Some of the orange coloured ‘rays of sunshine’ in my life at the moment are the organic carrots on June and Steve’s veggie stall in Abergavenny Market. Throughout the winter I’ve been buying them as often as I can – for both me and Yogi. Yogi has always been very partial to a raw carrot and also has them chopped up in her daily chicken broth, which incidentally, has done wonders for her general health.  I am simply a huge fan of carrots that smell and taste of carrot.  

Although cleverly disguised in dried mud, these organic carrots are things of absolute beauty.  The first spark of joy is when you see them all muddy and ‘real’ on the stall, the second carroty pleasure is from the smell when they are sliced or grated – reminds me so much of my nan and granddad – and the third burst of joy is of course from the taste. 

It always reminds me of a friend’s young son when they visited me years ago and he ate a home grown carrot for the first time. Despite having vegetables on his plate with most meals  and certainly being no stranger to carrots,  he  pulled a face and declared that it ‘tasted funny’.  

“That funny taste”, reassured his mum, “is carrot flavour.”

I have prepared a couple of old dustbins for growing my own carrots later on this year.  I have just recycled the bins (and drilled drainage holes in the bottom of them) as they used to hold food for my beloved pigs and they should also outwit the rabbits. 

And whilst she didn’t grow carrots, I have been so impressed by a YouTube video of a Chinese lady who, last year, sowed veggie seeds in the small cracks between the paving slabs in her yard – with the most incredible results. Plants like erigeron, creeping thyme and saxifrage will grow quite happily in very little soil, and will often self seed in old stone paths providing a lovely soft effect – and hiding a lack of pointing  but this lady had successfully grown watermelons, kale and even sweet corn. 

The arrival of March means I’m officially back on ‘maintenance duty’ after all my extra-curricular winter projects.  It’s nice to get ‘back in harness’ and into a sort-of routine.  Make a start on your own garden as soon as you can as there are a surprising (and frustrating) amount of weeds already in the gardens I look after  As the old saying goes – ‘One year’s seed, seven years weed.’ 

Polls show that most people wait until Easter before they start work in their garden but if you can get just a couple weeks head start, you’ll be glad that you did when it all starts growing madly.  As I start back to work in my regular gardens, it’s very clear just how the weed ‘Speedwell’ got its name and it looks like the Shepherd’s Purse hasn’t been affected by the cost of living crisis.