NOW the soil is warming up, it is time to get going with growing vegetables. If you are new to growing them and it all seems daunting, don’t worry. As long as you keep it simple and grow only what you like and in small amounts, you will be fine.

You don’t even have to have a large garden, as many vegetables can be grown in containers. Give them a sunny site, a good feed and constant water and they should grow quite happily.

Get the kids involved by getting them to help sow seeds and with the planting out of larger plants. It will be fun, they will be interested in watching the vegetables grow and they even might enjoy eating them.

Vegetables such as courgettes, sweetcorn and pumpkin can be sown indoors now and “hardened off” before being planted outside.

Hardening off is when you bring the plants from inside and take them out and put in a cold frame or under some glass or plastic in the daytime and cover them with horticultural frost fleece at night.

You gradually lift the glass in the daytime, each day, until you uncover them completely.

Radishes, beetroot and Swiss chard are examples of more frost-hardy vegetables which can either be sown directly into the ground or containers or bought as more mature plants now.

Some of us are time-poor or don’t want to be bothered sowing seeds. Thankfully, most garden centres will be selling plants ready-sown in packs, strips or pots.

When planting them out, be careful not to damage them, so hold them by their leaves and not their stem, otherwise you can damage the internal tissues which carry the water and food.

And if you don’t even have time to do that, then you can buy plants, such as lettuces, already growing in a large container to go straight on your patio.

Meanwhile, two plants have caught my attention during the past few days for different reasons.

First, the dandelion. Virtually everyone with a garden has one or more whether in their lawn, flower beds or block paving.

In each flower head, within the ring of petals, there are a large number of florets – individual flowers – which mature into the parachute carrying seed we use to call sugar stealers.

So every flower is capable of producing large numbers of seeds and also has this high-tech and efficient distribution system.

They do provide an early season supply of pollen for insects, the seeds are eaten by birds and we can also eat every part of the plant, if you so wish, but the long tap root make them difficult to remove.

An application of Tumbleweed or any glysophosphate based weedkiller will see them off.

The second plant is the pieris.

For a few weeks the red bract varieties, Forest Flame being the most popular, give a flash of colour to gardens whatever the weather throws at them. The mature specimens look particularly good in older gardens against dark backgrounds or stonework and following the showy bracks they produce their delicate flowers.

A new product which is selling exceptionally well is the Miracle Gro Flower Magic.

Available in three colour mixes, it is a seed mix of annual border plants with coir to broadcast (spread) on to your soil.

The reports have been very good although any broadcast seed is dependent on the weather, heavy rain stopping some varieties from establishing.