Roehampton Garden Society

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)