Gardening Tips for December

THE VILLAGE GARDENER

Must Do Gardening Tips for December


Ex Wenvoe Cricket Club Captain Alan Grant has some tips for us.

  1. Do not make excuses for not getting out in the garden.
  2. Adapt the garden to the amount of work you are capable of.
  3. A water feature will add serenity to any garden.
  4. My main aim is to have colour in the borders for the whole year.
  5. Having an edge to the lawn really sets it off.

The Women’s Institute secretary Mrs Ewington has some reminders for Winter.

  1. Poinsettias will keep longer if the pot is allowed to dry out a bit before watering each time.
  2. Make sure the Amaryllis you were given for Christmas goes on display, as the gifter will check.
  3. Give those Christmas Hyacinths a good feed before they die back.
  4. Don’t forget to deadhead the violas and pansies. The displays will only get better from now on.
  5. Check for any dead or diseased plants amongst the ones you are over wintering.

 

At the Walled Garden, Victoria, who now heads the gardening team, has handed out the overwintering jobs to the staff which includes the insulation of ceramic pots with bubble wrap, water butts to be emptied in case of a severe frost to avoid cracking, and hose pipes stored away and taps covered.

The fuchsias in hanging baskets and containers that have been flowering right up to the end of November, can be kept for next year. Leave them in their planters and remove all leaves to cut down the risk of disease and store in a garage or shed. They do not need light and only very little water to stop them drying out completely. In the Spring cut them back hard and repot in fresh compost. Hellebores will soon be in flower. We can remove some of the lower hanging leaves to show off the blooms. Hellebores can suffer from blackspot so remove infected leaves and destroy. Forget-me-nots seem to pop up everywhere. A lot of people regard them as weeds as they have the ability to crowd out other plants, but they do bring some early spring colour. You need to thin them out or mildew will take hold and ruin the display.

What a year on the allotments; they have been well tended. The new plot holders have taken really good care of their patches and some are already digging trenches to fill with material to feed their runner beans next year. Old hand Herbie suggests moving leeks to the edge of allotments and heeling in. They will keep for ages like this, and you can then prepare the ground for next season. On one of the allotments, you will see a lot of compost bins; the owner uses these to excel in growing a variety of crops. He is a font of knowledge and very approachable, not like Herbie at all!

A big thank you to What’s On for letting me write this column for another year. We are fortunate to have a group of dedicated people who give their time to produce such an informative magazine.

Have a lovely Christmas. Take care and as always – happy gardening

 



 

Gardening Tips for November

THE VILLAGE GARDENER

Must Do Gardening Tips for November


What golf and gardening star Leslie Sherard will prioritise this month

  1. Newly potted Japanese maple must be kept in a sheltered spot over winter.
  2. Do not allow fallen rose leaves to stay on the soil, or blackspot will spread.
  3. Great time to buy bare root shrubs and hedging at lower prices.
  4. One still has time to pot up tulips.
  5. Must send off for seed catalogues.

Sandra Anstee of the famous gardening dynasty has some thoughts on patio gardening.

  1. Always buy the biggest pot or container you can afford, they won’t dry out so quickly.
  2. Keep pots off the ground during the Winter months to prevent waterlogging.
  3. Next Spring use cardboard and paper in the base of containers for runner beans to help retain the moisture.
  4. If you’re going to grow brassicas give them plenty of room to mature.
  5. Don’t buy tulip shaped pots as they are so difficult to empty if there is a big root ball.

 

Check For Wildlife

Please check for wildlife, especially hedgehogs before lighting your bonfire. The best way to avoid harming any wildlife is to build it on the day. If you do find a hedgehog, using gloves remove it with as much nesting material as possible and place in a high sided cardboard box and place well away from any heat or activity. The next day after things have cooled, place the hedgehog as near as you can to it’s previous home. Not all people show enough care when it comes to looking after our wildlife. When Archie Condick was asked what he would do if he found a hedgehog in the bonfire, he said,” take off the foil and give it another thirty minutes”. Only joking, he said leave the foil on.


