January is a month of taking stock, getting ready for the coming season and generally trying to keep warm. Nothing has ‘really’ started growing yet and there is very little to do in the way of sowing yet. However, January is full of hope. It won’t be long before the growing season will be gathering speed so take some time out now to ensure that your soil, your tools and seed store are in tip-top condition ready for the busy months ahead.
- Dig some manure into your beds
- Order your seed Potatoes ready for chitting next month
- Trim back Sage to give it a new lease of life
- Winter prune Apples, Pears, Currants, Blackberries and Raspberries
- Force Rhubarb
- Sow Spring Cabbage, hardy Lettuce and Broadbeans in the cold-frame
- Sow Early Carrots and more Garlic in situ under cloches
- Clean your tools
- Harvest the last of your Winter vegetables
- Keep adding kitchen waste to your Runner Bean trench
If you have any more suggestions for January jobs, add them to the list.
In December it’s all about tidying up, getting as much digging done when it’s not frosty and generally preparing for the worst of the Winter weather. You might even think about insulating your cold frame if you have any plants in there. But don’t forget to carry on enjoying the fruits of your summer labour in the shape of jams, jellies, chutneys and fruit syrups.
- Test the ph of your soil and apply lime if necessary. Don’t apply manure at the same time
- Get on with your winter digging so long as the ground isn’t frozen or waterlogged
- Get hold of some well-rotted manure. Farms are ideal or buy it in bags if you have to
- Earth up Spring Cabbages and winter brassicas
- Pack straw around vulnerable perennials like Artichoke
- Harvest Brussels Sprouts from the bottom up
- Dig up some Leeks and heel them in for easier harvesting
- Spread a layer of well-rotted manure around fruit bushes
- Prune fruit trees but remember to burn all prunings as they might be infected with disease or aphid eggs
- Dig your Runner Bean trench – leave it open to the elements for now
If you have any more suggestions for December jobs, add them to the list.
You might think that the season is drawing to a close right now but you’d be wrong – it’s actually the beginning of the season because now you can start to plant some crops for next season such as Garlic, Peas and Broadbeans. Garlic needs a period of cold so make sure to get some in the ground now in time for the first frosts.
- Plant garlic
- Plant new fruit trees and prune existing wall-trained fruit
- Sow Broadbeans and Peas
- Dig heavy soils and leave in clumps for the frost to break down
- Pick off any yellow leaves from Brussels Sprouts
- Harvest winter Cabbage, Leeks and Parsnips
- Lift Chicory and Rhubarb for forcing. Rhubarb crowns should be at least three years old
- Bring in the last of the dried beans such as Runner and French
- Wash your pots and seeds trays thoroughly in soapy water. Also clean and oil your tools
- Order some seed catalogues
If you have any more suggestions for November jobs, add them to the list.
The cold weather has started to set in. It’s misty in the mornings and usually cold and damp until the sun breaks through. October is a time for harvest and tidying up. Don’t be too neat though – why not leave the odd Sunflower head for the birds. They’ll appreciate it.
- Bring in the last vegetables for storage before the frosts. These include: Onions, Apples, Potatoes and Carrots
- Sow some more green manure in empty ground
- Plant more Tulip bulbs for next Spring
- Sow some winter Lettuce, such as Arctic King, in the greenhouse or coldframe
- Leave some Runner Beans and French Beans on the plant to dry so that you can collect the seed
- Plant Garlic and Spring Cabbage
- Sow outdoor Broadbeans and Peas now for a crop in early Spring
- Feed Brussels Sprouts and Winter Cabbage now to encourage them on in time for Christmas
- Pot up some Parsley, Chives and Mint to use over the winter – dig up and discard annuals such as Coriander and Dill
- Tidy up your Strawberry patch by removing any yellow leaves and the last runners
If you have any more suggestions for October jobs, add them to the list.
Summer is still holding on (if you’re lucky) and you may get some late Sweetcorn to harvest. Autumn Raspberries are in full swing and your Pumpkins and Squashes are swelling. You may also have some Chilli Peppers in the cold frame and the odd Apple or two that is ready for eating.
- Start to clear away some of the crops that have gone over (ended) like Runner beans and Sweet Peas
- Expose Apples and Pears to the sun to ripen
- Sow some winter Lettuce
- Prune trained Peach trees, taking out any branches that are not needed or growing out at right angles
- Plant Strawberry plants to increase your stock. Aim to replace plants after their third year.
- Earth up Celery and Leeks
- Plant Japanese bunching onions
- Plant Spring Cabbage
- Lift main crop Potatoes – check they are ready by rubbing the skin, if it doesn’t easily come off they are ready.
