It's Spring, the organic fruit and vegetable gardening year begins!

Don't you just love spring when everything is bursting into life after the long winter 'sleep'.
We have been planning what we want to grow to eat this year for the last week or two.  Last year in the raised bed we grew courgettes and little gem lettuce very successfully, but the carrots we grew were less successful: perfectly formed but very tiny.  Learning from our mistakes (it was our first attempt at growing fruit and veg!) we realised it would have been better to space the courgettes further apart. Thinking that it is better to grow a different crop this year, we are planning to grow onions and beetroot in the raised bed.
In the greenhouse last year we grew chilli peppers successfully although this was a surprise as we thought we were growing red peppers!  We also managed to grow a squash but our tomatoes were a failure.  This year we will have another go at tomato growing along with cucumbers, and aubergines.
In the open beds we grew rhubarb, raspberries and blackcurrants.  Unfortunately the birds love raspberries just as much as we do and were quicker off the mark so we did not actually get to enjoy the raspberries (maybe get some nets this year).  
First things first.  For a start you need to apply a mulch. This stops weeds from growing and nourishes the soil, depleted by last year's growth.  You can use organic compost and spread it to a depth of 5cm.  I came across an alpaca farm on my walk yesterday and there were bags of alpaca compost for sale at the bargain price of £1 a bag.  How could I resist??  It has now been spread on the beds.  The downside is it is very smelly!!  A week after applying the mulch, you need to dig it in.
Next job is to get the seeds planted in seed trays and keep them warm in the greenhouse or if you do not have a greenhouse you can by a 'mini-greenhouse' for around £20.  Check your seedlings regularly and water them regularly.  Some seeds can be planted directly outside, for instance the onions and beetroot seeds can be sown directly in the raised bed now that spring is here.  Check the instructions on your seed packet.  
Let me know how you go on and I will post my updates as the season progresses.

Janet x

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