Must Do Gardening Tips for June

THE VILLAGE GARDENER


Must Do Gardening Tips for June


Thoughts of Michelle Morgan on patio gardening:

  1. If you are not happy with how your pot plants are looking change them as the season is too short to put up with something that displeases you.
  2. Pot stands on wheels make it so much easier to move pots around.
  3. Calendulas are cheap to buy. Three plants will fill a large pot and give a display all summer.
  4. Blueberries do well in pots with ericaceous compost. You will have to net them when fruit has formed.
  5. The downside of having a lot of pots is constant watering and feeding.

 

Advice from Gerry Crump, the gentleman gardener.

  1. Don’t plant early as it’s just a waste of resources.
  2. Take care of your tools and they should last a lifetime.
  3. When planting seeds always label them properly.
  4. Do not take too much on, or you will not enjoy the garden.
  5. Grow what you like to eat and what the ‘other half’ likes to look at.

 


June is the month when show growers put their hanging baskets up to display. If that’s what they do then it’s good enough for me. It is very tempting to put them up early but patience will ensure a better display. Once the sweet peas come into flower, start picking for the house as the more you pick the more they flower. Try not to let any set seed early in the season or the plant will think it’s job is done. Using a hoe on dry days in the boarders is a good way of killing annual weeds. If we need to water please follow the advice of experienced gardeners by watering early in the morning or late at night. When watering the borders, a good soak once a week should be adequate. Don’t think about watering your lawn unless you have a lot of time on your hands. Grass is tough and can withstand a drought but, by watering a little, you will encourage the roots to come closer to the surface and make the grass more susceptible in dry weather.

‘No Mow May’ is the latest must do according to experts and TV gardeners. Not so sure about that myself. On the plus side it has stopped your cats killing so many birds as there are a lot more mice running around in the long grass for them to bring home for you. If you have a lovely weed free lawn then letting it grow for a month it’s not going to provide much nourishment for insects etc. On the other hand your lawn may be full of weeds so crack on and spread the seeds over your neighbour’s gardens! It seems to me those popular presenters can tell us what to think sometimes. I have been bitten and stung as much recently as I have been over previous decades so will take some convincing that there are less insects around presently. I have to add though that it is probably my fault that I get bitten so often because when Monty Don told us we should have a ‘No Wash April’ I thought he meant me and not my car. No wonder I had to sleep in the shed!!

On the allotments the pigeons are testing the resolve of gardeners by pulling up young onions and eating the new growth of brassicas. The only way to combat this is by netting and using stakes as support. They are also partial to soft fruit, so be warned. They say that bamboo grows quickly but just plant a row of any veg seed on a clean cultivated patch and the minute you turn your back it’s covered in weeds. This is why growers plant in rows as weeds don’t grow in a straight line. Thinning out the crop on fruit trees is a task that needs to be done to get larger fruit. We do get a June drop where trees will drop fruit to look after the stronger ones, but often it’s not enough to prevent branches breaking under the weight.

Thank you to everyone who supported us for helping to make the plant sale such a success and helping the Wenvoe Wildlife Group continue their outstanding work all around Wenvoe.

Take care and happy gardening

 

The Village Gardener

 



 

Must Do Gardening Tips for May

THE VILLAGE GARDENER

Must Do Gardening Tips for May



Rita Edwards gives her sound advice.

  1. Be careful of late frosts, cover tender plants with fleece.
  2. Hold hanging baskets back till the end of this month, as show people do.
  3. Check roses for black spot.
  4. Sow nasturtium seeds in gaps as ground cover.
  5. Pinch out tips of fuchsias to form a a bushier plant.

Mat Holland of Dyffryn has his say.

  1. Leave daffs to die down for at least six weeks after dead heading.
  2. Take fuchsia cuttings and just plant in ground around mother plant, so you know what plant it came from
  3. Plant runner beans seeds direct into rows, for a later crop.
  4. Dead head tulips before they set seed.
  5. Make sure all plants that need support are staked by now.

