Welcome to ‘Garden Jobs To Do This Week’. In the third week of January things are still fairly relaxed, but I do have some tasks I would like to complete.
My jobs from last week are nearly finished. The sweet peas were ordered and have arrived, the rhubarb forcer is on order and the dahlia tubers have been checked and are surviving well. I have ordered my seeds for the Cutting Garden (more about that later this week) and cleared all the old leaves from the emerging hellebores. All that is left is to order the new dahlia tubers and pot up some snowdrops.
Gardening this week has been a real pleasure. Although the last couple of days have been chilly, the temperatures were so mild earlier in the week that I have been able to take my coat off for the odd half hour. I am concentrating on removing perennial weeds from my flower beds and cutting back the last of the perennials. I love this time of year because there is no pressure to complete any garden chores. The dogs and I can potter about and retreat to the house for a break whenever we fancy.
So onto my plans for this week:
- I need to sow the next batch of sweet peas. The batch I planted last week are already germinating so it would seem that soaking the seeds before sowing has helped, as normally even with the heated propagator germination in January takes 2/3 weeks.
- I am going to start sowing my annuals for the Cutting Garden. This week I will sow Cleome spinosa ‘Helen Campbell’ (a white spider flower) and Cobaea scandens ‘Alba’ (the cup and saucer plant) which is a climber. These are both new flowers to me this year. I got the seeds from Sarah Raven and she recommends they are sown early, so I will sow them into modules and put them in the propagator to germinate.
- I have started preparing the fruit bushes for the spring. Over the weekend I weeded the strawberry beds and planted out the runners that had been potted up in the summer.
- Next I plan to cut back all the autumn fruiting raspberries. To date I have avoided growing summer fruiting raspberries as the pruning can be fiddly. With autumn fruiting raspberries all the canes are cut to the ground in January. After a weed, feed and mulch the raspberries are done for the year and I just have the lovely fruit to look forward to. I would certainly recommend sticking to autumn varieties if you are new to fruit growing or have limited time to devote to your garden. You will have lots of fruit for very little effort. I willl move onto pruning the currant bushes, apples and pears next week.
- Order potatoes – I only grow a small number of potatoes, just early and salad varieties, so I have ordered the Sarah Raven early to mid season potato collection which includes International Kidney, Belle de Fontenay and Sharpe’s Express. These are all new to me this year, so I will report back with a taste test in the summer. They will be planted in March (weather permitting) and harvested by the end of June, leaving the ground free for winter vegetables such as leeks and cabbages. Maincrop potatoes take up growing space for much longer and are more susceptible to blight. If you love potatoes then do grow them, but I am happy with a few new potatoes early in the season.
- Finalise my growing plans for the vegetable garden this year and review my left over seed so that I can make my seed list and get the necessary seeds ordered ready to start sowing in February.
Most of my jobs this week are indoors – ordering seeds, dahlia tubers and potatoes or sowing seeds. If I can get the raspberry bed finished and weed a few more of my garden beds I will be very happy.