As the days become longer and the sun shines brighter, all the familiar signs are around that herald the start of spring, the gardens most productive season. The banksia rose in our front garden is bursting with flowers, tiny tulips, irises and peonies have popped up from beneath their winter cloak and my urge to spend long days in the garden grows with each sun-filled morning. I always feel excited yet restless at this time of the year, so much to do and yet it feels like there is so little time. As the soil in the garden gradually transforms from a clay filled nightmare to something more productive I can see the signs that things are slowly coming together.
Over the last weekend I planted out my first batch of seeds. I have saved old toilet rolls over the winter months specifically for this purpose, I find they are perfect for seedlings as they cost nothing, they break down into the soil as the plant is finding its feet and they encourage the production of long, deep roots which are so important when planting out. I’ve put in a bunch of summer seeds; some for me, some for friends with gardens and some to share at a coming plant swap. I’ve planted a range of tomatoes : San Marzano, Amish, Tommy Toe‘s and Sugarlump to name a few, as well as a range of heirloom eggplants including the stunning Listada Di Gandia which I’m really excited about (maybe I need to get out more?) because it is just such a beautiful looking fruit. I’ve also got some zucchini, basil and cucumbers on the go which will round out the bounty nicely. I’ve held off planting out pumpkins this year as we just don’t have the space, I’ve got some great seeds though including the gorgeous Potimarron so I’m thinking about giving those to Dad and calling dibs on some of the crop.
The tomatoes and eggplants are destined for a yet to be constructed raised bed in the front yard. As part of the overhaul of our garden I’ve realised that the best space for sun-loving plants is out the front where they can get a full day of sun, unobstructed by the large (but beautiful) gum tree in the back yard. I’ve grown previous crops out there in containers and they’ve done well so I’m ready to upgrade to a couple of large raised beds and get rid of all the pots. I’m thinking about using a wicking system for these beds, made famous by one of my gardening heroes, Costa. The benefits of such a system are appealing to me, especially the ability to manage water effectively. If any of my lovely readers have experience with these kinds of systems I would LOVE to hear from you, if you’re thinking about constructing your own raised bed and would like to know about this kind of system then I found this tutorial particularly useful. I will bring you more on this as it progresses but for now I eagerly await germination of my precious seeds.
Over on the compost ‘heap’ I have dug up some gorgeously rich compost for the existing raised bed. This bed has been a fantastic addition to our garden, it is so easy to maintain and is always productive. I’ve harvested all the brassicas from that bed including an awesome head of purple cauliflower, and topped it up with a thick layer of homemade compost. I’ve got some baby spinach and herbs doing really well in there at the moment so I’ll let them stay while I figure out what to plant in there. I’ve put in some peas for the short-term but as the summer wears on I think I’ll make it a herb and greens bed as it gets some shade during the heat of the day. I’ve also become mad about flowers in recent months and have cleared a space at the front of the garden which is going to be my bee/butterfly garden. I’ve put in some ranunculus, pansies and lobelia seedlings to start with and over the weekend I will scatter around some poppies, aquilegia, gerbera and maybe a couple of sunflowers to see what happens.
So that’s where things are at in my spring garden. What are you planting out this month?