Garden And Gardener

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Archive for December, 2014

Price reductions at Crocus

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

Crocus reduced the price on this item today

Rhododendron 'Klondyke' (deciduous azalea)

Rhododendron ‘Klondyke’ (deciduous azalea) was £19.99 now £14.99
Position: partial shade Soil: moist, well-drained, humus-rich, acid soil or ericaceous compost Rate of growth: average Flowering period: May Flower colour: orange Other features: looks stunning planted ‘en masse’ Hardiness: fully hardy Glorious trusses of glowing, golden-orange, funnel shaped flowers in late spring , opening from coppery-red buds, and medium sized, mid-green leaves. This deciduous azalea looks stunning planted ‘en masse’ in a sunny shrub border with humus-rich, acid soil. Winter flowering shrubs are good companions, providing interest after it has lost its beautiful autumn leaves. Garden care: Avoid planting too deeply. Apply a generous 5-7cm (2-3in) mulch of leaf mould around the base of the plant each spring.

New products at Crocus

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

New items today at Crocus

Dome plant support - bronze

Dome plant support – bronze £24.99
These come in two sizes. They are a great idea for protecting young or established plants in your borders from being trampled on. The plants are able to grow up through the wire which will act as a plant support for mound forming perennials. You can group some of the domes at the front of the border to create a barrier against larger mammals such deer, dogs and foxes. The domes are soon covered by foliage and will be hidden, becoming a subtle detail in the garden. Produced from coated steel rod. Measurements: Small: Height 26-28cm, Diameter 46-48cm Large: Height 41cm, Diameter 63.6cm

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Planning for the next year

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

I’ve made a list of all the seeds I have. It’s a big list! I wouldn’t be able to grow all of these seeds even if I had an acre of land! I need to par down the list and decide exactly what I’ll be growing.

I’ve got tons of tomato seeds, including a favourite sun gold and some new ones that are also cherry tomatoes that should produce good crops. As I have a greenhouse at home as well as on the allotment I could grow lots of different sorts. I’ve tried a lot of outdoor tomatoes last year and was disappointed, only the sun gold ripened and didn’t get blighted.
I think I’ll grow sun gold outdoors as usual and then grow a few indoor ones in both greenhouses. I’ve got some baby plum tomatoes in different colours – think that one is called Rainbow mix. They’re excellent!
I will be growing directly into the greenhouse border on the allotment. I will be bagging up some of the heap of horse muck that I have got, ready for topping up the borders later in the spring. Currently I have some winter lettuces in the greenhouse and they’re delicious! Even though we’ve had some hard frosts there are still plenty of leaves available. I will be growing some of them again!

I want to sow a few carrots in the greenhouse border. Nantes should give me a small crop in only two months, so I will have a look through my carrot seed list and see whether I have some, or if I have some other carrots that might grow in a cold greenhouse border in early spring. I have some very tiny round ones, suspect they’ll be really good.

I am going to do my best to get brussels sprouts for this next year too. Mine got eaten by slugs as I was hardening them off, so I need to take more care whilst doing that in future. I’m going to try and have as long a season as possible, which will mean a mix of plants. I have one called brussels sprouts f1 Continuity mix which I hope will be really good. I will also plant some kale and some purple sprouting. Having green vegetables over winter means you can pick something everyday.

I’ve been reading Charles Dowding’s books about growing winter vegetables and feel quite inspired. He counts a lot of early spring vegetables as winter veggies which is an interesting idea. It’s mostly got to be ocncentrating on sowing in August and September for over winter salads, but much earlier in the year for sprouts and that sort of winter vegetables. I will of course grow a few extra plants for spares. They can either be insurance against slug damage or be given away to other plot holders when it’s time to plant out. It takes only one seed and a bit of compost to create a plug plant that can be planted on. That’s something elde Charles goes on about is planting in module trays so you can grow lots of plants easily and you’re growing them with their own root block. For salads it’s easy – sow and plant out into rows. He also recommends wider spacings for preference as the extra bare soil means it’s further for the slugs to go. As well as keeping the beds very tidy to ensure there’s no hiding places. That’s something I’d noticed with the wooden bed edges, that the slugs love living down the sides in the grass. I will aim to deal with this as a long term problem – I think wood makes an ideal home for slugs so might move away from this as edging and have bare sides. It won’t look as tidy but in theory it’ll mean fewer slug hiding places.

My other thoughts on the upcoming year will be to find a way of having all my plant pots so they don’t act as a slug house either. I am not sure what to do with them all. I probably don’t need all the hundreds of them I’ve got, but I’ve got some nice size pots that I am reluctant to get rid of. I am sure I can find a use for them even if it’s potting up plants for people.

I will hopefully get organised enough now I’ve got plenty of plant labels. Each packet has a pencil in to use to write on them with. This should mean I have no excuse for anything not having a label.

I want to remove the gooseberry from my fruit patch on the allotment. I’ve also got one in the front garden. We don’t eat the fruit from it – although I have used it in mixed fruit jam, where it was nice, I don’t really have enough space for something we don’t enjoy eating on it’s own, so they have to go.