- Plant Tulips for next Spring
If you have any more suggestions for September jobs, add them to the list.
The garden is in full swing and pumping out produce on a daily basis. You may be waiting patiently for your Tomatoes to ripen, your Sweetcorn to sweeten and your Cucumbers to swell, all of which should be starting to happen by the end of the month. You’ll also see the first fruits appear on your Pumpkins and any Autumn Raspberries should now be in flower.
- Cut off all the leaves below the first truss of Tomatoes to let the light ripen the fruits, continue to feed them and water them little and often
- Pinch out growing shoots on pumpkins once they have set 3 or 4 fruits
- Shake your Sweetcorn plants to help them pollinate
- Fold over Onion tops if they haven’t done so by themselves. This is to let more light in to the Onion.
- Plant out Radicchio and Endive seedlings
- Keep cutting off runners and diseased leaves from Strawberry plants
- Prune Blackcurrants by cutting down this year’s fruiting wood
- Cut Summer Raspberry canes down after fruiting and tie in Autumn Raspberry canes as they grow
- Water Runner Beans, Celery and Pumpkins if the weather is dry
- Sow green manures in vacant ground – try Rape or Mustard but remember to dig them in before they start to flower.
If you have any more suggestions for August jobs, add them to the list.
Summer is in full swing and most plants are in the ground now. You should be harvesting salad crops, peas and potatoes by now with some strawberries and other soft fruit for pudding.
- Gather the last of the peas and clear the ground
- Sow late Carrots
- Turn your attention to Autumn crops and sow things like Raddichio, Pak Choi, Mizuna and Endive
- Keep cutting Sweet Peas to encourage more flowers
- Harvest Shallots, Onions and Garlic as their leaves goes brown
- Cut off any Potato leaves affected by blight and burn
- Feed Tomatoes every other week with high potash liquid feed
- Cut off Strawberry runners as they appear (unless you want to make new plants)
- Plant a second bed of Sweetcorn in between your onions – once the onions are gone the Sweetcorn will have enough room to grow
- Buy some ‘ready-grown’ lettuce plants to fill gaps where needed
If you have any more suggestions for July jobs, add them to the list.
It’s getting warmer and everything seems to be putting a spurt on. Time to fill in those final gaps in time for high-season and full production. Among others you should be harvesting the first lettuces, new potatoes and the first Peas.
- Plant out curcubits (Pumpkins, Courgettes, Squash, Gherkins etc)
- Plant out Sweetcorn
- Start feeding Tomatoes with high potash feed once the first truss of flowers has set
- Snap off Onion flowers if they appear
- Pinch out the growing tips of Broadbeans once the pods start to form to discourage blackfly
- Sow more Lettuce, Radish, Spring onion, Salad leaves and Coriander
- Water Peas and Potatoes
- Stake cutting flowers that will need support (such as Gladioli)
- Tie in Runner Beans as they grow
- Sow Fennel in situ
If you have any more suggestions for June jobs, add them to the list.
Spring is definitely here. Most seeds sown now will germinate fairly quickly and frost tender plants can go out at the end of the month.
- Sow Runner Beans either in cold frame or direct in your prepared bean trench
- Sow Sweetcorn in modules or toilet roll tubes in coldframe
- Sow French Beans directly into the soil
- Harden off Tomatoes and plant out at the end of the month in good rich soil
- Sow cucumber and gherkins in the cold frame or greenhouse
- Plant out Brussels Sprouts but use the ground in between them for a catch crop of cauliflower or cabbage
- Carry on sowing successional crops such as lettuce, radish, rocket, spring onions, peas etc, every two weeks
- Thin Carrot and Beetroot sowings
- Net Strawberries against bird attack and pack straw around them to discourage slugs and protect fruit from mud splashes
- Keep Onions and Shallots free from weeds
If you have any more suggestions for May jobs, add them to the list.
Now that the tulips are in full swing here’s 10 other things you can be getting on with this month.
- Start sowing in earnest with Kale, Parsnip, Carrots and Broadbeans directly into the ground
- Finish planting new fruit bushes
- Put up your bean poles
- Transplant tomato seedlings to individual pots. Still keep them inside
- Plant out Peas grown in guttering, sow more as you do and draw soil up around them as they grow
- Harden off Sweet Peas
- Sow successional crops such as lettuce, radish, rocket, spring onions, peas etc, every two weeks
- Sow some winter green such as Winter Cabbage and Sprouting Broccoli
- Clean up the strawberry bed; remove any dead or dying leaves
- Plant Brussels Sprouts and Spring Cabbage and Asparagus Crowns
If you have any more suggestions for April jobs, add them to the list.