Roehampton Garden Society


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)


January jobs on your allotment

Maintaining soil and structures and planning ahead

  • As crops are harvested clear debris and cover cleared soil with weed suppressant.
  • Plan a crop system for vegetables- leaving a minimum of two years before replanting crops in the same place.
  • Complete winter digging of bare beds and cover the ground to warm beds for early crops.
  • Open greenhouse vents on mild days
  • Clean greenhouses, staging, pots and seed-trays for the coming growing season.

Sowing and growing

  • Apply winter washes to fruit trees to control overwintering pests.
  • Start ‘chitting’ tubers of early potatoes in trays in a cool, light, frost-free location.
  • Sow broad beans in pots under cover.
  • Sow winter salads in a greenhouse or windowsill.
  • Sow summer brassicas and spinach on a windowsill to plant out in late February.
  • Aubergines can be sown under cover on a sunny windowsill from late January.
  • Bring potted runners of strawberries under glass for forcing.
  • Sow later sweet peas now and pot on autumn-sown sweet peas, pinching out the tip after 4 pairs of leaves have developed or when plants have reached 3.5 cms. Place on a sunny windowsill, in a cold frame or greenhouse.
  • Ensure brassicas are protected against pigeons by netting.
  • Begin forcing rhubarb for an early crop by placing a bucket or forcing jar over the crop.

Harvesting

  • Harvest parsnip, swede, sprouting broccoli, Brussels sprouts, leek and turnip.

Pruning

  • Prune overgrown blackcurrant bushes- remove a third of the old, weak or unproductive stems to ground level to encourage new basal shoots.
  • Prune freestanding apples and pears, maintaining an open centre. Do not remove more than 20% of the crown in one winter
  • Prune gooseberries, redcurrants and whitecurrants by removing dead wood and low lying shoots. Prune last year’s growth of the main stems by about a half. Prune all side-shoots back to one to three buds from their bases.
  • Prune grapevines before mid January.

Gardening for wildlife

  • Regularly replenish bird feeders.
  • Clear out bird boxes by removing old nests and rinse out boxes.