 

Advice on controlling pests without resorting to chemicals has TV gardening personalities telling us that we need to strike a balance with nature and learn to live with these pests. The R H S has declared slugs are no longer pests. If my garden was the size of a Tesco car park I’m sure the critters could munch away without causing me too much concern. On the average plot a pest infection can be devastating, ruining the growing season.

These same people have said that if you have a problem with aphids you need to buy plants that attract ladybirds. For goodness sake if you have aphids you will definitely attract ladybirds, who will then breed and whose larvae are voracious aphid eaters. All without splashing out on special plants.

Another stunner of an idea was to attract more birds to your garden so they could eat the slugs. Be honest, have you seen garden birds eat slugs, because I haven’t. The best animals to have around your garden to help control slug problems are hedgehogs, frogs and toads. A lot of Wenvoe residents have hedgehog boxes and this has resulted in the village becoming a hotspot for these mammals which is bad news for slugs. Frogs and toads spend very little time in water, they prefer a damp area and cover. Toads only use the water in the mating season so you only need a small pond to accommodate these amphibians. Helen, Hugh & Mathew of Vennwood have foxes visiting their garden taking care of their Gastropods. The slug problem has been with gardeners and growers forever so the balance must still be ok. Just one more thing, the French won’t even eat them.

Right then – are we ready to plant out knowing we will have a fight on our hands to keep the plants safe? If you can be patient and hold back your bedding plants a little while, the warmer soil will give them a good start. As has been said many times, to get the best from your hanging basket display keep them sheltered until the very end of May. Sow some hardy annuals direct into the garden where there are gaps to fill. With the weather warming up and less rainfall the pots will need extra attention, try not to let them dry out or the plants will not recover to their full potential. Spring flowering shrubs that have finished blooming need to be cut back as soon as possible. Weeding is one of the tasks that has to be done but we don’t enjoy. You can keep pulling them up but your back won’t thank you for it, the best is always little and often on dry days with a Dutch hoe, just keep cutting them off and it will weaken perennial weeds and kill annual ones. Leave the waste to shrivel on the soil but do this before they set seed.

Allotment holders are busy as usual with this years rhubarb looking good throughout April. Eric & Joyce donated some of their crop to the Wenvoe Wild life Group to sell at the plant sale in April. The allotmenteers are obviously well informed about the fact that bare soil is the major factor in soil erosion as there very few patches with nothing growing. The library will be running the Village show again this year and Gordon Jones is intent on keeping his prize veg a secret with an extra high fence and a guard cat.

Take care and happy gardening

 



 

 

Must Do Gardening Tips for April

THE VILLAGE GARDENER

Must Do Gardening Tips for April


Tips from two of the nurseries that will be attending The Tuckers Plant Sale on Saturday the 30th April at 29 Vennwood Close.


Firstly Joyce Alpine Hoy

  1. Give the plants in the greenhouse a bit of space so air can circulate and prevent disease taking hold.
  2. Make sure the drainage is adequate in your pots and containers especially for Alpines.
  3. Keep potted plants near the house as this helps with shelter and when watering.
  4. Always remove the top layer of soil from pots in Spring and replace with fresh compost. Doing this removes weed seeds and pests.
  5. If you order plants by post, unwrap water and repot as soon as possible, or they will take a long time to recover.

Gordon & Elizabeth Jones of Belgrave Horticulture.

  1. Composting is essential to bring balance to the work of gardeners.
  2. If you have room plant a native tree. Crab apple are great for wildlife. If you have a larger area then an oak tree would be great as they support the most life.
  3. Put freshly mown grass under your trays of seed. The heat generated will bring them on in no time.
  4. Remove some of the leaves from hellebores to expose the flowers.
  5. Foxgloves are easy to look after and great for bees and other insects.

