Once we’re into the New Year we’re nearly into the new growing season. This is when I am brimming over with enthusiasm for the coming year and when I vow to be a better, more diligent gardener.O
f course there will be a new project to get our teeth in to: hopefully we will be broadening the vision with a new pond which is very exciting. Watch this space!
On a more mundane note there are the promises I make every year: my New Year Gardening Resolutions.
Support Herbaceous Plants.
I have been promising to do this ever since I first started gardening. I inherited the love of herbaceous plants from my Mum. They die down to nothing all winter but by late spring they are bursting with verdant vitality – until the first windy day comes and they collapse all over each other. Simple staking with supports while they are still young would save the more majestic plants from this undignified stumble.
Clean My Tools
I have been lucky enough to have been given some good quality tools over the years as gifts. I do look after them but not as well as I should. I once found a garden fork rusting away at the bottom of the compost heap. I can’t imagine how I managed to throw it in with all the weeds but I obviously did. I am most guilty of not cleaning and sharpening my loppers and secateurs. Just before Christmas I took them all apart and cleaned, oiled and sharpened them. It makes such a difference as well as making them last longer.
Water in Dry Spells
It may feel as though this resolution is redundant with all the rain we have had but I am sure we will have a dry spell sooner or later and if this coincides with young plants trying to get established then it can really affect their development. I didn’t water my young fruit trees enough in the early summer last year and they just stopped growing. They didn’t die but just stalled. Young plants in the vegetable garden like the leeks and sprouts also suffered last year. Most importantly I am going to water my radish seedlings because what kind of gardener am I if I can’t even grow a radish without it going all woody and running to seed?!
Mulching is simply applying a layer of organic or inorganic matter on top of the soil. In this case I have loads of leaf mould and compost waiting to get on the flower and vegetable beds. It has many benefits: suppressing weeds, preventing evaporation, providing nutrients for the soil and food for worms who will mix it in with the rest of the soil and hopefully improve the soil texture. The only thing that’s stopping me is a punctured wheelbarrow tyre and the though of lugging all that wet compost all over the garden. Still a new inner tube is easy to find on the internet and a bit more exercise will help atone for all those sausage rolls…
Now this really isn’t rocket science. It’s sowing few and often so you have a constant supply of lettuces herbs or carrots for example rather than sowing the whole lot at once and having a huge glut or sowing the first batch then forgetting to sow the rest. This year we will have a long parade of fresh salad vegetables and herbs rather than the crazy tangle of peas we had to battle through last year.