RHS set to unearth the nations gardening knowledge with its first ever Dig Together Day (1,5 & 6 September)
With the passing of the Winter Solstice on December 21st the days have started to get longer, you may not notice this yourself but the plants will. From this point on the plants in the garden will try to increase their growth rate in proportion to the amount of light they receive, however the temperature will reduce the amount of nutrients they can absorb from the soil. That's why plants which have stored their food over winter in the form of bulbs get a head start.
As the next two months are when we get the coldest temperatures and most of the snow, this is a great time to finish, or start, planning for the year ahead. Review the successes, and failures of the previous year. For us the warm dry weather we have been having for the past years had made us complacent, and last years wet summer ruined many of our crops. This year we'll grow out Tomatoes in a greenhouse for example, as our entire crop was ruined by blight, as where the early Winter Potatoes. Our Courgette's also suffered from the moisture, but we did discover the 'Zucchini' from Dobies really did grow as a small bush, and not as a huge trailing plant. Our Peppers and Chili's were all grown on Window sills and they where fantastic. The best results where obtained from a South facing window sill where we fed the Peppers on liquid Tomato food. We also had great success with Aubergines grown in the same way.
The Vegetable Garden in January
Plant Garlic cloves either in pots ready to transplant later
Order seed potatoes
Prepare ground for Asparagus
Over the Christmas break we have been looking at the fruits and vegetables we like the best and could do with growing more of them at home. The first thing that came to mind was garlic. We use loads of garlic each year so I have ordered 100 cloves of different varieties to trial this year. We will keep an eye on them as the year progresses. Another crop we are going to trial is the Purple Sprouting Broccoli, (Brassica oleracea Cymosa Group), Not to be confused with the Calibrese sold in supermarkets as Broccoli. We will get around to the broccoli in mid-spring.
If you are planning to show Onions at you local village or county show then get them into pots in January.
The Fruit garden in January
Plant Fruit trees and canes
Check the fruit stores for rotting fruit, or attacks by rodents
Plant fruit trees, fruit canes and fruit bushes.
The Flower garden in January
Remove fallen leaves from the borders
Cut down and compost the annuals
Take hardwood cuttings of shrubs and fruit trees
Trim the Sedum stems back ready for the new growth which should be visible at the base. Other Perennials will also be showing shoots of new growth and will require the old stems removing.
Check any plants if they are supported, as high winds may loosen them.
Prune wisteria by taking the side stems back to an 2.5 cm from the main stems.
Plant bare root roses in to holes full of organic matter. The more the better. Plant deeply to prevent the root stock from shooting.
The Greenhouse in January
Clean the greenhouse glass inside and out, then insulate the whole greenhouse using bubble wrap. Check plants weekly to make sure they are not rotting or infected with any diseases. Also keep an eye on the guttering and remove leaves as required.
Look out for any pests and remove as required.