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Grow your own in 2020

All Areas > Homes & Gardens > In the Garden

Author: Julia Smith, Posted: Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 09:00

Happy New Year to all you gardeners. I hope you are enthused to get into the garden in 2020 and start to grow some food! With increasing concern over the health of our planet, producing your own fruit and vegetables is set to become a popular trend.

Usher in the New Year by sowing the first vegetable seeds of the season. If you haven’t grown anything before try some radishes – sow in rows 1cm deep and 15cm apart. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, thin to 2.5cm apart. They should be ready in 8-10 weeks.

You can sow lettuces straight into the ground as long as you cover them with a cold-frame or some horticultural fleece if the weather gets cold. You can pick the leaves individually and let the plant keep on growing.

Create natural looking pea sticks

A useful thing to do now is to collect material for making pea sticks to support plants in your borders in the summer. Hazel and birch twigs are the best ones to use. Pea sticks look much more natural than using readymade supports and can be bent and semi-snapped to create the desired shapes.

Leave them tied up in bundles in a corner somewhere outside and put them in place early on in the season to enable the plants to grow through them for a natural look.

Vines, ornamental and grape, need to be pruned now before the rising sap makes them bleed from any cuts. Prune last year’s stems back to one or two buds.

January is the right time to give wisteria its winter pruning. Cut back the whippy stems that have grown last year to two or three buds. This will create flowering ‘spurs’ to bloom in the summer. Do take care if you have to use ladders – make sure the bottom is secure on a flat surface and don’t lean over to make it unstable.

If you have a vast wisteria that has gone beserk after being ignored for many years, it may pay to get in a specialist gardener who can get it back into some semblance of order and enable you to carry on with it yourself in future years.

Look after your trees during snowy weather

If we have heavy snowfall, take a broom and knock snow off evergreens or bare tree branches where the weight can break boughs. If paths are icy, sprinkle with sharp sand which you can brush up and use to improve drainage in the garden later on. Salt is not good for the garden so avoid if possible.

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