Christmas Shopping!

If you are still in the process of last minute Christmas shopping, why not give the gardener in your life some WoodBlocX as a unique and useful gift that will get them started on that raised bed or planter which they have always planned on building? WoodBlocX can be despatched within three days of ordering online at www.woodblocx.co.uk, so be quick and get your wish list in now!

Meanwhile, why not take advantage of the Festive break to start thinking about your garden plans for next year? Now is the time to get organised before the spring rush, so clean out any pots and seed trays so you are ready for sowing. Have a look at your seed stock and throw away any that have reached their sow-by dates. It’s better to buy fresh to ensure successful germination - so get out those gardening catalogues and order your seeds for next year and think about what to grow in your raised beds. Marshalls Seeds have a good selection of vegetables at www.marshalls-seeds.co.uk but bear in mind successional sowing needs to ensure a continuous supply and avoid the gluts.

While parsnips can be sown as late as March or early April, why not sow some in early January, as they need a long growing season to produce decent roots, so the longer you can give them in the ground the better. To do this you should plant under cover, as January is still too cold and wet to go directly into your beds, and they may well rot with canker. I find loo roll inners make an ideal starter and you can then transplant the whole thing into your veggie plot in April, as the cardboard is bio-degradable and you won’t damage the roots.

These are seeds best bought fresh every year as they do not keep well, so add some to your winter shopping list.

If you are growing Brussels sprouts, they should be ready for picking in December…well it would not be Christmas Dinner without them! (Try steaming them with some chopped bacon and a dash of cream…delicious.) Clear away any leaves that are diseased and if you are growing other brassicas like kale or broccoli now is the time to net them to prevent attack from hungry pigeons. Also turn in the leaves of your cauliflowers to protect their curds and keep them nice and white.

By now you should have lifted any other root crops such as carrots, turnips and beetroot and stored them in a cool, dark and dry place.

During winter try and cover your raised beds with leaf mulch, as this prevents damage to the soil structure from heavy rain and will rot down to add in beneficial humus. Why not ask your local council for their sweepings from their parks and cemeteries?

Planning next years’ kitchen garden is fun, but perhaps you are looking for inspiration for a new garden feature such as a pond or planter with a seating area? Have a look at the WoodBlocX website for some ideas and take advantage of our free design service. If you have photos of your garden but don’t know where to begin, please send them to us and we’ll be happy to come up with some ideas for you.

Best Wishes for the Festive Season.

We hope you have a wonderful Christmas and we look forward to giving you more tips and advice next year. With the help of WoodBlocX we hope your New Year resolution will be to make this the year that you will finally make your gardening ideas come to fruition.