Hello and welcome to a sparkling, spanking new year! Did you have a relaxing Christmas break? Was Santa good to you? As for myself, I ate so much I hear Disney want me for the next Star Wars film to play Jabba the Hut. And when I wasn’t eating, I spent my time hanging from the Christmas Wreath doing impressions of the Green Man. Nevertheless, I had a wonderful time with friends and family and and the break gave me the opportunity to reflect and appreciate all that’s good in life.It’s become a bit of a tradition now, but in the last few years on New Year’s Day, I take myself away to a quiet nook of the house and set up a temporary den filled with garden magazines, sketches, seed boxes and ideas for what I hope to achieve in the upcoming year.
With the allotment blueprint sketched and ideas for the garden taking shape, I then turn to my sacred seed box. Think Indiana Jones* retrieving the most valuable of artefacts. It’s here I work out what I’ve got, what I’ll need and I leave any old seeds for the bird feeder.
But it doesn’t end there. The decorations haven’t been packed away and I’m already reaching for the seed compost! Patience isn’t my greatest virtue, and as a man filled with mince pies and turkey, I’m desperate to get out in the fresh air, feel the soil under my nails and burn off that Christmas waistline. So part of my New Year’s Day tradition is to sow my chilli, pepper and aubergine seeds. This year I’m trying Sweet Pepper, Aubergine Moneymaker, Chilli Heatwave, Cayenne Red and Cherry Bomb.
Getting these into the soil this early gives them the maximum time to germinate, grow and produce those delicious treats. I’ve found in years gone by, sowing these crops later in the spring leaves me fighting against time the following autumn and often I’ve been left broken-hearted without a chilli in sight to warm my winter months.
But it’s the first weekend in a whole new chapter, and I’m bristling to turn my plans into reality. However, with winter yet to fully descend I just might have to sit on these hopes for a little while longer.
(*Harrison Ford man crush? Moi?)