It is quite the thing at present to plant a wildflower patch. If you follow the instructions on the packet to the letter then a good display will follow. The main thing to do is to make sure the area is weed and grass free as the wild flowers cannot compete with perennial weeds. The wild flowers prefer poor soil, so no need for fertiliser. What they don’t say on the packet is that, if you don’t want your garden completely smothered in wild flowers the following year, you will need to cut them down before they set seed.


A greenhouse or cold frame will enable you to buy smaller, and inevitably cheaper, plants to bring on in April. Repot these young plants as soon as you can and be careful not to overwater, especially at this stage, or the plants may rot. There is still time to sow sweet peas and they will be ready a little later and prolong the season. As the weather warms stand the plants outside during the day. This may seem a bit of a fuss but will give you a lot stronger plant.


Compost. We endeavour to make our own but usually buy a few bags every year. As long as the compost used in pots growing annual flowers or veg has not caused plants to suffer from disease then it can be reused. Folks mostly put the spent compost on the garden as a mulch but it can be rejuvenated by simply sieving and adding a slow release fertiliser. The one thing it shouldn’t be used for is seed planting as it may contain pathogens that will harm new seedlings. There are loads of tutorials online which will save you quite a bit of cash


April is a good time to give roses a preventative spray against the main diseases they are about to face. To get bigger blooms on roses you need to reduce the amount of buds, this is done by growers who enter shows.

On the allotments the tenants are planting early potatoes. Runner and French beans are sown under glass ready for planting out in May when all risk of frost has passed. Peas and beans have long roots so toilet roll holders are great for giving them a good start. Planting carrots early will beat the carrot root fly but if too cold the seed will not germinate so cloches are used to warm the soil. You will always see onions grown on allotments. They are easy to grow and store well. If your intention is to grow oregano, make sure you keep it in check or it will take over your patch.

With everything costing more, it is worth shopping round. The cost of wooden fencing has rocketed and the price of plants is ridiculous. Blue Diamond garden centre at St Mellons always have a table where prices have been reduced. British Soil in Wenvoe sell their products well below D I Y stores and garden centres. If you need timber then Bruno fencing in Barry are good value. If you know of other places that give good value please share. Pam & Phyllis always make a list before venturing into garden centres, otherwise it’s like shopping in the middle of Lidl where you come out with things that make you wonder how you ever managed without them.

Take care and happy gardening

 

THE VILLAGE GARDENER

Gardening Tips for March 2022

THE VILLAGE GARDENER

Must Do Gardening Tips for March


St Mary’s Church florist Sandra Jones tips for the month

1. Start feeding shrubs with slow-release fertiliser.

2. Trim winter flowering heathers.

3. Clean up paths and patios.

4. Put supports in place before plants start to grow.

5. Dead head daffodils but don’t touch leaves


Ray of Church Rise and the perfect lawn.

1. Always brush away worm casts or weed seeds will find a home.

2. Cut as often as needed but not too low.

3. Spend time on edging as finish is everything.

4. Clear thatch annually.

5. In dry weather don’t attempt to water the lawn unless you have enough time to do it properly.


Here we go then, Spring is here, and we look forward to the growing season. We will see what plants have survived the Winter in the greenhouse and shed. What we can be sure of is that hundreds of slugs and snails will be gearing up to eat anything tender that pokes it head above the soil. After listening to gardeners over the years slug pellets were always the favourite form of eradication but the most popular now is a margarine tub sat in the soil with some beer in it. The little blighters can’t resist it. You must empty it often because they will stink if you leave them. As slugs and snails are mainly nocturnal, you can catch them in the act by taking a torch and removing them as they forage. For pots on a path or patio a ring of salt around the base of container will sort them out.

