Spring into Spring

Last week I planted scarlet runner beans. No big deal to some perhaps, but for me it marks a step forward. It’s Spring! This little event marked a whole new episode of growth in the garden, sunny days and barbecues and I found it to be therapeutic too. There’s something symbolic about tiny new plants putting down roots in the shaky Canterbury soil. I feel I’m declaring, ‘I’m here, I’m staying and it’s going to take more than a silly old earthquake (or 1473 at time of writing) to shift me so take that Mother Nature!’

My vege garden is a bit of a hit and miss affair. We grow great lettuces and manage to supply the family with beans, spinach and potatoes.  I’ve never had much success with carrots or courgettes but I’ve crossed my fingers, dug in some mega grow compost and will plant some seedlings later this month. Last year my tomatoes were a disaster but then, weren’t everyone’s? Apparently, we had the coldest spring since WW2. Not the best for sun-loving SuperToms.

So, while I’m a willing gardener what I lack is any real knowledge of the gardening calendar. My father is green-fingered but tends to give advice after the event (especially when he’s harvesting bucket loads of broccoli and looking amused at my paltry twigs). I need a gardening calendar to tell me what to do. I’ve found New Zealand Gardener magazine brilliant for this. The mag takes you through all the nitty gritty stuff from when to plant, how to plant and how to nurture. There is also a fab new guide Yates Garden Planner: How to plan a year in your garden. It was published this year and, if previous Yates publications are anything to go by, will become another must-have for Kiwi gardeners.

Apparently, home vege gardening is part of a nationwide swing towards self sufficiency brought on by the recession. I don’t know about that, but it is great fun. My snow peas are up and I’m feeling pretty happy with the world. Does anyone out there have some advice for the vege garden in October?