Roehampton Garden Society


February jobs on your allotment

  • Prepare for early vegetable crops by warming soil before sowing, covering seedbeds with polythene or cloches.
  • Keep off wet soils to avoid compaction. Use long boards as walkways, to spread your weight.
  • If the soil isn’t too wet, start to dig in overwintered green manures such as grazing rye and winter tares, as the frost should have killed them off.
  • Continue to tidy up and re-cut grass path edges where the grass has encroached on your plot.
  • Give your compost heap a ‘spring turn’ this month. Turning will aerate and stimulate the heap. If it’s too dry, continue adding wet kitchen waste, and water it occasionally. If too wet, add more carbon-rich stuff such as twigs, crumpled cardboard and paper waste, to open up and aerate the heap. Continue to add layers of uncomposted stable manure to your heap.
  • Empty compost heaps when ready and spread the well-rotted dark crumbly compost on beds prior to sowing or use as seed compost.
  • Chit potato tubers in a light, cool, frost- free place.
  • Clean pots and trays by scrubbing in hot, soapy water before starting to sow new seeds. Pests and diseases can overwinter in old potting compost, surviving to damage newly emerging seedlings.
  • Sow sweet peas in deep pots or Root-trainers in a cold frame, greenhouse or windowsill. (A wide range of sweet peas – single varieties such as King’s High Scent and Midnight as well as mixes e.g. Mammoth mixed and Incense are all available in store. Root trainers are available in store as well as free pots in the pot box next to the store.)
  • Pot on and pinch out autumn-sown sweet peas to encourage side-shoots to form.
  • Sow (Check out the range of varieties available in store such as Ildi, Megabyte F1, Gigantomo, Fandango,and Akron).
  • Sow sweet and chilli peppers from mid- February in a heated propagator or sunny windowsill. Chillies can be slow to germinate. (Check out the varieties available in store such as Long Red Marconi, Trinidad Perfume.)
  • Sow aubergines in a heated propagator or sunny windowsill. (Check out the varieties in store such as Black Beauty and Long Purple as well as the patio varieties Jackpot and Pinstripe.)
  • Sow celeriac in a heated propagator or sunny windowsill. (Variety, Prinz is available in store.)
  • Sow broad beans outside. (Check out the varieties in store such as Karmazyn, de Monica, Masterpiece Green Longpod and The Sutton.)
  • Sow cabbage. Check sowing advice on packets for different varieties. (Cabbage varieties available in store are Greyhound and Hispi.)
  • Sow peas outdoors. (Variety, Early Onward, is available in store.)
  • Sow onions and early leeks in the greenhouse or under cover. (Varieties, Blue Solaise, Below Zero F1 and Giant Winter are available in store.)
  • Sow early lettuce and keep in cold frame or greenhouse for earlier harvest. (Varieties Oakleaf Navara, Salad Bowl and Little Gem Cos are all available in store.)
  • Sow hardy annuals for companion planting such as Calendula and Tagetes indoors for earlier blooms.
  • Sow mustard and cress in a small seed tray on a warm windowsill for pickings in just a few weeks.
  • Complete pruning of apple and pear trees, gooseberries, redcurrants and prune out a quarter of blackcurrants’ older growth at ground level.
  • Prune autumn raspberries, cutting all canes down to the ground.
  • If summer-fruiting raspberries have grown above their supports, cut back to one or two buds above the top wire.
  • After pruning, apply a general-purpose fertilizer to tree, bush and cane fruit and mulch with well-rotted manure or garden compost. (all available in Store)
  • Top-dress all tree and soft fruit with sulphate of potash. (available in Store)
  • Spray dormant fruit trees and bushes with plant oil-based winter tree wash (available In Store) to kill overwintering eggs of aphid pests.
  • Apply 2” layer of well-rotted garden manure or garden compost around perennial crops such as Jerusalem artichokes or rhubarb. (Country Natural available in Store)
  • Start pruning bush roses at the end of the month.
  • Fruit bushes can still be planted now.
  • Force rhubarb for sweeter, earlier stems by covering crowns with straw and then a container to exclude light.
  • To reduce club root on brassicas, apply lime to soil at 270g per sq m, 8oz per sq yd. (lime available in Store)
  • Prepare a new asparagus bed by digging in well-rotted manure and order asparagus crowns.
  • Apply general fertilizers such as Growmore, (inorganic) or fish, blood and bone or seaweed, organic. (all available in Store)


