Gardening Tips February 6th 2015.
Happy New Year Everyone.
Gardening Tips Week Ending February 7th 2014.
Gardening Tips For Week Ending 1st February 2013.
Tips For Week Ending Feb 3rd 2012
pots of things like Bay Trees and Figs which can suffer when
it is very cold and plants that aren’t very hardy such as Citrus can
make good use of the greenhouse, but other plants can be saved that many
people simply throw away when they have finished flowering, such as
Dwarf Pot Chrysanthemums. If
you have a pot of Chrysanth’s that have long finished flowering it is
a good idea to tip them out of the pot and you will probably find 3 or
more plants which can be separated. The plant nurseries pot many other
plants like this as well these days including a lot of young shrubs, so
that pots of plants look fuller without them having to grow the plants
for a long time. Plants
grown like this can be potted individually to grow on, but if you do
this with Chrysanths, especially at this time of year, they must be kept
on the dry side, or else they will quickly rot. Only give them a little
tiny drop to settle them in when you re-pot them. Re-potted
Chrysanthemums will not be so short as they were when you had them,
because they would have been specially treated with a dwarfing chemical
spray that is only sold to commercial growers, but if you pinch out the
growing tips they will branch out to make fuller plants that will make a
nice show in the garden.
from filling the staging with tender plants, another way to make more
use of the greenhouse is to grow things under the staging. This isn’t
so silly as it sounds because not only can you chit things like Potatoes
and Jerusalem Artichokes at this time of year, but you can also start
pots of bulbs off as well, at any time of the season.
few weeks ago Alan dug up a couple of dozen Chicory roots that he had
tried growing, for the first time, in his allotment. It is the first
time that I have even seen them growing so they are new to me as well,
but he has potted them 3 or 4 together, in 3 or 4 inches of compost, in
the bottom of some big old pots that we had previously bought trees in.
With a big plastic tray over the tops of the pots the “Chicons” will
have 6 or 7 inches of space in the big pots to grow in the dark. In fact
he had so many he has stacked them up like a tower block!
garden centres are selling Mushroom kits, so Alan has put a pack of
those under the staging because they obviously like the dark as well.
did so well with the Tomatoes at the allotments last year that we have
decided not to put so many in the greenhouse this time. Instead we are
going to try some Sweet Potatoes down one side. We like sweet Potatoes,
the pale orange ones, as they can be boiled and mashed, or roasted the
same as ordinary potatoes, but they have a real taste of their own
instead of being bland like ordinary potatoes. At one of the garden
centres we saw some soft-sided plastic tubs about 4 foot long and 2 ½
feet deep divided into 3 sections set in a metal type frame. They were
being sold as compost bins, but us being different we had other ideas.
Alan said how about putting one in the greenhouse for Sweet Potatoes as
they don’t grow very well in this country without protection. Now one
of the compost bins is sitting on the floor of the greenhouse and
quickly getting filled with some compost out of our compost heap mixed
in with spent compost out of old pots that are being emptied and a
little pelleted slow release fertilizer for good measure.
is still not to late to do a little heavy pruning of many shrubs and
trees before the sap starts to rise, but with things like fruit trees
you will lose all the fruit buds if you are not careful and that may not
be just be for one year as many need mature wood to fruit on. It is
definitely too late to prune Grape Vines as the buds are already
swelling which means their sap is rising and they will “bleed” if
cut. The same can be said of things like Peach trees, because they
flower very early in the season and ours has buds on that are showing
colour already. Heavy pruning will encourage vigorous, strong new
growth, but can also be used to drastically alter the shape of a tree.
Lighter pruning of thinner branches can be done in the Summer to trim
out untidy stems and this is also a better time to shape up fruit trees
and bushes, so you don’t lose the next years fruit and also to make
fruiting “Spurs,” but do remember that bigger branches of trees will
bleed badly then and may need some special attention. Generally speaking
then, it is a good “rule of thumb,” to cut, or lightly prune, most
plants just after they have finished flowering and fruiting, and do
heavy pruning in the winter.
