Last week I intended to finish digging up the dahlia tubers, finish planting the winter pots and put up the outside Christmas lights (see the full list here). All the dahlia tubers from the Kitchen Garden have now been dug up and are upside down drying out in the greenhouse and most of the pots have been filled with bulbs for spring colour.
The Christmas lights, however, are another story. Every year I have a tale of woe to relate regarding Christmas lights. This year I went to the cupboard where I keep all the Christmas decorations and found the three strings of outside light neatly rolled up and ready to use. An excellent start except that I only had two transformers. Did I really put the lights away without all three transformers? Things got worse. As I took the lights outside another transformer dropped to the floor and smashed. I am now awaiting an Amazon delivery!
So my jobs to do this week will be to:
1. Store the Dried Dahlias Tubers in the Potting Shed
I have some large wooden crates which I keep for this purpose. I will line the crates with newspaper and then pack the labeled tubers in. I cover the crates with straw and more newspaper for insulation as temperatures do drop below freezing in the Potting Shed. I will need to check the crates monthly as some tubers always start to rot and need removing promptly to stop the rot spreading.
2. Clean the Greenhouse
Seed sowing will start soon after Christmas , so I like to give the greenhouse a thorough spring clean in December. The routine is simple – clear out the pots and debris from the last growing season and pressure wash the frame and windows. Once dry I can restock the staging with pots and tools in an orderly manner, plant the last of the indoor bulbs in the greenhouse bed and shut the door until January.
3. Finish Planting Bulbs
There are still a few packs of bulbs waiting to be planted. Hopefully the weather will hold this week so that I can get out and finish the job. Anything left by the weekend will be popped into plastic pots filled with garden compost. This is the quickest way to plant bulbs and means the flowering pots can be moved around the garden to provide colour where needed in the spring. This morning brought a surprise delivery of eremurus plants (foxtail lilies) which I had ordered at Chelsea and forgotten about. These too will need planting this week before the roots dry out.
4. Move Strawberry Runners into the Greenhouse for the Winter
I have quite a few potted strawberry runners attached to strawberry plants in the Kitchen Garden. These need to be separated and moved into the greenhouse cold frames for the winter so that the roots do not freeze. I will plant these young plants out in the spring to provide new stock in the strawberry beds.
From previous weeks I also need to finish the outside Christmas lights and plant the garlic. Clearly this is quite a big list, but I hope it will be the last busy gardening week before Christmas. The days are closing in rapidly and it is time to plan a break from the garden and enjoy the build up to Christmas. Weather permitting, I will be trying to get a few hours a day in this week to ensure that everything is done.