Frosts come and go here, we alternate between green and white, but no snow yet.
It's time to prepare, and reflect.
No need to worry about some things often advised
- With no dig, soil's microbial life helps plants to find the food you need. Ignore all that stuff about 'heavy' and 'light' feeders.
- Unless your soil was damaged by heavy machines, you don't need to loosen it. Even by forking. My trial of forking shows reduced yields.
- Soil pH in most soils is fine for most plants. In biologically active soil (no dig), plant roots can modify the nearby pH.
- Don't install an irrigation system, and water less. Unless you are in arid conditions.
- There is no rush to plant everything soon, or even before the middle of spring. See my Timeline and Calendar, including for the S Hemisphere.
Check out these things
- Temperature requirements of each vegetable and sow accordingly, see Calendar Sometimes at a different time to the seed packet advice.
- Space needed for each vegetable, see video. Plan accordingly, in a rough plan initially.
- For certain vegetables it helps to know when they rise to flower
- How to propagate vegetables, many have different requirements and early warmth helps, see video
- Make or buy decent compost for propagation. You need finer and more nutrient rich compost, compared to what goes on your beds - tips on making your own mix in this video.
- Succession plantings - write some ideas now. It's helped by knowing when vegetable harvests finish, such as peas in July. Have new plants ready, and my harvest table helps, in Useful Information, costs £6 and covers many of these topics.
- Pest and disease potential problems at different times of year. Sounds a lot but there are a few main ones such as Slugs, see webpage.
- Biggest of all - weeds. No dig helps immensely, see webpage, but you need to stay committed!
World Map of No Dig
I am thrilled to be hosting on my website, this page, which enables anyone anywhere to enter and be located on the map. You just need to email Anna firstname.lastname@example.org with your location details and any other information you wish to share. The idea is for no dig gardeners to find others nearby. Then we can learn even more.Just today, we had a request from a grandmother of young gardeners in Lahore, Pakistan, who I hope will be uploading their details.
Likewise my friends in Chile, such as Huerta Cuatro Estaciones below.
Our webinar about gardening with and for children is attracting much interest, with 650 registered already. It's at 11.30am UT, and once signed up, you can download the presentation later.
At this time, Brussels sprouts become more valuable than ever. They withstand so much frost, although mine are now difficult to protect from pigeons because they are so tall. You can see the jagged edges where pigeons have pecked.
However, they have done their growing and have become wonderfully sweet after some -5°C 23°F frosts. I checked the sugar percentage with my RSG 100ATC portable refractometer, and it is currently 11.5%, more than many cherry tomatoes in summer.
Brussels have a spicy mustard flavour, disguising the sweetness to a point. I love to eat them raw, and winter spinach too which is sweeter now.
The city's allotments face their rents being doubled at short notice, plus a mass of new rules. I am shocked by their severity. Huge resistance is building, and if you are a plotholder in Bristol, please don't give up because it can be turned around if enough people resist. There is a petition you can fill, a WhatsApp group you can join, a consultation you can answer by 22nd Jan, and a meeting on 24th Jan - email Pauline Butcher email@example.com to confirm attendance so she books a suitable venue.
Events coming up
A wassail. Normally these happen outside in the cold and wet, but this oneis a show undercover.on 20th January, by my brother Oliver. There will be an apple tree to decorate on the terrace, together with mulled cider and Morris dancing. Buy tickets in advance as numbers are limited.27th January
I give a no dig day course at West Dean college, now sold out.A few tickets are still available for the Chichester supper on Friday 26th.
The Events page has details of my courses in Madrid early March, and Ireland early April.
Homeacres first course is 16th March and this page has details.
I had to decline an invitation to speak in Alaska, because of dates clashing, but another US event may happen in late June.
Homeacres Open Days are Sundays 19th May 1-4.30pm, and 1st September 9.30-4.30pm.
The village pub is going well and is about to open a kitchen.