Gardening Tips Week Ending February 4rth 2011
Spring maybe coming early again this year, and with any luck,
will be very warm like last year, with no late frosts. It’s time to
check and clean out all the debris and leaves from your water tubs,
because you will be wanting the water again soon. Hopefully, none of you
have found like we did, that they were split from the intense and
prolonged frosts. We had two of the tall cylindrical ones split, but all
the square ones were alright. So, next Winter, we will empty all of them
to be safe.
month I mentioned planting bulbs in the garden that have grown and
flowered in pots in the house. All of them need to go in deeper than
they were in the pots, especially Hyacinths that are normally grown on
the surface of the compost in pots.
is the time to think about sorting out pots and seed trays ready for
seed sowing time which will soon be here. Parsley can go in this month
and I find that if you water the soil with hot water where Parsley seed
is going, before covering the seed lightly with some soil, you get
better germination. Don’t forget to label all your trays as you do
them though! The Runner Bean trench can be prepared now if you haven’t
already done it. I suggest taking out about 8” of soil and putting in
a layer of about 3 sheets of newspaper, then a layer of rough compost or
leaf mould, some water retaining gel and mix some slow release
fertilizer such as Growmore in with the soil as you top up. Then leave
the bed alone ‘till the end of April or even into May depending on the
weather forecast. Preparing the bed early will give any dormant seeds
and weeds chance to grow before you plant your beans, so that you
won’t have to start weeding for some weeks after planting.
such as Lupins, Delphiniums, Geums and many others that were planted the
previous season should be showing some nice green shoots now, or at
least some very fat buds. Perennials will be on sale in some of the
garden centres now, but really they are better from plant nurseries
where they will have been grown and over-wintered outside in this
country instead of being freshly imported and probably have been grown
in warm poly tunnels. I know of 3 good nurseries near Stafford and
Eccleshall, but there may well be more that I haven’t found yet.
and more Gooseberries plants for sale are seen growing like little
quarter standards with a tall bare stem and the bush on top. Apparently
the reason for this is the female grub of the Gooseberry Sawfly
doesn’t like crawling up a lot of bare stem to lay her eggs and will
leave such plants alone. This means no eggs are laid and no grubs to
strip your plants of leaves when the warm weather comes. If you have
Gooseberries they like a little wood ash round on the soil if you can
get it from a bonfire or the like. All fruit bushes and trees should
have a little Potassium Permanganate scattered round them on the soil to
feed the fruit buds and any fruit that has large stones such as Plums,
Peaches and Apricots may need a little sprinkling of garden lime for the
stones to form. The lime also helps to stop embryo fruits from dropping.
that’s all for now
Tips For Week Ending 5th February 2010
It’s the start of another gardening year so lets hope it will
be a better year weather wise. I have already made a start with early
seed sowing, but not with annuals and only have a few Delphiniums potted
so far. They can be sown in the Autumn as they are usually grown like a
Bi-annual, ie, they grow one year to flower the following year, but if
started early will do as well.
son is helping me a lot more now as I can’t do so much since having my
second hip done last spring. He has dug and prepared the Runner Bean
trench and laid slabs to make paths so that it is easier to get at the
beds; specially round the raspberries.
is a good time to begin to start sowing Hardy Annuals and a few others.
If Sweet Peas were not started in the Autumn, get them in as soon as
possible. Instead of chitting the seeds, which is a fiddly job even if
you have god eyesight, put the seeds in saucers of hot water for an hour
and then sow them. When big enough, 2-3 inches or so, pinch out the tips
and pot into 3 ½ inch pots, or into the long peat pots that will rot in
the ground. After potting on, stand the plants in a cold frame, or cold
greenhouse, until planting time comes around in April.
of the herb seeds can go in now, Basil, Oregano and Parsley are probably
the most popular, but having said that a lot of people find Parsley
difficult to germinate. I have my own way and it very rarely fails.
