Gardening for the New Year

January 06, 2009

Start planning your summer crop

Happy New Year to everyone – and, although world affairs are in a worse state than usual, maybe those of us who want to grow a little of our own food can take some pleasure in the thought that we are doing our bit for the planet, the economy, our health and our waistlines!
As it is deep mid-winter for many of us, now’s the time to sit back and make plans for the summer.
Get a pencil and paper, and collect your gardening books and catalogues.
Firstly, just visualize your garden, terrace or windowsill. I, for instance, live right next to the sea and I have a tiny garden – 25’ x 25’ which has good light and warmth but very poor soil, so I tend to grow all my food plants in various sized pots though from 4” across to18” - the advantage of this being that I can give my plants the soil and nutrients they need, the disadvantage is that I have to be very thorough about watering so I do collect rainwater.
Make a sketch plan of your growing area, either drawing it out or on computer, it matters not as long as you can visualise it.
Remind yourself which are the sheltered sunny places and which the cold or windy bits. Let your seed and plant catalogues tell you which conditions you will need for the vegetables you want to grow.
(Please remember that everything takes about twice as long to grow as the catalogues say it will!)
Order plants and seeds – but make life easy, buy small plants to grow on if available (I always buy my lettuces from a local plant nursery, as they seem to take so long to get going otherwise) – anything that encourages you and gives you enjoyment of your growing patch is a good idea.
Now might be the time to invest in a small electrically heated propagator. You can get neat ones that will sit on a windowsill, or big splendid ones that have thermostatically controlled temperatures. Even an unheated one in a warm, light place is useful for giving your seeds their wakeup call.
If you are starting out, think perhaps of four or five vegetables you would like to grow this year – and one fun one. Something you have heard of and always wanted to try or maybe something exotic to show at your local garden show in the summer!

Email us with your queries and do let us know if something goes very well for you…
Happy Horticulture,