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This month in the garden - 2021

January in the garden

Happy New Year! Although the garden is quiet at the moment with the crops planted in autumn growing slowly, there should be something to harvest; salad leaves, coriander, kale and maybe some peas if you got them in early enough. As we welcome 2021, January is a time of new beginnings and time to plan the garden for the year ahead. It's the moment to get your seeds out and decide what you're going to eat this summer. It's also the time to prepare the beds; clean them out, dig them over and add manure ready for planting up in the spring. It's the best time to cut bamboo or caña canes to use as tomato and bean poles as the sap is low this month and poles cut now will be more durable. It's also time to get the holes ready for new fruit trees. Bare root trees are already available in the garden centres.

At the end of the month the first tomato seeds can be sown, as can chillies, aubergines and peppers. It's crucial, however, that any seeds sown now are well protected from frost, so they must be sown in a greenhouse or cold frame. You can make a simple cold frame by laying out a ring of concrete blocks and covering it with an old window or sheet of greenhouse plastic. Tomatoes, chillies and peppers sown this month will get off to a good start and bring an earlier harvest, but they can be sown all the way through to April. It makes sense to stagger your seed sowing so as not to become overwhelmed with all the potting on. As the little seedlings start to grow in their modules, make sure you pot them on regularly. They will quickly use up the nutrients in the compost and will need new compost and more space to grow. Pay attention to them and if you notice their growth has slowed down, it's time to pot them on. You can also continue sowing salad leaves; beetroot, fennel, radish and rocket can be direct sown. Celery and celeriac can be sown now too. If you missed planting habas and garlic, this month is your last chance to plant them to ensure a crop. Leek and onion plantlets can be planted out too. Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum has recently warned us of the dangers of an imminent cyber attack that will, among other things, affect the digitised supply chain of the food industry. At the World Economic Forum's 2020 Cyber Polygon simulation event, the theme was how to prevent a 'digital pandemic' that would in Klaus's words make the coronavirus pandemic “look like a small disturbance in comparison”. We would be wise to heed Klaus's words bearing in mind that the predictions for a global coronavirus pandemic that were publicised by the World Economic Forum hosted simulation Event 201 in October 2019 turned out to be chillingly accurate.

We have a new normal to look forward to in 2021. Let's all do what we can to make healthy, nutritious food part of our new normal. Let's get our gardens going this year, bigger and better than ever. Let's work together to support one another and our local farmers to build resilient, abundant local food system that won't fall foul to an attack by shadowy cyber terrorists. Our seeds are the most important part of our food chain. They grant us our independence from a digitised, monetised, global food system that limits our choices of what we eat. We have a local seed bank (SEEeD.es) that not only provides seeds to local growers but also teaches them through free monthly workshops how to save their own seeds. If you haven't saved your own seeds before, give it a try this year. THE REVOLUTION IS IN THE GARDEN.

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