Monday, 22 December 2014

On my plot:

This is a time of the year when you more then likely do not go out into the garden much, unless to harvest some crop for your tea.

Never-the-less you should be out there on the look out for what is going on and to make sure that everything is in its place.

If you have not done so already:
  • dig
  • spread manure or compost
  • wash your pots and glasshouse.
  • repair your tools
  • tidy out the shed and chuck stuff out that you do not need.
  • This is a good time of the year to cover the ground that you are not going to use. It is far better being under plastic then just sat there growing weeds  

Some times, so many things change in the garden that you do not know where your are. It is a good time of the year to sit done and sort things out in your mind.

Get a book and make a few plans for your garden; ask your self a few questions:
  • What did you grow last year that really worked and you used?
  • Did your grow too much of one crop?
  • Did you grow a crop that you did not use?
  • Did any crop not grow at all for one reason or another?
  • What weed was the most trouble to you?
  • Was there one pest that over took everything that you tried to do?
  • Will you have enough time in the coming year to manage your plot?
  • Do you use your glass house to the best advantage? 
 I am sure that there are many more questions that you could ask yourself to make better use of your time and garden.

Most of what I know about growing come form three sources:

Watching my neighbor

Reading books

Looking at how plants grow. 

This time of the year go round your neighborhood and see what they have in their gardens.

Find out what crops are doing well in your area

Get a good gardening book and read it.

From my plot now in the middle of December I am harvesting:
  • Leeks
  • Brussels sprouts
  • cabbage 
  • turnips
  • beet root
  • lambs lettuce
  • chard
  • potatoes
  • parsley
  • kale
  • broccoli
  • spinach
  • apples from my store
  • soft fruit from my deep freeze

I also have pickled

beans/cucumbers/croquettes. and of course loads of jam from my soft fruit. 
Here is a great book to read and use to find out what to do with all those Courgettes.
On sale on ebay right now

Monday, 15 December 2014

Christmas Cacti

This weeks job:
  •   This is a good time to get your mower in order. There is nothing like a good service.
  • Give all your hand tools a good clean and oiling any wooden handles. I use olive oil for this.
  • Dig any empty beds
  • Check roses for black spot and burn the leaves.
  • Sow hardy pea varieties in pots or trays

Christmas cacti make great gifts:
  • It is possible to buy them quite cheaply and then pot several different varieties of plants into interesting  containers
  • Christmas cacti are best grown  in groups.
  • you will need a layer of gravel
  • and a layer of charcoal
  • arrange the plants adding compost as you go
  • top up with stone chippings
  • given some sunshine you should get lovely  flowers
The cacti mostly live in deserts where  they do not get much water, indeed in the winter months they do not need any water; just essential for their growth to water during the summer months. 
                Go and take a look at Cacti in your local Glasshouse. Kew is well worth a look!

Friday, 12 December 2014

How to grow your own Holly.

To my mind there is nothing more festive at this time of the year than bright red berries against spiky green leaves. A wreath of holly on your door at christmas gives a lot of cheer.
Holly is native to Britain and ever green and can grow up to 10 meters if not cut.
  • Makes a splendid hedge.
  • Quite a few varieties: Golden King-Silver Queen to name but two.
  • You can mix berries in moist sand...leave for a year, tuning them every once in a while.
  • Sow them in a pot, sand and all, the following spring.
  • Be patient because they can be very slow.
  • Holly is dioecious ( either male or female) so you will not get berries in every case.
  • Fertilized female flowers develop into shiny red berries
  • Trees will not flower for the first twenty years.
  • Prune holly with secateurs only.
I collect holly plants from under Holly hedges. You will be surprised at how many you will find poking through the ground come Spring.

                                                                         Winter Beds

In the garden, this week you should
  • Dig out your annuals and turning over the soil
  • Plant any trees and shrubs before it snows
  • If it does snow, clear as much as possible from branches. Snow can be very heavy and break branches. Shake the snow off your shrubs and polly tunnels.

Monday, 8 December 2014


This is a plant that grows on other plants. Mainly on trees, the most popular tree being Apple.
It is a plant that is very much in decline, however the plant is once again in the public eye because a substance found inside the berry has been found to cure some types of cancer.
This what you need to do if you wish to grow your own:
  • Keep the berries moist till early spring
  • Scrape away the juicy covering
  • make a shallow cut in a tree
  • press the seed in and replace the bark.
  • sow as many as you can on the same tree to ensure male and female growth for pollination.
Apple trees make the best host but you can also use Lime, Ash, or Poplar.
If you buy some from the shops, make sure that it has loads of berries because every time you kiss under the Mistletoe you are suppose to remove a berry!
Happy Kissing!