Real Men Sow

Things To Do Over New Year and My One Target for 2013

Today, our very kind friend Lydia began painting trees and barn owls on our nursery walls. I’ve been both excited and apprehensive about Ailsa and I having our first child, but standing in the nursery, looking out over the garden, I had a small epiphany.

Now, I appreciate that vegetable growing shouldn’t really be at the top of my concerns 5 weeks from delivery date, especially when the nursery isn’t finished and we haven’t bought half the things we need, but suddenly I’ve realised that I need to get organised on the plot. As much as I might think it, my paternity leave is not going to be a 2 week holiday to prepare growing space for Summer…

Subsequently, there are a few jobs that need doing over the New Year so I’m in good stead for Spring.

Dig the Manure In
First and foremost, I need to dig the resting manure into the soil. Back in October, I spread manure over the plot and it’s been gradually rotting down ever since. The time has come to get this good stuff dug in, so that my soil gets as much time being beefed up by the manure as possible.

By the way, if you’re a beginner, don’t worry too much if you haven’t done this yet. I’ve spread manure in January and dug in towards the end of Winter and still had good yields. On allotments, the soil will generally be decent from years of good care so won’t need as much love as my new garden patch.

Digging a Runner Bean Trench
I want to dig a trench for my runner beans and peas too. I’ve done this before, and the idea involves digging a spade-deep trench, filling with compost and other organic matter before covering over with soil. The theory is that the matter will rot down, leaving lovely, healthy compost for the legume roots to grow in.

Once I’ve dug my trench, I’m going to sort out some posts and netting to grow my beans and peas up.

Sort Out the Greenhouse
I also need to tidy and organise my greenhouse ready for quick and easy sowing come March. I’m notoriously messy, which is fine when I’ve got plenty of time, but 20 minute windows whilst baby is sleeping need to be ruthlessly efficient.

Plan the Plot and Buy Seeds
Of course, the plot needs planning and I need to sort through my seedbox to work out what I need to buy for 2013. This is the best job to do with a cup of tea and mince pie while the rain hammers down outside.

Targets for 2013 (or lack of them)
The festive period and nursery epiphany has led me to contemplate my 2013 growing targets too. With the baby in mind, I have decided my only target will be ‘grow stuff in the garden’. I have absolutely no idea how hard being a dad is going to be, so if I can successfully grow some tasty fruit and veg and save myself a few quid then I’ll finish next year a happy man.


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  1. LouiseDecember 28, 2012 at 6:46 pmReply

    The painting on the wall is so beautiful. Your far better than me at this veg gardening in winter thing, I have not even started digging up my oca yet (eek! hope it’s ok) and I haven’t even looked in the polytunnel in weeks. Thank you for the runner trench reminder, I must muster some courage! Congratulations and good luck on your impending arrival.

  2. Jono

    JonoDecember 28, 2012 at 7:38 pmReplyAuthor

    Hey Louise,

    Thanks for your comment. Hoping Sunday morning might give a chance for some digging. Seems to be the only couple of rain free hours for days!

    Lydia’s a clever old stick. She finished today, and there are squirrels, foxes, hedgehogs, mushrooms and all sorts!

    Her blog is here:

  3. Helen/patientgardenerDecember 28, 2012 at 9:14 pmReply

    My advice to you would be to not make yourself so busy that you miss things. Babies change so quickly. If you don’t grow everything yourself it doesn’t matter you are growing a person which sounds corny but its true. Be kind to yourselves with your expectations and enjoy it. Why not rope in some friends for a day to give you a head start

    Hope your other half is keeping well and the mince pies arent causing too much heartburn (I remember being very pregnant at Christmas with my eldest).

  4. Jono

    JonoDecember 29, 2012 at 9:05 amReplyAuthor

    Thanks Helen. I suppose its hard this side of the fence to know what to expect. I am looking forward to being more productive with my time though. I often laze around at the mo because spare time isn’t so precious.

    Giving up the plot in favour of the garden has been a big step, but really good for managing expectation.

    OH is good – only a week left at work after a Christmas so we’re well and truly on the home run!

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About Real Men Sow

meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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