Level the compost in your seed tray and gently firm it down. Next pour
some really hot water over the compost and sow the seeds immediately on
the hot soil and cover lightly. Put the tray in a plastic bag and place
in a fairly dark, but warmish place. When the seedlings appear transfer
the tray to a light place, a window ledge is ideal.
flowering bulbs are on sale already potted in most garden centres. Bulbs
for very early flowering such as Crocus – Ixias – Scillas and
Snowdrops, to name but a few, are the main ones. These can be planted
and left in situ’ for next year. They are probably a bit dearer buying
them this way, but at least you can see them shooting and know they
will grow alright which is quite important with Snowdrops at least, as
they can be difficult to get shooting from dry bulbs.
flowering stems on perennials, that have been left on to give Winter
protection for the new seasons shoots, can now be cut off and put on the
compost heap. It is too early to hard prune shrubs and bushes like
Buddleia and Roses yet, but dead flowers can be nipped off if not
already done as some Roses flowered very late last year. If you had
Black Spot on the leaves make sure the leaves have all been collected up
and disposed off properly, because if they are left to rot, they will
infect the soil all round them and you will get Black Spot again the
next year. Do not compost them as the infection will contaminate your
compost heap. This is also important to remember if you are in the habit
of composting vegetable waste from your Kitchen. It was such a wet year
last year it is possible that you may have the odd potato with Potato
Blight on and if you throw these on the compost heap they will infect
other plants such as Tomatoes.
Tips Week Ending Feb 7th 2009
Hope this year will be better than last
year’s wash out when a lot of fruit rotted, although we have not
exactly had a dry Winter so far.
I grew all sorts of bulbs in pots
last year and after they had finished in the Autumn we planted them in
the garden along with some new bulbs that
we bought cheaply just before Christmas. They are coming up thick and
fast now and I am looking forwards to being able to have a lot of my own
cut flowers instead of buying them.
There seem to be bigger
selections of seeds each year in Garden Centres and garden catalogues
with quite a lot of new vegetable seeds as well now besides all the
flowers. We shall probably try a few new vegetables in pots as we
haven’t really got much space left with all the fruit trees we planted
last year. I like to get my seeds as soon as they are put out for sale
and then they are stored in an old biscuit tin in the garage to keep
them cool and out of the way of mice. Usually I get better germination
as they remain more viable if kept cool as some of the shops that sell
them are very warm.
Buddleias should be heavily pruned
about the end of February and even if you cut into old wood they will
shoot again. If Buddleias are not cut back hard they can grow far too
big, especially for small gardens.
If you have stored your Dahlia
tubers for the Winter, or bought new ones, they can gently be started
into growth now by just putting them in trays on some slightly damp
compost and keeping them cool, but frost free. When good, new shoots,
appear and are 2-3 inches long they can be cut off and used as ordinary
cuttings which you can root if you want some extra plants.
Tree ties should be checked to make
sure they are still firm after the strong winds, but not strangling
trees. A space should be left between trees and stakes to prevent
rubbing and this is best done by putting the ties on in a figure eight
finish, the old fruiting canes, of Autumn fruiting Raspberries from last
year, should be cut right down now, as they will fruit on the new canes.
Well that’s all for now
Tips Week Ending Feb 2nd 2008
Spring is on it’s way and things are beginning to wake up in the garden now. If you grow Chrysanthemums it is time to take cuttings, but don’t take the cuttings from the stem as they will not be much good, take them from the new shoots coming at the base of the old plant. You can put 5 or 6 round the edge of a 5½ inch pot. I use compost with extra grit added to pot them in and a little Silver Sand sprinkled on top of the compost. When you push the cuttings into the compost make sure some of the silver Sand goes in with them. The compost should be damp, but not wet, before you put the pot in a plastic bag, tie the top of the bag and keep it in a cool and shady, but not dark place. After leaving it for about a month the cuttings should have developed some good rots and be ready for potting.
If you want Snowdrops in the garden it is better to buy them (in the green) in pots ready growing and plant them as soon as the flowers show signs of fading. Snowdrops are such tiny bulbs that they dry out very quickly so do not grow well from shop bought packeted bulbs.
If you have room in the greenhouse it is a good idea to take a bag of compost inside it to get any frost out and take the chill off it before you use it for planting. I have noticed most garden Centres are selling 3 X 70 litre bags for £10. This is a good price, but if you don’t want 3 bags you might be able to share with a neighbour or friend, to take advantage of the offer, it is certainly worth a try.
