Here is our list of things to keep the garden humming along, enjoying the changing days, different lights and wind down to the end of the year.
- Prepare the ground for hardy annuals by clearing and raking it.
- Start sowing hardy annual seeds indoors using a greenhouse, seed trays, or gutter pipes. Choose varieties like Ammi majus, Calendula officinalis ‘Snow Princess', Verbena Bonariensis, and Zinnias. Be mindful not to sow too many seeds, as low light levels can cause leggy growth.
- Sow slow-growing plants such as antirrhinums and cobaea undercover.
- Remember to order dahlias, gladioli, and other summer-flowering bulbs.
- Give your garden a boost by applying organic fertilizers like blood, fish, and bone or pelleted chicken manure according to the instructions on the packet.
- Pot on the tender perennial cuttings taken in the fall.
- Keep a close watch on your containers and water them during dry spells. Happy gardening!
- Order seed potatoes for chitting and other vegetable seeds for later sowing.
- Chit seed potatoes in a frost-free, light location and remove any leftover potatoes from last year to prevent disease.
- Prepare ground for asparagus planting and use cloches to warm soil for early sowings of broad beans, carrots, hardy peas, and parsnips.
- Continue sowing indoor tomatoes, chili peppers, aubergines, and cucumbers.
- Sow onion seeds or sets in trays for planting out in late March. Consider Spring Onion 'North Holland Blood Red' for versatile and tasty options.
- Sow broad beans in root trainers for planting out in 4-6 weeks and sow peas in guttering filled with soil, spaced regularly along the line.
- For the salad: Sow corn salad, rainbow chard, mizuna, rocket, winter purslane, and mustard undercover.
- Grow salad in small pots or gutter pipes for easy maintenance and control.
- Sow radishes for a crunchy addition to salads, which can be harvested in 6-8 weeks.
- Plant pea tips are great for a few fresh salad greens over the winter months.
- Plant garlic, it will be a slow start but will shoot up in the spring.
- Sow hardy peas under fleece to get ahead for the spring growing season.
- Dig over your veg beds as the crops are finished. Cold weather can often break down any big clumps of soil, leaving good drainage ready for sowing.
- Cover any productive salad plants like salad Rocket or perpetual spinach.
Now's a great time to start growing some herbs for an aromatic year ahead.
- For hardy annual and biennials like chervil, parsley, and coriander, you can sow the seeds inside.
- Soak the parsley seeds in warm water the night before to speed up the harvest time.
- You can also start some perennial herbs now like French sorrel, chives, lovage, and leaf fennel. They'll germinate fine with a little bottom heat.
- If you have some mint that's looking a bit straggly in the garden, pot it up so you'll have fresh shoots for potatoes and salads later in the year. Just dig up a small clump and separate out a healthy section. Cut a few lengths of the thick root and replant the cuttings in a pot.
Here's what you could be picking and eating this time next year, or maybe you already are if you're a seasoned pro...
- Brassicas: Brussels sprouts, red and green cabbages, cauliflower, kale, and purple sprouting broccoli.
- Roots: Jerusalem artichokes, parsnips, and salsify.
- Salad: chicory, endive, lettuces, hardy lettuces, mizuna, salad rocket, and mustard leaves.
- Edible flowers: violas.
- Leafy greens: chard and perpetual spinach.
- Stems: leeks and cardoons.
- Herbs: parsley, chervil, coriander, winter savoury, rosemary, sage, and bay.
- To prep for early seed sowing, give your cloches a good wash with soapy water to keep them clean and effective.
- Get rid of slippery mud and moss on patios and paths by scrubbing and hosing them down.
- Keep beds and the kitchen garden weed-free now to save time in spring. Dig up any perennial weeds you see.
- Avoid walking on the lawn during heavy frosts. Consider re-cutting or installing permanent border edging when conditions are suitable.
- If you're planning on sowing a new lawn in spring, prepare the ground now by removing perennial weeds and roughening the soil to allow frost to break down larger clumps.
- Check your tools and equipment to make sure they're in good condition and ready to use.
- Get your plant supports ready for when you need them by preparing them now.