Festive holidays may be a time to relax, but getting involved in next year’s garden plans can also be very relaxing.
Armed with a few new plant and seed catalogues we can sit back in comfort as we decide what new ventures lie ahead for 2017.
Decision making is always assisted with the help of some festive liquid refreshment, most of which was home grown such as the gooseberry wine, coming out as top favourite but closely followed by the Saskatoon and apple.
The currants, black, white and red all make distinctly different wines, and the Chokeberry (Aronia) is in another world altogether.
Anyway I usually start plans for each year based on the previous year’s results. If some crops were outstanding in 2016 I will repeat them again this year.
Thus tomato Sweet Million, a very productive and sweet cherry type and Sungold, another cherry in yellow, but just as sweet, will both be in the schedule. Potato Amour produced a huge crop of immense sized spuds with a great flavour and Casa Blanca is perfect as a salad potato full of flavour.
Charlotte, another salad type was also a winner and Sarpo Mira gave a great crop so will come back for 2017.
I was not impressed with Genson, so it will not get a second chance.
Staying with root crops, I was very impressed with my gardening magazine freebie Beetroot Cylindrica, so will get more for 2017.
Parsnip Gladiator was very tasty but the long roots were not as thick as other types.
Brassicas had a poor year mainly on account of severe clubroot infections.
If the variety of cabbage, cauliflower or Brussels sprouts are not resistant to clubroot they will fail on my soil, so I will only use clubroot resistant types, and experiment with different sowing dates.
Brussels sprouts Bedford Fillbasket never filled any basket as every sprout blew wide open, so Sprouts for the festive lunch came from our local supermarket. I will need to go back to that old variety, but very reliable, Wellington.
Another gardening magazine freebie was a packet of mixed salad leaves.
Within this mixture of the good the bad and the ugly appeared a fantastic red frilled lettuce, Lollo Rosso, which will definitely be on the list for 2017. It is very attractive and is crisp and full of flavour.
In the fruit garden, the autumn raspberries Polka and Autumn Treasure were both very impressive with the latter cropping from late august till the frosts.
Summer fruiting Glen Fyne gave a huge crop and the newer variety Glen Dee shows a lot of promise for 2017.
Bramble Reuben has had a couple of seasons to sort itself out but failed miserably.
Described as a primocane, with huge fruits borne on shoots grown the same year.
As mine never flowered till November both last year and this year I have had no crop at all.
However I am leaving the canes for another year to see how they perform as a normal floricane.
I did that in 2016 but with weak shoots only growing five feet tall the fruits produced were miserable, with an average size of 1.5 cms, hardly the size of a small plum as in the catalogue description.
New strawberry Albion fruits from mid summer till late autumn, but is a wee bit hard, so will get another year.
Strawberry Colossus did not fruit last year so I am hoping to report back with good news of huge berries this coming summer.
My pear tree cropped so poorly that it is scheduled for grafting some Concorde shoots onto the tree to see if this will help with pollination in the future.
Garden flowers improvements to show in 2017 will be more mass planting of tulips, oriental lilies and dwarf azaleas to assist ground cover.
Euonymus ground cover is already proving very attractive giving a bright splash of colour all winter.
Wee jobs to do this week
Favourable autumn and winter weather has allowed the garden to get tidied up, and the allotment digging to be completed, and now back indoors in the studio I am finishing off my last painting for 2016 as my “Lady in Red” does some shopping in Dundee High Street, so as I relax into the festive spirit the only wee job left for this week is to wish all my readers a happy New Year.