Looking forward to a new year
With spring hopefully just around the corner, now is the time to start planning what you’re going to do with the garden over the coming months.
This is especially important if you’re growing vegetables, get out the seed catalogues and decide what varieties you want to grow – it’s always worth looking at what new varieties are available.
Seed potatoes will be arriving from the beginning of January. Most garden centres have large stocks – we have well over 45 different varieties, including some of the popular Albert Bartlett varieties. If you want the choice of varieties, buy them as soon as you can, as the more popular varieties tend to sell out. Once you get them home you can put them to chit (start shooting) in a light frost free place. Old egg boxes are ideal for this. Onion sets, shallots and garlic should arrive in February.
Whilst planning for the coming season, you can continue to harvest any overwintered vegetables such as carrots, sprouts and winter cabbages.
Start the season off early by planting seeds of beetroot, lettuce and spinach in seed trays and put in the greenhouse or on a windowsill in the house.
If you haven’t used winter wash on your fruit trees yet, do so on a mild day before the buds start to burst, this will clear up any pests and their eggs left overwintering on your trees. Finish pruning apples and pears, but never prune stone fruit (plums/cherries) whilst they’re dormant as it encourages disease.
Preparing the soil for the New Year
If we get any mild days, continue to fork over beds and vegetable plots adding some organic matter. This will not only prepare the ground for the coming season, but helps reduce pests by encouraging birds to pick up the pests in the soil.
Remember to put out fresh supplies of food and water for the birds especially during prolonged spells of winter weather.
There should still be plenty of colour left in flowering house plants from Christmas. Poinsettias kept in a warm and draught free spot will continue through to February as will azaleas, miniature roses and kalanchoes – all cheaper than a bunch of flowers and they last much longer. Put a pot of tete a tete narcissus on the windowsill – it will seem like spring is just round the corner!
A very Happy New year to you!
This month’s tips are provided by Ann Winwood of Lealans Garden Centre, Shipley.