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Gardeners Advice

Early sowing and greenhouse cleaning and tidying
19 Dec

Early sowing and greenhouse cleaning and tidying

Posted By: rocket veg Category: Growing Veg, Seasonal Tips

When we reach the winter solstice, I find the prospect of more hours of daylight as spring gradually approaches truly heartening. It’s the perfect time to plan ahead for the coming year – those changes and improvements in the garden; what and when to sow on the allotment. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and make full use of any mild, dry days to get ahead of the game.

Sow now – enjoy later: Peas and Cabbage

I’ve already made a start in my greenhouse and sowed the first seeds ready for the new allotment year - peas, both ‘sweet’ and for culinary purposes. Toilet roll tubes filled with fresh compost make the ideal container, holes ‘dibbed’ with a broken chopstick and a lovely round seed popped into each. My granddaughter loves helping with this job, pea seeds perfect for little fingers to manage. The tubes stand in an old tray for support and are covered with fleece, partly to provide a bit of shelter, but also to deter mice which have an uncanny knack of sniffing out pea seeds to dig up for a mid-winter feast. I’ve chosen two varieties of sweet pea to plant this year – ‘Gwendoline’ and ‘Windsor’, both described as ‘exhibition quality’ which means that the flowers will have long stems, ideal for cutting and putting in a vase to enjoy the fantastic scent!

I’ve also sowed cabbage seed – ‘Greyhound’, one of my favourite varieties which has a dependable germination rate and produces excellent cabbages ready for eating in early summer. Half a dozen or so summer cabbage plants will be all that I need, so a few seeds scattered across damp compost in a small seed tray will suffice. I’ll transplant the seedlings to pots when they are large enough to handle and keep you updated of their progress in due course.

Greenhouse cleaning and tidying

If you are lucky enough to have a greenhouse, now is the perfect time to give it a good clean and tidy up, both inside and out, gutters cleared and the floor swept. A mucky greenhouse will harbour pests and encourage the spread of plant diseases and dirty glass will significantly reduce the amount of light. Jeyes Fluid really comes into its own for this task, a tried and trusted garden disinfectant which is diluted with water and used for washing down and sterilising the staging, seed trays and pots, glass – the lot. My greenhouse got the treatment in the late autumn after I had harvested the last tomatoes and once I had completed cleaning, I fumigated the space. If you don’t have a greenhouse and have always wanted one, it’s not too late to ask Father Christmas!

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