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by @blakes_garden. December 2017 - January 2018
"Did you know? - Celery or Apium graveolens, is a vegetable with many benefits as it is an excellent source of antioxidants and beneficial enzymes, in addition to vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, folate and vitamin B6.
Before I start with some seeds you can plant this time of the year, it is
important to label every seed row that you sow, it can get disorganised really quickly if you do not know what the youngling seed sprouts are when they erupt from the soil."
To dive straight in, plants like antirrhinum (snapdragon) or laurentia (isotoma) for container plants need a long growth period before flowering, December and January is the perfect time to sow antirrhinum seeds in a propagator or cool greenhouse for good results.
Sowing indoors there are some plants also to consider for 2018 flower season, begonias, geranium (pelargonium) and dianthus (carnations), to add lobelia for containers, hanging baskets and bedding. Sweet peas can be Started off indoors now too in gentle heat and pansies for a colourful summer display, why not sow a bird of paradise seed for something more exotic?
January is great to start sowing celery in a heated propagator. If you are thinking of entering any shows or competitions, kick start your celeriac and celery now. Sow exhibition onion seeds to give the onion time to grow as big as possible, varieties such as Alias Craig and Bunton’s showstopper won’t disappoint.
Now is the time to think also about your rhubarb, they are hungry eaters so December is a good time to plant with plenty of organic matter, order crowns in January to plant in spring or sow some seeds in a heated propagator to give them the best start. Salad leaves and spinach can be grown on a bright windowsill indoors, put a few potatoes next to the salad to start them chitting (sprouting) for some summer first early potatoes.
For an early summer crop grow and plant strawberry plants undercover now, in a cold frame or under cloches for some sweet summer berries. Sow hardy broad beans outdoors if the ground isn’t frozen. It's surprisingly easy to grow your own mushrooms too this time of the year. Try growing a mushroom log in your garden, alternatively mushroom kits are cheap and easy to grow some amazing varieties indoors. Blackberries and raspberry canes can be planted anytime from now until spring. Plant gooseberries and currants now and blueberries in acid soil. Finally for optimum cyclamen growth they can be planted now until March as they prefer cooler temperatures, they will give a spectacular red white and pink display next year.
- by Blake Hopley - Director and Editor