Grow Your Own
During the Covid -19 pandemic (the speed and devastation of which has shocked us all) the wonderful weather of the last few weeks has been very welcome indeed. Especially for those of us with a garden, balcony or any outside space to sit in and admire our flower beds or pots of plants.
Mother nature is oblivious to the virus and carries on regardless. Plants keep growing, birds keep singing and the sun keeps shining. I find that it calms me to potter in the garden and for a little while I can forget the world outside. Growing flowers and vegetables from seed can be relaxing, fun and fulfilling, especially when you can collect and cook your own produce straight from the garden. It can't get any fresher than that.
I'm a very amateur gardener relying on the internet and you tube for help and inspiration. This year I have grown Dahlias, Campanulas, Livingstone Daisies, Hollyhocks, Lupins, Agastache and a blend of different salad leaves from seed. I started them off on my windowsill in the kitchen and greenhouse. When they were large enough I pricked them out individually and transferred them into trays. Last year my husband bought me a Gabriel Ash Upright coldframe and I have transferred the seedlings into it to harden them off. The coldframe will protect them until it is warm enough to plant them into the garden. I find the coldframe so useful. In spring and summer I can keep half hardy annuals and tender vegetables safe until the danger of frost has passed.
Last year I put my aubergines, tomatoes and chillies in it and they ripened earlier and gave me a larger crop than usual. I also fill it in the Autumn with cuttings and young plants protecting them from the mild frosts. Over the winter I use it to keep my immature annuals safe.
There is still time to raise vegetables, herbs and flowers from seed. I'm going to sew some parsley, which can be grown all year round. I'll start it off on my windowsill , it takes about 3 weeks to germinate, then I will transfer it outside. When it is mature the leaves need to be picked regularly. In the winter I will grow it in a pot on my windowsill.
Basil can be sown in moist compost in a sunny part of the garden. It germinates 14 - 21 days. Chives can be sown every 3 weeks for regular cropping. Germinating in 6 - 18 days. Dill needs to be sown in warm moist soil. Harvest it when the flowers turn brown. You can then hang it upside down indoors to dry. You could also try Mint, Thyme, Marjoram. How brilliant it is to pick your own herbs fresh from the garden!
Photo credit: Annette Jacobs