Welcome to my second month of green-fingered-ness. Stage one consisted of buying a tired-looking basil plant in October from a local market stall, planting it in soil nicked from my landlord's garden, and then complaining vocally when aphids quickly installed themselves. The basil was then potted up into a bigger pot with more soil, and the smaller pot used for a new parsley plant from the supermarket. I am still squishing aphids against the window pane every day, and close inspection of the soil surface shows various kinds of small crawling things as well as several different types of mould. Not good. In desperation I have watered both plants heavily with an infusion of garlic. I'm not sure that this will help, but it made me feel better. (Ditto hissing 'Die, aphids, die!')
Lessons learned: (1) don't buy plants from a stall to make sure they don't already have insect infestations; (2) use potting compost rather than soil full of living things unused to life in a pot on my windowsill; (3) wash out pots which have had infestations in before re-use.
Thus, stage 2. I have planted some daffodil and snowdrop bulbs in two pots with proper potting compost. (At least, I think it's potting compost. My Dutch isn't so hot, and my French dictionary was rather limited.) One is in my room (away from the aphids!), and the other is outside, so I can compare their performance! We shall see what happens next.
Stay tuned for Episode 3: Growing Cress In Cotton Wool Because I'm An Actual, Genuine Beginner.