Catching up with May – why I never garden on a schedule

May lilac

This spring has been pretty polarised so far this year – bitterly cold days and a couple of mini heatwaves have created tumultuous conditions, and at times it felt like we didn’t know whether spring was coming or going. Finally, May seems to have settled into itself, and the beautiful blue skies of late spring have shifted the growing season into a new gear. 

I don’t tend to sow my seeds on time; I’m usually late due to too much distraction from life, from work, and from all the things in between. But it’s OK I think… I used to be so fixated on Doing The Right Thing at the Right Time and when I didn’t, I was a failure. My hobby and passion turned into a string of failures and I would often document on this blog how I was doing everything wrong, always behind, never achieving what I needed to achieve. I have a different mindset now. 

If you look at the natural world, it’s pretty fluid. I feel that my sowing and growing schedules can be fluid too. Had I got going early in the season and sown everything in sight, I think I would have faced a few problems with the unseasonally cold temperatures and late frosts. I don’t think I would be much more further ahead right now. But now I have a sense of everything around me really jumping into life and growing steadily. I’m not much of a “measurer” or someone who is really into following details, so I tend to be quite intuitive and go by feeling rather than thinking. That’s why I’m happy to sow, plant and harvest as and when I *feel* it’s the right time. 

May has got to be one of my favourite months; there is a real energy, an abundance of fresh, tender, green growth everywhere – a natural, zesty hue that is so hard to replicate – that contrasts perfectly against an early summer porcelain blue sky. Flowers and blossom are putting on a showstopper, and there’s just so much good to come. There is still enough freshness in the air that is so often absent in the heady, more humid months of July and August, yet enough warmth in the sun (when it’s out) that it feels almost medicinal. 

Cambrige Favourite Strawberry Flowers

I think, on reflection, that over the years I’ve started to trust my own instincts, when it comes to garden and growing. I’ve learned to listen to nature and not necessarily rigid instructions. This has been borne out of my inability to do anything “on time”, and more recently, my inability to find any time. But you know what? There is always some time, it may not be a perfect time, but it’s a moment, an opportunity and… let’s just take these moments as they come. 

To start the season off I’ve sown some flower seeds, including cosmos and gaura, for the next season on our mini flower farm. The salad leaves are in, the carrots sown directly, peas are scrambling away and the strawberries… well, I think this year is going to be a bumper year for strawberries! I’m enjoying just taking my growing at my own pace, and seeing how it all unfolds… 

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