A quiet time In our heads, January will always be a quiet time. “Oh, we’ll do that when it’s quiet,” we say. “Let’s leave that for now and think about it in January.” Why don’t we learn? January is never quiet! Year end accounting aside, January is our time for planning ordering, planning sowing, rotations and planting, planning workshops, courses & open days, training for our trainees. We could fill the entire month just with planning. If it weren’t for meetings. And cleaning the polytunnels. And wood chipping the paths. And preparing beds. And sorting out our composting areas. And potting up dahlia tubers. And, and, and…

So our year has started at full tilt. We’re looking forward to meeting lots of you on our workshops and courses this year – we’ve got some lovely days planned for you! Our very first workshop is designed for those who aspire to run a land-based social enterprise of their own. Held here at Organic Blooms on Wednesday 12th February, you’ll have the opportunity to meet our trainees in action as well as benefitting from Jo’s and Wendy’s encyclopaedic knowledge, expertise and experience.

In March you can join us for a day learning how to plan and create a cutting garden of your own, starting from the soil up, and in April we’re running our brand new polytunnel growing and propagation workshop – we can’t wait.

Wendy and her team are at the forefront of the eco-floristry movement; in July you will have an opportunity to join Wendy on our first eco-floristry workshop.

These are just a few of the events we have planned for this year – you can see more on our workshops page on our website.

A quiet time In the meantime, activity here at Organic Blooms continues apace. This week we had our Soil Association inspection. As a grower, you may think you’re growing organically, but until you go through the certification process you really have no idea just how detailed and specific everything has to be to qualify as certified organic. A lot of work it may be, but we’ve never looked back since we achieved certification. We had an excellent inspector this week – incredibly thorough, highly knowledgeable and very willing to advise and help us find solutions to queries. Although we felt inspection-ready, we always enjoy learning from the process and tweaking and improving our practices.

A quiet time it may not be, but that suits our trainees. They don’t like sitting still and are remarkably hardy: sitting in front of the log burner in the cosy studio with Anne & Anna from Abel & Cole recently, gale force winds and torrential rain raging outside, we felt a little guilty to be warm and dry as we watched our team, through the rain-lashed windows, continuing to barrow wood chip onto paths in defiance of the storm.

By pleasant contrast, this morning is all blue sky and sunshine, making it much easier to look forward to the spring and summer to come. Although it’s a little early for seed sowing yet, our propagation tunnels are fast-filling with biennials and perennials sown last year that our trainees are now potting up for growing on, ready for planting out once the soil is warmer. The first of our anemones are also beginning to bloom, bringing welcome splashes of jewel-like colour to our big polytunnel. It won’t be long before we can include them in our Certified Organic Pretty Posies Hampers – hopefully in time for Valentine’s day.

Finally for this not-so-quiet-time, we are thrilled to be working with Garden Organic this year. For Garden Organic members amongst you, look out for our feature in the spring issue of their members’ magazine, The Organic Way, including details of a special event we have planned just for you…