Things to do in January
I'm not going to give you the usual boring list of January jobs like cleaning your greenhouse or polishing your tools. I might as well remind you to empty the dishwasher! This time of year is really about building and planning the vegetable garden so there are plenty of things, like ordering seed etc.. you can still be doing from the comfort of your armchair. Building raised beds. I know we're biased because we sell them but raised beds really are the way to go. They warm up quicker in the spring, manage better with wet conditions, are a pleasure to work on and keep your vegetable growing area neat and tidy. We have a couple of new additions to our range with our re-designed 'Premier' beds. The Premier has been upgraded to a chunky 1.5 in board with 3in square internal corner posts to give a super sturdy construction. The bed now comes in a 9inch, 14inch and tall 21inch height models. All our beds use Irish timber cut to our specification in our local Sligo sawmills. The timber is cut first, then treated unlike some of our competitors. When treated timber is cut the sawn end will rot thus compromising the integrity of the bed. We avoid this by never cutting after treatment. The preservative used is certified by the soil association safe for use with organic food crops. You can view our full range of raised beds by clicking our raised bed department here. Order your seeds, potatoes and onions. Try to get prepared with a good idea of what you want to grow this season. Work out how much space you have available, taking into account the space each plant will need you can see how much you'll fit in. If you are a new to vegetable growing my advice is to start small with easy to grow crops. I would recommend salad crops, beetroot, chard, kale, peas and radish as easy starter crops. We have a wide range of seeds available in our seed shop with detailed explanations by Klaus Laitenberger. The seed shop also contains our selection of organic and non organic seed potatoes which you can enter by clicking here. Start sowing some seed indoors. If you have a greenhouse or polytunnel it's worth trying your luck with a few bits, even if you have a nice bright south facing window sill it's worth a go. There's some onions on the left (see onion section) but the most reliable will be any of the oriental salads which can be grown inside or outside under a cloche. I'd recommend Mustard 'Green frills' and 'Red frills' or Leaf Radish 'Sangria'. Sow in modules on a heat bench and cover with a layer of fleece. If sowing small amounts you could also use an electric propagator which are perfect to get going in early spring. Get yourself a diary. Growing records are very important as you learn to fine tune your garden and get the most out of it. Everyone's plot is so different with soil type and growing conditions varying within a couple of miles. Keep track of what varieties you've sown, when and how you did it. The more information the better, you'll be delighted with your work the following spring. Personally I find a standard A4 diary with a page per day ideal giving me plenty of room to write stuff. Stick in seed packets and plant labels, break up the text with pictures, have a bit of fun.