My Garden & Allotments in January 2013


January 2013 has been a right mixed bag in terms of the weather, what with frost and snow in the early part of the month , and rain and gales seeing it out!

A Panoramic view of my garden covered in snow as seen from my back door

Over the remainder of the month I had the pleasure of looking at the following parts of the garden;

The back garden
Containers on the Patio

1st Snowdrop of the season

Winter heather bed

A few of the Winter / Spring flowering shrubs I have dotted around the garden;

Camellia in full bud

Jasmine nudiflorum in flower

Mahonia coming into flower

Skimmia in full bud

At this time of the year there is not much one can do around the garden so I find it is a good time to sort out and wash my seed trays and pots as can be seen here;

Washing facilities
600 Washed pots
Pots stacked for storage
Storage Area

My next preparatory task was to make some seeds compost for the sowing I have planned in the near future;

I use soilless seed compost or multi purpose compost (seived if necessary) with added silver sand, Perlite or Vermiculite.

Subject to the sand content in the multi-purpose compost I find that generally a ratio of around six parts (by volume) multi-purpose compost to one part sand, perlite or vermiculie usually works quite well.

Prior to adding the vermiculite I sifted out the finer particles and saved these for covering my seeds after I sow them.

Sifted multi-purpose compost
Medium grade Vermiculite
Sifted vermiculite
Final mix

I do not add any fertilser to my seed compost at this stage as too high a fertiliser content can be detrimental to the seedlings.

Further information on compost can be found here.

In December I set the heater in my greenhouse to maintain a temperature of around 3°C (38°F) thus keeping it frost free for the few plants I had in store, then in January I switched on the Hotbed to keep a soil temperature of around 18-20°C (64-68°F)

Once I was satisfied I was maintaining the required temperatures, I placed my Chrysanthemum stools on the bed to produce basal growth for cuttings I hope to take next month.

I also sowed various seeds that required fairly high levels of heating in the propagator, plus some that did not require as much heat onto the hotbed.

Inside the greenhouse

Various seeds in Propagator

Various seeds on Hot Bed

These are a few types of bulbs that I like to grow on for fetching into the house when they are about to come into flower;

Mixed bulbs

Other ongoing tasks going on in the greenhouse are as follows;

Chitting Potatoes: to date I haven't taken delivery of all the seed tubers I will be planting, these are a few I have saved from a previous crop, plus I am experimenting with a couple of supermarket varieties.

The varieties clockwise from bottom left are: Blue Belle, Maris Piper and my own Pink Fir Apple.

Chitting Potatoes

Chrysanthemum Basal Growth; At the end of the growing season I cut my Disbud Chrysanthemums down and strip them of all leaves and basal growth and box them up in an open textured compost and store them in a frost free spot until now.

Then I place them on the hotbed to produce cutting material in the form of basal growth.

Chrysanthemum Basal growth

Garlic: The reason I have done them this way is, after avisit to the allotment earlier on in the month I found that the new garlic cloves I purchased and planted last October seem to have failed so these are to supplement my losses.

Shallots: These are a few bulbs I found lying in a tray and I considerd that they were too small for the cooking, so I thought I would use them as new stock.

Potato Onions: These are a few bulbs I received in a seed / plant swap on line last year.

The potato onion (also known as multiplier onion) is a variety of the Aggregatum group of Allium cepa, similar to the shallot, although producing larger bulbs.

They are remarkably easy to grow, and store better than almost any other variety of onion, and they are ideal for the home gardener with restricted space.

Planted Up
Leaves Emerging

They were very popular in the past, but like many old varieties, they have been passed over commecially in favour of types more suitable for mechanical harvesting and mass marketing.(Description Courtesy of Wikipaedia)

They are grown from bulbs rather than seed.

Most sources say they should be planted in autumn, but this probably applies only to areas with a moderate climate.

They can also be planted in the spring as soon as the ground can be worked.

The same sources differ about planting depth, some saying shallow planting is appropriate, others call for deeper planting.

This onion does tend to grow very close to the surface and a planting hole perhaps an inch deeper than the diameter of the bulb seems to work well.

They vary in size from half an inch to three inches in diameter (1 - 8cm) when matured.

These are a few more things I have on the go in the greenhouse:

Sweet Peas sown 9th Jan
Lobelia sown 14th Jan
Onions sown 9th Jan
A solitary Fuchsia flower

.....and finally just a couple of things I have growing in the house;

Aloe variegata

and that concludes my blog for January 2013

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