There was a touch of frost last night, followed by lashing rain this morning and then an unexpectedly bright afternoon, just the sort of weather when it’s lovely to be down at the allotment.
These are a few things to be getting on with when the next dry, chilly day comes along:
Prune gooseberry bushes if they haven’t been done yet, cut out any diseased, dead or damaged stems, scrape back a little of the bark to check for dead wood, live wood will be green. Remove any branches that cross over other branches, remove the weakest ones.
Prune blackcurrant bushes by cutting out between a quarter and a third of the stems to 1in/2.5cm above the ground, choose older stems with darker wood. Aim for an open shape without too many stems in the centre of the bush.
It’s the last chance to prune grape-vines, the sap starts to rise in February and they’ll bleed if cut then.
Buy seed-potatoes and spread them out in egg-boxes or on seed-trays, somewhere light and cool. They’ll develop shoots, these are the ‘chits’, the idea is that when they’ re planted they’ll have a head-start on un-chitted potatoes, another good reason is that there’ll be more choice of varieties if you buy them now.
Indoor jobs for cold, wet weather:
Soil structure is damaged by walking on it when it’s very wet or frozen, so there’s a legitimate reason to get on with things inside, preferably with a mug of tea and maybe a slice of cake?
Order seeds for this year while there’s still lots of choice.
Clean and tidy the potting shed and greenhouse ready to start growing plants, check also that there are enough plant-labels and twine.
I fell in love with this smart little potting bench at the Chelsea Flower Show last year, I’m tempted to fit something like it into the new garden, I wonder how easy it would be to make?
Sort out plant-pots and make sure there are enough of the right sizes for potting seedlings into, wash plant-pots to clean out any viruses or bacteria from last year. I admit to only managing to do this occaisionally, though this is definately a case of don’t do as I do, do as I say.
Buy seed compost and store it in the shed or greenhouse to make sure it’s not freezing cold when the time comes to sow seeds.
I think that’s enough to be getting on with.
Happy gardening, Jill
all photos: Jill Anderson.