Plant and Garden Care: January

Well here is the start of a new year and probably one of the first “green” things you can do is recycle your Christmas tree. You will find that there is usually a collection organised by your local council or some designated collection point where you can take it to and drop it off. There is will be shredded and turned into mulch.

If it is really frosty then try to stay off of your lawn, walking on it will only damage it.

The birds will still need looking after so check your birdfeeders are clean and refilled and that their bird baths are not frozen. If the conditions are icy break the top of the ice on the baths. We have bottles of ‘NO ICE’ that you can add to their water to stop it from freezing.

If you have any tubers or vegetables stored, keep a check on them to see that they are still in good condition.

If the ground is not frozen you could be planting any hedging that you need. There is still a good selection at the garden centre to choose from. Prunus Spinosa Sloe (why not try making Sloe Gin!!), Fagus Sylvatica/Beech, Ligustrum/Privet to name but a few.

If the ground is not frozen you could lift and divide your rhubarb if the clump is big enough. Usually every five years is a good guide as to when to do this. Remember if you have just planted a new crown it is best to leave it harvest free for the first year. If you are just planting one remember to add plenty of Farmyard Manure to enrich the soil.

Plan ahead and have an idea of your crop rotation.

Groups are as follows:

Brassicas – Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Kale, Cabbage, Turnips, Kohl-rabi, Oriental Greens, Radish, Swede and Turnips.

Legumes – Peas and broad beans. French beans and Runner beans can be grown where it is most convenient, it is not as important for these as they have fewer problems with the soil.

Onions – Onions, garlic, leek, shallots.

Potato – Potato and tomato. Peppers and aubergine can be grown where it is convenient within the rotation.

Roots - Beetroot, Florence Fennel, Carrot, Parsley, Celery, Celeriac, Parsnip and all other root vegetables, except for Swedes and Turnip which are categorised as Brassicas.

EG

First Year

Plot One; Potatoes

Plot Two; Legumes, Onions and Roots

Plot Three; Brassicas

Second Year

Plot One; Legumes

Plot Two; Brassicas

Plot Three; Potatoes

Third Year

Plot One; Brassicas

Plot Two; Potatoes

Plot Three; Legumes, Onions and Roots

The Fourth Plot – This can be used for any perennial crops that you may wish to grow. Rhubarb and Asparagus for example, these should be left in the same place so that they can settle in and improve each year.