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 the 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 a mince pie while the rain hammers down outside.
Targets for 2013 (or lack of them)
The festive period and nursery epiphany have 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.