Garden

January is always seedanuary

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January at Ar Bruadair is always a time for reflection on the year past and the excitement of the year to come. It’s January when the seed orders get placed and plans are underway. So go grab a cuppa and a wee biscuit or two and let’s get started.

Last year started off really well, I think it was my most enjoyable start to the year in a long time. We started off in the greenhouse, planning out our gardens together and I took you guys through the joy of deciphering seed packets and seed catalogues. Cause you know, that’s always a way to while away a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Go back and find out more about seed packets and hardiness zones. http://www.eliapplebydonald.co.uk/blog/2019/01/

The real planting around these parts can’t start until February at the earliest, so even though some of the other gardening blogs out there are showing off their seedlings. It will be at least another month before I get to make a start. But hey, that’s ok, I think of it as an extra month or two of getting organised. So February is when I can get the greenhouse in order and prepare the compost I am going to be using.

Compost sieve
Making your own compost is a great money saver and great for recycling garden waste. Pop back to last year to read about how we take our raw compost and turn it into variants including potting compost. http://www.eliapplebydonald.co.uk/blog/compost-sieving-it-and-use-it/

So, either very late February or early March is when I get to go out and play….. when the real planting begins. Hurrah!!!

Last year I took you through my crafty ‘propagator in propagator’ way of beating the Scottish cold. My plan is to take you through that in more detail this year. Feel free to go have a look at last year’s blog post and get ready.

Double propagators to help with the cold. http://www.eliapplebydonald.co.uk/blog/using-propagators-to-start-your-seedlings-off-how-to-move-them-from-propagator-to-greenhouse-to-outdoors/

So what is the plan for this year?

I’m glad you asked, cause this is always the fun bit.

OK, shall we start in the main garden (or as Kate calls it, short meadow)?

The plans for the main garden are simple, and there isn’t really much change from our normal season. This year, we are carrying on with buying the courgettes as plugs so that I don’t have to find space for them in the greenhouse. This has worked really well the past couple of years, so we’ll be doing that again. Plants should arrive in May.

We are switching up the carrots though. We have grown purple haze carrots since the very first year. We do love them and they are super reliable. However, as fun as the purple carrot are, they can really only be used in things like salads, as when you cook them, they turn everything brown or purple. Purple carrot soup is interesting, but… So this year we are sticking to orange. Boring, but practical.

We are also going to have a go at growing green beans again. This is the only thing I have tried that hasn’t worked, we’ve never been able to get a crop of green beans (french beans) so fingers crossed. And lastly, we have one raised bed to replace, we did the other two last year but the final one still had strawberries in there so it’s had to be put on hold. I’m not looking forward to that job, I put my back out with all the shovelling dirt last year.

Eli emptying the soil form the raised beds
From shoogly to railway sleeper, we now have raised beds fit for our courgettes. http://www.eliapplebydonald.co.uk/blog/new-raised-beds-railway-sleepers/

For the greenhouse, there is going to be a bit of change in there. Two ways… firstly I am reducing the number of tomatoes I grow as I want to keep the two sets of staging up and only have to flatten one. So I am only going to have the one Quadgrow going this year. This will let me focus on flowers for longer, as at the moment, we have to put them out too early in order to create space for the tomatoes. So that’s a big change for me. That means there will only be three types of tomatoes this year, little plum, blue cherries and red cherries. We’ll see how this works out.

I’m also getting rid of the big Quadgrow Plus. It’s just too big for my greenhouse, the way I use it, so it is being gifted to the lovely Sandra out in Woodcote Mains (who doesn’t know this yet). She has a HUGE greenhouse, so I’m sure she’ll get good use out of it.

So yeah, more emphasis on the flowers in the greenhouse. This means I’ll be able to get a proper stock of flowers going and keep them in the greenhouse until they are truly ready to be transferred outside. Usually, I put them out when they are still tender and we play roulette with their poor wee lives.

That means this year there will be, petunias, gazania, new guinea impatiens, crocosmia, mimulus etc but also I’m going to grow marigolds. Haven’t grown them before.

Partly it is because we love them in the garden, they are bright and fun and last forever, but mostly I am trying them out to see if they help with the whitefly. The new greenhouse seems to be a whitefly hotel. I have never had so many infestations. So that’s this year’s experiment.

I’m also cutting back on the number of herbs in the greenhouse, as they tend to take over, so it will be the tender stuff like, french tarragon, basil, dill… the more hardy stuff like oregano, chives etc will be outdoors. I haven’t mentioned to Kate yet, but she’ll be building me a new herb planter next to the greenhouse. (love you darling!!!!!)

So I’ll leave you guys there with this wee taster just now.

I’ll be out getting the greenhouse ready this weekend, so I promise there will be a blog post and video, but before then, who else is excited for Picard?

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