Rob The Mower Man's Gardening Tips

Rob is one of our 'Mower Men'. You can hear him on Vectis Radio once a month giving listeners his gardening tips. These are some of his hints and tips to help your plants and gardens flourish. Keep checking back as we will be adding more tips to the list.

Rob The Mower Man's Tip of The Week

Sow Leeks and Cauliflower seed in the greenhouse.

Bulbs

  • To achieve the best and most natural effect, never plant bulbs in a row. Plant them in clumps of at least five, seven or nine.

  • Pot up Amaryllis bulbs in January. Water regularly and they will give you a fantastic display.

  • Divide snowdrop bulbs in February, and plant those that need planting 'in the green', because they are actively growing they take better.

  • Plant tender summer flowering bulbs, like gladioli, in early spring.

  • Deadhead daffodils when they finish flowering and let the foliage die back naturally.

  • Let the foliage of spring flowering bulbs die back naturally. Don’t be tempted to cut down or tie up the foliage as this can lead to blind bulbs next year.

  • Plant spring flowering bulbs such as daffodils, crocus and hyacinths in September.

 

Compost

October is the time to dig and turn your compost heap.

 

Fruit

  • Collect and dispose of wind-fall fruit. If you leave them on the ground it will attract pests and it can damage your lawn.

  • Remove dead and diseased branches from fruit trees and spray for fungal infection. Ensure trees are secure against wind rock. Apply high potassium fertiliser.

  • Cover ripening fruits with netting to deter birds and pests.

 

Grass/ grasses

  • Cut grass weekly, because long grass is harder to cut and it takes more nutrients out of the soil. 

  • Grass needs cutting less frequently during long spells of dry weather.

  • If the weather has been very dry, leave the grass cuttings on the lawn to help retain moisture in the soil.

  • October is the time to scarify lawns with a Spring Tine rake, gently brush off leaves and apply an autumn feed.

  • After the last cut, clean and store away mower, hedge trimmers, strimmer etc.

  • In January cut back any ornamental grasses to within a few centimetres of the ground, before the new growth starts to appear.

  • In May you can lower the blades on your lawn mower to their regular summer cut height.

  • Do not cut off the flower heads on ornamental grasses, because these will provide interest in the garden during the winter.

  • As grass growth begins to slow down in late summer, you will need to raise the cutting height on your lawnmower.

 

Greenhouse

  • November is the time to clean the greenhouse glass inside and out with diluted Jeyes Fluid.

  • Remember to open your greenhouse vents and doors on warm days.

 

Hanging Baskets

  • Hanging baskets can be planted up in April and kept in the greenhouse until the plants grow on.

  • In summer remove flower heads that are past their best to encourage plants to produce fresh blooms.

Heather

When winter flowering Heathers have started to fade, trim them lightly with a pair of shears, to keep them compact.

Hedges

Herbaceous plants

Divide herbaceous plants such as Daisies and Iris using a fork. Plant separately in the ground to increase your stock in the spring.

Leaves

  • In December remove and burn old leaves and branches etc.

  • Put a net over your garden ponds before the autumn leaves start to fall.

 

Onions

Buy onion sets in February and get them growing.

 

Pots

  • A plant in a terracotta pot will dry out a lot quicker than one in a ceramic or plastic container, because terracotta pots absorb water. Line the pot with plastic before planting and don't forget to make some drainage holes in the bottom.

  • Ensure half-hardy perennials are protected from the wind and frost.

  • In November clean and sterilise seed trays and pots with diluted Jeyes Fluid ready for sowing in the spring.

  • Don’t forget to care for your house plants when you go on holiday in the summer. Move them out of direct sunlight and water well.

 

Primroses

​Divide Primroses once they have finished flowering in April.

Pruning

Roses

  • After the first frosts prune and removing dead, crossing, or diseased branches from your Roses.

  • April is the time to tie in climbing and rambling roses.

  • Plant bare root roses in January in a sunny position for spectacular summer colour.

  • Prune roses in the spring to encourage strong new growth and feed them with special rose feed when they start growing.

  • In June spray Roses to protect them from rust, mildew, and black spot.

 

Seeds

  • Seeds need to be kept cool, dark and dry over the winter. Store envelopes containing seeds in an old ice-cream carton or biscuit tin and put it in the fridge.

  • Sow Broad Beans, Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Calabrese in a 6” pot, 2 seeds to each pot and plant out in prepared ground at the end of the month for an early spring crop.”

  • Sow leeks and broad beans in drills in allotment.

  • Sow Leeks and Cauliflower seed in the greenhouse.

 

Shrubs

  • Plant evergreen trees and shrubs in prepared ground, stake well and mulch.

Soil

  • Dig over and apply well-rotted manure on your allotment plot. Leave any big clumps of soil for the frost to break down.

  • After the first frosts remove summer bedding plants. Dig and fertilise beds, remove weeds and leaves and plant autumn bedding.

 

Tomato plants

  • Feed tomato plants fortnightly with a liquid fertiliser which has been diluted in water, once the fruit has set.

  • Make sure the tomato plant is watered well before applying your fertiliser otherwise the plant can take up too much fertiliser and this will burn the plant.

  • Don't forget to tie the stems of your tomato plants to canes to prevent the weight of the fruit breaking the plant.

  • If your tomato plants have been affected by blight, clear the plants and burn them. Don't put them on the compost heap as this will not kill the spores and it could continue to spread the infection.

  • Put green tomatoes in a box in a shaded position with a banana skin to ripen them off.

Tubers

Buy potato tubers in late January, or early February, as you will need to allow them to start sprouting shoots, called chitting, before planting them out.

Vegetables

  • May is the best month for sowing main crop carrots but remember to protect them from carrot fly by covering them with fleece.

  • In September raise squashes and pumpkins on straw as they ripen to prevent them from rotting.

 
 

Watering

During a drought you need to:

  • Water twice a day, early in the morning and again in the evening.

  • Aim the water at the roots not the foliage.

Weeds

  • Hoe and mulch weeds in March to get them under control early.

  • Keep on top of weeding during June, so your plants don’t have to compete for light, food and water.

  • Watering with a hosepipe can use a lot of water, so it is better to use a watering can. Watering in the evening is more effective as less water will evaporate.

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DAISIE RICH TRUST

Care in the Garden Est 2012)