Okay, so I know that technically, it is still January.
There is indeed, still a chance of frost, a pretty big chance of it, at that. It’s still cold, it’s still dark for too many hours, and no, I guess the plants and flowers-to-be, aren’t exactly aching or burning with intense desire, to poke their head out from under the soil, embrace the frosty daylight, and scream with passion:
Overly optimistic flower– “I’m ready! Bees? Where the devil are you, come and Pollenate me!
Cold!? Me? No way, we’re in Britain!
Look! There’s the sun, that’s what the humans look out for to validate their ‘bikini weather, is it not!? Why can’t I behave like a true Brit for once, and get brave to bare all?”
No, I have seen enough of reality now, to understand that this is never going to happen, despite how much I wish I could hurry along the months, to get to the point when the Earth is ready to be tilled, the plant pots filled with new compost, and the seeds safely sprinkled.
There are things we can do, there is hope yet, for those who crave freshly sprouting seedlings, the first hints of glorious Green, that reminder that Spring is on it’s way, maybe not now, but soon!
So, fellow gardeners, don’t despair! Here is a list for those who cannot wait, like myself, which I have conjured up, to share with anyone interested…
Garden/allotment Jobs for January, or at least February:
Sow indoors (e.g. windowsill) or in a greenhouse:
1) Begonia – These are slower to flower from seed, so getting a good head start by sowing seeds indoors, at this early stage of January/February, isn’t a bad idea for those who love a beautiful Begonia.
Begonias will eventually flower come July- October and November even!
2) Sweet Peas– Sow in a glass house/greenhouse, or cool place indoors (i.e. next to a windowsill)
Sweet Peas start to flower from May/June to August!
3) Brassicas (such as Cauliflower, Summer Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts)- Start sowing these early, under cover (perhaps try a polytunnel)
4) Leeks– Start sowing these now, under cover. They need a long growing season, so starting early, provided they are protected under cover, is a good plan.
5) Broad Beans– Providing the risk of frost isn’t too great, you can start sowing the hardier varieties of Broad Beans, directly outdoors, into the soil.
6) Raspberry canes and blackberries– Check first that the soil isn’t waterlogged or frozen. You’re good to start planting Raspberry canes and other fruit bushes like Gooseberries, outdoors!
7) Dahlias– You can sow these beautiful flowers-to-be indoors, now. Generally it’s best if they’re left to germinate at a temperature around 15 degrees C- 20 degrees C.
Dahlias will eventually flower from July up to October!
8) Snowdrops– Now is a great time to establish new colonies of Snowdrops, those well known, iconic and heavily reassuring, first flowers to often appear, during those testing post-Christmas, post- Winter Solstice weeks. If possible, it might be a good idea to go out and buy Snowdrops which are already flowering (from local garden centre, markets and some supermarkets such as Morrisons), because then of course you get the head start, and can personally select those which you feel are already looking healthy, pretty and encouraging!
9) Tulips– These bulbs which will come to life in Spring, can delightfully be planted now, even in January. In fact it’s best to plant Spring bulbs such as these, as early on as possible, because (wonderfully), Spring will arrive before we know it!
So, what are you waiting for? Can’t wait for compost? Neither can I!
Hopefully, I have been able to inspire readers, with some confidence, and remind fellow lovers of plant companionship, that the (seemingly) endless Winter desolation we have all been contending with recently. It’s time to reawaken some eagerly anticipated colour in our lives!