January is the month of new beginnings and anticipation; the promise of things to come through the year. The first bulbs peeping through the cold ground, maybe even buds appearing. But in the kitchen garden the month is quiet. I use early January to plan ahead. Sitting down with a hot cup of tea and a seed catalogue or two, I inevitably become over enthusiastic and order far more than my tiny garden can cope with!
In the garden itself, there may be a little pruning still to do. If my herb bed is looking strong and green I will cut back the older branches of the plants and hang them in bunches to dry for use in the coming weeks. Perhaps there will be a few winter vegetables left, or even some early rhubarb. If you are starting out on your kitchen garden adventure, then don’t hesitate to buy some herbs right away. They can survive all year round in a sheltered spot; the kitchen windowsill is always the best place, in easy reach for cooking.
Later in the month, seeds duly arrived; I plant the first lot into my propagator (a worthwhile and inexpensive investment if you are growing from seed). It sits in a cool, light spot by my back door, no space for a greenhouse in the middle of the city sadly, and as the seedlings show their first vivid green shoots, it makes me smile and think of the warmer spring days to come. Next to it my potato tubers are chitting (sprouting), sat upright in egg boxes on the shelf; the cheap options are often as good as any fancy tools you can buy!