A huge thank you to everyone who gave to Children in Need through The Village Gardener at the end of October. Some of you may not have realised, but your tips and donations raised £100. Brilliant.
There is an unusual vegetable taking over the garden at Judy Holmes house. A three year old cabbage which was grown from seed. Judy accidentally mowed the top off it and thought she would use it for cooking. She put it in water to keep it fresh and roots grew from the side. This remarkable cabbage is still providing for Judy with enough left to feed any insects that need sustenance. On the subject of greens, don't forget to put your sprouts on to boil or they will never be of the right consistency for Christmas dinner. The 1st of December should give them enough time.
As I’m writing this the weather is still unseasonably warm, which means that grass is still growing and will need cutting if dry enough to get on to, but keep the cut high. Slugs are still in abundance so a recommendation from the intrepid explorer, Joyce Hoy, will help. Joyce says to spray the rims of your terracotta pots with WD40, if pots are plastic soak a piece of string in WD40 and tie around the rim.
We still have time to plant bulbs especially tulips and then look forward to lovely colour in spring. There should be some bargains to be had now as shops and garden centres try to clear stock. If you have spare space, why not try some hardwood cuttings of deciduous trees and shrubs. Willow is good to try. Using this year’s growth, cut pieces into 6'' lengths. Cut on an angle above a bud so that water runs off and then cut again straight across just below a pair of buds. Plant outside to about 2/3rds of its length. Tree cuttings can take until next autumn to root. The same techniques can be used on honeysuckle, vines and fruit bushes.
Cold weather will be with us at some point so check your outside taps are covered. The RSPB say that the need to provide water for birds is just as important at this time of year as ponds and puddles are frozen. Their tips include putting a light ball in the birdbath as the slightest breeze will move it and this will help stop water freezing. Another good tip is lining the bath with polythene, so you can lift out the ice.
The BBCs Gardeners World series ended last month and I know how much you enjoy the programme with Monty Don. It is a great programme and we always watch it. That said two items really wound me up. The first was when presenter Adam Frost was mulching a huge border, on which weed control fabric had been put down, with Grow Sure Smart Ground Cover. This mulch is £9.90 a bag and i promise you all it is not worth it, any mulch will do the job. The second was towards the end of the series. Monty Don was shown raking leaves off a lawn then spreading them on a path only to run a mower over them to break them down to use as mulch. Just run the mower over the grass on a higher setting, with the grass box on and all the leaves are picked up and mulched at the same time. Roll on the next series.
Leading up to Christmas the one plant most of us buy or are given will be poinsettias. To care for these, keep on a warm window sill, only water when top of compost feels dry then give it a good soaking and feed once a week.
I hope you all have a lovely Christmas, take care and happy gardening.