If you are anything like me you will have probably over indulged on food and drink over the Christmas and New Year celebrations. During which time, any lingering thoughts about the allotment may have temporarily been pushed to the back of our minds!
All that will soon change as we now welcome in a brand new year and look forward to a bumper harvest from our trusty and faithful plots in 2014.
January may often be cold but it is far from being a wasted month down on the allotment. There is plenty to do particularly in the confines of a heated greenhouse or a polytunnel. The windowsill at home can also be your friend, providing heat to germinate early seeds, through the use of a heated propagator such as the Garland Super 7 propagator or the Big 3 propagator
This month is the time to sow maincrop onion seeds that will grow on and develop, for harvesting during late summer. Shallots too can be grown from seed sown now in a similar way. Provide gentle heat, good light and frost-free conditions.
If you are growing exhibition onions on your allotment they are also invariably grown from seed, sown in late December or early January. A long season is needed for larger sized onions.
Alternatively if you prefer, both onions and shallots can be grown from sets started off later in spring.
If the weather closes in and the ground becomes frozen solid, this can provide a chance to do some manual work on the plot. During a deep freeze, wet or claggy paths can suddenly become hard wearing and quite user friendly until it starts to thaw. Use these moments to do some heavy-duty work. Manure can be stacked, or moved around to a new location. Compost bins can be erected. Wheelbarrows can also be used far easier to bring materials on to your plot for the forthcoming season. There is always something to do on the allotment!
It is generally better to keep off the soil itself if it is either very wet or frozen as you are likely to do more harm than good in these situations.
Allotments are well and truly productive for twelve months of the year and no month typifies this better than January.