Posted: Monday 26 December 2011
by Adam Pasco
[...] I've made a list of 12 things I really must get done - my gardening essentials for the 12 days of Christmas.
Christmas Day was everything it was supposed to be in the Pasco household – at home with family, relaxing banter, wholesome food (including home-grown parsnips), gifts, games and laughter.
And before you ask, no, I didn't escape into the garden to avoid washing up.
There was music too. I started learning electric guitar four years ago, wishing I'd started in my youth, and I love it. As always when learning a musical instrument, you only get out what you put in, so I do try and pick it up every day.
Local musician Richard Mackman is a great teacher, and at my last lesson he decided to teach me a Christmas classic, the Slade song 'Merry Christmas Everybody', with a galloping guitar line I've just about mastered. My son Luke is turning into a great drummer (and has started gigging ... at 15!), so all I need now is Noddy Holder to pop round for a sing-along.
Like many of the team at Gardeners' World, I’m enjoying a few days off this week – not the full twelve days of Christmas, but long enough to recharge before returning to produce the web and magazine pages to make 2012 another great gardening year.
To take full advantage of the free time, in addition to activities with family and friends, I've made a list of 12 things I really must get done - my gardening essentials for the 12 days of Christmas.
1 TIDY THE SHED
It's a disgrace. No more excuses. It needs clearing out and reorganising, and to be honest it could take me the full 12 days on its own.
2 CLEAR THE PATHS
Leaves from a neighbours oak tree were late to fall, but do need collecting now. So it's out with the garden vacuum to suck-up and shred the leaves, before they’re composted.
3 PUT UP THE NESTING BOX
I took the old blue tit nesting box down a couple of weeks ago, to clean out old nesting material and sterilise inside with boiling water, but I must get it back in place. I will also look for a suitable site for another nest box.
4 EMPTY COMPOST BINS
Just how long does it take for the contents of compost bins to rot down? After a year, compost from one of my bins is ready to be used in the garden, making space for new waste to go in.
5 DIG THE PLOT
Although I've got green manures growing on some veg beds, I do have a couple that can be dug over. I'll mix in all that lovely homemade compost at the same time.
6 BUILD MY POTTING BENCH
I bought a wooden potting bench kit last summer, but it didn't come with the right instructions or screws, and has been sitting in its packaging. I must build it this week.
7 PRUNE APPLES
Some of my cordon-trained trees have grown too tall to reach the branches to pick fruit, so it's out with the loppers, and off with their tops!
8 CLEAN THE MOWER
Every mower needs a little TLC from time to time. I need to clean the underside, then spray the blade, metal parts and cables with oil. And should I book it in for a full service? Probably.
9 TAKE SOME HARDWOOD CUTTINGS
This is a great way to propagate many trees, shrubs, roses and fruits. It's really easy - do have a go.
10 PREPARE FOR PLANTING
I'm planning to plant some new fruit bushes (gooseberries especially). I’m going to prepare the soil at the planting sites this week.
11 WASH POTS AND SEED TRAYS
Never exciting, but if the sun shines I'll fill-up a large bucket with hot water and wash the growing pile of accumulated flower pots. This is a great job to do while listening to the radio. Shall I tune in to Gardeners' Question Time or Planet Rock?
12 ORDER SEEDS
Back indoors for my final job. What better time to relax with the latest crop of seed catalogues and work out what I'd like to grow in 2012.
Whatever you're doing this week, all the team at Gardeners' World send you our very best wishes for the festive season and year ahead.
27/12/2011 at 09:22
I made use of some of my guests and persuaded them to assemble my new flatpack garden furniture for me! A bit different from helping with the washing up! All the others on your list apply to me as well. Adam, except the digging, but I do have an extra one or two - designing my new potager now i have lots of ideas from Joy Larkcom's book on Creative Vegetable gardening and clearing the site for it as the landscapers have promised to come round soon. I saw them over Christmas as I took three parties of guests round to see their wonderful display of lights which has put brentry on the map as far as Light displays are concerned as i hope to put it on the map as far as wildlife friendly gardens are concerned. Are we not very lucky indeed to be having gardening weather at this time if year?
28/12/2011 at 15:44
Quite a few of the things on your list Adam I did a while ago. I thought I would tidy the shed before the cold weather came so I did that back in November. I must admit that when New Year is over and the Christmas decs are put away for another year, I start to get that feeling of excitement about getting out into the garden and sowing seeds again and getting colour back into the garden. As the weather has been so mild, I've still got a rose flowering its socks off. Happymarion you are correct, we are so lucky to have such good gardening weather this time of year.
Happy New Year Everyone.
30/12/2011 at 09:09
Help! My what to do now section is in May this week. Please sort it out for next week as I rely on it to do all my gardening in the right order
30/12/2011 at 11:19
Yes, I noticed that too, kathryn, but this year has been so different. Yesterday I pulled out the slimy remains of crocosmia, a job usually done in November. My roses have not had a wimter prune yet because they still have lots of roses and buds on. The buddlias have needed pruning again as they have grown monstrous. It does help to have a reminder but generalisations will not suffice this year as the different parts of the country are at different stages of growth. Ah well., variety is the spice iof life.