Many people are spending time at home and experiencing difficulties getting supplies from the shops at the moment so it is especially worthwhile having some way to grow your own. A couple of pots planted with Spring bulbs can really lift the spirits, tulips and grape hyacinths have provided a succession of long-lasting colour which have occupied a prime spot by the front door when at their best.
The experimental extra early planting of potatoes appears to be successful, the shoots are showing above the soil in the Air-Pot potato tower, these plants should crop a month or so before any planted in the ground. Despite some frosty mornings the shoots are undamaged protected by the wrap of heavy duty horticultural bubble plastic which creates a mini poly tunnel around the pot.
About the fastest pickings from a Spring sowing of any crop are rocket and radish, these do well in an Air-Pot tray in a greenhouse where they crop sooner and stay in much better condition than when sown on the plot. A sowing of rocket made a couple of weeks ago should yield some leaves in another week and continue to produce into summer; this variety named “Speedy” has lived up to its name.
One of the foods which for many is a real store cupboard staple is tinned tomatoes, a way to get the equivalent of crates of tinned toms is to grow your own and bottle or freeze them. Tomato seeds can be sown now, after comparing growing in bags, in the greenhouse soil and in conventional pots, Air-Pot containers have proved to be the best for me. The taste of these bottles of sunshine is fantastic and so useful in soups, sauces, and on pizza and pasta.
Various members of the onion family are putting on nice clean growth now, a pot of chives has awoken after its winter dormancy. It has been happy in this large pot for years now only needing an annual top-up of compost and the occasional feed. Small pots planted with Elephant Garlic and French Potato Onions (similar to shallots) have been given a good start in 1 litre prop. pots. These will be planted in the ground soon and should be ready to lift soon after mid-summer.
Finally a sedum / Ice Plant which is commonly grown as an ornamental has produced some fresh new growth, surprisingly these are edible and are especially crunchy and succulent in salad now when leaves are young.