Lawn mowers

There are always things to get on with even at this time of year. Mr Robbins will always make sure his lawn mower goes in for a service around now, as come Spring everyone sends their machine in and there is usually quite a wait for it to be returned. All of us with petrol run equipment need to be aware of the new fuel at filling stations. E10 is the standard fuel. E5 fuel has more plant based ethanol in it and you may need a fuel stabilizer to get it to work in your machines. It also has a shorter shelf life.


Young Shrubs

High winds and wet weather can mean a torrid time for young shrubs, especially those in pots. Even when you have cut them back to avoid them being damaged by the elements. Wind rock can move the main stem of the plant where it meets the soil, creating a gap where water can puddle and as the weather gets colder this can turn to ice, which can do irreparable damage to the crown of the plant. Prevent this by firming the soil around the stem and add soil if there is a dip.


Alpine Plants

Alpine plants do not appreciate being soaked continuously and will need a sheltered spot in wet weather. Joyce Hoy is the go-to lady on looking after alpines as she is with most things to do with gardening.


Pruning

Still busy on the allotments, where warden Colin is waiting for the first frost to lift his parsnips and Herbie is starting to make a raised bed to help his poor back. From now until February you can prune your apple and pear trees. Apple trees really benefit from an uncluttered form, so take out any diseased or crossing branches. Don’t prune plum trees now as they are susceptible to the silver leaf fungus. You need to wait until mid Summer to prune them.


Take care and happy gardening

 



 

‘Musical’ Tips

THE VILLAGE GARDENER

Must Do Gardening Tips for October


 

This month’s tips are from two musicians in Wenvoe.

Firstly, virtuoso

Mostyn Davies:

Every weed picked now will save ten in the Spring.

Leave hydrangea heads on to protect the plant from frost.

Give pots and containers a wash before storing.

Always leave gaps between potted shrubs to avoid disease.

Rake up leaves to keep the lawn clear.

60s Legend Brian ‘Guitar’ McConky :           

Bring potted plants next to the house to protect from wind.

Order your Spring plants now, to get the best selection.

Water butts should be covered to prevent leaves getting in.

Inspect crevices to look for snails starting to hibernate.

Ericacious feed for acid loving Spring flowering shrubs can still be applied now.


Autumn Gardens

Some will see Autumn gardens as a bit untidy, as plants start to die back, and leaves start falling. We can keep things in shape by removing dead plants but leaving things like alliums, poppies and grasses as they add structure to the borders. Penstemons are best left with their top growth intact until the Spring to help protect the crown of the plant in frosty conditions. Pelargoniums need to be brought in now, cutting them back to about 10cms. The pelargoniums lifted from borders should be potted up in moist compost and will not require much watering over the dormant period. Spreading mulch on the borders now will help protect tender plants and improve the soil structure. Gordon Jones of Belgrave house suggests a minimum of four inches of mulch to give adequate protection. This will also help in keeping weeds at bay. Spent compost is good for mulching. Many keen recyclers use cardboard as a weed barrier, especially on veg patches where they don’t have to cut it up too much, as they have more room at this time of year.

From late October until December, it’s tulip planting time. The colder temperatures help to kill off diseases which can infect your bulbs. Planting late is the traditional means of tulip bulb protection. If you’re planning to reuse bulbs and corms then you need to feed them with a tomato feed as the flowers fade, up until the leaves start to die back. The price garden centres want to charge for a piddly bag of bulb compost is beyond. Just use multipurpose compost and any make will suffice. Garden centres are places we love to visit if only to browse and have a coffee but, if you do purchase something that you need, when you get to the till it feels like Dick Turpin is fleecing you.


Ann Davies of Tarrws Close has perfected the ideal mix for homemade weed killer. 2tbs of salt, 1tbs of washing-up liquid and 500mls of vinegar. Mix well and douse the weeds. Don’t put it on your chips.


