I wish you all a Happy New Year!

Iceland | Aurora borealis | January 2024.
People looking out and up at the Northern lights in the sky
Iceland | Aurora borealis | January 2024

We kicked off the year with a trip to Iceland, which was absolutely fantastic. It’s back to reality now, and I’m happy to say I don’t mind returning to work. It’s also that special time of year when we begin to plan the allotment and the growing season ahead. It’s no secret that our allotment has been neglected, but we shall enter the year with positivity and a determination to grow our own food again, I yearn for those summer months, wandering around the plot with my basket, harvesting something fresh for tea.

January can be a challenging month for outdoor allotmenteering. However, there are still some tasks I will undertake in preparation for the upcoming growing season.

Here are some ideas for things you can do in your allotment in January:

  1. Planning:
    • Review and update your allotment plan.
    • Order seeds and supplies for the upcoming season.
    • Decide on the crops you want to grow and make a planting schedule.
  2. Maintenance:
    • Check and repair garden tools and equipment.
    • Clean and organise your gardening shed or storage.
  3. Soil Preparation:
    • If the weather allows, improve the soil structure by adding well-rotted compost or manure.
    • Cover bare soil with mulch to protect it from erosion and compaction.
    • You can complete winter digging if this is your preferred method.
  4. Planting Indoors:
    • Start sowing seeds indoors for crops that will be transplanted later in spring, such as tomatoes, peppers, and certain flowers. I’m considering buying some indoor grow lights to prevent those leggy toms!
  5. Forcing Rhubarb:
    • If you have rhubarb crowns, you can force them by covering them with a forcing pot or a dark container to produce tender, early stems.
  6. Winter Vegetables:
    • Harvest any remaining winter vegetables like Brussels sprouts, leeks, kale, and winter cabbage.
  7. Fruit Tree Pruning:
    • Prune apple and pear trees during the dormant season to shape them and remove dead or diseased wood.
  8. Perennial Herbs:
    • Trim and tidy perennial herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage. You can also take hardwood cuttings for propagation.
  9. Check for Pests:
    • Inspect stored vegetables for signs of pests or rot. Remove any affected produce.
  10. Winter Cover Crops:
    • If you planted winter cover crops, check their progress and plan to incorporate them into the soil in the spring.
Preparing the ground | Digging the Earth Allotment | January 2016

Although actual planting is limited, an allotment always has some task waiting to be done. Embrace the rain and enjoy snuggling up with a brew and your planning!

Sarah.

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