It's the end of another year and time to reflect upon our garden successes - and for some, our garden failures! We asked our Horticultural experts and our web team for their gardening New Year's resolutions.
"My new year’s resolution would be to keep a closer eye on plug plants and pot them up at the right time - my Zinnias and broccoli were stunted this year because they became too root bound! I also need to use the cold winter nights to plan what I want to grow next year. Last summer, by the time I realised what I wanted to grow I had already missed the sowing period for some plants!"
Update:“I have been much more organised this year and ordered lots of plants much earlier. The poor weather in April meant that my greenhouse was bursting at the seams as I could not get everything potted on. It all got done though and my pots and borders are full, although we need some sunshine now to get everything growing. I am planning to get some salad leaves sown in containers this weekend and I fancy having a go at growing some pak choi.”
"My resolution is to be much tidier in the vegetable patch - I haven't cleared up since the end of summer!And I also want to improve the quality of my soil by digging in lots of good organic matter - that will certainly help the tomatoes this year."
Buy tomato seeds.
Update:“A few weeks back I got around to clearing my vegetable patch from leaves, twigs and debris – I’ve not touched it since the end of autumn last year. I’ve had a change in mind on what I’m growing though this year. My tomatoes we’re not brilliant last year as many suffered blight, so I’ve decided to increase my crop of French and runner beans. I found Cobra a fantastic cropper last year with just six plants, so this year, I’ve gone for about 20, plus some courgettes! The plants are in the ground, the nets are up around the patch and now thankfully, the hosepipe ban has ended...for now at least! Hopefully I’ll have so much crop, I can freeze them for my winter roast dinners! I’m on the lookout for a small greenhouse too, as I'm interested in growing chillies for next year!”
"I have a fairly small plot but every year it is invaded by bindweed that creeps in from under my neighbours fence. Next year I resolve to get on top of it in the spring before it really gets going!I must also remember to water the parsnip seeds after sowing them so that they actually germinate in 2012!
Buy Parsnip 'Gladiator'.
Update:“With the wet weather that we have been having, my parsnips have got off to a flying start! They did suffer a slug attack but not too much damage was done, so I’m looking forward to some lovely succulent parsnips with my roast dinners this winter. Unfortunately the wet weather has also helped the bindweed grow despite my best efforts to eradicate it. Oh well, you can’t win them all!”
"I would like to enlarge the flower border that I made last autumn and fill it lots of lovely perennials. I would also want to get some chickens - that should create lots of manure!"
Buy perennial plants.
Update:“I now have chickens! And although they do poop a lot they’re only banthams so not quite enough to do a great deal of good to my flower bed! However, I have also enlarged said flower bed and it now has heuchera, philadelphus (mock orange) and penstemon. Plus, we’ve also created another flower bed against a wall in our garden which has got some foxgloves and some oriental poppies!”
"This year the allotment site was infested in brassica whitefly. My goal for the 2012 season is to try and keep this troublesome pest under control on my plot. I also love growing tuberous begonias in pots and baskets and I would like to have a bigger and better display around the garden than in previous years. Finally, as this year draws to a close I am well ahead of schedule , the garden is tidy the allotment is all dug. So my aim is to keep ahead (or certainly up to date) with all my gardening chores as the year progresses. "
Buy Begonia tubers now.
Update:“At present the brassicas are whitefly free, although I have seen a little grey aphid that needs attention. All my baskets this year have been planted with tuberous begonias and the 'Apricot Shades' are in flower at the front of the house and the 'Fragrant Falls' are just starting to bloom outside the back door where I can enjoy their wonderful fragrance. The tuberous begonias I grow in pots under glass are also just starting to bloom, ready for exhibition later in the year, so at present I am on track for a bigger display than last year of one of my favourite flowers. The flower garden is all planted and coming into bloom, the allotment is full and productive and best of all weed free, so despite a strange start to the year weather-wise, my new year gardening resolutions are surprisingly going according to plan.”
"As I live in a flat (without a balcony) I am limited to what I can grow. However, I would like to grow more things on my windowsills, such as salad leaves and herbs. I may become more adventurous after I see how successful I am at growing them! I also want to brighten the place up with some pretty indoor plants."
Update:“I haven’t been growing any herbs or salad leaves, but I have been growing strawberries in a windowbox and tomato plants outside my patio door. They both seem to be growing well at the moment! I also have a few new house plants so my flat is looking a bit nicer now.”
"I'm going to try and grow more vegetables on my patio area, and mixed in with my flower beds. I've got a vegetable patch at the bottom of the garden, which is great but not always convenient for a quick dash from plot to pot! I also want to grow more flowers for cutting. I'm tired of limp bunches from supermarkets which don't even last. I'll be broadcast sowing plenty of easy-grow flowers like Nigella, Cornflowers - great for informal posies on a summer's day."
Update:“Yes, I have achieved a good flower and veg mixture...especially on my veg patch, and with a nice cutting garden too. I've planted statice, lily 'Defender', sweet peas and loads and loads of glaidoli, intermingled with informal rows of broad beans and 'Shiraz' peas. I've also got lots of lilies on the patio and zinc troughs with carrots, radishes and salads in!”
"My resolution for 2012 is to not dig up my potatoes too early! It was the first time I had tried growing them in bags on the patio and I was a little too keen to see how they were doing!"
Buy potatoes now.
Update:“My first early potatoes (Pentland Javellin) are still in their bags growing away and I have managed to hold off on digging them up too early this year. I planted the tubers 11 weeks ago and they would be fine to harvest now, but due to the poor weather we have had in recent weeks, I am leaving them for another week or two. So far so good!”
"I have many resolutions for my garden (usually carried over from the previous year!). This year I am absolutely determined to actually clear, then fill, my borders with flowers so that I don’t have to do so much weeding. I also want to use some of the borders for vegetables - our garden is 60ft long and on a bit of a slope, so using the borders for veg frees up a bit of space. And I want to buy a shed. That would be good!"
Buy flower plants.
Update:“I have managed to get quite a bit done this year - my borders are a mixture of flowers and vegetables and looking very lush at the moment! I've got some Charlotte potatoes in one of the borders and also in a growing bag and they'll be ready to dig up fairly soon. Carrots, lettuces and rhubarb are also mixed in amongst the flowers. I need to do a bit more work on the veg patch and then I'll be able to get some more summer veg crops in.”