Friday, January 02, 2009

January tasks for the Mediterranean gardener

New Year tasks for the Mediterranean gardener.

January has brought cold Siberian winds to the garden as 2009 dawns. The early morning frosts have been a welcome blow against the Tiger Mosquito which tried to establish itself in L’Alt Empordà during the warmer summer days; the eradication initiatives in the coastal plain seem to be effective, though it seems colonies may persist in the south of Girona province.

 Now it is time to deal with Garden jobs for January.

  • Large Trees should by now of been pruned to shape. Timber from those trees should be cut and stacked in dry airy conditions to provide firewood for the cold spell next year. If you try to burn the freshly cut wood it will fill your house with smoke and provide little heat.
  • Shrubs too should be cut back to stimulate fruit production and flower buds where that occurs on new seasons growth. Chop up the cut branches and leaves and incorporate them into your compost heap.
  • Compost heaps will benefit from being turned to introduce a little air into the material, ensure the heap is damp and firm down to stimulate the biological action. Dry material will not decompose.
  • Worm activity falls off as the temperature declines and frost can kill those valuable garden friends. Place your wormery in a sheltered spot and consider insulation to maintain temperature. Remember to keep the bed damp but not wet and feed the worms.
  • Cultivation - Rainfall rare as it has been has softened the earth and will provide an opportunity to cultivate the soil. Bed preparation will be assisted by any frost which will break down soil with higher clay content.
  • Compost from the previous year’s heap should be added to freshly dug ground where it can be dug in to help boost soil fertility.
  • Mulch - Heavy rain such as we experience here in our particular Mediterranean Garden can compact the soil quite badly. A heavy mulch of fibrous compost from our heap helps to minimise the damage and the worms will pull the material into the soil.
  • Bamboo canes are grown as windbreaks throughout Spain they are plentiful and the canes can be cut and dried for a supporting role in your garden. The bamboo wood is easier to make holes in whilst still fresh so if you need to add holes for wires and fixings do it as soon as you have harvested the bamboo.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this useful list. Everyone here says how necessary the cold weather is to kill off bugs - and we're certainly getting some cold weather this year! Hope it kills off the mosquiteos! Looking forward to following your blog in 2009. Happy new year!