Amongst certain friends I am known as Miss Google. My gCal is a multi-coloured work of art and I have a spreadsheet for almost every aspect of my life from finances to ‘what’s in the cupboard’. I’d love to say that it’s just because I am so incredibly organised, and perhaps that is part, but there is the other larger part that is my terrible memory. I wouldn’t get anything done without my Google aids.
In 2012 I started entering various garden jobs into the calendar as they came to light. They were set on repeat at their required frequency and email reminders set with appropriate advance timings to allow preparation time for certain tasks. In 2013, I am ready to take full advantage of the calendar. I can sit back, relax and do as I am told when I’m told (‘makes a change’ I can hear my mum say), with a degree of flexibility, of course.
Due to the garden facing north-east, technically, it’s not great for growing vegetables. We did ok last year, but this year I come armed with a heated propagator and a very kind family member who has a south-facing conservatory and extremely green fingers.
Manure has been dug into the beds and a top up of compost and top soil ordered. The lower vegetable bed, not receiving enough winter sun, is currently empty so this has been covered with black plastic to encourage the warming of the soil underneath.
Preparation is not just something that we do at the start if the growing year. The garden is currently beginning to show signs from the Spring prep done late last year. Bulbs are sprouting up here there and everywhere, including Daffodils, who are the first to brave their delicate colourful blooms in these low temperatures.
Wild Poppy seeds that were collected last year have sprouted fantastically in the greenhouse and are desperately begging to be thinned. Sadly, the same can not be said for the Sage cuttings taken last year. Having a lack of things to do and my ‘wrapping in cotton wool’ approach, I greatly overwatered the young cuttings and they quickly yellowed and died. A second batch of cuttings were taken early January in a final bid of cuttings success. Don’t worry, the watering can has been hidden.
When it rained, which seemed to happen a lot over the past few weeks, I kept myself busy by drawing up a garden plan, see here for a larger image. As you can see the beds will be fairly full with various things and not a lot of anything. We are still testing out to see what is right for us and what grows well together. I drew up a 2012 garden plan but unfortunately it didn’t quite go to plan due to the disgusting weather, so fingers crossed that this year the seedlings will get off to a better start in the heated propagator and be able to withstand anything mother nature throws at them once they are outdoors. I am most looking forward to watching the bright yellow nobbly fruits of the Summer Crookneck Squash grow. Member’s of the squash family are always such little effort with such high rewards. Perfect gardener’s friend.
Late February Jobs
– Mustard Greens
– Broad Beans
– Chilli Pepper (25–30C). Germination 7–24 days. Sow until end of March.
– Sweet Marjoram (16–18C). Germination 14–21 days. Sow indoors until end of March, then continue with direct sowings.
– Sweet Pea (14–17C). Sow seeds one per cardboard tube until end of April. Stand tubes on a layer of compost to keep tubes moist. Keep tubes moist so roots will grow through.
– Dig in 10cm of compost over summer planting areas.
– Check the pH level of your soil to see what will and won’t grow well. Most vegetables are happy around 6.5.
– Chit first early potatoes.
– Check old seeds for viability; moisten several sheets of kitchen towel and scatter on some seeds. Cover with clingfilm and place in a warm environment. If most seeds germinate then you are safe to sow.
– Warm soil for early sowings by covering with cloches or plastic sheeting.
– If you haven’t started a garden plan, get sketching. Do bear in mind in each plant’s requirements especially sun and spacing.
– Place an order for seeds if you haven’t already.
– Keep an eye out for nettle patches if you want to make some nettle wine (recipe coming up in March).