Allotment king: epiphany is an auspicious time in the garden.

There’s no planting yet this year, but there’s still much pleasure to be had in planning

Epiphany 2019. The high tide has turned, the winter just starting to ebb, though there’ll be dark days to come, of course. It’s an auspicious time in the biodynamic calendar. The day we spray the Three Kings preparation and the plot is scented with frankincense and myrrh.

It’s also Howard’s birthday, so we’ll slice some galette des rois from the French patisserie and take it in turns wearing a paper crown. Stirring is usually done after coming straight from work, sitting in the semi dark and cold in office clothes, plus our golden headgear. This year it’s a Sunday so we’ll be wrapped up warmer.

I am negotiating a new cow dung delivery, hoping Farmer Tom will drop off a few sacks on his next trip to town. For now I will mostly spread the muck around and dig it deeper later, depending on the weather.

January is the month I almost long for glass, a greenhouse, a polytunnel. In my mind’s eye I have trays of sweet pea seedlings getting ahead of the year. In real life I don’t cloche or cover the plot, but still get excited about anything resilient that grows well without help. I will always sow winter chervil for its anise taste and astonishing green.

I am already obsessing about the year’s first planting and sowing and have stacked packets of seed in the kitchen, on shelves to themselves in another room.

Our October broad beans are in and up, shallots, slower garlic and onion sets, too. If you haven’t done yours and intend to, order now for February or March. I am starting to itch for potato fairs and buying more broad beans (maybe Express or Witkiem, I’m undecided). You can chit early potatoes, too, by the end of this month.

Hoping you have a happy new gardening year.