Fiveways Gardens...January 2014

Happy New Year to you all and here's to 2014 being a year that we get to spend lots of lovely warm evenings outdoors.  

I know lots of you grow vegetables and fruit either in your gardens or allotments, so here are some things to be getting on with.  Keep weeding.  In dry spells, it's worth wandering around your plot with a hoe to tackle ephemeral weeds (those that can and do! set seed all year round).  A daisy grubber for a few quid from Wyevale is a handy little tool to help get small dandelions and other perennial (survive year after year) weeds out.  It's really important to tackle these with care, as they love to be pruned - ie you pull out the green stuff, and the root snaps, leaving a bit behind.  You have just produced a tougher, stronger weed which will return.  So, if a little daisy grubber doesn't look tough enough for the weed at hand, get your border fork in action.  You never know, you might actually find it quite satisfying and you'll definitely deserve that last mince pie after all that strenuous digging.

On a similar note, it's worth investing in a bit of landscape fabric and mulch if you're not planning to cultivate an area until later in the year - you don't even need to weed the area first.  Pegging down the landscape fabric will shut out light, slowly killing off the bulk of whatever's underneath.  So when you're ready to plant in say, April, you pull back the landscape fabric, dig out the last stubborn weeds, turn it all over and you've a lovely nitrogen-enriched tilth to plant into.  Ah, how satisfying is that?!  

As well as thinking about what you want to grow this year, and ordering seeds, you can actually make a start on some early vegetables.  Spring garlic, onions and shallots can be planted now so long as the ground is neither saturated nor frozen. 

It's worth checking shrubs and trees for dead, damaged or diseased branches and pruning them out.  If the plant in question is too big or specialist (fruit trees, for example), then get someone in and get them to incorporate a general tidy up too.  Some gardeners aren't quite so busy at this time of the year so you shouldn't have trouble finding someone - but please, let it be a skilled and experienced gardener, rather than a jack of all trades.  There are plenty of very good, trained and insured gardeners locally, who care about doing a great job.

Best wishes


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