Planning your summer garden

With spring on the horizon, many gardeners will be turning their thoughts to planning for the summer ahead. With Devon’s moderate climate and warmer temperatures, the growing season can start a little earlier in Exeter.

Planning

The first thing to do is make a plan for what you want to do with your garden this year. What vegetables would you like to grow, and do you fancy trying some different varieties? Are there trees to be cut down, chicken runs to put up, sheds to build or renovate? Decide what you would like to do this year, then sort out your budget and a time plan for your project.

Growing from seed

If you want to raise your own plants, now is the time to make a list of what seeds to order. There are plenty of glossy seed catalogues to select from or have a look on the Web or in the library for some ideas, then take your list to your local garden centre. Have you got everything you need to start sowing? The greenhouse probably needs a wash and a tidy up-it won’t be so effective if the panes have got green algae on them. Is your staging ready? Do you have enough pots, cells, trays and compost? Last year’s compost won’t be as good for sowing seeds, as it will have lost some of its nutritional value over the winter, so it’s best to get fresh compost in. Don’t forget gloves, tools and seed tray labels. Check if yours just need a good clean or if you need new supplies.

Sheds

Your shed is bound to need a bit of a clear out and freshen up. Your tools will need cleaning, your supplies will require counting, and the wood may be wanting a coat of paint or preservative. Don’t forget to check for any sign of vermin in your shed, as this is a favourite shelter for rats and mice in the winter. If your shed is past its best, you will need to think about demolishing it and having a new one built or installed. If you’re the handy type, they’re relatively straightforward to build yourself or erect from a flatpack.

Having a clear out

Dead shrubs and trees, replacement fruit bushes; there is any number of bulky items that need disposing of ready for the new season. It’s a good time to clear out the shed and the garage and get rid of all the junk you’ve accumulated and not used in years. Check out the regulations for your local refuse and recycling facility and load up the car with your rubbish. It might be a good idea to consider getting a flatbed trailer to make getting rid of rubbish and transporting plants and materials that much easier.

Gardening is a wonderful way to exercise and relieve stress, and the enjoyment you and your family will get from spending time in beautiful well-tended surroundings is immense. The best way to make sure you enjoy your garden is to have a clear plan of what you want to achieve, a realistic schedule for getting things done, and to tackle each task in manageable stages.