The Gardener’sYear

Months for sowing and planting are suggested but vegetable harvesting times are more difficult to predict and have not been included.

January

Fruit

Any pruning of fruit trees and bushes not yet done can be undertaken. Planting can continue but wait until the soil is reasonably dry. Check on fruit still in store.

Bullfinches start feeding in earnest on fruit buds early in the new year; encourage them to feed elsewhere.

Vegetables

Plan your cropping programme for the year. Place seed and potato orders. Continue with winter digging and manuring. Apply lime if needed. Examine stored vegetables.

Sow:

Heated protection—curly summer cauliflowers; bulb onions; spring maturing lettuce and maincrop tomatoes—all for subsequent transplanting.

Cold protection—radishes and early carrots.

Indoors—make weekly sowings of mustard and cress (continue throughout the year).

February

Fruit

At the end of the month remove the tips of young raspberry canes to encourage strong fruit bearing laterals. Spray against peach leaf curl—later may be too late.

Vegetables

Box up potato ‘seed’ tubers for chitting. Examine stored vegetables. Finish winter digging. Top dress over-wintered crops when growth re-starts.

Sow:

Heated protection—early summer cabbage; early leeks; tomatoes for cold houses; peppers and aubergines for heated houses; dwarf French beans in pots.

Cold protection—early peas; early summer turnips.

Outside—bulb onions (late in month); radish and salad onions (successional sowings through the spring and summer will give continuity).

Plant:

Under protection—spring maturing lettuce under cold protection; early tomatoes in heated structures.

Outside—shallots and garlic as early as possible.

March

Fruit

Cover early strawberries with cloches. Pruning and planting of fruit trees should be completed. Applications of fertilizer and mulches to fruit crops should be completed by mid-month.

Vegetables

Break down winter digging to produce sowing/planting tilths as needed. Hoe overwintered crops when the soil begins to dry.

Sow:

Heated protection—heated house cucumbers and melons; early Brussels sprouts; celery and celeriac; outdoor tomatoes; cardoons; cape gooseberries and New Zealand spinach—all for transplanting.

Cold protection—Brussels sprouts; dwarf French beans.

Outside—maincrop leeks; Brussels sprouts and summer/autumn cauliflower (which can be sown successionally until the end of May) — all for transplanting. Broad beans; early carrots (until late April); peas (successional crops); parsnips; summer turnips; summer spinach (successionally until the end of June); summer corn salad.

Plant:

Under protection—maincrop tomatoes in heated houses.

Outside—early lettuce; sea-kale (root cuttings or divided crowns); onion sets; globe artichokes; early summer cauliflower (end of month); rhubarb crowns.

April

Fruit

Apply crucial sprays against the pests and diseases of apples, pears, plums, black currants and strawberries.

Vegetables

Stake early peas, hoe as needed, clear away debris from winter brassica crops.

Sow:

Heated protection—frame melons; early runner beans; early sweet corn and cold house/frame cucumbers.

Cold protection—calabrese for transplanting; runner beans.

Outside—asparagus; purple/whitesprouting broccoli; summer/autumn cabbage; savoys; red cabbage; winter cauliflower-all for transplanting. Globe beet and outdoor lettuce (both successionally until early August); salsify; scorzonera; Florence fennel; silverskin onions; dwarf French beans; soy beans; leaf beets; maincrop carrots and kohl rabi (both successionally until mid-July).

Plant:

Under protection—heated house cucumbers and melons; cold house tomatoes; heated and cold house peppers.

Outside—early summer cabbage; asparagus crowns; early potatoes (beginning of month); Jerusalem artichokes; glasshouse raised bulb onions; maincrop potatoes (end of month).

May

Fruit

Frost is still possible until the end of the month so that adventurous fruit crops should be protected on clear nights.

Over-vigorous fruit trees—and only the over-vigorous—may be bark-ringed. The leaders of established pyramid plums may be removed with the same intention of providing a check to excessive vigour.

Vegetables

Stake peas and beans; earth up early potatoes; hoe as needed; build up compost heap; thin out seedlings where necessary (beetroot, carrots, turnips, lettuce, parsnips) ; top dress early summer crops.

Sow:

Heated protection—marrows: courgettes; pumpkins; squashes and ridge cucumbers—all for transplanting.

Outside—winter cabbage and curly kale for transplanting.

Asparagus; peas; maincrop runner beans; early endive; chicory; sweet corn, Chinese cabbage (successional sowings); maincrop long beet; marrows/courgettes/ pumpkins/squashes (all in situ at the end of the month).

