SPRING in the gardener's calendar is one of the busiest times of the year and when most of the planting gets started.

Battling to get the site ready so that I had some beds ready for plants to go in was not easy. First I had to get round the issue of having very heavy clay soil that was heavily waterlogged.

After a warm February the March weather didn't help but I struggled on anyway.

Mixing in lots of organic matter' into clay soil makes it much easier to work so while most girls my age were off buying Marni handbags with their hard earned cash, I went off and bought bags of manure for my allotment.

I now have three beds fully dug over and intend to put in another two when I feel up to heavy digging again.

I have had a few visitors on my allotment - mostly non-gardening friends whose reaction has been one of politely smiling and nodding and saying it's very big isn't it?' I was beginning to wonder if an eighth of an acre was too much to take on in your first year with no gardening experience until I started planting.

Perhaps seed companies are generous with their recommended spacing between plants because once you have started planting it is amazing how much space they take up.

In the ground now are garlic, red and white onions, shallots and potatoes.

In the cold frame I have seed trays containing spring onions, carrots, broad beans, salad leaves, radishes, brussel sprouts and parsnips.

Now comes the nervous time when you wait to see whether anything will actually grow or whether your efforts have been in vain.