Monthly Growing Guide By Alan J Hartley For
Wellington Fields Allotments - Hixon.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec


Seeds To Sow.
There really isn’t much growing now, but some things that you can sow in a Greenhouse at the end of the month are Onion seeds and Shallot seeds. This will extend their growing season and produce bigger bulbs when they do crop. As Spring comes they can be transplanted outside and spaced out properly.

Still Growing.
At this time there aren’t really any Salad crops to grow unless you grow them in a heated Greenhouse. If you do have a frost free Greenhouse though, you can also make use of the space under the staging, in the dark. That is you can if you have grown some Winter Forcing Chicory back in the Summer. Before the frosts came you should have lifted the roots and stored them in buckets/boxes of dry sand in a frost-free place for use now. To Force them to produce Chicons you need to plant the roots in any old compost, nothing special, because the energy is already in the roots, and keep them in total darkness for a few weeks until they sprout. The shoots, or Chicons, need to be about 6 inches, or more before cutting. They are available as a vegetable in some shops and quite expensive to buy. Basically they are an alternative to Lettuce although you can serve them hot as a normal vegetable as well.
Other plants that might need a little attention are Asparagus that will want its dead foliage removing.

Other Jobs To Do.
Winter Washes for fruit trees can be applied to just about all fruit now, although you should check on their suitability for each plant according to the instructions on the bottle. They used to be made from Tar Oils, but these days are made from less harmful Fish, or vegetable Oils. The idea for their use is that you literally “Wash,” your fruit trees, bushes and grape vines at this time of year by spraying them to kill and remove over wintering eggs, larvae and scale insects etc. 

Now that we are going to have some cold days and frosty nights ahead of us it is a good time to turn over empty patches of soil to let the frost get at it and help break it up into a fine tilth. Then you can mulch it with manure, or home made compost ready to be dug in and planted up in the spring.
Talking of home made compost, turning your compost heap is definitely a good job for a cold Winter’s day and something you can do to good effect several times throughout the Winter and into Spring before using it.
Other good jobs for the colder days when not much is happening with plants are various maintenance jobs on things like sorting out paths that were put off when it was warmer. Renewing wood chipped areas around fruit bushes and the like is another job that can be done. Having Woodchip between fruit bushes means that you can get on the ground to prune, etc even when it is very wet. At this time of year none of the Woodchip that you get from tree surgeons will have any leaves in as there are no leaves on any Deciduous trees. Deciduous woodchip is not so acidic as that from Conifers either, so Winter is an especially good time to get deciduous Wood Chip.
Cleaning and oiling tools can be done in the house, or garage if the days are very cold, if you haven’t already done them. Washing pots and seed trays can be done in the warmth of a house as well. Sorting out the rubbish from a shed, or large toolbox is another useful task for a sunny day.
When there is not much else to do and you want a warm job it is a good time to go through seed catalogues and Online websites looking for next years plants and anything new that you may want to try.
As the end of the month approaches, and Christmas draws near, a nice present for gardeners to drop hints about may be a box of assorted little things like labels, different types of strings, marking pens, packs of modular trays, or seed trays, etc.


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