I have to confess that these days I’m a terrible gardener… I seem to be so taken up with writing, and am busy with other things too that I really haven’t paid it the attention it deserves… This year seems to have been worse than ever, and looking out from my window now I can see all sorts of things I should have done. Maybe tomorrow I’ll go out and tidy round, clear stuff away, and do a bit of cutting back and pruning.
If I consult my dad’s Practical Gardening and Food Production (in pictures!) book, there is a guide for what to do this month. The book was written before the war, but my dad was given his copy by my mum, on the first birthday he had after they were married. It’s a bit tattered and battered, and has lost the cover off the spine, but it is actually still in good condition, considering he must have used it frequently as he was a very keen gardener, fruit, vegetables, flowers and a lawn.
So what does Richard Sudell who wrote the book nearly ninety years ago tell me to do? Well, I should do a lot of preparation, of the ground, of protection for things under glass (mats, screens, hurdles, straw), order plants and as this is as he describes ‘the gardener’s New year’ I should do a lot of overhauling of plants, fertilisers and soils.
I should be busy in the food plots – well we have four raised beds, and as the suggestions Mr Sudell makes are mainly to do with cabbages and brassicas, and as no-one in the house likes them except me, we won’t be growing any… however we can plant rhubarb and onions!
We have an apple tree, a gooseberry bush and some raspberry canes, which don’t really count as a fruit garden, but we can gather our apples, prune the tree, and cut back the old raspberry canes. We don’t have a flower patch, but we do have flowers in pots, so maybe we should plant up some winter pansies and bulbs.
We do have a lot of lawn; as the climate has changed somewhat since the 1930’s, we need to keep mowing for some time, and will put on some dressing in a month or so. We really ought to clean and tidy our little cold frame which is all we have ‘under glass’, but that won’t take us very long.
So tomorrow, if it’s not raining, maybe I’ll go out and do a little something, now I know what to do!