Gardening and growing your own is to me one of the most challenging and rewarding hobbies you can have. It’s such a mixture of art and science. There are basic rules to follow but sometimes you can get away with throwing the rule book out of the window.

For example, I recall a fellow plotholder planting his potatoes in February one very mild year. Normally I wouldn’t think of planting until the middle of March even in the sunny south, so I was sure his crop was doomed to die in a late frost. But he ended up with a marvellous crop. The gamble certainly paid off for him, with egg on my face after my dire warnings.

So don’t be afraid to take a few risks, try a new method on occasion. Of course, things will fail at times but experiment is how progress is made. Mind you, I try to hedge my bets. If we have a warm February, I may well plant some potatoes early but not all of them. In other words, don’t bet everything on one horse. At least with gardening, each new year is a new chance. An opportunity to avoid the mistakes you did before, although you’ll probably make new mistakes!