What I’m Sowing and Growing in January
I love writing these monthly reviews, although January is perhaps the most boring of them, because everything slows down to a crawl. This year though it’s a much more exciting month because grow lights are allowing me to squeeze in additional harvests in lots of my beds and especially the polytunnel.
To offset that excitement though is the damage done to some of the lettuce beds by the long periods of damp, cool (not cold) weather. As a result we’ve seen maybe 1/5 of our lettuces – in some beds – lost to stem rot and the prediction of more to come, so I’ve decided to cut my losses. Grow lights to the rescue here as well though, as I’ve been able to have lovely healthy plants ready to replace these beds in time for a March harvest, not far behind where I would have been had I left the original plants in the ground.
Although this article is focused on January I also have a summary of everything that I’m sowing for the whole year, if you’re interested please take a look at my month-by-month sowing guide.
December saw quite a bit of space opening up as we finished harvesting Erba Stella, turnips and parsnips. These beds were immediately replanted with spring cabbages and lettuces. That pattern will become the norm now as we try and make sure that by the end of February, every bed is planted for spring, rather than full of old winter plantings that are no longer earning their keep. This is especially true of lettuce and spinach which we actively clear to make way for carrots, turnips, cauliflowers, calabrese, radishes and other spring delights.
Last month I was hoping that we would reach our target of £11,500 in value from our 250m2 of growing area, but we beat it, harvesting just over £12,000 and increasing our yield per bed to £48, up from £40 last year. We are fully expecting to pass £50/m2 in 2021 as we will have less growing space and hence more focus on inter-planting.
We’ve now handed Jennie’s plot over to it’s new owner and finished harvesting from it. We are all very upbeat about the decision which I talk about in this video. From my perspective I’m looking forward to less time weeding and less heavy work.
Before we take a look at our plans for January it’s useful to catch up on the existing state of the plots, first up is the kitchen garden:
I also did a tour of my plot:
Of course in winter we depend quite heavily on food from our store, so I did a video to show what we are harvesting from there too.
So finally we get to January’s sowing and growing video! January is such a grim month, for sowing seeds and I generally don’t recommend it but I don’t follow my own advice! That’s partly because I have plenty of LED grow light capacity, but also because I just don’t have space to wait and start everything in February.
If you’re interested in the databases that I used to manage the allotments I also have a video and associated blog post about them. The blog post has all of the details on how to get your own copy of the database (with or without my data) to customise as you wish. If you take a copy with my data you will have to delete some of the images, as I have breached the limits of the free version.
I also have a fancy new database for tracking all of my seed packets.
Here’s a complete read-only view of the varieties database with all of my data.
Here’s what we actually sowed in November:
Here’s what we are planning to sow in January:
If you want to look ahead to future months here’s a view of my sowing database for last year
Here’s a complete list of the varieties that I’m planning to sow in 2021 including all of our perennials
Watch out for the next video showing what I’m sowing in February, here’s a hint, quite a lot!