Sow, sow and sow again

MUWAGAI just love this time of year. Even if the weather can still be far from perfect you can say goodbye to winter and hello to the glorious rush of spring growth and it is going to get even better as the month passes. However, there is always a catch. If you have a garden and like us you want to grow vegetables, the weeds are even more pleased with the warmth and grow with enthusiasm. My reader will know that Linda and I are trying a no-dig approach on the allotments (or at least reduced dig) so I am pondering my approach to keep the weeds under control. Not being the tidiest of allotment holders I always have plenty of weeds (very good for the compost heap) but instead of digging them out I shall have to hoe them and pick them up to compost afterwards – it may work if I can be a bit more organised.

I find sowing seeds a very positive experience with the promise of crops to come. Many seed packets say you can sow in March (even February sometimes) but I have learnt from many previous failures to forget the dates and just watch the weather. I have often sown in April and the plants usually catch up. You need soil that is not too damp and which has warmed up to about 7 degrees or the seeds may just rot and you have to sow again. The general advice is to sow in batches over a few weeks which gives you a good chance of beating the vagaries of the British spring.

If you are able to start your plants under cover that gives you more options and many tender plants such a tomatoes, peppers and even runner beans, squashes and sweetcorn need to be raised with a bit of protection and then put out once the risk of frost has passed. Tomatoes probably needed to have been sown in March (but you can always buy plants to save the bother) and runner beans and squashes in April to be ready to go outside in late May.

MUWAGA events
We started the 2019 with the Cheese, Wine and Pate evening in January followed in February by an excellent guide to some lesser-known but glamorous gardens. On 24 April, Christine Vick from The National Herb Centre will be talking about ’Making a Sensory Garden’. All our meetings are in Milton village hall and start at 19:30 and everyone is welcome whether you are a member or not. I look forward to seeing you.

Happy gardening
Tony Lewis

April – May 2019