What’s Growing on in January

I love writing these monthly catch ups on our kitchen garden, documenting the activities and plans. It’s a good excuse to get the camera out and really study the garden changing throughout the year. I use these posts as a reminder to look back on too.

January is usually a hard month for a lot of people, the weather hasn’t helped lift moods being so gloomy and dark. Threatening skies, murky and damp, I’m surprised some of our hens have come back into lay so soon.

But there are signs of good things to come. Take our rhubarb for example, it’s just starting to burst into life again after a brief moment of dormancy. It may not look much right now but in just a few weeks, it will. It’ll be all blushing stalks and leaves as big as dinner plates.

Go rhubarb!

If you want a super early rhubarb that tastes great and makes beautiful jams then Timperley Early is a great addition to your vegetable garden or allotment. It reappears soon after being dormant in autumn, pushing egg-like buds through the soil as early as December. Superb for forcing, it crops so early naturally you can pull it unforced late February to Early March. It’s not the heaviest cropping rhubarb but well worth growing for early cropping.

We’re still pulling some lovely roots from the carrot and parsnip beds. Autumn King carrots over winter in our garden and of course parsnips taste even sweeter after a good frosting. Long and straight parsnips from a no dig bed in its second year, not bad at all!

Kale ‘Nero Di Toscana’ (black Tuscan kale) has served us well throughout winter, the plants now resemble mini exotic palm trees with bare stems and leafy tops. Double rows of broad bean seedlings continue to grow well, protected under tunnel cloches from the destruction of chicken beaks and feet.

New growth sprouting at the base of the blackcurrants.

Our Brahma chickens enjoying some free time in the vegetable garden. When spring arrives and seed sowing begins the chickens are kept out using barrier mesh fencing.

I spotted some frogs in the wildlife pond preparing to attract a mate for spawning soon. We love the call of the males, we should start to hear it by next month.

We plan to sow chillies and tomatoes indoors in seed trays very soon, potting on throughout spring as needed. We do this every year with great results, eventually planting healthy and sturdy plants into the greenhouse towards the end of May, once night-time temperatures are steady enough.

I’m looking forward to putting a seed order or two in soon, it’s so exciting waiting for seed packets to arrive. I always try to grow either a new variety or something completely new to our garden each growing year, this year I’m thinking about growing Oca for the first time. Exciting!

Do you plan to grow something new this year?

7 comments

  1. I do plan to try something new, but haven’t had time to think about it yet. With 5 – 10 inches of snow forecast for Wednesday, I think there’s still plenty of time to order my seeds. I’ve been watching a DVD about seeds. It’s amazing that we have lost so many varieties of vegetables that used to be fairly common. I’d like to try something a little different. Last summer I saved quite a few seeds, but I’d like to learn more about that. Although it seems that your season starts sooner than ours, your blog inspires me to get going on things! Thanks!

  2. There’s still a chance of snow arriving in the UK, it mainly troubles Scotland, the North and Midlands (we’re East), but it could settle anywhere really. We like growing old varieties, particularly rare seeds and use a site called Real Seeds http://www.realseeds.co.uk/
    If you scroll down there’s a section all about seed saving. I hope the snow melts away for you soon, your fingers must be itchy :)

  3. I’ve been given some oca to grow this year which I’m quite excited about as it will be for the first time for me. Other than that I’m just looking forward to growing a range of what I want to eat! Sorry to read about your poor health last year and wish you better in the coming months; getting back into the garden will be good motivation for you. Caro x

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