Be careful what you wish for. You know. Spring. At some point this month you will suddenly PANIC. It’s unavoidable. Things have somehow, mysteriously, unconsciously gone from a sedate canter on the activity front to a careering bolt.
However much you felt you had things IN HAND in March – sowing your tomatoes, some salad, planting your potatoes and onion sets – it’s unavoidable that at some point in April you will find yourself scrabbling wildly in among your seed packets and thinking ‘There are too many seeds! I can’t sow them all, I don’t have time, I’ve run out of windowsills. And pots! And do I really want to grow kohl rabi anyway?’
Everything’s OK. It’s warm enough outside to sow some things direct. This is much easier than faffing around with small plastic pots, but it does necessitate some soil preparation. This is NOT FUN. But it is unavoidable. So put aside an hour, get your gloves on and weed your vegetable bed. Get out the ground elder, the creeping buttercup and the thistles now because if you don’t they will return and get tangled in your carrots and you’ll get cross with yourself.
When you’ve done that, you can sow with abandon. Almost. (Hold off on the french and runner beans, sweetcorn, squash and courgettes till the end of the month at least). But these crops can go into the soil now… what are you waiting for?!
Inside, why not sow some basil? You can never have enough basil. I sowed mine in a polystyrene box that was packaging for something I know not what. It’s perfect because it has no holes and that means I can leave it on the wooden window sill without ruining the wood with water marks. Plus it gives basil a constant water supply, and they hate being too dry.
As for the windowsill pots, your tomatoes, chills, aubergines and sweet peppers (if you’ve sown them) should be nice sturdy little plants by now. Repot them into 9cm pots, cut off Pringle containers or what have you when they have at least two real sets of leaves. Then brush them gently with your hand once a day to get them used to the breezes and unpredictabilities of the outside world into which they will soon venture. It’s relaxing. It’ll get you over that panic.