So, the New Year got off to an interesting start, nothing too heavy, some cold nights and a fair amount of water. There has been surface water sitting in all of the fields close to us for several weeks, I guess as we put down more hard areas the water has to run somewhere. I am pleased to have finished the digging. I am still attempting to throw out some manure across newly turned ground, resisting stamping around too much. Every depression will cradle a puddle. Even the lawn is soggy.I am going to have to clean the patio up too. There is so much algal growth and the surface is very slick. I no longer have a pressure hose,so will probably slap on some patio cleaner.
I have managed to get a few more bits of seed started on a window ledge. All leaf vegetables will germinate now and with a bit of domestic heat or (should you have a conservatory or greenhouse) a small greenhouse heater. Things like Antirrhinums, Carnations, Pansies and Sweet William will all start with token heat. As indeed will Larkspur, which I mention as it was flagged up by Gardeners World recently. It is a lovely old fashioned bedding plant and one that was on our production list in 1947. It has spires of Delphinium like flowers, shows similar colours and grows to about 18”. It is very easy to grow, but does look a bit scruffy through the seedling stages. It is also cheap. In recent years there has been some promotion of the practise of broadcasting seeds (that just means mixing a few seeds, chucking them onto cultivated ground and leaving them to it). It is very cottage and demonstrates wonderfully how nature knows how to do it. Godetia, Nigella, Cornflower, Clarkia and Stocks can all be thrown together. They will cover a big area for about a tenner. If you fancy this do your research now and sow them directly in mid March.
In mentioning March, I must also draw attention that that is when the sap starts shifting, so if you have any hedging or heavy transplanting to do, get the job done in the next six weeks. There is plenty of bare root material still available, including some fruit, but none of it will enjoy the shock of transplant after mid March.
And finally if you have ground that is accessible, Onion sets, Shallots, Garlic and Spring Peas and Beans can all be sown.