The National Allotment Society says that October is a time for lots of lovely digging. Well, whatever rocks your boat! Some people at the allotments have put in a couple of rows of peas and broad beans to grow over the winter. They should be ok but will need protection if we have a long period of cold weather. Tall plants like Brussel sprouts and kale could do with a stake, especially up at Twyn Yr Odyn.


The Reindeer Sale will also have a life-changing supplement made from produce acquired at Eric’s allotment. You will not believe the difference this will make.

Take care and happy gardening

 



 

Gardening Tips for September

THE VILLAGE GARDENER

Must Do Gardening Tips for September


Tips from Carol Evans of Life Beyond the Patio.

  1. Let parts of your lawn go wild for a few weeks.
  2. Mow above mentioned parts before you get stung or bitten by the insects.
  3. Make sure your pots are off the ground as wetter weather is on the way.
  4. Collected rain water is perfect for acid loving plants such as camellia.
  5. Collected seed must be kept dry, use a sealed tin with some powdered milk to keep moisture at bay.

 

What to do, by have you got a pen Gwyn Williams.

  1. Plant daffodils this month to be sure of a good spring display.
  2. If a tradesman says he can start work the following day, be wary as all the good ones are busy.
  3. Keep drains clear of fallen leaves as Autumn approaches
  4. Try to leave the cutting back of shrubs as long as possible otherwise you will be doing them again before Winter.
  5. Put your glasses on before weeding or some of your precious plants will end up in the green bag.

 

September is a good month to sort problems out with your lawn, by either sowing seed or laying turf. Leather jackets are more of a problem on lawns with poor drainage. This larvae of the crane fly leaves dead patches on your lawn as they consume the grass roots. The only effective way of controlling this is with the right nematodes. To find out if they are the cause of the damage to your lawn, put a damp cloth over the area of concern and remove it in the early morning. you will see the larvae on the surface. When you see crows on the grass at this time of year this is what they are mainly searching for. Do not put a high nitrogen feed on the lawn at this time of year however tempting it is to use fertiliser you have left over from the summer. The high nitrogen content will promote top growth and weaken the grass. Always use a feed high in potassium, this will strengthen the root system and keep the grass healthy through the colder months.

The experts say that daffodils along with crocus and hyacinths should be planted by the middle of September to make sure you get good blooms in the Spring. Hold back a while on the tulips as they tend to rot if planted too early. One of the main reasons for a poor show is that bulbs are planted too shallowly, so always follow the instructions on the packet.

Continue to collect seed, as packeted seed seems to be a lot more expensive now for very few seeds. Dividing herbaceous perennials is a good way to get extra plants and to get rid of the dead material in the middle.

On allotments and veg patches harvesting is in full swing. Check apples are ripe by pulling gently, they should come away easily. Take any bad fruit off to stop disease spreading. Keep potting up strawberry runners. Take hardwood cuttings of currants and gooseberries now. Order bare root fruit bushes and trees, they are cheaper and will produce fruit next year. When the beans and peas have finished cut down to ground level but leave roots in ground as they will add nitrogen to the soil. Sow green manures on bare soil, this will help keep the weeds down over Winter and can then be dug in to improve the soil.

Over the past year I have received a lot of feedback from walkers who pass through and by the allotments. They have commented on how well kept they are. Some have asked if the man sitting against the tin sheets by the notice board has big hands or a small spade, they were hesitant to approach because he seemed so peaceful contemplating where to plant his next row of cabbages. I’ve told them who you are H, so expect to be signing autographs.

Take care and happy gardening

 



 

Gardening Tips for August

THE VILLAGE GARDENER

Must Do Gardening Tips for August


Grow your own experts Shirley & Graham Hammond, tips for August:

  1. Dry harvested onions thoroughly, or they will rot when stored.
  2. Pinch off the tops of runner beans to encourage side shoots.
  3. Take cuttings of mint, rosemary and sage.
  4. Spray ground elder when it is growing strongly. Very hard to get rid of.
  5. Sow a green manure when space becomes available.

