My gardening calendar is what I do roughly throughout the year. I say roughly as it is totally dependent on the weather. Where the winter continues I delay things. Your planting windows are also dependent on equipment and your house. With propogators, cloches, sunny south facing windows you can extend the growing and planting season significantly.
Things to do in the garden in January
January is a great month to do the tidying and hard landscaping in preparation for the growing season. If you haven’t already done so you can also get your manure in and start spreading it over your growing beds and anywhere else that would benefit. It will add an extra layer of frost protection to tender plants and also give a great food boost in a couple of months time
Start looking at your choices for seed potatoes. The seed catalogues will start dropping through your door if you have bought any in the past. Ask around amongst any vegetable growing neighbours for local seed companies. Also take a look and see if anything like Seedy Sunday is going on in your area. It is a really fantastic way of meeting local growers who can really expand your knowledge of local growing conditions. Also a great chance to buy seeds 😉 At the end of the month plant your chillie seeds in warm propogators. Keep well lit and moist. Chillies really like a long growing season to produce their best. Risk planting a few now to get as much time as possible.
Greenhouse grown leaves should still be available. If the frost has not been hard then parsley and perpetual spinach may still offer something. Winter purslane will always offer some green leaves in all but the hardest winter.
February is the quietist gardening month
In my view anyway. It is generally colder than January and shorter too. It therefore always feels like it presents the fewest opportunities to get things done. It is a reliable month though as it won’t betray you like March or April who offer some sunny days and can fool the inexperienced gardener (which sometimes still includes me) into doing things too early. Fine days should once again be spent preparing the soil, turning over your compost heap or seiving it if it is ready in preparation for the growing season. Do those jobs that can be done under cover like cleaning out the potting shed, tidying up the greenhouse etc. Get your early potatoes chitting.
March is when the action starts to speed up a bit
I’ll be planting beetroots at the end of the month (and will cover them with cloches or some other protection). Plant fruit trees, fruit canes and fruit bushes.
April is a treacherous month
It can come back to bite you at any moment. So make sure you make the most of cloches, fleece and any protection for your plants. I sow my seeds under cloches; its the best place for them but make sure you keep the cloches pinned down well. A nights wind can really shuffle up your garden. Also finish any digging in your beds and mulch and feed where you can. I like to apply mulch because it makes the garden look super neat but remember that lots of carbon rich material applied to the soil can lock out access to nutrients for your plants; make sure you balance your feeding accordingly.
The longer days will start to push your rhubarb to sprout. Feed it and cover it to keep the stems nice and pink. I cover mine with half water butts filled with straw. Prepare strawberry beds. If you don’t want maggots in your fruit then check the grease bands around fruit trees and renew as required. I always forget so get an extra dose of protein when I bite into my apple harvest at the end of the year. If not already done, prune Raspberry canes to 6 inches. You can keep the canes for supports for peas or similar. Plant fruit trees, fruit canes and fruit bushes. Prepare strawberry beds by weeding them, cutting and potting on the runners and then giving it a great dose of manure or food.
You’ll be getting some good warmth in your greenhouse now so if your gardening style suits it’s time to sow the bedding plants. You can also use the greenhouse to bring on gutters of