Spring is in the air

Spring is in the air

Irish Purple Sprouting BroccoliGardeners, get your shovels, pots and seeds at the ready! March is just upon us, and those of us with green fingers will already be sowing the seeds for 2012′s crop. I must admit, I’ve been starting seeds indoors for the past 4 – 5 weeks, as I typically tend to leave everything till the last minute. Which sadly resulted in many failed crops last year, however I have had some success! My Purple Sprouting Broccoli which was planted late last year is slowly sprouting, and should be the first thing into the kitchen this year. I hope to give a monthly update on the garden this year, so expect a new post every month!

I find gardening is somewhat relaxing, and nothing is quite as rewarding as the feeling of bringing in a bowl of peas or a bag of potatoes freshly dug and using them for dinner that night. Not only do I find most vegetables taste nicer, but it’s also seasonal produce and not stuff flown in from the likes of Africa.

Innocent BasilIt’s also a great little project for the kids.
Did you know that children will typically eat or at least try what they grow? So those picky eaters in the house could soon be easily converted by growing a few different types of fruit and veg in the back garden. It only takes a couple of plant pots to get started, and can be really rewarding!

To give you a helping hand, the lovely folks at Innocent have teamed up with GIY Ireland. So yep, that can only mean one thing.. they’re giving away free packs of seeds with every pack of kids smoothies and fruit tubes from March through to the end of April.

If you’re a teacher, you’ll be glad to hear they’ve also started a Sow & Grow pledge for schools, so if you’d like the chance to win growing equipment for your school, a trip to Bloom and possibly meet the lovely Donal Skehan, then maybe you should click here to get some more information.

So whats best to grow in the Irish climate?
Well I’ve 5 must grow items, which I tend to grow every year :)

  • Strawberries – Such an easy plant to maintain and I can think of well over 30 uses for strawberries!
  • Courgettes – These things just keep on giving, I typically get around 7 – 10 courgettes from each plant.
  • Salad Leaves – Cut & come again salad leaves will last for months. I typically grow 4 pots, cutting from one each week, giving it a few weeks to grow back again before taking more.
  • Herbs – A good herb garden should come with every house. Nothing can beat picking fresh mint, thyme, rosemary and oregano to cook with.
  • Chilli Peppers – It’s always a nice change to grow chillies that can’t be found in shops. I’m focusing on habanero peppers this year, perfect for making your own hot sauce.

 

People & Places I recommend.

Grow it yourself Ireland – Lively community with loads of local groups.
Seedaholic – Highly recommended supplier of fruit & veg seeds.
Patchwork Veg – I seen Sean’s work at bloom last year. Best raised beds I’ve seen, apart from mine of course!
Suttons – Fairly large UK based company, selling everything from seeds to green houses. – Typically the brand you’ll find in the gardening centre.