Springing into action to grow my own veg is a great feeling
Published 15/02/2012 | 06:00
The signs of spring are now all around us and most welcome after a mild but rather dreary winter. We can, of course, still expect some rough weather ahead and harsh east winds can quickly wither any fresh green growth caught in the open.
However, inside the poly-tunnel, the climate is always kind and I am making a start by sowing spring vegetables.
For outdoor planting, I always liked the old guideline of waiting until the cherry is in blossom, for we can then be assured that the ground is warming up and germination will be rapid.
For early potatoes, salads, spinach and many others, the polytunnel is invaluable and allows me to extend the growing season and enjoy fresh food for the whole year round. I used to be scornful of raised beds and looked on them as an urban gardener's toy but having finally put some in last year, I now realise their worth.
Last year, I purchased cheap second-hand scaffolding planks, which are ideal in size and make excellent edges for the beds after a quick coat of a safe preservative.
With a raised bed, you get better drainage and with paths between them, you can manage the different crops without compacting the soil.
It is also easy to net beds to protect crops such as cabbages and cauliflowers from the cabbage white butterfly.
They can be of any length, but don't make the beds too long or you will find yourself walking across them occasionally, which rather defeats the original purpose.