Ho, ho, ho, here we go. Off again on the sleigh ride into tomorrow and who knows what. I get quite excited by the turn of the year and the smell of new adventures. 2018 didn’t turn out too badly really. December was a mixed bag, with one or two very cold nights, with the compensation of some glorious days. The growing year was late and as always a few things struggled to deliver, but in the balance it was ok. Now, with the corner turned and the days starting to lengthen, we can look ahead.
As the month moves forward and the mood takes we can look to start planting onion sets and shallots, as well as garlic. We can consider dividing things too, extending commitment to Rhubarb and Raspberries by splitting clumps with a spade and replanting. We can start to look at seed potatoes this month and whilst it is still too early to plant, there is more choice available if you buy early (tubers can then be held for weeks in a cool space). You can also be playing with the first bits of seed and towards the end of January, try your luck with a few Broad Beans and some Early Peas. You can use up your Aquadulce bean seed and look at something like Feltham First if you want to stick in Peas. The ground will still be cold, but the seed will emerge slowly as the days advance. Just keep your eyes open for rodents. They are all hungry and will be pleased to help themselves if temptation is obvious. So store spuds and seeds out of harms way and consider lightly dressing lines in open ground with a bit of grit (they don’t like it. Scratching around on a frosty morning in a pile of sharp grit ? No, I don’t think so).
When the weather bites, as it is bound too, retreat and start looking at the seed catalogues. I talked of adventure and the journey into a seed catalogue is very special. As we embark on a new season, it is really important to remind ourselves of how extraordinary nature can be and whilst man will always poke his nose in, the ever changing shape and performance of plants is to be celebrated. Do try something new.
And finally, play the game and never think that you are in charge. Losing is no big deal, there is always tomorrow.