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Grow at Home

Welcome to the New Year!
January can be the coldest month, but days are gradually getting longer

and spring isn’t so far away, so there are things to be done…

If you are already into growing plants, you will know how absorbing, relaxing and satisfying it can be – a healthy distraction from other cares – not forgetting the flavour of freshly harvested produce.

If you haven’t started yet, now is a good time to begin – if you have a garden, great! However, you can still get many of the benefits from growing plants in containers on a patio, a balcony or a window sill.

Plan what you want to grow this year with help from seed catalogues and websites.
Click on the titles listed below for links to articles and videos that will give you ideas and show you how to go about it.

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.

The Modern Kitchen Garden – you may well find these notes from the talk by Barry Newman, past Chairman of the National Vegetable Society, useful when making your plans.

Look after any winter crops you may already be growing – keep off hungry pigeons with netting.

If you have an old apple tree that you don’t know what to with, this info & video takes the mystery out of pruning and shows how to get a healthier, better looking and more productive tree

Keep salad going when it gets cold. Look after any winter salad leaves or herbs you may be growing in pots indoors – making sure they get enough water and light. Lamb’s lettuce (corn salad) will continue to grow happily outside but, to make sure, best protect it from frost by a layer of fleece or a cloche.

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 be sown for an early crop. In this cold weather sow them indoors in pots/modules – apart from helping germination, this avoids the seeds being eaten by mice. The young plants can then be planted out at the right spacing in early spring. Sowing broad beans

Click the titles below
for links to advice & videos to help you get growing successfully:

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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