Happy new year. It’s time to start working carefully and plan the plot. Just because it’s dark, wet, or cold doesn’t mean you don’t need to garden.
First, colonize a few windowsills at home. Sweet peas are planted indoors in a sunny location. They appreciate the warmth. Higgledy Gardens selections are blaring quietly and ready to go.
Sow spinach and tough salad seeds in a tray on the threshold. But negotiate this with your significant other first. Order early potatoes and start chitting them. I still use the egg tray on the bookshelf in my boy’s old bedroom.
Check online and in your local newspaper for Potato Days/Potato Breeders near you. Also look for upcoming Shady Sundays and other neighborhood swaps.
These first Sunday columns of the month have always relied on advice gleaned from experience, books, and notes on when to do what work. Reread columns, diaries, manuals, and study almanacs. However, I fear that some of this learning is becoming obsolete. We live in an era of rapidly changing weather. Witness the relentless temperature changes and their effects on the soil and seasons.
For example, not long ago spring bulbs had to be brought indoors to get them to bloom at Christmas. At least in London and Denmark, Henri’s beach grows in his house. Spring daffodils bloomed outdoors in mid-November at both sites. The daisies were still scattered on the beach. The frozen northern seas, the deep Danish chill are gone for now. It may have been this year, or last year, but Scandinavian winter isn’t over yet. i hope so.
Order early potatoes, mulch and fertilizer, assuming many of the rules are still in effect. Sow hopeful seeds inside or outside.
I wish you all the best in 2023, no matter where you are or what kind of gardening you are doing.
Allan Jenkins’ Plot 29 (4th Estate, £9.99) has been released. Order from Guardianbookshop.com for £8.49