• Tips for February 2019 January 30, 2019 by Jim Buttress

    Prune autumn fruiting raspberry canes. Cut the canes down to ground level.

    Cut back late summer and autumn flowering clematis to 30cm from ground level.

    Sow broad beans 5-7cm deep directly in the garden or in pots of multipurpose potting compost.

    Prune Wisteria and Campsis by cutting back the side shoots around 2.5 to 5cm to two or three buds.

    Plant rhubarb crowns, shallots, garlic and jerusalem artichokes until March, provided no frost.

    Lift and divide snowdrops “in the green” once they finish flowering.

    Set early seed potatoes up for chitting, ready for planting out in March. Place potatoes eye end up in egg cartons or trays on window sill.

    Prune summer-flowering deciduous shrubs that flower on the crrent years growth such as Buddleia, Hygrangea, Lavateria and deciduous Ceaothus.

    Spray dormant fruit trees and bushes with a plant oil based winter wash.

    Protect blossom on apricots, nectarines and peaches from frosts with horticultural fleece.

  • Tips for January 2019 January 2, 2019 by Jim Buttress

    You can winter prune Wisteria this month or next. Shorten shoots that were pruned last summer to two or three buds from older wood.

    Move Christmas flowering daffodils outdoors once the blooms have finished. Remove spent flower heads and feed regularly with a high potassium fertiliser until the foliage dies down.

    Force rhubarb for a tender early crop by covering plants with a forcing jar or upturned plant pot. Ensure the drainage holes are covered to exclude all light. Cover crowns with a layer of straw.

    Plan crop rotation for the coming season and then order or purchase seeds. Check through the seed box throwing away packets that are more than two years old.

    Sow sweet peas indoors, individually in root trainers or 3″ pots.

    When pruning apple trees avoid removing more than 20% of the crown in one winter. The more you prune, the more foliage grows at the expense of the fruit.

    Winter is ideal to prune many deciduous trees. Magnolias are best summer pruned to avoid die back and decay of pruning cuts. As are flowering cherries, plums, and almonds to help avoid silver leaf.

    Complete digging of bare beds at the allotment or home including raised beds. Cover ground with black polythene to warm beds for early crops.

    On gooseberries and redcurrants remove dead and low lying shoots, shorten branch tips by one quarter, cutting to a suitable outward facing bud. Prune all side shoots back to one to three buds from their bases.

    Remember to water planted containers positioned under eaves, balconies or against walls. These can quickly dry out even in winter.

  • Tips for December 2018 December 3, 2018 by Jim Buttress

    Tidy and dead head winter bedding containers regularly.

    Purchase seed potatoes at the end of this month. It may seem early but tubers will store well in a cool, frost free place and can be ready for chitting from January.

    Prune Acer and Betula before mid–December to avoid bleeding from cuts.

    Prune free standing apple and pear trees, currants and gooseberries.

    Do not prune stone fruit such as cherries until late spring to avoid silver leaf disease.

    Winter digging can start now until February.

    Take some time out to read through the seed catalogue and prepare your order for sending off.

    Prune grapevines by mid-December to avoid bleeding sap.

    Now is the time to make sure that you have drained all of the fuel out of power machinery.

    Don’t be tempted to use compost left over from 2107/18, throw it on the soil. Wait until you see the stocks of brand new compost delivered to the site shop or arriving at the garden centres. Do not buy any special offers or clearance offers on old stock.