Changeable weather is playing havoc with plans


GARDENING: Readers' questions and a whole host of horticultural jobs from Brian Kidd

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Liz Bourne and her family have transformed their small Southsea back garden into a grow-your-own plot

Gardening can often be confusing.

Was that a climbing tomato or a bush tomato that I planted? Why haven’t any of my seeds appeared yet? Why have I spent the past three months nurturing this plant, only for it to yield one pathetic fruit?

But this time I really am confused. Two weeks ago we were basking in sunshine, flip flops were dusted down and barbecues fired up on Southsea Common.

My cute little seedlings were requiring almost constant attention on the window sill in case they dried out. And I was daydreaming about the endless supplies of lettuce and courgettes that my beautiful garden would be providing me in no time at all.

Now, though, I am worried that if I were to go ahead with my plan this weekend of sowing various seeds outside, direct into the soil, they will be critically damaged by the onset of frosts and cold weather. Will I have to wait even longer for my home grown salad?

Last week, as the weather returned to something more English and seasonal, my gardening tasks were further delayed thanks to the fuel shortages. As people panic-bought petrol in case of a strike that didn’t happen, my ability to spend money that I don’t have at a garden centre was stymied.

From a financial perspective, this is probably a good thing, but I am keen to grab myself some small plug plants to keep my enthusiasm going. These are a good way to get ahead of the game, and let’s face it, I need all the help I can get.