‘Start from your back door,’ Alys Fowler wrote in the first chapter of her lovely book, The Thrifty Gardener. Nearly four months in to our new lives in Somerset, I’m taking her advice.
Initially, I had planned to clear the back of the garden in our new house to create a new veg patch, ready for our first summer as Somerset residents. This was going to be the first garden job, and I began clearing over Christmas. Recently, however, I’ve had a change of plan.
The intention is still to clear the back of the garden for a veg patch, but there’s more work there than I anticipated, and if I don’t have a rejig, I’ll never get a seed in the ground this summer. So, I’m going to use this space around the patio instead to begin with, as well as this space outside the back door.
One of the most exciting pre-season tasks is the good old annual seed audit. For me, this will normally coincide with the seed ranges hitting the shops, and allows me to work out what I need to buy and replace in time for spring.
Rifling through your seed packets is best done on one of those lovely February days that feels like Spring is just around the corner. We’re starting to get a few of those down here in Somerset, which is making me fret about getting my new patch up and running!
Anyhow, if you’re thinking about undertaking your own audit, here are 5 things to do with your seeds.
If you haven’t overwintered your broad beans, the chances are you are thinking about sowing some seeds pretty soon. The days are gradually getting longer, and broad beans are one of the earliest seeds that can be sown on the allotment.
A sowing now will yield harvests from May, which will be very welcome during the sparse hungry gap period.
Here are 6 top tips I’ve picked up for growing successful broad bean crops.