January 2012

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January 2012

Dear Fellow Gardeners,

As this newsletter is being written, the gales outside are literally howling across our garden at great speed and strength. So far the felt has been ripped off a shed and at least six panes of glass have been lost from one of the small greenhouses. As soon as the wind stops blowing, we’ll take a quick inventory of damage done while impatiently waiting for a more sedate spring.

Broken glass from greenhouse

Six panes of glass were broken by the gales – and it is still windy.


January Jobs

• Order your seeds In some gardeners’ minds, January marks the beginning of the gardening year, and now is the time to plan the garden and order your seeds (click here for our seed shop).

• Plan your garden When planning your garden, it is vitally important to establish a rotation system for vegetables that are grown in the ground. Otherwise, pests and diseases build up in the soil, making it unfit for cultivation. We recommend a rotation of at least four years, i.e., growing members from the same plant family in the same piece of ground only one year out of four. This is not as easy as it sounds, especially in a tunnel or greenhouse, so some compromise is always inevitable. But the closer you stick to a 4-year rotation, the less long-term problems you are likely to encounter. Click here for information on plant families.

• Sow your habanero chillies For those of you planning to grow chillies, the middle of January is a good time to sow the slow growing habanero types. To help you along, check out our new blog – Mr VegHead says... – for 10 tips for growing sweet peppers and chillies. Alternatively, go to our website (click here) for detailed chilli growing instructions and if you are unsure about habanero chillies click here for an explanation.


Starter Guides

We are almost at the end of our 'Starter Guides', which are a series of articles for gardeners new to vegetable growing. This time it’s a short one on watering, and to have a look click here.

Water tap Hand watering peas

Hand watering peas, drip irrigation on French beans.


Chilli events and products

Chilli plug plants

For the 2012 growing season, we have extended the range of varieties on offer as plug plants. Not only do we now offer our entire selection of habanero chillies, but also some of the C. annuum chillies and two sweet pepper varieties.

Fairy Lights chilli plug plant

A plug plant of Fairy Lights ready for sending out.

• Chilli growing courses

Because of popular demand, we have added two more "What's hot, what's not" courses. These will be on two consecutive Sundays in February. The dates for available courses are now the 12th, 18th and 19th February.



Don't forget to have a go at our "Guess how many chillies on the Dorset Naga plant" competition. It is free to enter and the winner will receive £15 of seed.


Proud sponsors of Portesham United Football Club

It is almost a month since Portesham United last played a game. That match was against Stickland United and they drew 3-3. The club is now sixth in their league (click here for full details), but we are sure they can do better. There are now two games coming up in quick succession, with the first is scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday 7th January) – keep your fingers crossed.

Go Possums!


Good gardening and best wishes,

Michael and Joy Michaud




For Growing Vegetables


P.S. Be sure to check out next month's newsletter, which will include a pictorial essay on putting up a tunnel.

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