Incredible Edible Seed Swap at the Garden Museum 27th Jan

The newly renovated GARDEN MUSEUM next to Lambeth Palace is running a
FREE SEED SWAP event on Sat 27 Jan 1.00-3.00pm (no booking required).

What will you grow in 2018?

Start getting your ideas together and swap seeds, seedlings or small
plants with other gardeners.

You can bring seeds that you have saved from your own plants or packets
of seeds to split. We will also have some seeds to buy and Franchi Seeds
have generously supplied us with some free seeds to share too.

On the day you can also hear from a local seed saver about the best ways
to save and store seed.
The Garden Museum
5 Lambeth Palace Road
London SE1 7LB
The Garden Museum also has several interesting exhibits: find out more here


January jobs on your allotment

  • As crops are harvested clear debris and cover cleared soil with weed suppressant.
  • Prune overgrown blackcurrant bushes- remove a third of the oldest stems to ground level.
  • Prune freestanding apples and pears, maintaining an open centre. Do not remove more than 20% of the crown in one winter
  • Sow broad beans (Karmazyn), aubergines (Black Beauty, Long Purple and Pinstripe), mixed spicy salad leaves or Mizuna and tomatoes (Akron is a new variety and remarkable for its high yields and sweet taste or Fandango which has good blight resistance) on windowsills
  • Sow lettuces, radishes, salad onions, and spinach on windowsills. (All seeds available in store) Grow on in greenhouse and plant out late Feb under fleece or cloches. (Fleece for sale in store)
  • Apply winter washes to fruit trees to control overwintering pests. (Winter wash available in store)
  • Prune gooseberries, redcurrants by removing dead wood and low-lying shoots. Shorten branch tips by one quarter, cutting to an outward facing bud.  Prune all side-shoots back to one to three buds from their bases.
  • Start ‘chitting’ tubers of early potatoes, Swift, second earlies, Pink Fir and Kestrel, in trays in a cool, light, frost-free location. Start chitting salad potatoes, Charlotte and main crop, Picasso as ready. (All varieties available in store from January)
  • Sow broad beans in pots under cover.
  • Sow winter salads in a greenhouse or windowsill.
  • Bring potted runners of strawberries under glass for forcing.
  • Sow sweet peas now and those sown in autumn can be potted on. Place on a sunny windowsill, in a cold frame or greenhouse. (Sweet peas available in store)
  • Pinch out tips of autumn grown sweet peas after four pairs of leaves have developed or at 3.5 cms.
  • Plan a crop system for vegetables- leaving a minimum of two years before replanting crops in the same place.
  • Open greenhouse vents on mild days.


December jobs on your allotment

  • Clear away any remaining plant debris from plots and compost if disease-free.
  • Earth up and check stakes on Brussels sprouts and other tall brassicas to prevent wind rock.
  • Prune grape vines before the end of the month, when dormant, to avoid sap bleeding.
  • Continue to plant fruit trees and bushes if soil is not frozen.
  • Divide and replant rhubarb.
  • Ventilate green houses on mild days to reduce diseases.
  • Plant blackcurrants 5cm below the soil to encourage new shoots.
  • Your last opportunities – 3 and 10 December – to shop for seeds in the Store for stocking fillers – sweet peas and herbs etc.
  • Protect autumn-sown broad beans with cloches during extended periods of frost.
  • For early tender stems, ‘force’ rhubarb by covering crowns with a dark-coloured bucket.
  • Plant fruit trees trained as cordons or espaliers to make good use of limited space. Check RGS website for guidance on permitted trees.
  • Plant blueberries in pots of ericaceous compost. (Ericaceous compost available in store)