Wednesday, 5 January 2011


I'm always eager straight after Christmas to start sowing some seeds. Last year, my daughter won a pepper plant in a gardening competition and I enjoyed eating the resulting peppers so much that I decided I would grow a few pepper plants this year. Pepper seeds will be the first seeds I will sow as they need a long growing season to allow sufficient time for the fruit to ripen, though they can still be eaten when green. I'm trying to hold out a little longer yet though as the low light levels at this time of year makes the seedlings grow leggy.

So, as it's too early to start sowing seeds, what else can I be doing towards the coming growing season? I've still got all my seeds to sort out. I usually divide the packets up in to the months they're to be sown and store them between dividers in a box. Those seeds which need to be sown successionally are popped back in the box after sowing, either in the same month's compartment for sowing again later that month, or in the next month's compartment.

I've also got to sort out an allotment plan. My four main beds follow a crop rotation, brassicas, roots, potatoes, legumes, but there's also other things such as sweetcorn and squash which need to be slotted in. I use other areas of the allotment for these, but make sure that they're not grown in the same position as they were the year before.

I didn't get round to finishing the winter dig on the allotment before the snow fell so that still needs to be finished, though I don't fancy doing that at the moment. We've had lots of rain overnight and the ground is very boggy, but we'll have to continue with it at the first opportunity.

There's lots of enjoyable reading to be done. The books I wrote about in my last post are still waiting to be started, and there's a new six part series starting on BBC2 on Friday at 8.30pm, Life in a Cottage Garden with Carol Klein. This should give me a weekly television gardening fix whilst Gardener's World is absent from our screens.

I'm sure you'll agree, I've got plenty to be getting on with before I have to start sowing.


  1. I miss my garden and lotty :-( Can't wait until the weather warms up a bit and I can get cracking :-)

  2. Thanks for the info on the Carol Klein gardening programme, I really like her. After reading your blog, I think i'll start my peppers earlier this year too. I'm thinking end of Feb.

  3. I was just thinking this morning that I need to get some pepper seeds and start them off. I am going to wait until the end of January/February time to do mine I think, especially as my garden is a tip! I got a good book called "A girl's guide to growing your own" very good for starter veg growers.

  4. It looks you're very organised and going to be rather busy!
    I'm looking forward to the Carol Klein series. Flighty xx

  5. I'm getting "itchy garden fingers" - roll on seed sowing time! Looking forward to Carol's programme.

  6. I too am desperately holding off sowing anything...but I really really want to!!

    Peppers and chillies are definatley first on my list in Feb though!

  7. I will be growing Californian Wonder peppers this year. I hope that they will taste as good as they look.
    There will be so much to do in the garden once spring arrives. So if there is anything that can be done now, I will do it.

  8. likewise with the weather and other things eg hubby i havent managed to sort out my beds either and one or two of them still have winter veg in them. i tryed peepers last year but not with much luck but i would like to try them again and the sweetcorn as these were not very edible either but at least the chickens enjoyed them x

  9. January can certainly be busy with plenty of stuff...I have lots to do too and will hopefully be getting stuck in this weekend....just hope that snow holds off!!

  10. I keep on sowing... we dont have winter to put things on hold here...

  11. I am sure your peppers will grow great! So many people is starting to plan on their sowing, but I havent even finished collecting all the seeds. I feel so behind.

  12. It won't be long now until we're all back in the thick of it, Scented Sweetpeas. I always think I'll enjoy a bit of calm over winter but in reality I can't wait to get going again.

    I think the end of February is probably about right for peppers, Kelli. The Carol Klein programme sounds good, I'm looking forward to it.

    I haven't heard of that book, MacGirl, I shall have to look out for it. I think everyone's garden is a bit of a tip at this time of year, especially after all the snow we've already had.

    I think I'm going to be very busy, Flighty. I'm organised in knowing what needs to be done but less so in getting it done. I'm looking forward to the Carol Klein programme too.

    My fingers are always itchy at this time of year, Su. I can't wait to get going again.

    Thanks for visiting, Philippa. I grew a chili plant last year, but only because my daughter had bought me some seeds for Christmas. We're not lovers of chilies so I'm sticking to peppers this year.

    It's good to get as much done as possible before spring arrives, Vrtlarica. Things are always hectic then. I'm going to grow a variety of peppers then I can choose which I prefer.

    I don't suppose much goes to waste when you've got chickens, bearsfootprints. I've still got some winter veg in some of my beds too, those beds will get sorted out once the veg is finished.

    Don't mention the snow, Tanya, I thought we'd seen the back of it. The ground is white here this morning, I thought it had snowed overnight but it's just frost.

    It must be nice to be able to garden year round, Bangchik, but on the other hand, I think I'd miss the change in seasons.

    You'll soon catch up, fer. I think you get in a state of panic when you read of others who are ahead of you, but some of us are just eager to get going again and haven't done our winter jobs either.

  13. We hadn't had a lot of luck growing peppers in the past. Trying to sow them early enough just seemed to produce weak plants so we tried the thin pointy varieties that look like large chillies and they worked well and provided a good crop of ripe peppers.

  14. Can't wait to get going too Jo. Still waiting for my garlic to arrive in the post and will be sowing some more sweet peas later this month - some of the autumn sown ones look rather sad. Like you I am also looking forward to the Carol Klein programme :)

  15. I can't wait for the weather to warm up and get out in the garden. Doing lots of planning and reading up at the moment but I'm desperate to get sowing!

    I'm looking forward to Carol Klein's series. She has a wonderful plot down there in Devon. No doubt I will get garden envy though!


  16. Dear Jo, Our gardening season begins so much later than yours so I am not yet dreaming about sowing seeds. However, I love the way you sort your seed packets. Mine are just thrown randomly into a basket. I am going to use your method this year. I remember your daughter's pepper plant. I always grow several varieties ... I like the different colors. Wishing you a happy and healthy new gardening season. P x

  17. I was going to try a few varieties, Green Lane Allotments, so I'll have a go at a thin pointy variety. It will be good to compare.

    I never got round to sowing any sweet peas in autumn, Anna. I remember looking for seeds but never bought any in the end, so that's something for my shopping list.

    You can do all the planning and reading there is, but it's not the same as getting your hands dirty, is it, Jeanne? It's raining again today so that's keeping me indoors once again.

    Thank you, Pam. My seed packets are all thrown together too but I sort through them at the beginning of the season. For all the packets which are taken to be put in my box, there's many more packets still mixed up together which are not being sown, I have so many. I'm going to grow a few varieties of peppers, it'll be good to compare them.

  18. It is always tempting to get the season off to an early start! You are right that things like peppers, chilli and aubergine need a long growing season but with everything else I think they just catch up no matter when you plant them!

  19. I think I'm going to set some peppers going soon and then sow some later too and see which are best, I suppose it's the only way you know for sure, Matron. I'm not going to rush with anything else though, it usually only makes weak plants.


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