3 months until Autumn hits! At the risk of not being present to summer – let’s think about dinner in Autumn. Let’s get some new stuff planted to keep your vegie patch abundant. Not in an excessive, big mission way, but a regular, little way.
January is an opportunity to extend our summer crops. To create a lovely continuity after our current crops call it quits. Successional planting/ sowing is the proper name. Let’s just call it – not going hungry, little and often planting, or production plus
What to sow and plant in January
- Plant out another lot of dwarf Beans and Basil. Another one or two Tomato, Cucumber and/or Zucchini (a january zucchini is such a useful thing.)
- Direct sow Salads (choose heat lovers like Tree lettuce, Merveille de Quarter Saison, Drunken Woman, Oak Leaf, Summer Queen), and another lot of Rocket, Radish and Coriander. All on the shady side.
- Direct sow Beetroot. Use your edges for this, unless you need a heap to pickle/ bottle you don’t need a whole bed. Such a small efficient crop, they can be squeezed in anywhere.
- Tray sow Winter leeks and Autumn brassicas.
- Make compost for Autumn plantings.
- Toss another lot of flower seed about to continue the fodder for the bees et al, and for the sheer pleasure flowers bring your good self. Stock, snapdragon, calendula, borage, primula, and chamomile … so many options here! Choose vigorous self-seeders as opposed to fussy, fancy things. This way you only need sow once, and enjoy them ever more. Self-sufficient plants we love and adore.
Find garlic seed
My darling friends – it’s no good coming to me in May or June asking where to get garlic seed, by then all the good stuff has sold out. Start the hunt now! Mid January brings cured garlic to the farmers markets, use this for planting. For good quality, heritage garlic seed get on the email lists at Sethas Seeds or Country Trading.
Manage pests + weeds for peace of mind.
Should you be going away, do these three things before you head off
- a Neem spray (or whatever you use) to keep pests in hand
- a seaweed liquid feed
- mulch everything
Get ready for hungry brassica’s – two ways:
- Sow a legume greencrop (+ lime if you are on clay soils). Cut it down in about 6 weeks – right about flowering time, then broadfork the bed, spread compost + minerals + mulch with the greencrop. Leave to settle before planting out.
- Or Broadfork/ aerate the bed, give it a good water (or do this on a rainy day) and cover the whole bed in rotten manure. Mulch generously and leave it to percolate for 6 weeks or so.
I start planting out brassica’s late January/ early February and sow a mixed tray (2 or 3 each of cauli, cabbage, broccoli) every 3 or so weeks for regular harvests Autumn through Spring.
A few fruity bits
- Trim your espaliers as they do another shoot up
- Trim off strawberry runners to keep your strawberry plants energised. You can of course pot these up if you wish.
- Feed citrus and thin fruits on young trees.
- Pluck fruits off 1 or 2 year old Avocado trees. It takes alot of carbs to produce flowers and new leaf buds – a big ask for a little tree. At the same time give it a feed with a full spectrum mineral fertiliser. Let your young Avo put its mojo into new shoots instead of fruits, to build a strong canopy.