This is clearly the time to get into the garden, for your own mental and physical health, but its is also one of the busiest times in the garden. Perhaps this is the year you grow some vegetables, especially as farmers will be struggling to produce enough this summer without migrant labour to plant and pick.
So what are easy vegetables to grow in a small garden? And where is it best to grow them?
Tips to bear in mind when growing in a small vegetable garden
Grow what you like to eat – no sense growing spinach if you can't stand the taste.
Choose leafy veg that you can harvest a few leaves off and they will keep growing (known as cut and come again), beans or peas that will keep producing the more you pick them,
Suggested vegetables to grow in a small garden
Shallots – a member of the Allium (onion) family, just one set (immature bulb) planted in the soil will develop into five or six shallots. They also store well over winter and can be expensive to buy in shops. Easy to grow from set in April, harvest during late summer.
Kale - there are many types of kale from scarlet to Russian, curly green to Tuscany. If you harvest a few leaves off each plant, rather than stripping the plant bare, it will grow more leaves and keep producing for you for months, from late summer through to early spring. Sow seed spring and autumn, matures in 50 to 60 days.
Peas many types from mangetout, sugar snaps where you eat the whole young pod to traditional peas.
Lettuce – Cut & come again salad leaves or loose-leaf lettuce – there are lots of varieties of lettuce that the leaves are plucked off as you want them and not harvesting the entire plant. Sow March to September, harvest May to November.
Beetroot – Sow March to July, harvest June to October.
Chard and spinach -versatile cut and come again leafy vegetables that will just keep on giving for months. Stem & leaf can be used. Sow March to July, harvest all year.
Early carrots – Choose small early varieties like Nantes. Sow April to early July. Harvest May onwards.
Courgettes – Plants can also be grown in large containers of multipurpose compost on a sunny patio. Sow April to June, harvest June to September.
Cherry tomatoes – Sow February to April, harvest July to September.
Runner or French beans beans – Sow April to June, harvest July to frosts.
Herbs – all your favourite herbs (with the exception of basil) will grow easily outside. Either make a small herb garden near to your house, grow in window boxes or containers, or add them to the sides or ends of your beds.
The best place to grow is the sunnier part of your garden, Raised beds are good as the slugs can be kept at bay more easily.
I have started broad beans in my greenhouse and will plant them out as the weather warms up. I have also sown peas inside as I do find here that if sown too early in the open the mice home in on them, and view them as a meal!
If you can't buy seed, approach your gardening friends who may have more seed than they can use. Some packets of seed come with vast numbers of seed in them!