East Midlands Food

East Midlands Food

January in the garden and hen house…

Garden tools, Ayscoughee Hall, Spalding

You’ll be pleased to know that, according to the Tit-Bits Yearbook of 1931, January ‘should be considered the last of the garden digging and manuring months’. Assuming you could get the spade into the ground in the first place in the many degrees of frost we had recently, soil dug between November and January ‘is always in a better condition than that dug later’ – but now is the time to decide where each of your new crops will be planted, to estimate your seed requirements and order them, and to lay out your seed potatoes in a light place free from frost to get them to sprout.

Should you have a warm sunny border and ‘suitable weather’, you can now sow early peas and broad beans. Cucumbers, tomatoes, French beans and melons can be sown in pots in the greenhouse, and carrots, lettuces and radishes in a frame. Asparagus, radishes, carrots, potatoes, mint, rhubabb, lettuse and chicory can also be forced in hotbeds of one third leaves and two thirds manure.

In the fruit garden, strawberries in pots should be brought into the greenhouse for forcing, and new strawberries planted. Carry on pruning your fruit trees, except apricot, peach and other stone fruits – leave these until next month. Give your fruit trees a mulch of manure, and check the stakes of new fruit trees to make sure the bark hasn’t been chafed by the wind rubbing the trees and stakes together.

In the hen house, keep the roosts ‘cosy and draught-proof, but do not stop ventilation’. Make up breeding pens (six heavy breed hens or eight or ten light breed hens to very male bird) of two year old birds ‘which have given a good account of themselves in the past’. Provide a full supply of green food – dip it in water to thaw if frozen, or used sliced turnips, swedes or Jerusalem artichokes if no green food is available.

 
 

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About this Sponsor

A research project that looked at various aspects of food in the East Midlands, linking them with museum displays and objects in the region, and making the results available to as many people as possible in different formats.

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