January is a quiet time in the garden and an ideal opportunity to take a break. However, it is also possibly the most exciting time of the year because it’s time to plot and plan for the coming year. When we make plans, we are filled with hope and excitement. The plants, flowers, or vegetables that we plan to grow are always perfect in our plans. We all know the best of plans can go a bit awry at times but looking forward to a new season is always exciting!
Some people don’t plan as much as others. Your year may be informed by an impromptu garden centre visit and what catches your fancy there. And that is, of course, how we discover new things and embark on new journeys. But planning has its uses, too.
First, I would look at what it is you wish to reap from your greenhouse or garden. Is it flowers? Your favourite salad items? Something exotic? Make a list of what you would like, and then check to see if it is viable to grow here. The beauty of a greenhouse, especially with extra treatments such as a heated bed, frost protective fleece or shade netting, is that the possibilities are greatly increased. Then it is time to look for seed or planting material. You may be able to source them locally, but there is also an astonishing variety of seed available online. You could wow your friends and neighbours with unusually coloured varieties of tomatoes, French beans, courgettes or even strawberries that you would not find in your local supermarket. There is nothing like salad leaves, spinach or sugar snap peas that have just been freshly harvested from your own glasshouse. Fresh bouquets of aromatic sweet pea or carnation on your table are a luxury you can easily enjoy with a bit of foresight.
Don’t forget to look at the final size of what you are going to grow, including the height. Also, some plant combinations make better companions than others. For instance, tomatoes work well with garlic (to repel aphids) or basil (to improve flavour) but won’t thrive as well next to fennel or kale.
So, it’s time to get out your pen and paper, plot out your area and start dreaming! Then make your dreams a reality. Life is an adventure and so is gardening!