If you haven’t sown any Sweet Peas yet they can still be done. I like to soak mine for 5 or 6 hours first before planting. It is easier and safer than trying to chit them. After germinating, pot them up as small as you can handle them and when they have developed two pairs of true leaves pinch out the tips to make them bush out. Sweet Peas make long roots, so, either pot them singly in small deep pots, or in toilet roll inners stood in a tray of compost. You can pot the Sweet Peas into special deep Sweet Pea pots that you can buy from garden Centres. These special pots can be planted in the garden without removing the plants from the pots as they will rot down in the soil after planting, which means no root disturbance for the Sweet Peas and also means they will get away quicker making better plants.
Cuttings can now be taken from any Geraniums, that you saved out of your bedding display before the Winter, if they are shooting, as the old plants will have plenty of time to make some more shoots. The old plants can be watered now, but only sparingly.
I have some upright, slow growing, Euonymous which are evergreen and they have quite a lot of yellow in the leaves that makes a splash of colour during dull Winter days. If you have a bare piece of fence why not plant a Winter flowering Jasmine. They produce yellow flowers on a bare stem in the winter and then the leaves appear in the Spring, or after the flowers have finished. If you have a fairly large space what about a prickle free Golden Holly which can be pruned heavily if need be. The winter sun will make the leaves shine.
that’s all for now
We have had a few frosty nights but I think Spring is on its way
as daffodils are starting to make an appearance and the birds are
getting very lively. There is a tub on our patio with some water in it
and a thrush comes nearly every day for a bath. Sometimes one or two
small birds wait on the edge for their turn.
Cut down old late fruiting Raspberry canes and it will soon be time to cut the Buddleias down as well. I like to cut mine down very low the last week in February. They will make plenty of new growth for flowering then. Hebe plants have been burnt with the frost this year but should be alright if all the frost damage is cut off when the weather improves.
The garden centres have started getting the modules of
seedlings in now as well as small pots of Geraniums. If the Geraniums
are in peat pots just pot them as they are as the roots will grow
through the peat pots. Sometimes the plants are in small special plastic
pots with lots of holes in which are called rooting pots. The spaces in
the walls of these pots will allow the roots to grow through as well so
there is no need to disturb these plants either.
is a bit early to buy modules of Buzzy Lizzies or Petunias unless you
have a heated greenhouse. Sweet Peas will be alright in a cold
greenhouse or cold frame and should be ready to have their tips pinched.
I think that is all for now so cheerio everybody.
Tips Article Feb 23rd 2007
It’s a new growing year and we have had a decent fall of snow
which I hope is the last of the winter, but at least the cold spell will
have killed off most of the aphids and helped to break up your soil if
you remembered to loosely dig the vegetable patch before the winter.
saved some of my Geraniums from last years bedding by plunging the roots
in dry compost without their pots, in an unheated greenhouse. I had
lined the roof of the greenhouse with bubble polythene before the winter
and when I put the plants into it I covered them with horticultural
fleece for a little more protection. The Geraniums had no water all
winter, but now that I have potted them I have given them just a drop
and brought them into the house to bring them on so that I can take
cuttings from them when they shoot.
garden centres are now getting their stocks of young plants in that are
potted in modules for those that want to make an early start and who
have a greenhouse to keep them in until the weather warms up in the
spring. I have bought a few more Geraniums and potted them on, because if
we have a hot dry summer, they will like the conditions better than Busy
Lizzies, Petunias or Trailing Lobelia. Trailing Geraniums and Trailing
Begonias also look good in tubs as an alternative to lobelia. It is
useful to have a few pots to fill in gaps and if you have a shady spot
that needs brightening up pots of Busy Lizzies, Petunias and the fibrous
rooted Begonias will grow well there.
back to Begonias for baskets, there are a good selection of corms about
now. To start them off place them in trays with compost, but do not
cover the tops of the corms with compost and just lightly moisten them.
Unlike most bulbs they do not need covering and will stand on a fairly
shady windowsill until they are shooting when they will need more light
and can be potted up.
that’s all for now. Cheerio.
Tips 26th February 2006