Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Peter's Gardening Notes

The vegetable plot in August
A good month for cropping! All good things come in return for your hard work. Prune out spent raspberry canes, tie in new growth on loganberries and blackberries. Lift out any plants showing 'nasties', as they might spread. Wage war on cabbage white caterpillars. Make sowings of spring cabbage, Chinese cabbage and spinach.
The greenhouse in August
Ventilation is important by day and night. During the day, ensure that you damp down the floor and if possible apply a fine spray at mid-day. Where tomatoes are grown, give the plants a little shake at mid-day to move pollen around. Watch for pests and diseases; weed free borders deprive pests of a home! This is a good month for cuttings - take a few extra in case of failures. Any surplus, you can pass on to others!
The flower garden in August
Seedlings will be appearing from now on in beds, borders and containers - pot some up or transfer to a nursery bed. Some plants lend themselves to layering; easy examples are pansies. Peg them down at a leaf joint to root down. A selection of perennials can be sown now - too many to quote, but have a look at some seed catalogues on a rainy day.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Peter's Gardening Notes

The vegetable plot in June
Hoe around onions to expose lower part of bulbs to assist ripening. protect strawberries. Summer prune gooseberries and redcurrants. Ensure beans and peas have sufficient water. Continue with rotation sowings to ensure continuity of supply. As potatoes are cleared, plant leeks.
The greenhouse in June
Use yellow sticky traps for whitefly, hang them at the top of plants and move up as plants grow, especially important with tomatoes which must be sideshooted, reduce leaves as required. Ventilate the greenhouse even at night if the weather is warm and keep humidity up. Summer bedding will be outside by now, time to use the space for some quick salads.
The flower garden in June
Plant out dahlias and other soft plants. Keep on top of pests. Dead head to keep plants flowering - save seeds where you can as they are getting expensive. primulas can be lifted and divided.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

News from our friends in Malta:

Looking to go to a flower show this year but wish you could be more certain of sunnier weather?
Well, you may be interested to know that the Malta Horticultural Society will be holding its annual Great Spring Show at the San Anton Palace on the island on the weekend 14 and 15 May.
Chelsea Gold Medal and Best in Show winner Elizabeth Dawn Weaver will be recreating her award-winning piece for the show and will also be demonstrating at the Suncrest Hotel in Qawra on Thursday 12 May from 5pm.
Aside from the floral displays and demos, the show will feature the Bonsai Culture Group and live entertainment such as the dog and jazz band of Malta police corps, the Xghajra scouts band, eight different dancing schools, the Attard village brass band, and displays on local honey, olive oil and hand crafts.
The show opens for the public on Saturday from 2pm and runs until 10pm and on Sunday from 8am to 9pm.
On Sunday the president of Malta, Dr George Abela, and minister George Pullicino will present the cups and trophies to the winners in the various sections and certificates to non-competition exhibits.
Entry costs €2 for adults. Children under 14 go free.

Peter's Gardening Notes

The vegetable plot in May
Sow runner and French beans and winter greenstuff. Keep sowing successional salad crops. Watch out for carrot fly - growing onions near by can deter this pest. Plant out summer cabbage and leeks. Early potatoes should be earthed up as they appear - apply a fertiliser before doing this so it can lay in the ridges whey they will grow.
Watch braod beans for black fly - pinch out the soft tops whey they congregate. Crops sown earlier will require thinning out. Keep the plot free of rubbish - do not leave hiding places for slugs and snails.
The greenhouse in May
Should you not have one - think of window sills. Prepare to shade and avoid high temperatures. Water plants and wet floors to give humidity. Apply feed regularly, watch plants in hot spots and open vents when needed. Take cuttings of fuchsias, dahlias etc. Give plants space to develop - tomatoes will bolt if leaves touch. Bedding plants will be nearing the stage for hardening off. Cucumbers need to be on raised mounds and only watered from below. If growing in pots, then water into the saucers.
The flower garden in May
The past winter was harsh and a disaster for most gardens! Many plants have been lost, leaving lots of bare patches. It is time now to sow perennials. Johnsons seeds have a range called 'Flower First Year' which should bring a late show of colour and fill the borders for next year. Spring bulbs can be fed now to build them up for next year.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Jayne's Topical Tips

Beans, courgettes, squash, pumpkins, tomatoes, aubergines, cucumbers and sweetcorn can be sown behind glass to plant out in May. Hardy annual flowers can be sown directly into the ground. Sow salad leaves, lettuce and rocket, herbs and spring onions. Finish planting potatoes. Hanging baskets can be planted up now, but must be left in the greenhouse to grow on.