We often have some inclement weather in March, so don’t be tempted to put tender plants out. Once the warmer days come things will soon catch up. Going by last year’s weather when there were roses blooming in the garden on Christmas Day and daffodils in flower on the village green by mid-January, I will be staggering the sowing of seed to have a longer season. The one plant that does well by planting now is the snowdrop. Buy them in the green just after they’ve flowered, and you will be guaranteed a good display next year. If you just plant the dried bulbs they don’t often multiply. With Spring bulbs such as daffodils, take the flower head off as soon as it starts to go over so the plant can put its energy back into the bulb for a good display next year. Remember to make a photographic diary of your garden as it comes into life so you can make adjustments for the following season and not put the spade through dormant bulbs later in the year. You need to give the roses a prune now if you haven’t already done so. We are trained to cut them back to an out facing bud like rose experts Mr & Mrs Cottle of Gwenfo Drive but don’t worry as they are tough plants and can take a lot of misplaced secateurs. Clematis is another plant that needs cutting back before growth starts. There are so many varieties that flower at different times of the year, so you should check before you cut into it. If you have a problem with this plant, then Mrs Clare Ellis is the lady you need to speak to as she is very knowledgeable on these plants. You can usually find Clare working in the library on a Saturday.

There will be a plant sale on Saturday 30th April in Vennwood Close, where local growers will have stalls showing off their wares. There will of course be loads of free gardening advice, a few local crafters, cakes and a raffle with proceeds going to the Wildlife Group.

Take care and happy gardening.

 



 

February Tips From the Experts

 

THE VILLAGE GARDENER

Must Do Gardening Tips for December


February tips from Sharon at British Soil.

  • Cut down deciduous grasses left standing over Winter.
  • Cut back late flowering clematis.
  • If you need to move deciduous shrubs, then now is the time.
  • Cut back elder and buddleia
  • Give Winter flowering heathers a light trim, being careful not to cut into the old wood stems.

 

Advice from Barry Harper of Twyn allotments.

  • Chit early potatoes.
  • Plant rhubarb crowns in rich soil.
  • Cover strawberry plants with fleece or cloches to give them a good start.
  • Prepare beds for sowing by weeding. Then cover soil with garden compost.
  • Check what the other allotment folk are up to, so you don’t miss out.

 

There are countless magazines, radio and television programmes offering advice on what we ought to be doing in the garden in any given week. We need to be checking the local weather forecast before we start planting. There can be as much as four weeks between planting times between the southeast of England and the Scottish Highlands. Plants grown under nursery conditions will not take kindly to being put out in cold wet weather. Unless you can take care of the plants you see early in the season looking very inviting in neat rows on the garden centre shelves, please wait until clement weather can give them a good start.

The really warm weather in December has kept the grass growing as well as weeds and has also brought on daffodils early. During January the cyclamen and pansies were being pushed out by overzealous, under planted bulbs and corms. The Autumn sown sweet peas have put on a lot of growth and need the tips taken out to promote new side shoots. Repotting will help to give the roots space to grow.

Wisteria should have its Winter prune now to make sure it flowers well. Cut the shoots back to three or four buds but be careful to leave the main frame alone. Mahonia can be cut back now as the flowers fade. If the shrub has a good shape about it just remove the flower spikes. If it’s looking straggly you can prune it hard, and it will come back strongly.

The wet weather in late Winter will make greenhouses damp, the lack of sun to dry the air out can bring about grey mould which can do serious damage to over wintering plants. On milder days open doors and windows, check the leaves of plants and remove damaged ones. If some plants are badly infected remove the whole plant to the outside.

Allotment and veg gardeners have been troubled with potato blight over the last couple of years. It is very difficult to control but there are some preventative measures to take. One thing which can help is to grow early varieties such as Charlotte and Anya. Sarpo potatoes have a good resistance to blight. Experienced gardeners always leave a bigger gap between the tubers when planting as an increased air flow when plants are maturing helps enormously in blight prevention. If you grow potatoes in containers make sure you clean them out and disinfect to stop any infection and change the compost. Those gardeners who planted broad beans in the Autumn have seen a lot of growth due to mild conditions, which means they will need support.

Take care and enjoy your gardening

 



 

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

 



 

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