Monthly Archives: October 2011

  • Madeleine's Corner: Get the Cloches Out!

    Post by Madeleine Cardozo

    As a result of rapidly cooling temperatures, the amount of growth in the garden has slowed down enormously. This has meant that I have been a little lazy recently. So I forced myself to go outside and see what needed to be done. There was so much.

    Haxnicks Garden Tunnels

    Mowing needed to be done around the vegetable patch, weeding around the lettuces and rocket. It's important to harvest as much as you can and either freeze the vegetables or store them.
    Throw a little soil over the tops of the carrots to stop them going rubbery or green and I am happy to report that there are fewer caterpillars gnawing at my purple sprouting broccoli than last week.

    Courgettes, squash and pumpkins need to be on placed onto something solid like a tile or paving, they do not want to linger on the damp soil for too long as they will rot. This is a way of hardening the skins and they could last for a few months if you let them ‘dry’ in the sun.

    I really want to grow tulips and spring flowering bulbs, but I always seem to lose them and not look after them in my flower beds so I thought why not plant them in a space in the vegetable patch, they would have flowered by May which is when you begin to plant out your summer vegetables, so perhaps I can do both.

    So I cleared a patch, fed it with old manure, spent a few bob on matching coloured tulips and now I will wait and see what happens.

    Use cloches and small poly tunnels to keep your rocket and lettuce warm and growing. Spinach is hardy so you can leave that to the elements.

    Lastly, collect your seeds! I wonder round the garden every now and then with a couple of envelopes, in them I put seeds from flowers and vegetables. Or if I cut up a courgette, tomato, bean or melon, I put them on a saucer and let them dry on the window sill and then put them into an envelope for next Spring. It saves you lots of money so why not.

    Any questions related to this post, as ever, let us know in the comments box below and we'll answer as soon as we can.

  • Madeleine's Corner: Harvesting vegetables & making leaf mould

    Post by Madeleine Cardozo

    Haxnicks Garden Products can be brought onlineThis week we have all had a new lease of life in the garden, the plants are growing like mad as this extra bit of warmth has given them another chance. If you were worried about your tomatoes never ripening or your squash not getting large enough, your worries are over!

    So back to the nitty gritty of harvesting to keep your crops coming, like courgettes, raspberries, rocket and beans. Clear any unwanted weeds from the bases of your vegetables and while it is still dry mow the grass.
    Water anything you have in the greenhouse regularly as this weather is drying everything fast.

    Leaves are starting to fall and it is a good time of year to make leaf mould. To do this rake up the damp leaves and put it into aerated bags, you can use a bin liner having stabbed lots of holes into it or you can buy fairly cheaply jute ones that look much nicer and rot down completely. In a years’ time from now this will have decomposed to a wonderful compost that is incredibly good for your vegetables.

    There is a 'comedy gardener' called Rabbie, who shows you how to use the sacks in YouTube video if you like that sort of thing.

    As you harvest more and more you will obtain space in your patch, I recommend forking it over, some people like the no dig method, but not me, it doesn't seem thorough enough. Do this little by little, 20 minutes at a time, as you do not want to spend the next few weeks nurturing a bad back. Add any well rotted compost/manure to it as you go along.

    Plant: garlic, onions, sweet peas, broad beans, lettuce, rocket and radishes.

    Any questions, please put them in the comments box below!

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