What to do
Try something you've never grown before, such as parcel (a herb that tastes half of parsley, half of celery) or beautiful purple-podded peas. 'Bordeaux' spinach has handsome dark green leaves shot through with red leaf veins. Use baby leaves raw in salads, or flick fresh leaves quickly around in a stir-fry. Thompson & Morgan have this spinach at £1.69 a packet (200 seeds).
You also need your favourites, of course. For me that includes white daisy-flowered cosmos. They were slow to get going in the chilly first half of this last summer, but made up for it at the end, flowering until November. Dobies at www.dobies.co.uk has 'Sonata White' (£1.35 for 60 seeds).
Cut down the flowered stems of grasses such as Deschampsia cespitosa. They are never going to look like those photographs that seduced you to acquire them in the first place. Frost-rimed? Bah! Rain-drenched and rotting, more likely. On a day when your fingers aren't going to drop off with cold, comb through clumps of grasses to get rid of some of the dead foliage.
What to buy
After the Second World War, many walled kitchen gardens in Britain fell into disrepair. Old varieties of fruit and vegetables disappeared and much expertise was lost. Fortunately, in recent years, kitchen gardens – and old glasshouses – are being brought back into production. Susan Campbell knows more about old kitchen gardens than anyone else in the country and on 29 January she'll be talking about their history at the Scottish Agricultural College, Ayr. Starts 7.30pm. Tickets £6 from Peter Macdonald on 01292 525313; email@example.comReuse content