Roehampton Garden Society


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.


November jobs on your allotment

  • Continue to clear all plant debris from plots. Do not add blighted tomatoes to your compost, but burn or take to the dump.
  • Tidy up and re-cut grass path edges where the grass has encroached on your plot.
  • Empty compost heaps and use the well-rotted dark crumbly material.
  • Apply a 5cm layer of well-rotted compost or manure to bare plots or cover bare areas with brown cardboard weighed down with damp grass clippings. (Country Natural rotted stable manure available in store)
  • Add layers of the un-composted stable manure from the piles to your compost heaps and spread thinly on bare soil to rot down over winter.
  • Prepare a winter compost trench for next season’s moisture loving plants such as sweet peas, runner beans or squashes. Dig a trench a spade deep and fill with kitchen vegetable waste covering each additional layer with soil.
  • Continue to sow overwintering broad beans.
  • Sow hardy peas either straight into the ground under fleece or 3 to a 9”pot to be planted out when the roots reach the bottom.
  • Sow peas for pea shoots in a box or gutter in the green house or windowsill for salad or risotto at Christmas time.
  • Sow boxes of cut-and-come-again salads in the green house or a sheltered spot covered with fleece.
  • Finish planting onion sets and garlic.
  • Order bare root trees now for the best selection.
  • Fix grease bands to fruit trees to protect against winter moth. Start winter pruning of apples and pears.
  • Keep overwintering brassicas covered with netting to prevent pigeon damage. Stake tall brassicas against wind damage.
  • Start to harvest winter cabbage, Brussels sprouts and leeks.  Wait until after frosts for parsnips as they will be sweeter.
  • Clean the greenhouse to maximise light levels and before the water is turned off in December.