In the Vegetable Garden - Things to do this Month - January

new-vegi-bedYou’d think all would be quiet on the veggie plot at this time of year … far from it! Despite the cold weather, January marks the start of the New Year’s growing season, and there’s plenty to do to get ready for the year ahead.

  • Follow the first principle of PERMACULTURE: add as much well-rotted organic matter to unplanted areas of your vegetable plot as possible – it will provide both nutrients and condition – to light and heavy soils, and feed the worms so you’ll have less soil cultivation to do next spring!
  • Continue to harvest leeks, root vegetables, and brassicas (Brussels Sprouts, Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Kale).
  • If the ground isn’t frozen solid, this is the ideal time to lift PARSNIPS and store in a cool place close to the house.
  • Check stored vegetables, any sign of rot in one will spread quickly to others.
  • If you have somewhere you can guarantee won’t frost, you can start ‘chitting’ early potatoes this month – north light is ideal.
  • If you have a nice warm windowsill, sow a few chilli seeds – they need a long growing season, so the sooner you get started the better
  • TIDY THE PLOT: remove all yellow and dead leaves from over-wintered brassicas; empty the greenhouse and scrub with Jeyes fluid.
  • PLANNING: draw a plan of your plot and sketch in your planting layout for this year – then, when you come to plan next year’s planting you will be able to rotate the plant groups.
  • DIG A NEW VEGETABLE BED: a great way to keep warm and fit during the winter months and expand your vegetable area (who needs an unproductive lawn)! Try to avoid treading wet soil too much as it will lead to compaction, and add plenty of manure (or lime, depending on soil type, but not both together) as you dig.