I have a goji berry that hasn’t fruited yet, and my blackberry plants need sorting out as they are a bit wild. I need to read up on training and pruning them.
I’m hopeful of a good rhubarb crop as I have three well established plants now and a couple of additional ones that I can crop from this year. I grew some from seed and gave away quite a few plants but kept some for my plot. I did mean to do some rhubarb wine this year but didn’t get round to it. It is supposed to be a mild wine that can be used as a mixer with other wines to give balance.

I’ve given away a couple of crowns in the last few weeks. I gave one to Janet who has a plot on another site and one to a children’s home where they are hoping to grow loads of vegetables and fruit. I also gave away raspberries and a blackcurrant bush.

If you have blackcurrants then you can make new plants very easily. Take cuttings and put them in a bucket of water and ignore for a few months. Then pot them up or plant them out and they’ll grow like mad. It’s an easy way of getting more fruit bushes. It is very simple to do. In theory it works for redcurrants and white currants too.

So on my plot I need to finish moving muck, fill all the plastic sacks I have available and then any remaining muck I will let Tracey and John have. I’m a firm believer in the value of adding manure to the plot to raise the soil level up as well as feeding the worms and soil. The organic material is useful on a clay rich plot and by building the soil level up I hope to have a drier plot to plant in. Bits that are low are very soggy when it’s wet. My paths are made from bark chippings which help soak up moisture too. When they rot down they can be thrown onto the beds as soil too and replaced with more bark chippings.
You can make soil by layering bark chippings and manure and letting it break down. This can help very much if you have a shallow top soil. Don’t worry about the bark robbing nitrogen from the soil – there is plenty in the muck! You can grow potatoes as a first crop in this and feed them a bit too and you’ll get an amazing crop and next year the soil will look like proper soil!

Some people think it’s ok to just use chemicals to feed plants. I do think that adding manure adds to the soil itself – so you’re not just feeding the plants, but feeding the entire microcosm of the soil and all the organisms that live within in.

New products at Plant Me Now

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

New lines at Plant Me Now

Weather Eye 30 Metal Frame Outdoor Clock

Weather Eye 30 Metal Frame Outdoor Clock £85.9500
An imposing 30 inch open frame metal clock with large, cut-out Roman numerals and accurate quartz timekeeping. Creates an impressive feature on both indoor and outdoor walls allowing the wall finish to shine through.

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New products at Gardening Direct

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

New products today at Gardening Direct

Petunia Trillion Bells Celebration Mix (Trailing) 2 Pre-Planted Containers

Petunia Trillion Bells Celebration Mix (Trailing) 2 Pre-Planted Containers £22.98
Beautiful pastel coloured flowers on this trailing petuniaPetunias have colourful flowers that will bring masses of interest throughout the summer. This Petunia Trillion Bells Celebration Mix has masses of pastel coloured trumpet shaped flowers that will cascade beautifully over the sides of your patio pots. This variety will flower all summer long and really give your hanging baskets and containers the WOW factor!

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New products at Suttons Seeds

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Suttons Seeds has these new products today

XXL Bag of Bulbs - Mixed

XXL Bag of Bulbs – Mixed £14.99
Great value bag of 150 mixed bulbs, each containing 6 varieties of summer-flowering favourites.

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New products at Jersey Plants Direct

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

New items at Jersey Plants Direct

Begonia Picotee Mix 2 Pre Planted Troughs

Begonia Picotee Mix 2 Pre Planted Troughs £22.98
Delightful array of coloursDelightful picotee Begonias in a mix of bright vibrant colours.

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New products at GreenFingers

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

New product today at GreenFingers

Cast Iron Chiminea with Grill Large  - Black

Cast Iron Chiminea with Grill Large – Black £64.99
Bring light and warmth to your garden with this large Cast Iron Chiminea with Grill and create the perfect atmosphere for an intimate evening. This attractive barrel-chested and fully functional stove is the perfect accessory for the smaller garden or patio. Enjoy perfectly grilled hamburgers steaks chicken seafood and vegetables made in this compact chiminea with its handy grill. When the sun goes down stretch out the evening by adding some logs for a traditional outdoor fire. The black cast iron metalwork and classic design will add warmth to your garden whether the fire is roaring or not. The best way to care for your chiminea is to rub with an oily rag after each use. It can be kept outside all year round and if the surface starts to rust then scrape off with a wire brush and treat with a heat resistant paint. Dimensions: 46cm diameter x H115cm

Plus another 0 new products

New products at Crocus

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

New products at Crocus

Edgeworthia 'Red Dragon' (paper bush)

Edgeworthia ‘Red Dragon’ (paper bush) £29.99
Position: full sun or light dappled shade Soil: fertile, moist but well-drained soil Rate of growth: average Flowering period: February to April Hardiness: frost hardy (will need winter protection in colder areas) Garden care: They can tolerate temperatures down to -5C, but in colder areas it is best to plant them against a sunny, south facing wall. Apply a generous layer of mulch in autumn and cut away any damaged or crossing branches in early spring.

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New products at John Lewis

Monday, December 29th, 2014

John Lewis just added this new product

Burgon & Ball Seeds and Stuff Tin, Cream

Burgon & Ball Seeds and Stuff Tin, Cream £8.95
The key to a beautifully arranged garden is preparation and organisation: keep in check with your miscellaneous bits with this tin that’s perfect for storing away your seeds, pens and yarn. With a cream finish and attractive motif, you can pop it in pride of place in your shed to remain well-equipped. contents shown not included.