Betty Facey, who has a lovely garden and a lawn like Wimbledon, has some good advice.

  1. Cut back faded perennials to keep the garden neat and tidy.
  2. Prune climbing roses, unless repeat flowering.
  3. Water camellias and rhododendrons to ensure buds develop.
  4. Trim lavender plants to preserve shape.
  5. Do not attempt to water the lawns as you will never have enough time to do it justice.

Hope your tomatoes are in good shape; you need to pinch out the tops so that plants can use their energy to produce fruit. Watering constantly will stop blossom end rot and reduce splitting. With broad beans having been harvested, you can cut the stalk down to the base and on a good year they will have time to produce a lighter crop. There is still plenty of time to sow lettuce that will be available to crop before it gets too cold. After 4 years or so strawberry plants weaken and produce less, so now is the time to root the runners being produced to fill in for the older plants.

A lot of lawns can look straw coloured in prolonged dry spells. Grass is so tough and can withstand a lot of abuse. By attempting to water it you may well be doing more harm than good, unless you’re prepared to water for hours at a time. By not watering enough you will encourage roots to come to the surface. then at the next dry spell the grass will really suffer.

Prolong the flower displays by constant deadheading and regular feeding especially the hanging baskets, which should last well into the Autumn. Aphids were quite a problem this year, made worse by the late arrival of ladybirds and their larvae. They can be controlled by just wiping them off with your fingers or by making up a solution of water and white vinegar and spray on both sides of leaves. Dahlias are coming into their own at this time of year but be sure to tie them to strong stakes as the wind and rain can play havoc with them. Cut back all the whippy side shoots of wisteria to about 20cms; if you don’t do this you will have less flowers year on year.

Going wild is being promoted a lot in the media and some Wenvoe residents have thrown themselves into it to differing degrees. Jill & Ryland have been turning over part of their front garden to wild flowers and it looks lovely. On the other hand, Pete Ferris has created a wilderness garden at the rear of his abode. Wild animals flourish in the dense foliage. Pete has a rope tied to the handle of the patio door and when he ventures into the undergrowth, he has to tie the other end to himself or he would never find his way back.

Take care and happy gardening

 

 



 

Garden Wisdom for July

THE VILLAGE GARDENER

Stella Gardening Tips for July


Wenvoe Kings Of The Road have a secret passion for all things flora. Firstly Dai (The Ditch) Cannon gives us his tips on keeping on top of things in the garden.

  1. Don’t worry, there’s always tomorrow.
  2. Deadhead roses to keep them flowering.
  3. If you are stumped by trying to name a plant, organise a quiz, someone will know.
  4. Give Dahlias a feed and keep well watered.
  5. The plants we buy on a whim never get looked after like the ones we intended to buy.

Roger ‘Triumph’ Davies tells us about things to do in July.

  1. Autumn king carrots can still be planted to prolong the harvest.
  2. Feed and deadhead roses.
  3. Remove whippy side shoots of wisteria
  4. Cut as many flowers as you can off your sweet peas to put in vases as the more you cut, the more they flower.
  5. If you’re buying shrubs at the garden centre, don’t take the motorbike,

The Soil Association is a charity which was formed in 1946 to promote the use of organic solutions for keeping soil healthy and safe to use. They work with farmers and growers to change some of their practices.

Some soil facts.

  1. Soil stores more carbon than the atmosphere and all forests,
  2. Healthy soil can help prevent flooding.
  3. Every minute we lose the equivalent of 30 football pitches.
  4. It can take up to a 1000 years for a single centimetre of soil to form.

One of the Soil Association’s main recommendations is that we try to keep the soil covered at all times, most of the year it’s not a problem as plants cover the soil. During the winter they recommend that we use a thick layer of mulch, green manure crops or old blankets to cover the soil to prevent erosion.

