Time to get a move-on!


The Shallot cloche hotel picture courtesy of Janette

As any truly experienced gardener may tell you, the gardening year officially begins on 1st January and officially ends on 31st December. There is always something to do in the garden or on the allotment, regardless of the day, week, month or season.
The days and weeks of early spring are the heart and hub of all frenetic gardening and allotment activity. It is the time of year when the vast bulk of the allotment’s groundwork and preparation is established. All the crop planting and rotation schemes are sketched out; the early seeds are sown; the flower beds and vegetable drills are prepared; the new stock is bought, as are the stakes, supports, nettings and just about anything else which didn’t makes it through the winter months or has become so tatty and time worn as to need replacement anyway. The summer days and months are filled with the aftercare and attention necessary to the spring’s efforts with day after day of weeding and watering and hoeing, thinning out and filling gaps, dead-heading and truss-nipping and pest controlling and, if you’re lucky, hopefully enjoying the sun on your back and breeze on your face while you reap the early benefits of your effort: the strawberries, the early beetroots, the summer turnips, the goose-gob jam making to stave-off potential gluts, the lettuce leaves and the early cabbages with some Sweet Willies, early Zinnias and Lupins to add a splash of early colour to the plot and vase; and not forgetting the daily routines of watering and ventilating, and ventilating and watering in the polytunnel or glasshouse.
The autumn days are busy days, each one filled with its own fruitful promise, and each day seeming to add something new to the larder; all the onions and garlic need to be dug and cured; the tomatoes to be ripened quickly, the pumpkins needing to be turned and the late courgettes to be thinned, with the excess beets to be preserved and the winter kale and cabbages to be netted; the Swedes and Parsnips can be tested and the chutney is to be mixed as the days draw-in and the year’s span foreshortens and if you are fortunate enough to have them perhaps some apples and pears! Autumn is the time of year when every thing in the garden and on the allotment seems to come together and all the effort expended finally pays a dividend; food aplenty and a glorious show of rudbeckias, cosmos, sedums, dahlias and  that every allotment must have, towering sunflowers.
Winter arrives and (contrary to misconception) there is still just as much as ever to do on the allotment and in the garden; crops planned to be left subterranean will need plenty of care if they are to survive the deteriorating days; the autumn remnants will need tidying as a matter of urgency to prevent diseases from taking hold in the spring; growing areas and raised beds need to be cleared and more and most importantly have plenty of organic matter added to them or laid on as a mulch, and all beds where practical should be covered with a heavy duty tarpaulin or plastic to prevent too much leach and damage to the soil over the winter months.
Of course every year there is that period, right in the depths of mid winter when the weather, the festivities or the gardener’s bio dynamic says “not today”, and it is easier to remain indoors than to have to venture out into the harsh elements. The trick here is to view this as a passive gardening activity, the gardener actively deciding to allow the garden to rest and the allotment to sleep while nature performs its secret winter ministry. Such days must also be considered gardening days, winter days when you learn to reflect on the garden while happy to indulge the senses in the tastes and scents of the hoarded harvest; days when you are content to simply think about gardening and being thankful for the soil’s bounty; days when the seed of re-imagining is sown in your thinking; days of thought filled germinations which help recharge the spirit before you once more set out to fulfil all the promises of the garden in the New Year.
There are as many differing and diverging ideas on what a garden is and how to garden as there are gardeners who garden, but the one thing they’ll agree on is that the summer’s show and the autumn’s harvest are only ever made possible by the grubbing of hands. With the clocks going forward this weekend the final nail in hammered into the box of winter of 2015-2016.
It’s time to get a move-on: it’s time to take summer out of the packet and sow it in the pots, and it’s time to plant the harvest in the gardens and the plots…

1st ever International Greenfingers Day Saturday 2nd April…

for more information click link below…


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