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Grow at Home

December – frosts, as we come up to the shortest day
but it’s getting us closer to Spring

One essential job that needs to be done, even in the worst of the weather, is to browse through seed catalogues and websites planning what you will grow next year.
Avoid growing the same thing in the same patch of soil year after year, as this can lead to a build-up of pests and diseases. Even if you don’t have space for full-blown crop rotation, do what you can to ring the changes – and if you run out of space, a lot of crops can be grown in containers.

Look after any winter crops you may have – keep off hungry pigeons with netting.

Plant tulip bulbs for spring colour – in flower beds, in a gravel garden; you don’t even need a garden, as they grow very well and look good in containers:

Click the title“Plant spring bulbs” below to find out exactly how to do it.

Strawberries taste best picked straight from the plant. You can plant bare rooted plants now (from reputable suppliers on the internet), although with winter just around the corner, they could do with some protection to help them get established, either planted out under cloches or planted into containers under cover.
Alternatively, you can buy potted plants in the spring.
Find out how to grow strawberries in the garden or a container on a patio or balcony.

Keep salad going when it gets cold…
by sowing winter salad leaves in containers indoors. Oriental greens are particularly useful.
Lamb’s lettuce
(corn salad) will continue to grow outside (best protected from frost by fleece or a cloche), but any new sowings need to be done indoors.

Click for videoTom Brown, West Dean Gardens’ Head Gardener, shows how to sow salad leaves in pots.

Sweet pea seeds can be sown now:
Sowing sweet peas

Find out more about sweet peas from the talk Roger Parsons gave to LHS:
How to Grow Better Sweet Peas

Broad beans can also be sown for an early crop – either directly in the soil (‘Aquadulce Claudia‘ is good for this) or in pots/modules -this avoids mice eating the seeds and allows planting out at the right spacing in early spring.
Sowing broad beans

Click the titles below
to see links to helpful advice & videos

Planting bulbs in borders
RHS video

Planting bulbs in grass
RHS illustrated guide

Layering bulbs in a pot
Gardeners’ World video

10 of the best bulbs for pots
from Gardeners’ World

Winter salad leaves
Winter salad in containers
RHS growing guide

Herbs in containers
RHS guide with video

Choose your herbs
Guides to individual herbs

Seed sowing techniques:
Comprehensive RHS guide

Transplanting:
RHS guide

Successional sowing:
RHS guide

Choose your vegetables:
Individual growing guides

look at some activities from
RHS Schoolgardening

for instance, enchanting…
Miniature Gardens

or choose something that will produce results quickly, such as cut and come again salad leaves.

Get more plants for free
Take hardwood cuttings now a straight-forward way to propagate your favourite shrubs from their woody stems.

Don’t forget to check on the progress of any softwood or semi-ripe cuttings you may have taken earlier.

Root cuttings can also be taken now – a simple way of propagating some perennials and shrubs that are not amenable to hardwood cuttings, such as oriental poppies, Japanese anemones, verbascum …
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