We are asked to help wildlife in our gardens where we can. One of the most fascinating mammals to see is the bat. A simple bat box and some night scented flowers, such as evening primrose to attract moths, and it won’t be long before bats are coming to your garden at dusk.

Try not to let seed pods form on sweet peas yet or they will stop flowering. If you would like to see sweet peas at their grandest, then the rear garden of Mr Crumps in Rectory Close is a must. Keep up the deadheading of bedding plants and repeat flowering perennials. July is a good month to take hydrangea cutting, cut off a non-flowering stem just below a leaf joint and stick it in soil. Watering is a task that we have to undertake especially if you have a lot of pots. thick mulch on the top of pots will help reduce the evaporation.

On the allotment and in veg gardens watering can sometimes be a choice of which plants get watered, especially if you have to carry it a fair distance. Lettuce, rocket and spinach will bolt and go to seed if allowed to dry out. Gardeners will be harvesting some of their fruit and veg this month, as well as planning for later this year and the following spring, seeds like lettuce, beetroot and carrot can be sown along with winter cabbage and kale, plus some potatoes for Christmas dinner.

Take care and happy gardening.

 



 

Village Gardener Tips for June

THE VILLAGE GARDENER

Stella Gardening Tips for June


Tips from Heulwyn Davies of the cherry tree garden.

  1. Grow more veg in pots, it’s so easy and tastes better than flowers.
  2. Think of the future and put in some raised beds.
  3. Sow pansies for Autumn flowering this month.
  4. Gardeners will always share their Knowledge, just ask.
  5. If you’re planning to purchase a greenhouse. Get the biggest you have room for, as they soon fill up.

 

Brian & Sandra Jones of open garden fame. Best practice.

  1. A little often is a good way to keep the garden looking nice.
  2. Forward planning will cut down on wastage.
  3. Do not plant out until temperatures are right and constant.
  4. Keep a diary along with photographs.
  5. It is so important to label everything.

 

There is still plenty of time to plant out your summer bedding. If you are in any doubt just check on Mr Crump and Mr Williams of Rectory Close as they are well known for getting it right. It is always better to wait until conditions are suitable. The same goes for vegetables. Although some veg are tolerant of poor weather others, especially runner beans, are not. A later planting time will save you a lot of work protecting these plants and you are guaranteed a better crop. You should by now have some empty trays and pots, so it’s time to sow Polyanthus, Primrose and Pansies in the greenhouse and outdoor sowing of Alstroemeria, Canterbury Bells, Sweet William and Wallflowers for strong plants next year. Make sure you get rid of leftover Forget-me-Nots before powdery mildew takes hold as this can affect other plants. Cutting back alchemilla mollis, Geranium and Heuchera if they start to look raggy, new growth will soon come back.

One of the hardest infections to halt in the veg garden is potato blight. This is an airborne fungus type disease that attacks the foliage, then the tubers, it will also affect tomatoes. Wet and humid conditions bring it to the plants and once there it is near impossible to manage. Brown marks on the leaves are the first sign and it spreads rapidly. Good air circulation can help prevent infection, so please leave at least 30 to 40cms between each tuber when planting. Do not leave any potatoes in the ground when clearing as the disease can infect the following season’s crop. Early and blight resistant varieties are the best option.

The Sexton at the church has been conducting trials on different compost bins to establish which produced usable compost in the shortest time. The type which sits on a cradle that you turn weekly was, by a long way, the most efficient.

The plant sale in Vennwood at the start of May went really well. Luckily for me Sue Williams of Wenvoe Wheelers was on hand to prevent the Village Gardener selling weeds as flowers to unsuspecting customers.

Take care and happy gardening.

 



 

Star Gardening Tips for May

THE VILLAGE GARDENER

Stella Gardening Tips for May


Alex Cooper’s tips from the force

  1. Edge the borders to keep them neat and tidy.
  2. Don’t sow all your veg at once , spread them out to prolong the harvest season.
  3. Pine needles make a good mulch for camellias rhododendrons and azaleas.
  4. Leave a hoe by the back door to remind you of weeding.
  5. Check your soil PH so that you only purchase plants suitable for your soil type.

