It’s been a really strange start to the year, with quite a few major hard hitting setbacks, firstly my car was smashed up in a hit a run car crash then in early in January our whole family was hit with the coronavirus which, almost two months on, we are in many ways still recovering from. An illness like this can really sap your energy and enthusiasm even after the main symptoms are over so getting motivated again can be a really difficult thing to do. That combined with the extreme cold in February has meant the opportunity to be outside has been very limited.
To make matters even worse one of my closest friends passed away due to covid-19 someone I went to university with and have known for half my life. This loss was a big blow and has left me questioning my priorities and what impact my life is having on the world and people around me. I’m determined now more than ever to ensure that I can have as positive impact as possible for my future, my family, my children, my students, my friends, my supporters and for the planet.
All the while being ill, I’ve been looking forward to the day we could all as a family be outside again in the fresh air getting our hands in the soil and getting back in touch with nature. With that in mind during February most of my gardening has been inside the house. I started sowing some of my long season crops such as chillies, aubergines, and tomatoes. I use a very interesting technique to germinate chillies by soaking them in tea overnight before planting, this in a way mimics the seeds being inside the stomach of an animal and really aids germination, I’ve received hundreds of messages of feedback telling me about the positive results they’ve had growing chillies. I’ve uploaded videos detailing the exact method of this on my YouTube channel My Family Garden. (LINK TO VIDEO)
Sowing early this early in the season has required quite a bit of additional care and the use of additional equipment such as heat mats for germination and grow lights to prevent the plants from getting leggy especially if you don’t have a south facing window. Sowing them early in the season will mean that there is a really good chance of them maturing and getting good harvests from them before the season ends in the case of aubergines and chillies or diseases such as blight affect us as in normally happens with our tomatoes in late August early September here in Yorkshire, by doing these early sowings last year we were able to harvest tomatoes in June.
Last weekend we finally managed a full day in the garden, the sun was shining the crocuses were blooming and the daffodils look like they’re about to burst out of their buds and brighten up the garden with little pockets of sunshine in every corner of the garden. While the children enjoyed running around and playing on the swings, I managed to have a really productive day and catch up on some of the winter jobs that I needed to really do a few weeks ago, tidying up some of the flower beds, pruning raspberries, strawberry bed maintenance and a lot of litter picking. (LINK TO VIDEO)