Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sowing Summer Seeds In The Garden

April is one of my favourite months to get onto the allotment and start sowing some summer yielding crops. There is an abundance of seeds to choose from to start growing this month, but we all must hurry as the month has nearly come and gone. Luckily we have a couple of days holiday coming up, so I will be getting my hands dirty to provide my family with some great organic home produce.

Over the course of the month I have been working the soil and adding some organic fertilisers to boost the nutrients, so the summer should provide my family and I with some healthy crops. I am planning to grow some lettuce plants, carrots, potatoes, beetroots, peas, peppers and radishes this month, but there is so much more you can grow.

When growing potatoes, I take out a trench to a spade's depth and fork over the bottom, before adding some well-rotted manure or compost. I have found covering the manure with a thin layer of soil and a dusting of fish, blood and bone gives marvellous results. However, it is important you lightly incorporate it into the soil with the fork tines and ensure the manure is not brought to the surface. After your soil preparation is complete sow the potato seeds roughly 12” apart and cover with the soil from the trench, leaving a slight mound. In about three weeks use the rest of the soil to earth up the vegetable as soon as the shoots appear.

Lettuces are a great summer crop to have, ideal if your family loves to have accompanying salads with their meals. Lettuces are so easy to grow, not minding what soil they are grown in, as long as it is well dug and drained and are kept out of direct sunlight. Inter cropping them is a great way to ensure they are kept out of direct sunlight as shelter is provided by the taller plants. Dig out shallow drills half inch deep, 12” apart, sowing three or four seeds every 6”, every three weeks to ensure a continuous supply over the summer months. After 14 days begin to thin them out, leaving approximately 10” between each plant.

When I first started growing, I was a little overwhelmed with the sheer volume of different seeds and crop varieties that I went a little overboard. By doing this I didn't get a great return, so now I have calmed myself down and only grow what is needed and what my family enjoy. I have also learnt not to sow a lot of seeds of the same yield; a couple of years ago I grew a couple of rows of lettuce, having it set in my mind that not a lot will be harvested. However, I was greeted by the opposite and had lettuces growing out of my ears; my neighbours were quite happy opening their front door to me offering the fruits of my labour.

With the weather being as glorious as it is and hoping it will be here to stay for the holiday, I will be down the allotment making the most of it. I have found that having an allotment is also a brilliant way to get the family involved, my son loves to see the seedlings beginning to appear from the earth and is amazed at how a single seed can produce such delicious and appealing food.

Before we know it, May will be coming and yet again we will be heading to the allotment to sow and plant some more crops for the family to indulge themselves in. The next couple of months are going to be very exciting, with many vegetables ready for harvesting and many more to sow.

Notcutts Garden CentreAbout the author: Mr McGregor is a guest blogger for popular Garden Centre, Notcutts, who are proud to offer their customers the best products and start up kits to get their own kitchen garden up and running.

Stumble Upon Toolbar