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Happy New Year

Happy New Year

Much is made of the hope and optimism that the start of a new year should bring but the reality is, of course, somewhat different. Hangovers, the feeling that we ate too much over the Christmas period and the sinking feeling that January, my least favourite month, stretches out in front of us, is somewhat closer to how most of us greet the start of another year.

It’s no great surprise though that as humans we love the idea of a fresh start, a clean slate and the thought that things will be different in the new year. Companies know this which is why we’re bombarded with adverts for online dating, detoxing, losing weight and holidays at this time of year. For us growers that feeling has probably never been as strong as at the start of 2013. You have to be quite optimistic to be a gardener and lets face it after last year’s summer and autumn the fact that we’re planning to pick up our spades and fill those seed trays once again is pretty remarkable. So, although January can be an inhospitable month, we know that a new growing season is upon us and we’re buoyed with hope that this year will be better than last. It would be hard not to be though.

I’ve got quite a big project on my hands this year, I’m writing a book based on my allotment. So, whilst I’m excited, I’m also feeling a sense of trepidation, partly about delivering the actual book and partly that the weather is going to cause me no end of headaches when it comes to getting plants ready for their photographs. A normal spring can be stressful enough.

Flooding at Ross on Wye which could be renamed Ross on Sea

Flooding at Ross on Wye which could be renamed Ross on Sea

Plans for 2013 involve a spot of replanting in my front and back gardens. Some plants have rather taken over. Yes, you know who you are, astrantia. And other spots don’t have enough seasonal interest. There’s the constant challenge of making the allotment as productive as possible. And I can’t wait to get growing in my new greenhouse. I have plans for some tomatoes, a chilli plant and possibly a cucumber. However, I don’t want to get carried away, which I think I’m in danger of and find the greenhouse is so full I can’t get in there.

The impact of the weather in 2012 hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm for growing but it has made me reflect on the plants I grow. I’m not yet completely decided but I think this might be a spud free year. My plants last year didn’t do well and for the amount of space they take up I’d prefer to grow something more reliable and that is more prolific. I think, and my plans are still in their early stages, that I’m going to try to grow the crops we eat a lot of, such as bean, peas and lettuce, really well and focus less on trying new things this time. Celeriac will definitely make a reappearance and I hope to grow more Florence fennel over a longer period this time. I’m looking forward to reading about everyone’s plans for their own gardens and allotments over the coming months.

So, for me, it’s the thoughts of seedlings galore, buds breaking and the first signs of spring that refresh me. Forget the detox and get sowing will be my mantra for the start of 2013.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous 2013. Lets hope the rain stops, the ground dries up and that the weather is kinder to us this year. Best wishes WW x

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