Growing your own veg can be a delight. Photo: Jonathan Hanna

Spring has sprung so it’s time to get growing!

Time flies, doesn’t it? March is knocking on the door and kitchen gardeners are eager to get started with their preparation for a successful planting season. But it all depends on the weather and how cold and wet the ground is.

I was told by many experienced gardeners that St Patrick’s Day is the day when you should put your potatoes in the ground but there’s no guarantee that it is the perfect day if it is still cold and the little spuds freeze to death.

So, patience is needed here and experience. For guidance and information, GIY in Waterford is a great place to start for beginners and when looking for seeds, Brown Envelope Seeds is your perfect partner in getting you on your journey.

Madeline McKeever grows every single seed in her massive garden in West Cork – by doing that, it is ensured that the plants are used to our weather and have a better chance of growing bold and strong.

A mistake a lot of hobby gardeners make is to grow too much and not learning about the growing conditions of each vegetable.

For example, I went to Barcelona a few years back and saw seeds for aubergines and melons at a market and thought what a great idea it might be.

It wasn’t! Both need to be grown in large greenhouses that have a constant warm temperature with a good soil that is also of a certain temperature. So, we failed miserably.

Another revelation is that we can’t grow carrots well in the soil of our garden. For some weird reason, it never works out – no matter how much care we take of our little orange babies.

Beetroot on the other hand loves us – thankfully, we love it as well. Peas are also quite happy in our garden, not that anyone but me gets to enjoy them as I eat them straight from the pod! I think not one pea has ever made it from the garden into the kitchen when I was around (that was also the reason, I was not allowed to ‘help’ in my dad’s kitchen garden when I was younger).

Fresh peas are so sweet, juicy and soft that they don’t need any cooking and are a fine treat.

My friend Agnes has a greenhouse that makes me green with envy (see what I did here?) – and she is one talented gardener. Everything is immaculate and she grows an awful amount of vegetables in a relative small space and I have to admit, I sponged off her hard work a few times and went home with some delicious fresh vegetables.

When my dad was still living with me, our garden looked more like a mini farm than a kitchen garden (he has the famous green thumb) and I loved taking my little wicker basket and going around the rows and beds of vegetables and picking out what I needed for dinner that night.

That’s the way I love grocery shopping.

Happy growing!