This Months Tips

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Most of us need all the help we can get.

January | February | March | April | May | June |

JulyAugust | September | October | November | December


January

  • Finalise the plan of your plot – have you decided what is going where?
  • When the soil is dry enough fork it through
  • Make sure your tools are cleaned ready to go
  • Order potatoes and start to chit them towards the end of the month (doing this in egg boxes is a nifty way).
  • Prune your fruit trees
  • Force rhubarb by covering the crown with a bucket
  • Get organised; prewrite plant labels.
  • Collect and clean seed trays.
  • Stock up on canes, pots, netting etc.

You sould still be eating your own, home grown;

Brussel Sprouts
Winter cabbages
Leeks
Parsnips
Spinach
Swedes
Hardy herbs

Tips

  • Packs of lolly sticks can be found in bargain shops; these make good, cheap plant labels. Write on them with an HB pencil and it won’t fade – you will remember what you have planted where!

 

February
  • Have you got your plot plan decided yet? It’s about time you did!
  • If your grass in the garden has started to grow it is a sign that the soil has warmed up a bit and you could consider starting planting (maybe around the middle to the end of the month).
  • When the weather gets a little more clement, and the soil a bit warmer, you could consider sowing the following outdoors;
    • Jerusalem artichokes
    • broad beans
    • chervil
    • parsnips
  • Black polythene spread over areas of your soil will warm it up and give you a head start on planting.
  • You might think about chitting your first early potatoes.
  • Horticultural fleece could be useful to cover your fruit bushes and strawberry plants.

If you had been working your allotment last year, you could be eating your own, home grown;

Broccoli
leeks
Sweds
Spinach
Parsnips
Brussels Sprouts

Plus, of course, anything you have stored (like potatoes carrots, Butternut quash and onions).

Tips

  • Collect loo roll middles; good for sowing your runner beans in and then planting out directly when the time is right.
  • Save up old newspapers – useful for putting underneath your runner beans or for making into biodegradable pots to sow seeds in (such as tomatoes, courgettes, peppers etc.)

March

  • Chit Potatoes – this is not essential so if we are delayed putting the tubers in by the weather don’t wait for them to chit, if the soil is warm and dry enough just put them straight in.

 

 

  • Sow early carrots – its probably still a bit too cold for this, but some warm weather might warm the soil up enough to get some early carrots (such as early nantes) in.

 

  • Broad beans – these can be sown directly into the ground in March. However it might be better to sow them into cell trays or I use the insides of toilet rolls (I don’t know if this is a recognised thing – its just how I’ve done it) inside until the plant has started to grow. Then you can put them out in the middle/end of April to be ready to harvest by the end of June.

 

 

  • Jerusalem Artichokes, rhubarb, shallots, onion sets and peas can all be planted outside in March

 

  • Richard has a little bit of kit that makes small pots out of strips of newspapers. Its really useful as you can sow stuff into them (eg. Tomatoes, cucumbers) and then plant out leaving the paper pot in place. The roots of the plant aren’t disturbed and the paper pot will rot away in time
  • Germinating parsnips can be made easier by putting them in a freezer bag with a little damp compost. After about a week you will begin to see little white tails, you can then sow them directly into the soil.

April

Now it is all starting to happen.

However we could still be at risk from frost so early shoots may need to be protected.

Many people say that you should plant your potatoes on Good Friday – and mine are indeed out – but it is still quite cold, mound earth over any shoots to protect them from the frost.

You could be getting your trench or bed ready for celery if you are going to grow any. You could also be getting supports ready for your peas.

You could be thinking about sowing loads and loads of things outdoors, like;

Artichokes, asparagus, broad beans, beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, calabrese, carrots, cauliflower, chicory, endive, kohl rabi, leeks, lettuce, rocket, parsnips, peas, radish, spinach, spring onions, swiss chard & turnips.

You could be planting out;

Asparagus crowns, globe artichokes, onion sets, shallots, strawberry plants & summer cabbage seedlings.


Tips; peat modules are a good way to bring on plants, especially those that don’t like having their roots disturbed when you plant them out (eg sweetcorn). Grow them in the modules indoors then plant out.

AND: make the most of the April showers – check out your rainwater collection systems!

May

  • KEEP HOEING
  • Prepare runner bean supports and framework.
  • Put straw around your strawberry plants.
  • It can still be chilly so don’t forget to harden plants off before planting them out.
  • Mulch soil to retain moisture; you can use newspaper, grass cuttings, leaf mould and straw.

