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Week one

Things you can do this week shallots can be sown at any time now (if weather and soil conditions allow) that is if you didn't plant them before Christmas on the traditional shortest day. Prune soft fruit, goosberries, red currents etc. Renew grease bands on fruit trees and prune. Pot lilies for the greenhouse.

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Gardening diary week one Jan 1 - Jan 7

Links to weeks throughout the year
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The year has started cold and frosty, so I'm glad I spent an afternoon before Christmas digging up the remaining row of Maris Bard new potatoes. If left in the ground where they were the frost could well have damaged those nearest the surface making them useless. They needed digging up anyway as they had decided it was time to begin growing again. They are big potatoes now and once scrubbed, scrapped and boiled make a very nice mashed potato.

I like to grow standard bay trees. It is a slow process but once the plants get growing it is simply a matter of tying in the main stem to keep it growing straight and eventually cutting of the bottom branches. Once the plant is well established and growing strongly it can be pruned to shape and eventually moved into a large pot or favoured garden position.

Even though the ground is cold I can still spend some time digging out the yellow rooted perenial stinging nettle that likes to make itself at home in my light fertile soil. The better the soil the better they grow I have them in several parts of the plot now. Including under the greengage tree with the snowdrops. The snowdrops seem quite tolerent of the nettles if the don't get too well established and I dig them out from time to time.


This week's picture gallery

As it's the first week of the year and I'm making new year resolutions once again. Resolution one: get rid of the rubbish. Two: if it isn't rubbish then clear it away or store it correctly.

The first snowdrops are through the ground and I have had to do a quick clear up under the apple tree where I planted them out last year. I'm supprised to see that the fallen apples are not getting eaten very fast by the birds this year.

I think I may buy in some new shallots this year - but I had better get a move on it's time to get them into the ground.



Pruning in ernest has to begin now. I have made a start with the pollarded Mirabelle plum at the end of the garden and cut two large chunks off it. This tree is now pruned so heavily it is not left to grow wood that is old enough to produce fruit. Many of the prunings can can be used for pea sticks if they are first carefully checked over and the occasional sharp spike removed.


Monday 2nd January 2006 The Aconites and snowdrops are hardly beginning to come through the ground yet, so I thought some weeding of the area would be in order. I also dug up a clump of rooted climbing rose cuttings that were in the middle of the snowdrop patch and getting in the way. Roses can root easily from simple 18inch stems plunged into the ground leaving about one third of the stem above ground.

This years crop of species crocus will be nonexistent as the mice have found them and dug them up and eaten them. Not only have they found those newly planted last autumn but those planted the year before as well. I won't plant 100 close together in the same location in future.

I'm still digging up potatoes.

The shallots left in the greenhouse since last summer seemed to be OK although I think they should be in dryer and warmer conditions now and have brought half of them home and cleaned them up. The keeping properties of shallots are extraordinary and many of these will keep well, even in a house, until the new Japanese onions are ready to crop in the summer.


January 2nd 2005 Planting out shallots, pruning and general clearing up are the tasks for this time of the year, although today I was still feeding the Japanese onion sets and the spring greens liquid feed. I planted a few more shallots, hoed under the red gooseberry bushes and got the loppers on what are now last years fruited blackberry canes. The First Aconites are in flower already in the old Apiary and one of my main jobs at the beginning of this year will digging them up and moving them to the allotment along with the snowdrops and daffodils.


Saturday 3rd january Thieves in the cabbage patch If something similar hadn't happened before I wouldn't believe it – all of my January king cabbages have been stolen from their prime position under the apple tree near the water butt. I grew them there as the water butt has a tap with it and it was convenient for watering them during the long hot summer. Unfortunately this strategy has failed me because they were too easy to see and almost shouted out "steal me" as they grew plumper whilst everything else around them died down. The stealing of cabbages is the reason why the whole of one side of my plot, that has the track way running along side it, is now screened, with large, thick and thorny blackberries planted there for the very purpose of keeping people out. Although we are in a general period of rain, Saturday afternoon was a dry spell a touch frosty. However it wasn't so bad that some rough digging couldn't be accomplished. Particularly where the ground had been left unused last year and was overgrown with grass and my own 'green manure' Verbascum.


The New Year, 2,000 began on a Saturday and as it is the time for New Year resolutions a completed gardening diary is one of them. Last years attempt was going quite well until Melissa arrived and upset the flow. For me the year is not starting too well as Saturday the 1st finds me suffering from a cold and the allotment is unattended for the first weekend of the year.

Urban Jungle Sell exotic and jungle plants including cannas, gingers, bananas, tree ferns, palms, bamboos and aroids by mail order and from their nursery in Norfolk.

J&S Email Patrick for further information or telephone 01603 617632