April Gardening Newsletter

Dear Fellow Gardeners,

These are difficult times – more difficult than most of us have ever experienced, but often during and after these events it is time to re-evaluate our own lives and our lives as a human species. Due to our disconnection with our natural world, we feel that we are given the right to take whatever we want from Mother Earth. The sheer amount of pollution in many parts of the earth and sea is staggering. Maybe this is a time for reflection and for healing and trying to live again in harmony with the earth. This should be possible if there is a will – the technology is there to change over to a greener economy, but also importantly I hope that these times will give us an opportunity to re-connect again with Mother Nature and there is no better place to do this than in a garden.
There is this very special feeling when you are out in the garden and do a repetitive job like weeding and the spring sun shines on your back. You forget everything – possibly even yourself – and you feel that you belong and that you are a part of nature. Sorry I can’t properly describe this sense of belonging and awe of nature. Unfortunately, this doesn’t come often to me. I’m lucky to get it once a year for even just a few short glimpses but the memory of it will last forever.
So next time when you are in the garden, leave your phone behind, listen to the beautiful songs of the birds, heralding spring and wait for the sun to gently warm your back.

Apologies – Seed shop opening again
Please accept our sincere apologies – we had to close our website for the first time ever. Seed orders kept flooding in over the last week and we didn’t have a chance to keep up with the demand and to re-pack so we decided to close the seed shop for the weekend.
The seed shop will open again tomorrow (Monday 20th March) morning and our stocks are replenished.

Great beginner’s vegetables
I notice that there are now so many people starting a garden that haven’t had time to grow food before. There are also so many new young budding gardeners who have to spend many weeks at home. Gardening can give us an important escape from the dreadful reality that surrounds us. I think it is important for my own sanity to have this escape.
Below I compiled a list of the 10 best vegetables and flowers suitable for beginners. These are chosen for ease of growing and high yields from even a small space making them ideal beginners vegetables for a small plot.
An example of this is kale versus cabbage. From a kale plant you can pick individual leaves every week for about 6 months while from a cabbage you’ll only get one harvest after about 6-8 months.

Detailed growing instructions can be found on our website www.greenvegetableseeds.com in the Seed Shop for each crop.
1. Perpetual spinach and/or Rainbow Chard
You’ll only need about 5 plants which will fill a square meter and you’ll get a weekly harvest of fresh delicious spinach leaves for at least 6 months.
2. Kale
Kale is another crop that produces a lot of food from a small area. One square meter with 3 – 4 kale plants should be sufficient for a small family – for at least 6 months.
3. Oriental salad mix
Again, one square meter should be sufficient to get fresh spicy salad leaves. Sow small quantities every 2 to 3 weeks. You can pick individual leaves as required or use the cut-and-come-again technique.
4. Lettuce Surprise Mix
These comprise a mixture of lettuce varieties which can be harvested regularly over a two month period. Simply harvest leaves as required and leave the plants in the ground.
5. Radish
Radish seeds can be sown directly into the ground. Only sow small quantities every fortnight. They are ready to eat 5 to 6 weeks after sowing.
6. Courgette
Courgettes are one of the most productive plants with each plant producing about 3 courgettes per week over a period of 14 weeks. So you only need one or two good plants in your garden.
7. Scallions
Regular sowings of scallions are necessary to give great crops of scallions for many months. I usually sow 10 seeds in each module and plant out the module without splitting up the seedlings. This way I can harvest a whole bunch of scallions. The best variety is Ishikura.
8. Cucumbers
You will need a greenhouse or polytunnel to grow cucumbers, but if you have one this is the most productive crop of all, producing a cucumber fruit nearly every day over a few months. The best variety is Passandra F1.
9. Tomatoes
In order to get a great yield you’ll need to grow tomatoes in a tunnel or greenhouse. Once you’ve got the taste of home-grown tomatoes you’ll find it difficult to go back to shop-bought tough and tasteless Dutch tomatoes.
10. Flowers
Why not grow a bee and butterfly mix to attract our friends into the garden and also calendula, nasturtium and borage which can be used as edible flowers.

Courses and Workshops for 2020
Please note – all courses and workshops have been cancelled until the end of April and probably even longer.

Happy Gardening

Klaus Laitenberger