Sow outdoors; Beetroot, cabbages (autumn), calebrese, carrots, cauliflowers, chicory, courgettes, French beans, lettuce, marrows, peas, pumpkins, radish, runner beans, spring onions, swedes, sweetcorn, swiss chard, squash.

Plant out; Leeks & brassicas that have been grown in greenhouse and hardened off outside.

Eat this month; Asparagus, cabbages (spring), lettuce, radish, rocket.

Top Tips; Water soak marrow and courgette seeds overnight for a good start.

Straw can be used as an insulator and also as a slug deterrent.

June

  • Encourage runner beans up their supports.
  • Make sure potatoes are earthed up.
  • Remove all side shoots from tomatoes, and if some of the flowers have set, start to feed the plants.
  • If you are watering your allotment, do it early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid evaporation – and soak rather than splash.
  • Peg down strawberry runners.
  • Protect any fruit with netting.

Sow outdoors this month;

  • Calabrese
  • Carrots
  • Chicory
  • French and runner beans
  • Kohl rabi
  • Lettuce
  • Turnips and Swedes.

You might be eating your first early potatoes this month, along with beetroot, broad beans, globe artichokes, lettuce, peas, radish and rocket.

Tips;

When you lift your first early potatoes, why not keep a few tubers aside and replant in a sunny spot. By late September they will need covering with cloches to protect them and then you could dig them up to have with your Xmas dinner.

Transplant;

Broccoli  –  Brussels sprouts  –  Cabbages  –  Celeriac  –  Courgettes  –  Cucumbers  –  French beans  – Sweet corn  –  Tomatoes.

JULY

  • Water your tomatoes and sweetcorn; don’t water when it is hot and sunny. Tie in your tomatoes and remove the side shoots.
  • Runner beans; when they are tall enough, remove the leading shoots to encourage heavier cropping.
  • Start to lift onions and leave out to dry.
  • Lift early potatoes.
  • Harvest calebrese heads to encourage others to develop to the side.

You could be sowing outside;

  • More carrots – Chinese cabbages  – Lettuce  – Pak choi  – Peas for the autumn  – Spring cabbages.

You could be planting out;

  • Beetroot  – Calebrese – French beans – Leeks – Runner beans – Turnips – Winter brassicas.

Tips;

  • Mulch on dry spots to retain moisture
  • You could try nastertium flowers and leaves in salads

August

Tips  for August;
Sit in your allotment, with a glass of something, and admire the fruits of  your  labour!
Pot up strawberry runners (cut from parent plant)

Lift onions to dry and store

Remove lower trusses from tomato plants
Support Brussels sprouts with canes
Sow outdoors;
Spring Cabbages, carrots, lettuce, peas, turnips, winter spinach.
Top tip for August;
Lift garlic, separate into cloves and freeze in a plastic tub. When you need garlic the cloves can be taken straight from the freezer and chopped as normal, or pureed

 

 

September

Collect fallen leave and start making leaf mould for use as a winter mulch.

Cut back yellowed asparagus leaf

Keep your brassicas netted to protect from the hungry birds.

Sow outdoors; Baby spinach, onions, turnips, winter radish.

Plant; spring cabbage.

String up your chillies for drying – don’t forget to wear gloves.

If you have lifted pototoes and are storing them, make sure they are kept in the dark so that they don’t sprout. Your onions, however, need to be in good sunlight otherwise they will sprout!

.

October

Make your strawberry beds – They like a lot of well rotted organic manure dug well in.

Protect your winter carrots and spinach with straw

Plant out broad beans, overwintering onion sets and spring cabbages.

Collect fallen leaves to make leaf mould.

 

November

 

Rake up your leaves and put them in the leaf mould container.

Lift the remainder of your carrots and parsnips for storage if you aren’t going to leave them in over winter.

Dig up your rhubarb, split and replant.

Put a net over any winter brassicas

Continue with your winter digging and adding organic matter.

Plant broad beans, garlic, hardy peas.

START ORDERING SEEDS ETC. READY FOR NEXT YEAR.

 

December

Light a fire in your living room and sit in front of it reading the seed catalogues – make sure you’ve got what you want ordered.

Lift your celery as required.

Dig up potatoes, parsnips, leeds for your Xmas dinner J

Pick Brussels sprouts and kale

Finish pruning your fruit buses and trees, but not when the ground is frozen.

Dig over bare soil if workable to expose any soil pests to the hungry birds.

Feed your garden birds – fill up the bird feeders.

Clean your greenhouse and staging to kill red spider mite eggs.