Although seen by some as a long and complicated process in an age of convenience and supermarket shopping, planting vegetables and ornamental plants has been a way of sustenance for thousands of years and is a very rewarding experience in modern times.
Plants can be grown by either sowing seeds or planting bulbs, either directly in the soil or in containers, to be kept outdoors, in special growing areas such as greenhouses, or alternatively, for lack of space, indoors. The process varies according to the different plant families and their requirements, which include a number o factors such as sunlight, heat, the type of soil, watering needs and so forth. It is common practice to first sow the seeds in a container, keeping them sheltered indoors, and transplant the young plants into the garden at a later time.
Vegetable planting times vary according to each category, as follows:
Winter is an unsuitable time aside for the end of the season and consists of indoor sowing in pots or trays, for young plants to be later transplanted outdoors. In February, greenhouses and polyethylene tunnels can be used as well.
Spring is the most lucrative for planting, the months of March and April being perfect for beans, brassica vegetables, radishes and allium vegetables. May is suitable for root crops, salads, herbs and, if the soil is warm enough, sweet corn.
Summer is auspicious for all above-mentioned vegetables, as well as cucumbers, courgettes and melons.
Autumn, although much colder, still allows planting hardy vegetables such as winter salads, and is the season for sowing plants which hibernate, such as broad beans, onions and garlic.
Seeds, bulbs and young plants can be purchased from specialised stores or ordered online, the latter being a fast-expanding market. Special products can be purchased as well, for more convenience, such as seed mats, which can be placed directly into the ground and ensure the seeds are placed at an appropriate distance.