P and A Gardening diary

New Year

The weather forecast for next week is finally suggesting a significant drop in temperature – this winter has certainly been very mild, especially here in North West France. But although January can at its’ worst be cold, wet and generally uninspiring there are plenty of things for us gardeners to crack on with in our greenhouses, polytunnels and in the garden itself, when the weather allows.
January is a great time to plan of course but nothing beats (in our opinion) getting outside, whether it is to get on with jobs such as cleaning the polytunnel or greenhouse, cleaning the garden tools to make them pristine for more regular use during the springtime, sowing the first early seeds of the season or even taking the lawnmower apart…. for those of you who enjoy servicing your garden machinery and getting your hands dirty!
Keeping both your garden tools and your work area clean is extremely important. By doing so, you will be reducing the risk of pests and diseases spreading which could decimate your crop later in the year, so spending some time now on these tasks could pay considerable dividends later. In most cases there’s no substitute for using a good solid brush, water and some arm muscle… but in many cases there will be situations where you will need products (which you may of seen us mention previously) such as Algon. If you have a pressure washer, this is also a great tool for cleaning quickly and efficiently inside any hard flooring areas. For garden tools, we find that using an old scourer for removing any signs of rust on the metal of garden shears and other handy implements can also be ideal.
Enough of cleaning… there are plenty of other tasks to do... Although it’s only January, it is not too early to start chitting your seed potatoes. Top tip, they do need to be protected from frosts (which could happen any day now) and kept (egg boxes are perfect) in a place which is light, free from damp and cool. There are still several weeks before potato planting begins but it will do no harm to get started now.
For those of our clients who love to grow their own flowers from seed, again January is a good time to start sowing those plants which need a decent period to come to fruition. We’re thinking of here flowers such as dianthus and lobelias (we just love lobelia in hanging baskets…). Make sure however that your seeds are sowed in a heated propagator as the weather at this time of year will be too cold for these to survive.
We hope you’ve found these New Year tips useful.
Have a great 2016.
The P&A team.