My Two Cents: Top Gardening Bloggers Share Their New Year’s Resolutions

Cherry tree in winter

It might be February, but it’s cold, bleak and grey out there and the growing season seems so far away. We’ve had frost after frost, sleet, snow and endless days of cloud and rain, and the garden has been sleeping soundly for weeks on end. It’s been just over a month since we were launched headfirst into 2017, but already the seed catalogues have been arriving in droves.

Top Gardening Bloggers Share Their New Year’s Resolutions

It might be dull and dreary outside, but this time of year is perfect for planning the growing season ahead from the comfort of my centrally heated house. So when Capital Gardens asked me for my take on my horticultural new year resolutions, I was more than happy to help. I joined five other gardening bloggers in offering up my thoughts on what I hope to achieve this growing season, and why this year I’ll be aiming for quality over quantity.

So check out Top Gardening Bloggers Share Their New Year’s Resolutions to see what we all had to say.

Kitchen garden in January


It’s not even a month since the Winter Solstice and already I’m noticing that we’re already starting to gain a little more light in the evenings. It’s not much, but it’s definitely a positive!

Last Sunday – despite dreary grey skies and wet ground underfoot, I took the baby and the buggy into the garden at 4pm. Whilst E slept after a being wheeled a few short circuits around the garden, I raked and collected up the last of the leaves for the leaf bin. I worked until just before 5pm, when the light was diminishing rapidly by the minute. Just three weeks ago it would have been impossible to work past 4:30pm… so I can’t complain.

Collecting up the last of the autumn leaves and clearing away last year’s homegrown cosmos flowers were two small but significant jobs that have been lingering on an ever-growing list of Things To Do This January. My Smallest Smallholding may well take a pause in January, but for me it gives me a little breathing space to catch up on a whole host of jobs, before everything kickstarts once again in the spring.

Frosty raspberry leaf backlit by sunshine

Realistically, with a 4 1/2 month in tow, I can only grab snatches of time here and there. To pretend I have hours on hand to potter and preen will do me no favours. So I need to keep the momentum going to keep on top of everything that needs doing.

One thing I’ve learned about parenthood is that I have to work around my new routine. So my To Do List needs to be simple and straightforward. That way, I can tick, tick, tick off the boxes and feel like I’m getting somewhere.

Here’s a few jobs that I’ve lined up for January and February at The Smallest Smallholding:

– Cut down autumn fruiting (primocane) raspberry canes
– Weed & mulch veg plots
– Continue cutting back brambles and pulling up nettles in the overgrown patch
– Plant garlic and winter onions (it’s still relatively warm and February – the coldest month – is still to come)
– Tidy long border
– Plant the last tulip bulbs (eek)
– Prune buddleias, roses and clematis
– Chit potatoes

Build a Better Vegetable Garden – Book Review

Build a Better Vegetable Garden - 30 DIY Projects to Improve Your Harvest

If there’s one thing I need right now (apart from about three weeks’ worth of solid sleep, of course), it’s inspiration. Dull, dank grey days and a sodden and sleepy vegetable garden have left me feeling somewhat indifferent about what’s going on outside at the moment.

So when publishers Frances Lincoln sent Joyce & Ben Russell’s Build a Better Vegetable Garden: 30 DIY Projects to Improve Your Harvest for review, I was keen to delve in and strike up some horticulturally-inspired fire in my postpartum belly.

So did it give me some ideas for projects ahead of the next growing season? Most certainly. But perhaps a lot of the projects will have to be added to Rich’s ever-growing list of things to do (finish the kitchen floor, finish the dining room, put up my polytunnel). So why Rich, and not me? Quite simply because right now, I don’t have the time to tend to a baby and learn some elementary skills. I just don’t. Rich, on the other hand, is ahead of the game and is pretty nifty wielding a hammer, chisel, drill and a whole host of power tools.

So I would say that if you’re a complete DIY novice with zero carpentry skills, are a little lean on the tools front, and like us lack a garage or workshop space, you may struggle a little with the projects laid out in this book. All of the projects featured involve working with timber and require a basic skill set for working with this material. For instance, I really love the bean support and apple/fruit storage trays, but it would take me a month of Sundays to make them, and even longer to make them well (I can’t even saw straight). But if Rich can find some time (and workspace) in the Spring, I’d love to hand over a couple of projects to help us improve our growing conditions and hopefully boost harvests next year.

Likewise, if you’re keen to learn some new skills or already have the knowledge to put together some relatively simple but effective pieces for the garden or allotment – think obelisk, raised veg beds, cloches and fruit cages, and more – then this book should definitely be on your Christmas list. Beautiful photography and clear instructions make each project a tempting prospect, and should inspire homegrowers to help make their little patches more attractive, productive and more secure.

You can purchase Build a Better Vegetable Garden: 30 DIY Projects to Improve Your Harvest through Amazon right here.