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With Christmas and the New Year behind us, the days are beginning to get longer, and we gardeners start to think about the new season ahead.
This is the year we’re going to get everything right – our vegetables will be exhibition quality and our flowers and shrubs will be the envy of the neighbourhood. Well, that’s the plan anyway. But we all know that isn’t going to happen! Yes, we’ll win more than we lose, but every year there are always a few disappointments in the garden. Look at last summer, the best we’ve had for decades, constant sun and warmth, ideal conditions for growing. But…. even last year our runner beans and peas struggled. Despite daily watering neither of these crops did themselves justice, the hot weather was just too much for them. But, on the other hand, our tomatoes, beetroot, onions and garlic were superb. It just goes to show, that even with the ‘best’ conditions and years and years of gardening experience, mother nature will always have the upper hand, it can be frustrating but actually, to many, that is the appeal of gardening. Every year is different, there will be victories and defeats, that’s just the way it is!
The first task of the new year is the selection of seed potatoes. Our stock arrives at the end of January, but they shouldn’t be planted out until March, at the earliest. Some gardeners stick with their tried and trusted varieties, others like to ring the changes and try different types each year. If this is to be your first attempt at growing seed potatoes, bear in mind different varieties are better for specific uses. For instance, if you are growing your crop for mashed potato, grow Maris Piper or King Edward, likewise for roasting Desiree are perfect, for chips go for Rooster or Pentland Dell. We stock around 20 varieties, so there’s bound to be one for you.
Once the weather does improve and the first lawnmowers of spring can be heard, it’s lawn time. Take a look at the bare patches and start to think about reseeding and applying feed, weed and moss killer. A little work at this time of year will pay dividends in the summer.
Happy Gardening, see you soon,
Simon, Alison and all at Askett Nurseries