Dilys Jenkins gardening knowhow

  1. Water plants early in the morning.
  2. Mulch the top of pots with bark or stone to aid water retention.
  3. Planting runner beans this month will produce the best crops.
  4. Make sure you level the soil in trays before planting seed as all good nursery people do.
  5. Grow sunflowers in partial shade. They will grow taller searching for the light.

The Chelsea chop is a method used by nurseries after the London show to rejuvenate their perennial plants. Many perennials flop by midsummer, rudbeckia, helenium and sedam can be cut back by half, resulting in a bushier plant that will flower slightly later. Gwen Williams of the walled garden uses this technique every year to give a longer lasting display.

Dahlias and canna lilies can be put outside now. Cut back aubrieta, alyssum and candytuft to encourage new flowers. clear away forget-me-nots to prevent over seeding. Tie in shoots of rambling roses, lay the stems horizontally to produce more flowers and side shoots. Lift and divide clumps of daffodils. Tulip bulbs take a bit of work to keep every year. First snip off the flower as it fades then allow foliage to die back, lift the bulbs and dry on newspaper, store in a cool dry place ready to plant out in the Autumn. Keep the sweet peas climbing by tieing in the shoots. Be sure to feed container plants every 2 to 3 weeks. Take cuttings of fuchsia and softwood cuttings of sage. Deadhead lilac as flowers fade; to do this wait until you see the two shoots below the faded bloom start to swell then snip off the flower just above.

At this time of year most of the ground on vegetable gardens and allotments are covered in new growth. Keep sowing peas and carrots every few weeks to prolong the harvest season. Take the tips off your broad beans once the pods start to form to prevent blackfly. If you can bear to do it, take the blossom off your newly planted fruit trees so that they can establish properly during their first year. Keep raspberry canes tidy by pulling up shoots that are too far away to tie in. If you’re using netting to protect your crops please secure it properly to prevent any wildlife becoming trapped. On the off chance that you’re wondering what to do next on the veg plot, just have a look at the allotment of Colin Thomas. His book on high altitude allotment gardening is at the publishers.

When the garden centres opened in the middle of March, people were chomping at the bit to buy plants. We then had a cold spell over Easter where the plants bought, which had previously been kept in warm temperatures before, were now exposed to cold northerly winds. To add to the plants’ demise the first minister told people they could now go on holiday within Wales. With good, dry (albeit cold) weather forecast, the poor plants didn’t stand a chance. So back to the garden centre to line their pockets.

Take care and happy gardening.

 



 

Gardening Advice for April

THE VILLAGE GARDENER


Gardening Advice for April

Tips from Mair Jones of Brynheulog Nurseries:

  1. Divide hostas before they come into leaf.
  2. Apply slow release fertilizer to your flower beds.
  3. Trees are wonderful, but not just outside your window. Check on their final size before buying.
  4. Invest in a water butt.
  5. Grow some carrots in a pot; lovely foliage and so sweet to eat.

Craftsman Eric White on what to get right this month:

  1. Pinch out the tops of sweet peas to make more substantial plants.
  2. Always read the label on plants so you don’t put it in the wrong place.
  3. Make sure your young plants are kept watered. Otherwise it is just a waste of money and effort.
  4. If purchasing a new implement make sure the handle is the right size for you.
  5. Golden rule. Do not walk past a weed, or the next time you see it, it will have produced offspring.

Do not be fooled by April. We can still have cold nights that will ruin all your hard work of raising tender plants. Just try to be patient, they will soon catch up. Planted up hanging baskets will come on tremendously well in the cold frame or greenhouse. Show gardeners like the late Kenny Condick would never put a hanging basket outside until June. Perennials, which will eventually need support, should be staked early and tied in as they grow. Protect fruit tree blossom with fleece if there is any sign of frost in the weather forecast. When mulching around the trees make sure to keep it away from the stem. Forsythia will still be in flower this month and one of the loveliest displays is at Church Rise, on

the left hand side just after where the shingle starts. This plant needs to be cut back just after flowering as it produces flowers on this year’s new growth. A great time for planting annuals direct to the soil where they will need just a bit of thinning out as they emerge. Mark where you sow these as they could be mistaken for weeds. Lawns will start to look good now after a feed and weed. This is a good time to sow grass seed on any bare patches.

