Spring has SPRUNG
Spring is here in force. Your garden is bursting into life. There are blossoms on the trees, bees a buzzing and new plants emerging from the sleeping soil.
Ripe for the picking
Broad beans, peas, leeks, carrots, kale, rhubarb. Brussels sprouts are all fresh from the fields and now in the shops ready to be eaten. The first asparagus will soon be available.
What you plant now will be what feeds you over the summer months and even into autumn and winter. This is the time to plant seeds into trays to transplant later. Sow broccoli, cucumber, courgette, beans, corn, pumpkin and tomato seeds in pots or trays and place in a warm spot to germinate. A window sill, balcony or mini glasshouse is ideal to provide a warm moist environment.
Spread any remaining compost over the garden. Plant out seedlings of broccoli, cabbage. If you live in a frost free
Keep a close eye out for slugs and snails this time of year. At night, especially when it is raining, go out to the garden armed with a torch and a bucket of salty water.
spot plant out some early courgette and cucumber plants. Make mini greenhouses for these plants by cutting the bottom off a plastic fizzy drink bottle and placing over the plant. I stick a small bamboo stake through the neck of the bottle into the ground to secure the bottles in wind.
Get some early season mesclun going. Dig over the soil and remove any large clumps of soil or stones and then sprinkle the fine mesclun seeds over a small area. Rake gently and keep area damp until the seeds begin to germinate. It is best to make several small successive sowings rather than one big one with mesclun as you will get several harvests from the one sowing.
Keep a close eye out for slugs and snails this time of year. At night, especially when it is raining, go out to the garden armed with a torch and a bucket of salty water. If you catch any snails drop them into the salty water to kill them. Feed them to the chooks or put them in the worm farm. Herbs
Valerian: this herb is also known as all heal. The Greek Hippocrates recommended its use in 300 BC. Valerian is a phosphorous rich plant and if you plant it around your edibles it is said to promote strong growth and to encourage earthworms. Valerian is also loved by cats so can be used in place of catnip.
Foxgloves: growing foxgloves throughout your vegetable garden and orchard is a good thing. They will attract bees and bumblebees and the plant acts as a growth stimulant to its neighbours. The foxglove flowers at the top of a tall stalk with the deep trumpet-shaped flowers in shades of purple and white. The plant thrives in humusrich soil in partial shade. It has naturalised through many parts of New Zealand.