again, I think they will soon take over and this will be covered in bright blooms!
Time for a rest I think, and start planning how to use these lovely veggies in our meals.