Freshly mulched flower beds

The Flower Patch - Jobs for January

January is a tricky time for a flower farmer - all your New Year's resolutions make you keen to jump in and get started, but there just isn't enough light for most varieties so if they do germinate, they struggle to grow. Also, the constant risk of frost just makes me nervous. But there are some jobs that you can get on with:-

  • Sweet peas can be sowed now - just make sure they have plenty of light or they become leggy. I love the varieties available from Higgledy Garden. Sweet peas are an amazing addition to any flower patch because there is nothing else that fills your home with such amazing scent. So many of my customers find sweet peas to be a very nostalgic smellSweet peas
  • Snapdragons need a period of cold to germinate (called stratification) so you can sow them now and leave in the greenhouse to get a bit of cold.
  • Plant anemone and ranunculus corms. These strange looking beasts are similar to bulbs - you should plant them in a similar way to any other bulb - ensure they are buried at least as deep as they are tall. I will be planting my second sowing of these in my greenhouse and then planting out when it is more reliably warm.
  • Mulch your beds. Mulching is a great job for a cold day because it is hard work! But it is completely worth it because it provides nutrients, retains water and suppresses weeds. I like to use well-rotted farmyard manure to mulch my beds - not least because I can get it for free (thanks to the Hoopers Farm herd!). Other good mulches are composted or well-rotted bark.
  • Get planning - January is a great time to buy seeds and plants for the year. I plan on using the remainder of the month to do a stock take of my dahlias in particular and then order some new varieties - if I don't see what I have beforehand, I know I will just order too many!
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