Leaving the EU has created an opportunity for British nurseries to step up to plate. They have known about this situation for quite some time and although the choice may be a little diminished, there is no excuse to put up prices on what is available.

From this month on, there will be people offering garden services. Some will be okay but others will disappoint, so please be careful. If you need help it’s better to have a friend or neighbour recommend someone. British Soil on Station Road will give you advice on the best way forward. For general gardening advice, the best place to find it is at the Twyn yr Odyn allotments. You will never meet a friendlier bunch. They have a wealth of knowledge ready to share – especially Sue and Barry.

On Saturday 1st May from 10.00am, there will be a plant sale at our home in Vennwood Close. Covid regulations in place at that time will be followed. Some friends and fellow growers from the village will be joining us to peddle their best flora. Please ask for advice on the day, with the likes of Joyce, Brian and Sandra, Bruce, Gordon and Ann in attendance. It will be like Gardeners Question Time.

Take care and happy gardening.

 



 

Gardening Advice for March

THE VILLAGE GARDENER


Gardening Advice for March

Pam Owens of Hopkinstown gardens, Carmarthen, offers her tips for March.

  1. Start mowing if the ground is dry enough.
  2. Enjoy the early Spring bulbs.
  3. Put new batteries in your torch and get out after dark to catch those slugs.
  4. As soon as daffs start to go over remove the seed head to allow the plant to concentrate on feeding the bulb.
  5. Weed those borders to give yourself a head start.

Julie the village hairdresser on garden problems.

  1. Hair clippings put around plants are a great way to keep slugs at bay.
  2. Those stick on copper bands do not deter the slugs from my pots.
  3. Plant marigolds with tomatoes, it will help keep pests at bay.
  4. Garlic grown alongside roses is well known for keeping roses healthy.
  5. Any poor soil will be good enough to grow wildflowers in, as they don’t need much nourishment.

Help those ericaceous shrubs such as Azaleas Camellias and Peiris to flower well by putting an ericaceous compost on top of the roots and fork in. Give your roses a final prune to encourage new growth then feed them: preparatory feed is worth the cost. It is time to top dress the shrubs grown in pots by removing the top 25mm which will contain mostly pests and disease and replace with fresh compost. Gardeners World magazine has said if you’re growing a fig tree, you should keep it in a pot as this will restrict the roots which will in turn encourage fruiting.

Planting seeds early will give you a good start, but they will soon go back if you can’t keep an area warm for them. Young tomato plants will suffer if they are subjected to a cold spell, which will only show up when the plants start to come into flower. Peppers and sweetcorn need a long growing season so an early start is a must. A good tip from The Sunday Gardener, is to bring the compost in from the cold before using it. Terry Walton of BBC radio said he starts his broad beans and sweet peas off by filling a freezer bag with compost and seed then, with his wife’s permission, places them in the airing cupboard where the all-round warmth will soon promote root growth. He then transplants them into deep pots to ensure a good root system.

The Wenvoe allotments are busy with old and new plot holders working hard as the days get longer. They are sowing carrots early to try and beat the carrot root fly, some are using raised beds to avoid the pest. Whatever allotmenteers are doing it will be under the watchful eye of Herbie who will be resting on his seat against the tin sheets so as not to miss anything. Herbie recommends that you ought to grow your strawberries in hanging baskets to stop slugs ruining your crop. He would also recommend putting fresh grass clippings in a trench before filling with soil, this will keep the soil warm and encourage your seeds to germinate.

Take care and happy gardening.

 



 

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