Just after Christmas and the New Year in the depths of cold January, summer and the homegrown vegetables it brings feel like forever away. But now is actually the perfect time to start planning and preparing the ground for growing, especially if you’re starting from scratch, or like me expanding the range of crops and amount of space you’re committing to this year!
While I’m no expert, I do have a few tips learnt from last year to share, and of course I will be recording my progress in blog posts again this year. Last year was our first full summer in this house, and we started off with a raised planter with root veg, as well as a very prolific courgette plant, a cucumber plant and several tomato plants. It felt amazing to be eating homegrown veg in our new home, something I have always enjoyed at my parents’ house growing up. Once it finished this winter though, I have really missed this resource from our garden, so this year we’re adding some brassicas to enjoy through the colder months of 2019/2020, as well as a crop of onions and garlic that will hopefully store for use in winter too!
All of these exciting new additions will take some work, so this year, I’m taking a much more organized approach compared to the hap-hazard hope for the best one from last year! With the extra vegetables going in, we need a lot more growing space in a garden which is currently mostly overgrown grass and weeds. We have a lot of digging to do! To help make things easier, I’ve created a plan of how I would like the garden to be laid out. This week I’ve had a tidy up and dug over the raised bed from last year. The next step will be to measure up and mark out where the new beds will go: hopefully a project to start this Saturday!
To help us keep on top of what needs to be planted when, I have made a list of things to do by month, and organised my box of seeds in order of when everything should be sown and planted. All that’s missing from the box are some seed potatoes that don’t quit fit in the box with the seeds! The first things to go into the ground will be my garlic cloves, followed by parsnips and cauliflowers in a seed tray in February.
I can’t wait to start planting, although unlike last year, I’m determined not to let my excitement get the better of me so I end up planting everything too early! Last year we ended up losing seedlings because of this, and besides, before I can plant anything at all, we still have all that digging to do!
At the same time, we’re also re-doing the front garden, including a new herb bed next to the house that I can dip into easily for cooking. The bed will include rosemary, bay, sage, mint, thyme and celery leaf. The plants are ready to go, they just need planting. Although, I may well leave the mint in its pot so that it can’t conquer the whole bed… But some of it (mainly the rosemary) is already useable, so I’m happy.
So all in all? January is far from a quiet month in the garden. Instead, it is all about planning, preparation and getting ready for planting in early spring! Are you growing veg this year? I’d love to hear how you get on!