Plant:

Under protection—aubergines and cape gooseberries in heated protection; cold house/frame cucumbers and frame melons.

Outside—Brussels sprouts (until mid-June) ; early leeks, runner beans and sweet corn; marrows/courgettes; tomatoes (all after the last frost); cardoons; New Zealand spinach; summer and autumn cauliflower (planted successionally).

June

Fruit

Fruits should be swelling nicely and early gooseberries and strawberries ready for picking. The latter should be strawed down early in the month to keep the fruits clean. The first, tentative, thinning of overcrowded peaches and plums may be necessary; but apples are best left unthinned until next month, except for early cooking varieties.

Vegetables

Hoe crops regularly; water as required; top dress if necessary; thin out drilled crops; earth up potatoes; stake runner beans.

Sow:

Heated protection—autumn tomatoes at the end of the month.

Outside—swedes.

Plant:

Outside—celery and celeriac; ridge cucumbers; calabrese; purple/white/perennial broccoli; summer/autumn cabbage; savoys; red cabbage; maincrop leeks.

July

Fruit

Apple fruits should be thinned, if the set is bountiful. Summer pruning of apples and pears can begin. The strawberry bed, now looking bedraggled, should be trimmed.

The young stems of the cane fruits will need guiding in the way they should grow.

Vegetables

Hoe, feed and water as needed; thin out drilled crops; tie in tomatoes; blanch Florence fennel.

Sow:

Outside—peas (for an autumn crop); dwarf French beans (for an autumn crop); winter spinach (successional sowings until late September); plain leaved kale; parsley; winter radish; winter turnip (until mid-August) ; spring cabbage (for transplanting).

Plant:

Outside—winter cauliflower; curly kale.

August

Fruit

The apple harvest begins with ‘George Cave’ and ‘Discovery’. Prune the earlier plums as soon as the crop is picked. Plant pot-raised strawberry runners for fruiting next June.

Black currants, raspberries and peaches can all be pruned once the fruit has been picked.

Vegetables

Water and feed as necessary; hoe between crops; bend over onion tops; stop outdoor tomato plants; earth up celery and leeks; thin late sown beetroot and kales; blanch early sowings of endive (continue into the early autumn).

Sow:

Cold protection—winter lettuce for transplanting.

Outside—spring greens; carrots (for autumn use); winter endive; over-wintered bulb onions; winter corn salad; over-wintered salad onions.

September

Fruit

Harvest apples and pears. Take keeping varieties into store in the early morning before the temperature rises.

Vegetables

Lift and dry bulb onions; hoe and water as required; remove and compost or burn all debris; earth up cardoons.

Sow:

Cold protection—early summer cauliflower for planting next spring.

Outside—over-wintered lettuce for early summer cutting.

Plant:

Under protection—autumn tomatoes in heated houses and winter lettuce in cold glasshouses or frames.

Outside—spring cabbage.

October

Fruit

Cuttings of black currants, red currants and gooseberries can be taken and inserted while the ground is still warm.

Strawberry runners can still be planted but should not be allowed to fruit next year.

New stakes and ties for fruit trees may be required in readiness for the winter’s gales.

Order new trees, canes and bushes for delivery in November.

Vegetables

Hoe between and tidy perennial and over-wintered crops; earth up celery and winter cauliflowers; blanch winter endive (successionally); remove all debris; collect and store canes/stakes; generally clean up garden; order manure.

Sow:

Cold protection—spring-maturing lettuce for transplanting.

November

Fruit

Tree leaves should be consigned to the compost heap or to a special heap to rot down for leaf mould.

This is the best month for the planting of all fruits except strawberries.

Winter pruning can begin. Do not hurry; wait until the leaves have fallen so that next year’s fruit buds can be seen clearly.

Vegetables

Dig areas which are clear; continue with clearing up; give final earthing up of celery; begin to force chicory; lift rhubarb roots in preparation for shed forcing.

Sow:

Outside—broad beans.

Plant:

Under protection—spring-maturing lettuce in cold houses or frames.

Outside—rhubarb crowns (or in March).

December

Fruit

In the fruit garden planting and pruning will occupy the week-ends. Apples, pears, quinces, medlars and nuts will now come from store; preserved raspberries, straw-berries, plums and the like will come from freezer and larder.

Vegetables

Continue with digging; examine stored vegetables; clean and maintain all tools and equipment; begin to force rhubarb and sea-kale.

Sow:

Heated protection—early tomatoes for February planting.

07. June 2013 by admin
Categories: Tips and Advice | Comments Off on The Gardener’sYear

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