The Vegetable Year

Good Advice month by month

  • January Is traditionally the month with the hardest frosts, and there really is not a lot to do outside now. It the the time to plan your planting for the seasons ahead, order your seeds, or plants, clear out the shed, if your are lucky enough to have one, service the rotovator and clean your tools. The Brussels Sprouts that you have over wintered and not eaten on Christmas day can come out about now.
  • February is often the coldest month, the ground could well be frozen solid, or if recent years are to set the pattern, the snows have gone and it is just plain cold. If the weather is on the mild side Broad Beans and Peas could go in now ready for May and June, heat the ground up under a fleece for a few days first; some growers leave the fleece in place after seeding
  • March is the month when things start to happen, and whilst the veg may not be flourishing to their full just yet, the weeds will be determined to get a head start; get the hoe out and kill them off young. Most Sundays in March you will hear a chorus of rotovators turning over plots; By the end of the month most of your seeds should be in trays starting to germinate and if the weather is OK by the third week your potatoes can go in. Be prepared to do the 'earthing' up thing though as late frosts can happen. The latest frost ever known on site is the first week of May! Carrots and Beetroot seed could go out now too if mild enough weather.
  • April Spring is really here now and there is lot that can go in the ground, the first thing being the hoe, as the weeds will be back by now. Peas and Broad Beans can still go in this month as can dwarf Kenya or French beans, runners too, Onions and Shallots will be ready to go as well. All the Brassicas can start out now too, Cabbages, kale, Cauliflower, Broccoli and Sprouts again ready for Christmas day! It is the time for Carrots, and Beetroot too, as can Kohlrabi Spinach and Chard. Late April is the time I start 'Iceberg' style lettuce seeds with a view to planting out the end of May early June
  • May is a busy one, apart from the continuous weed battle look to thin out the directly sown rows of seeds. Sweet corn, Squash, Courgette's Marrows and Pumpkins can all safely start out this month. Towards month end outdoor Tomatoes plants should go out and by this time the first battles with the slugs can be expected. Take a look for Black Fly around your beans etc. See Tips and Advice
  • June Known as Flaming June, temperatures can soar and to add to the weeding you should be prepared to do some watering. Those leeks seeds you started back in Feb. should be tall and pencil thin by now ready to go out. More Brassicas can be sown now for harvesting into the winter months. Celery, if that is your thing, can go out this month too; keep on top of the slugs.
  • July is traditionally the driest month so watering is a must. Early Potatoes could be coming out by now. This is the prime month for Pak Choi, Chinese Cabbage, Lettuce of all types, Radish and Spring Onions. Use a liquid feed on your tomatoes
  • August Some types of early Potatoes can be ready to come out this month to. Take care of Green and Black fly. Look hard at the Brassicas for caterpillar eggs towards the end of the month and on in to September, in recent years they seem to be a problem. Cut off the growing tips of the Tomatoes plants to encourage more fruit than foliage.
  • September is the month when more comes out then goes in. Weeding, watering and chasing caterpillars off your Brassicas are still important jobs. Spring Cabbage for next year can go in, as can some Onion Sets if you. Garlic lovers, this is now your time to get your cloves ready and the ground prepared for over wintering.
  • October Second Early and Main crop potatoes should be ready to come up now as the above ground foliage dies away. As space becomes available it is time to plant Green Manure Crops to over winter, Clover or Mustard are common, you dig them back in about March. Sweet Corn should be ready this month too. Squashes and Pumpkins will be ripe towards the end of the month, try and get them off the ground with a little straw.The first frost will arrive towards the end of the month
  • November Dark nights, plunging temperatures and only the sparkles at Fireworks night to give some cheer. Its still not too late for Green Manure crops. Take off any yellowing leaves from over wintering Brassilicas and net them well, the pigeons of Carshalton are greedy. Under a well secured fleece, start off Broad Beans. They do well under a fleece over winter and steal a march on the Black fly in Spring. Leaks should be ready and those you don't need will over winter just fine. Net
  • December The darkest shortest day of the year, nothing much to do, order seeds, take and Brassilicas that are ready or Leeks and above all stay warm.