Officially Spring does not begin until the equinox around 21 March but, more importantly for gardeners, spring is not a date on the calendar – it’s the time when the ground has warmed enough to allow seeds to germinate, emerge and grow quickly.
So, even on welcome spring-like days, don’t be too eager to start planting your veg plot, better to wait until you get your signal from nature with hedgerow buds and new grass growth.
Although this year’s winter has, according to BBC weatherman Paul Hudson, been the fifth mildest on record, and for us in East Yorkshire only average in rainfall, the ground is still relatively cold for seeds to germinate.
However, you can be doing some preparation such as putting fertiliser on your plot and helping the ground warm up a bit quicker. Warming the ground can be achieved by covering it with a sheet of plastic or a cloche.
Whilst the ground is warming you can be growing some plants inside, either on a window sill or ,if you have one, in a greenhouse, ready to plant out once the ground has warmed.
Veg you can plant now inside are cabbages, broccoli, brussel sprouts and leeks.
The key to a steady supply of vegetables is to plant a few seeds at regular intervals, not the whole pack at once, or you will have more plants than you need and more veg than you can eat before it wastes. You can, of course, share your harvest with friends and neighbours but some will still probably waste.
So, think carefully about how many of these veg you need in this first planting - refer to Grow2Educate.co.uk for details of plant and row spacings to help you work this out.
You could also use this indoor planting as an opportunity to try Micro-Greens which are just the tiny seedlings of plants which we usually harvest when they are fully grown, basically mini-veg ready to eat in seven days.
If you have ever eaten in a posh restaurant, then your meal will probably have included some ‘trendy’ micro-greens.
Being a Yorkshire man, and ex-farmer, I am doubly careful about wasting things, money in particular, so the beauty of micro-greens, to me, is that you don’t waste seeds you have paid for and sown.
When you sow these seeds early inside for later transplanting out in to your plot you usually end up thinning them out. S,o why not eat the surplus? - So maybe do sow the whole pack after all. All the plants you could be starting indoors now are ideal to use as micro-greens.
A more extensive list can be found on Grow2Educate.co.uk.