During last years lockdown, more people than ever before started gardening and here we are in spring again, ready for planting. Gardening provides a great break from indoor work or sitting too long, amazing relief for the mind and life’s stresses, and that was before the Coronavirus outbreak. Gardening really has been a huge benefit during hard times. Breathe deep and enjoy!

As a celebration of #Gardeningweek, here are some of the tasks that can be enjoyed. Even a few minutes invested can result in lots of joy as plants grow or produce amazing vegetables. Move towards your five a day to help reduce cancer risk and personally I don’t think anything ever tastes better than home grown!! 

Annie S. Anderson.

Some great suggestions from SCPN friend Wendy McCombes from Coupar Angus (and other local growers)

Easy Peasy ideas

Inside, this is great time of year for sowing some interesting basic plants like basil, fennel, cucumber and courgettes inside in seed trays till the warmer days arrive. Put them somewhere with light and warmth where you will remember to water them (and see them growing).

Plant potatoes direct in the ground or in large pots or bags with plenty of compost. Mix the compost with homemade compost, or grass clippings to enrich it. Use the best peat free compost you can afford for you potatoes and any other veg you grow in trays or pots. Remember to water the potatoes each week, starting with half a watering can of water increasing to 1-2 cans of water when the plants are tall.  

Sow parsnips, carrots, beetroot, broad beans outside now and when the soil has warmed up  start lettuce, radish, coriander, spinach, and peas.   Tiny seedlings don’t like cold soil so if the arctic breezes continue cover the sowings with fleece.  A pack of seeds may contain hundreds of seeds so consider sharing a pack with a friend or neighbour (good competition opportunity here!)

If you have stared any tender vegetables indoors or buy small plants such as courgettes, and French or runner beans these can be “hardened off” by placing them outside in a sheltered spot during the day and bringing them in at night for a few days. This process progresses on to putting them outside and covering them at night and then gradually removing more of the covering each night until they are hardened off. The whole process takes about 10-14 days . Keep a close eye on the weather forecast! Don’t sow French beans outside until the weather is a lot warmer and cover with fleece to begin with. 

Once planted outside consider how wet / dry the soil is.  During an “average” spring or summer there is no need to water vegetable plants which are in the ground with 1 or 2 exceptions. Newly sown seeds should be watered gently with a fine rose head “sprinkler” on the watering can. Plug plants and any transplanted seedlings need to be “watered in” and possibly given a drink again after a few days. Watch how often farmers water the crops in their fields around about you. When you see farmers start to use their irrigators think about watering your outdoor vegetables.   

Garden centres are open, websites are available and the windowsills, borders and veggie beds are waiting! Enjoy!

Reliable vegetables to grow in Scotland – https://stories.rbge.org.uk/archives/10229

What to grow in your garden in Scotland https://birlinn.co.uk/2020/04/15/what-to-grow-in-your-garden-in-scotland/