New year, new crops

It’s been a while since we last posted, but one of our New Year’s Resolutions is to pick up the frequency of our posts again. It’s much easier to do that once we get into the spring and summer months, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing at all going on in the garden at the moment!

Below, we’ve covered off a couple of things we’ve been up to just recently. However, we intend to do a few “catch up” posts over the next few weeks looking back over some of the gardening escapades we had late summer and into the autumn last year that we didn’t get round to blogging about.

Although the weather is temperamental as ever at the moment, some plants can cope with that. Some good examples are garlic and onions, both of which can bear the cold, frosty (and very occasionally in the South of England!) snowy weather.

Garlic

We bought some garlic bulbs at an event we went to back in early October, and planted them out in our raised bed a couple of weeks later. Although they didn’t seem to move for quite a while, we have been checking on them regularly and it didn’t take them long to root into the soil below. Given the milder weather we’ve had lately – not that the mildness has continued into today it turns out – they have also shot up some green shoots rather rapidly too over Christmas and the New Year. The cooler weather we’re forecast for the next week or so will probably hinder their progress somewhat, but they should get going again soon enough once it warms up a bit again.

Onions

Dad has been growing some Toughball onions from seed, which have up until last weekend been growing on in 3″ pots in a cold greenhouse. He had some spares, so we took 30 off his hands and have planted these out in pots in our garden.

These have been planted out into multipurpose compost and were given a good watering after planting out to settle the plants in their new surroundings. These will stay in these pots to maturity, which we would hope to be in early summer. The idea is that these will produce small onions (about 8oz) which we can harvest and keep to eat throughout the autumn and winter months.

We gave these a go last year in exactly the same pots, and although we managed to get some onions to harvest, they didn’t bulk up that much. Therefore, this year we are planning to give the onions some liquid feed to help supplement the nutrients already in the compost in the hope that this will help them bulb up to a larger onion by the time it comes to harvesting them. We shall see!

We’re not just about vegetables…

We are also growing some primroses. Again, this is something we had last year, but we think they add a great splash of colour on our front doorstep over the winter and into the spring.

The big clear up

Albeit one of the less exciting parts of growing your own vegetables, it is really important to clear away the old plants once they are finished to prevent pests and diseases from harbouring there over the winter whilst you’re not out in the garden so much. It is also a good idea to tidy away all your gadgets and accessories during the colder, wetter weather to prolong their useful life. For example, bamboo canes and other wood that you might use to support plants. This will last longer if protected from the elements wherever possible.

Therefore, last weekend was also time to clear the remainder of the cucumber vines from the greenhouse and tidy the bamboo canes and other supports into the garage until they are needed again later this year.

We will turn over the soil in the greenhouse prior to making use of it again this year, but we ran out of time for that this time!

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