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.

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.

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