The shortest day has now passed and we can look forward to the daylight gently increasing each week. Like you, we are making the most of extra time indoors to start planning our summer garden. We just cannot resist flicking through seed catalogues and making long, slightly unrealistic lists of everything that we would love to grow, reminiscent of a child in a sweet shop who cannot decide on their favourite pick and mix. .
If time and opportunity allows, during these last days of December, we will begin to prune the autumn raspberries and complete the summer ones that should have already been taken care of!
At the rear of the farmhouse there are north facing flower beds that were planted with snowdrops ‘in the green’ last March. I am anxiously waiting for the new growth to peep through and fill the garden with their glorious winter cheer and hope for the coming year.
Looking ahead to January, we shall grasp every moment to work outside when the weather allows. Or, if it is absolutely pouring with rain, we can make the excuse to take shelter in the potting shed and sort through the stakes and bamboo canes. Time well used to decide which supports will be of use in the garden for another year and either shortening the remainder or using them to make kindling for a log fire in the evening.
Prune the apple trees.
Clear any debris from the vegetable and soft herb plot. Adding fading leaves to the compost and burning anything that shows signs of disease.
Mulch empty beds.
Tidy the potting shed and sort through stakes and canes, removing any that are no longer useful. Give pots and tubs a good clean if not already had the opportunity.
Clean the greenhouse before starting on the first sowings for the year.
Sow sweet pea seeds now that the daylight hours are beginning to lengthen. Soak the hard shelled seeds on damp kitchen towel or a little water in an egg cup before planting.
Sow indoor salad leaves and spinach.
Tidy the herb garden and potager.
Mulch the sorrel and chives that may begin to be showing signs of growth.
Keep Myrtle covered and protected from harsh frosts.
Feed birds regularly and keep table clean and free from stale food.