Another new year is up on us, and I’m already trying to convince myself that it’s getting lighter at 7 am in the mornings (I’m sure it is…)!
Naturally, thoughts are turning to the new growing season, and seed catalogues are being pored over in preparation for the ever-exciting seed order.
I am already toying with the idea of ordering seeds based solely on names I like, which has this week led me to research the marvellously monikered ‘Oarsman’ leek.
Of course, the new year is also a time that many of us lay down resolutions and targets. I tend to do this every year, and past goals have ranged from trying to save as much money as possible from running an allotment, through to trying new varieties and simply ‘grow stuff in the garden’.
But how do we make sure we triumph in a new year, in and around busy lives and all the other goings-on? These are 5 things I’ve done to help me keep up.
Write Targets and Goals Down
I reckon growing veg is just like sport: if we commit to paper or go public with our intentions, then we’re much more likely to achieve what we set out.
I tend to set out what I want to do each year on a piece of paper, and then put it somewhere I can see. In the past, this has been my allotment shed and the front of the fridge, both places where I get regular reminders of my objectives.
Write a Plan
A plot plan is a super thing to do on a cold winter night. Often, it can take a good few days to perfect and is definitely something that is subject to change. However, it’s a great way to give structure to your season’s growing, and make sure you maximise the space that you’ve got available.
A seed sowing plan is also a really useful tool. This will help get seeds sown at the right times, especially if you’re aiming for successional cropping. I’ve used Excel flowcharts when I’ve felt geeky, but have also seen lovely photos on Twitter of people putting inserts in between packets in their seedbox.
Get Some Inspiration
There are plenty of inspiring photos and features to be found in magazines and books, but there is also lots of encouragement to be found at the tip of your fingers too – the Internet is full of great gardening blogs, as well as loads of smart growers on Twitter and Instagram.
Speaking of blogs, how about starting one yourself? A blog or a diary doesn’t have to be comprehensive, and maybe you won’t even want to make it public, but documenting your progress is a very useful aid and pleasant to look back on.
What went well? What didn’t? What are your most successful varieties?
One idea I’ve picked up which I think is great is to set some dates through the year to celebrate. I like to invite friends and family over for a meal and aim to cook a meal using mainly crops from the plot. Christmas is an obvious example, but summer solstice or someone’s birthday are also great times to celebrate.
Think about when your celebratory meal is going to be, and then grow crops to suit. The two solstices are my favourite, as the contrast in the seasons and available harvests are wonderful.