There’s not many fun and enjoyable things to do gardening wise at this time of the year…but this one does really cheer me up although it’s very easy to get carried away!
I don’t normally do retail therapy the thought of going clothes shopping is a big fat NO as far as I’m concerned… however… picking out and ordering seeds and plug plants is a whole different story. I’ve got a good half dozen or so catalogues to thumb through and I know it can all be done on line but there’s something lovely about being able to thumb through a glossy catalogue while in the bath, curled up in bed, or sat with the cat on your lap, a cup of tea and dare I say a couple of chocolate biscuits!
So a few pointers, as I mentioned it’s easy to over order and when it all turns up in early spring you’ll soon realise you may have made a little too much work for yourself not to mention the space you’ll need. Be ruthless and make a basic list of what you need before selecting and don’t go buying 3-4 varieties of different plants, one or two will be fine. If you’re watching the pennies then avoid the “New” varieties and the F1 hybrids as they will be much more expensive than varieties that have been a round for a while. If you have a gardening friend it’s quite a good idea to pair up and split packets of seeds or swap seedlings especially for things like marrows and courgettes, three plants will give the average family plenty of produce.
As for seeds or plant plugs? There’s pros and cons, plant plugs cost more but if you don’t need many or the seeds are difficult to germinate it can be a more reliable and cost effective option. And these days if they do come through the post they’re very well packaged in little plastic “greenhouses”, as soon as they arrive un-pack them and crack open the greenhouse and leave to acclimatise for a day or two before potting on.
As for the seeds follow the instructions on the back of the packet and do stick to the recommended time of sowing, you can really get caught out if you get too far ahead of the game. So enjoy doing some retail therapy and once we get to the end of February it’s more or less spring!