January- time to face your garden or allotment
Pruning fruit trees
Prune your apple and pear trees – I’ve just done mine. Make sure to make your cuts angled downwards so they do not face the elements. Trees are dormant at this time of the year and cuts should heal naturally. You can use a sealant if you want to be completely sure. I used Arbrex Heal & Seal
Manure & compost
Source some stable manure. I get a load from a Banstead stable where it is really well rotted. This can be spread on the surface of your flower beds or allotment and either left for the worms to take over or dig in later.
A good freebie is ‘Croypost ‘ available from Factory Lane Croydon, Surrey recylcling centre. When you take rubbish to re-cycle you get three bags free. ‘Croypost’ may not have much in the way of nutrients but it has a lovely texture.
In the greenhouse
If you have a greenhouse there are many gardening jobs you can do. I have a crop of Autumn planted sweet peas looking good and peas for the allotment a couple of inches high. Yet to show themselves are broad beans,radishes and brassicas, but it won’t be long before they do.
Seed potatos will be on sale soon but I prefer to buy mine at a Potato Day or Seed Fair where you can buy as few of one variety as you want, giving you the chance to experiment. Look up the fairs on Google. Sadly the Sydenham School fair was cancelled this year.
When you get your spuds, just lay them on a tray to chit. Where that word chit comes from I don’t know, but it just means to start shooting. When the shoots are an inch or so high they are ready to plant. Don’t let them get too long or they will break when you plant the potatos.
My strawberry bed is four years old and I have decided to start again with a fresh bed. Marshall’s catalogue is full of different soft fruit varieties and one that caught my eye was a strawberry that promised to fruit in April, which seems unnaturally early. I ordered some and hope for the best.
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