The start of a new year has worked it’s magic on my gardening enthusiasm, as it always does. I’ve replaced the frenzy of Christmas with a gentler form of excitement, and my mind is buzzing with ideas for the garden and allotment this spring and summer. We may be still in the depths of winter but I do love a good bit of looking forward, don’t you?
My problem is getting beyond that looking forward. This is what normally happens in our household: every year I have a bundle of good gardening intentions in January; I spend a blissful afternoon making lists, drawing up plans and browsing plant websites, the kids have a great time planning their little plots and choosing seeds, and I persuade my husband to agree to the heavier manual labour tasks I’ve got on the list. Excitement and enthusiasm are plentiful. Then term-time kicks in again and daily family life takes over without me noticing. All too soon it’s spring and I’ve missed my chance to get ahead of the game, yet again.
But not this year! I am determined, and the 10 minute jobs are going to be my saviour. The next few weeks will be all about harnessing those good intentions and setting the stage for the spring garden into the bargain. Here’s what we’ll be doing this month to get us started.
Deal with Christmas houseplants
Remember those miniature iris I was hoping would bloom for Christmas? Well they did!
The first one opened on Christmas Day and some of them were still going strong in the first week of January. They were perfect little shots of colour on my kitchen windowsill and an absolute joy. By now though, they and the Christmas hyacinths have definitely had their moment in the spotlight. Don’t be tempted to throw away bulbs that have finished flowering though; keep them just damp and let them die back, then plant them out into the garden in spring. With a bit of luck they’ll flower in springtime from next year; definitely worth a try in my opinion.
Quick tidy up
I always aim to give the garden a good tidy-up at the end of autumn, and more often than not this is a job that doesn’t get finished. Family life in the run-up to Christmas and the weather tempting me to stay indoors are both to blame, as is a bit of laziness if I’m honest. If this sounds familiar, then now is a great time to get outside and spruce things up a bit. It’s nothing too arduous; just remove and compost any decaying growth on plants and clear fallen leaves. This will help to reduce pest and soil problems, and also help you identify areas of the garden that need some work or extra plants this year. The smug, satisfied feeling is an added bonus!
Sow some seeds
Nothing cheers you up more on a dreary winter day than sowing some seeds and letting your mind wander to warmer weather, new life and fabulous scents. Sowing seeds with the kids is a great way to get them involved in the garden too; let them choose which seeds to grow, and use it as a chance to explain a bit about germination and what plants need in order to grow. My top seeds to sow now are sweet peas or winter salad; have a look at my post on What to Plant Now for more information on planting these.
What plans have you got to help prepare for your spring garden?