Garden Tips series : 5 - December to February
Bill Collier - 27.11.2009
Tips 5 - December to February - 27.11.2009

By now you should have taken all of your summer crops out of the ground and stored them and have your plot roughly dug and manured ready for the winter frosts to break it up. Now is the time to clean out the greenhouse ready for planting, wash out trays that had seedlings in last year and stack them up ready for your new crops.

Plan next year's crop rotation but remember not to plant the same vegetables in the same place. Once you have established what you are going to put in and where, get your seed catalogue and place your order. Most suppliers offer a discount for orders of a certain value so check out their websites if you have a computer and find the best deal.

In preparation for planting put some lime on the surface of the Autumn dug plot and just leave it to wash in with the rain. Put your first early potatoes ‘eyes up’ in shallow boxes and leave in a light frost free place. If you did not plant Japanese onions in November then now is the time to plant shallots, but make sure that the ground is moist enough.

You can also now plant lettuce, carrot, radishes and leeks either in the cold greenhouse or under cloches in the garden. Only sow small amounts and repeat each month with a few more. Check cloches regularly because strong winds usually lift up the sides and let the cold air in.

In the ground sow broad beans, early peas and spinach and in the greenhouse sow early maturing cabbage and cauliflowers and from the middle of the month chit your main crop potatoes. For protected cropping, sow small amounts of lettuce, carrot, radishes and leeks as you did in January.

Good gardening

Bill Collier

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