We are starting a new year with high expectations for the coming growth season. While the garden may look worse for wear and tear, the delicate unfolding of a solitary snowdrop is a sign that spring is on its way. Yes, we still have the prospect of enduring another few months of winter, but in the words of the late, great George Harrison, “All things must pass”.
So while Jack Frost is doing his worse, take the time to order your seeds and work out your garden plans for 2022. But do not get too cozy, because there are still plenty of tasks to perform in the garden that will keep you busy this month.
1. Recycle your Christmas tree
Do not be too quick to discard your Christmas pine. If you can tear it to pieces, the tile will be a good compost for ericaceous plants, such as camellias and blueberries. Try using the branches as plant supports for peas and broad beans.
Then sow chili and peppers
Chili and peppers require a long growing season. So if you have a warm and bright place, such as a heated greenhouse or a warm sunny window sill, you can start them now.
Fill a 9 cm pot or seed tray with compost. Tamp the soil down to create a firm surface, and then sow more seeds at 1 cm intervals. Lightly cover with compost, water and place in a warm place. Seeds can take between 8-21 days to germinate.
Once the seedlings have grown their true leaves (these follow the seed leaves and look like the foliage of the mature plant), plant the seedlings individually in 9 cm pots and water in. Place the pot in a warm and bright place, such as a heated greenhouse or conservatory to grow. Remember to keep the soil moist.
Then micro green
Mustard and watercress are an easy and quick crop to grow. Fill a pot or container with moist compost, and then thinly over the top. Then place the container in a warm place where germination should take place quickly. When you see shoots grow, transfer the container to a warm, sunny kitchen window sill where they can be easily reached when preparing a meal.
For an early harvest of rhubarb, place a rhubarb clove or large container (upside down) over the new rhubarb. By keeping the crown in the dark, you force the stems to grow rapidly while searching for light. After eight weeks, the stems should be 20-30 cm long, taste sweet and ready to eat.
5. Harvest vegetables
Continue to harvest vegetables from your vegetable. Remove any yellowed or fallen brassica leaves as they may hide pests. When vegetable beds are empty, turn the soil over and add a thick layer of well-rotted organic material or compost. Winter weather will help break down the soil and release its valuable nutrients into the soil. The case will also help improve the soil structure.
If you have not ordered your seed potatoes, do so now. The sooner they arrive, the faster you can start honking.
Chitting speeds up the aging process of a tuber. When you get to plant your tubers in mid-March, they will have grown long vines, giving them a head start. To cut seed potatoes, set them apart with your eyes facing up. Empty egg crates are ideal holders.
Then place them in a warm and bright place, such as a kitchen window sill or a warm greenhouse. Check them regularly and in six weeks your tubers are ready to plant out.
7. Store fruits and vegetables
Any fruits or vegetables currently stored should be checked regularly to ensure that they are not spoiled. Flip them over and remove any obsolete or damaged products. Make sure they do not touch them as this will promote a good air flow around them.
8. Plant maintenance
Before hellebores open their flowers, cut the leaves away. Not only will it highlight their flowers, but old foliage may look unattractive and potentially have hellebore leaf spot.
Winter mother plants can now struggle to look their best, and will need a helping hand to prevent them from going to seed. Prune regularly, remove any fading flowers.
9. Winter wildlife
Make sure that the bird feeding stations are regularly refilled and that the water supply is fresh and not left to freeze. If you have a frozen fish pond, avoid smashing the ice as this can shock or even kill the fish. Instead, try melting the ice gently with warm water. Do not worry about damaging the fish as they tend to stay at the bottom of the pond in the winter.
With festive plants like poinsettias, amaryllis and early flowering hyacinths now looking past their best, this is an ideal time to introduce a new range of indoor plants to your home. Whether it is a trendy succulent or a refined orchid for the bathroom, there are endless possibilities for the indoor home grower. Could this be the year you bring the exterior in?
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