gardening guide 2022: what to do from January to June to make your summer bloom | Gardening tips


January

You will even notice the slight lengthening of the days now, and plants and birds certainly can sense it: It is not uncommon to see buff-tailed bumblebees outside on a balmy January day. Snowdrops bloom, green shoots sprout through the earth, kittens unfurl and the garden comes to life.

Key job
Planning. Now is the time to sit down with your seed catalogs and dream about the crops and flowers you want to grow in the year ahead. Fancy armfuls of blueberries, cosmos and zinnias? Juicy steak tomatoes and crispy snapdragons? It’s time to put past failures aside and dream big.

The kittens are a sign that the garden is coming back to life. Photograph: Vincent Abbey / Alamy

In the kitchen and the flower gardens
Buy and peel potatoes on a frost-free window sill. Place strainers on the rhubarb plants. Plant fruit trees – apples, pears, quinces and medlars – and prune existing ones. Plant sweet peas if you haven’t already. Plant roses when the soil is frost-free.
Do not forget…
Chop, roast and eat your winter squash, perhaps sprinkled with crumbled feta, chopped mint, and a squeeze of lime – there isn’t much to harvest in the garden now, so it is. time to review your stored products.

February

Falling on February 1 and 2, the ancient Celtic celebration of Imbolc is a festival of fire, associated with seeds and new life. The ancients felt the need to sow, but are resisting – for now. Sowing too early leads to rotten seeds and disappointments; only eggplants and peppers will appreciate such an early start. Do not let yourself be tempted by the balmy days and the sensations of spring.

Young eggplant plants
Young eggplant plants like to be sown early. Photograph: Viktoriya Telminova / Getty Images / iStockphoto

Key job
Preperation. Take advantage of this month to prepare yourself for sowing. Wash old seed boxes or buy new ones and buy compost. Make neat piles and be ready for action. Weed the beds and cover them with black or clear polyethylene to help the sun warm the soil.

In the kitchen and the flower gardens
Sow the chilli and eggplant seeds indoors, ideally in a heated propagator. Sow hardy broad beans and peas in a pot in a sheltered location outside or in a greenhouse. Lift, split, and transplant large clumps of woodland bulbs such as snowdrops, bluebells and winter aconites, to propagate them. Order dahlia tubers. Plant lilies in pots.

Do not forget…
Buy flowers grown in Britain for Valentine’s Day to support local businesses and reduce the number of flowers from around the world. Try Cornish Blooms and the Real Flower Company.

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March

According to tradition, if March comes like a lion, it comes out like a lamb, which implies a little more predictable weather than what we often get in March. Usually, winter is starting to soften now. Daffodils loom up and there is a soft lime green haze over the trees and hedges.

Strawberries
Perennials, including strawberries, plant well in March. Photograph: Food / Alamy

Key work
Finally, this month we can start to seriously seed. Pick your own pace, sow a few crops every few days, and don’t sow too much. The soil is still cold, so sow in a pot or greenhouse to replant later.

In the kitchen and the flower gardens
Sow Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, Florence fennel, lettuce, sprouted broccoli, peas, spinach, Swiss chard, carrots, turnips, beets and radishes -. Sow the tender crops – tomatoes, cucumbers, winter squash, eggplants – indoors, ideally in a heated propagator, in the middle of the month. Now is a great time to start a bed of asparagus, using wreaths. Other perennials will be well planted now, including rhubarb, strawberries and artichokes.

Do not forget…
The wild garlic is in place, and perfectly young and tender, and you’ll find it – on the nose – in the old woods. Pick out bags and mix them with toasted hazelnuts, hard goat cheese and olive oil to make a woodland pesto.

April

Lettuce
Lettuce can be sown directly in April. Photograph: Vladimir Kazakov / Getty Images / iStockphoto

Frosts are still very likely and the nights are still cold. Good Friday (April 15) is the traditional day for planting potatoes; April 23, St. George’s Day, marks the start of the asparagus season.

Key work
You can start sowing directly this month, but protect new plants and seedlings with bells. Gradually harden the plants by moving them from indoors to outdoors: a few hours outdoors, then indoors again and so on.

In the kitchen and the flower gardens
Plant the potatoes in trenches or in pots. Under cover, sow: green beans, Spanish beans, cabbage, cauliflower, zucchini, cucumbers, Florence fennel, kale, winter squash and sweet corn. Sow directly: lettuce, peas, arugula, summer purslane, lamb’s lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, carrots, beetroot, parsnip, turnip, leek and spring onion. Harvest the asparagus.

Repot the dahlia tubers and protect them from frost and slugs. Sow the semi-hardy ones: snapdragon, zinnia, nicotiana, cleome, cosmos, tithonia, sunflowers. Plant sweet peas with shrubby “pea sticks” or netting so that they climb.

Do not forget…
Step out among the woods of bluebells during their brief and glorious reign at the end of April. Check with the National Trust for sites to visit (usually paid).

Can

Any plants I have that wobble on window sills can finally get into the ground. But beware, the “ice saints” (Saints Mamertus, Pancras and Servatius), whose feast days fall respectively on May 11, 12 and 13 – can herald a cold spell that can bring the last frosts of spring. The end of May will see a planting frenzy.

Artichokes
Artichokes should be picked while still small. Photograph: Roni-G / Getty Images / iStockphoto

Key jobs
Planting, watering and feeding.

In the kitchen and the flower gardens
Put the peppers in their final jars. Sow the coriander, chervil, dill and parsley directly in the ground under the bells. Sow basil in pots indoors. Put the potatoes in the ground. Plant hanging baskets and planters with colorful bedding plants. Plant lilies and gladioli in pots. Pick bouquets of scented lily of the valley to give to loved ones on May 1, which is the Fête du Muguet in France. Water and food.

Do not forget…
Pick the artichokes while they are still small and before their “choking” has formed. Peel harder dark green “petals” and scrape off any hard lumps, then boil for 10 minutes or until the tip of a knife pierces them easily. Drain, cut into quarters and enjoy with the vinaigrette.

June

Summer is coming, and work moves from manic sowing and planting to quiet maintenance, perhaps strolling through the garden on a warm evening with a watering can in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.

Key jobs
Tending to veg, and enjoy his generosity. Enjoy the garden – you have landscaped it well for the rest of the year.

In the kitchen and the flower gardens
Pinch off the side shoots of tomatoes, tie them up and start feeding each week. Salad of choice: Lettuce, peas, broad beans, artichokes, asparagus and sorrel are all at their best. Strawberries are plentiful and it’s time to make the first jam of the year. Pick the roses early and immerse them up to their necks in water for a few hours before arranging them in large clumps with lady’s mantle leaves and cow parsley heads.

Do not forget…
Traditionally in midsummer, doors were hung with birch, fennel, lilies and wild flowers, food was laid out for neighbors, and fires and lamps were lit at dusk to keep burning for the shortest night.

Lia Leendertz is the author of The Almanac: a Seasonal Guide to 2022 (Octopus, £ 12.99). To purchase a copy for £ 11.99 including UK postage visit guardianbookshop.com


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