Seasonal Tips - Grow Your Own

Grow Your Own

Flower Power

Good Housekeeping

Potatoes

“Potatoes For Everyone - Get chitting Now!!”

Better than any supermarket bought potatoes are home grown ones!! 

If you haven't already started then you need to get some seed potatoes and 'chit' them (started into growth), before they are planted. 

Chitting will help bring forward your harvesting date by promoting early growth in the soil and increase your overall yield. To do this place your seed potatoes in an old egg box or tray and place them in a bright, frost-free place to encourage shoots - a porch or utility room is ideal. Once the shoots reach between 1-2 cm thin them out to 2 or 3 per potato then plant them out.


“Mulch Fruit Trees And Bushes After Feeding”

To ensure you get the maximum crop possible you need to give your fruit trees and bushes a good supply of potash. 

Potash comes in a white powder and is sprinkled sparingly around the base of plants. 

It can be added as a supplement to fish blood and bone feed ensuring your plants get all the nutrients required. Water in lightly afterwards if the weather is dry then mulch with well-rotted manure. This will help to keep down weeds and retain moisture in the soil reducing the amount of watering during the summer months. If in the unlikely event during winter the ground is dry, then water before applying the mulch.

Juicy picking

Carrots

“Pot Up Some Mint For Your Potatoes!”

Mint is a great herb and a culinary delight with its fresh aroma and light flavour. 

It is also the perfect accomplice for your freshly dug new potatoes. 

Easy to grow it will perform best in pots on your patio - this is also wise as it can be quite invasive in the garden. Grow in a 30cm pot and place on the patio or sink the pot into the ground to give the appearance of it growing naturally. Now you can pick sprigs of mint from spring right through to late autumn!


“Organic Soil Conditioners Explained And How To Use Them“

Did you know that you are actually helping the environment by using manures and compost on your land as this reduces atmospheric content of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide! 

These magical fibrous composts are essential for strong healthy plants. There are a wide range available and if bought by the bag in garden centres can be very costly. Look for a local source such as a stable or farm then create a store in your garden ready for use.

Farmyard Manure:
Farmyard manure will add bulk to your soil and fix valuable nutrients. Manure from any livestock can be used with horse manure being most popular. Stables are usually only too happy to let you take manure away if you can collect it yourself. Allow 6 months for the manure to rot down before adding to the soil. When it is ready, it will have lost its dungy smell.

Applying manure that is too fresh will cause a yellowing of the plants. The best thing you can do in this situation is absolutely nothing. Let the plants grow through the effects. Do not add any other fertiliser or manure, then next season apply a slow release general fertilise.

Garden Compost:
Every gardener should try and keep a compost heap and recycle as much of their garden and kitchen waste as possible - you can also add paper products. With around 40% of people's dustbin contents suitable for composting, it can cut down on landfill content and benefit everyone! Avoid adding vegetables, fruits, weeds that are in seed and diseased plants. The end result should be a rich, dark and crumbly compound that has cost nothing to make while giving you a safe soil conditioner and perfect mulch material.

Mushroom Compost:
Often referred to as 'spent' mushroom compost due to the fact it is the left over material from mushroom farming. You can find this for sale at most mushroom farms and is relatively cheap - especially if you buy in bulk. It is used mainly in flower beds and will need rotting down further if going onto the vegetable plots. If your garden is on the acidic side it can be useful as it is alkaline in nature and contains chalk helping reduce acidity.

When using mushroom compost remove any large lumps of chalk that are visible. Also use in moderation alternating with well-rotted manure or garden compost.

Green Manure:
Green manure is a crop grown simply to be dug back into the ground doing wonders for the health of the soil. All you require is a packet of seeds, a rake and a spade then let the seeds fertilise! They are extremely helpful on light soils that have been left vacant for a period of time. Not only do they take nitrogen from the air transferring it to their roots, but their carpet like spread will suppress weeds. Sow the green manure in early autumn then dig in during spring. Avoid allowing the plants to flower and seed. Some green manures to try: Mustard, Crimson clover, Lupins, Italian ryegrass, Winter tare and Phacelia. Every green manure has differing benefits so research and select the best for your needs before buying.

You may want to leave small patches of flowering green manures that are attractive to insects near your vegetable plot as these will benefit pollination.

The best way to add an organic conditioner is to simply dig it in as deep as possible. This way it becomes mixed with the soil and will help retain moisture, supplying nutrients directly to the roots. The deeper the roots go then the more stable the plant will be in its growth.

Rhubarb