Pippa Greenwood: Haxnicks December Gardening tips
Here are my Haxnicks December Gardening Tips to lead you up to Christmas. Its time to grab a bucket, scrubbing brush and sponge and a long-handled window cleaning squeegee too. The glazing on greenhouses and cold frames and even glass cloches will have accumulated a lot of dirt, algae and other debris over the year.
Damper conditions in the last few months will have made this worse. Now, whilst there is likely to be less growing in your greenhouse or frame, or under cloches, it is time to get cleaning. A thorough wash with slightly soapy water will do wonders, not just making them look better but, more importantly, ensuring that more light can penetrate through to the plants inside. Winter days are short and light levels low, so you need to do everything you can to maximise the light that gets through the glazing.
Keep eating your greens
Liven up winter salads and sandwiches with some home-grown mustard and cress. You may think of it as something you grew as a kid, but don’t be held back sow some now (and get any nearby kids involved too, if you wish!)
Use small trays or a plant saucers like our 8" Bamboo Saucer with a shallow layer (1cm or so) of good quality compost. Firm it down well, moisten and then sprinkle the seeds. As long as the compost is kept just moist at all times the seeds will soon create a jelly-like substance which will help them retain the moisture they need, but you will still need to keep the compost constantly just moist. Mustard and cress seed germinates within a few days and, when kept on a window sill with plenty of natural light, you’ll soon be able to start harvesting.
Houseplants have enjoyed a serious boom over the last couple of years. Many realised for the first time just what a great way they are to decorate your house and bring a bit of cheer. So, whether you’ve only got one or two houseplants or your house is a veritable jungle of foliage and flowers, don’t forget they will still need some TLC .
Different houseplants have different requirements so check out the specific needs of each plant, but generally watering needs to be reduced over the winter months.
Extremes of heat are bad for them all, so make sure they’re not subjected to cold draughts or the direct heat from a real-fire or radiator. At this time of year, as we’re more inclined to put the heating on, the air often becomes too dry for most houseplants, so consider standing those which prefer more humidity on a saucer full of moist pebbles, as this will help to raise humidity.
I hope you enjoy our December Gardening Tips and I will see you in the new year with a new slant on my blog.
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