Welcome to this month’s garden notes, in what are certainly some of the strangest and most challenging times we have ever seen. With all the restrictions now in place due to Covid-19, along with fears of food security, we have seen an extraordinary rise in the numbers of people looking to grow their own veggies and fruit to the point where there is a shortage of both vegetable seedlings and seeds! Seedling stocks should be more plentiful for the Easter weekend, one of the prime gardening times, and with current travel restrictions there is no better time to holiday at home and garden!!
Vegetables are really quite easy to grow, and no matter your situation you can find somewhere to plant some, even if it’s a pot or two on the balcony. Lack of sunshine is also not too limiting as there are veggies that will tolerate lower light levels. Loose leaf lettuce, spinach, radish, cabbage, beets and carrots are all capable of growing in light shade. This is a great time to introduce children to growing their own food too. Choose crops that mature quickly so they some results quite quickly. Radish and salad greens are good examples of this as they can be ready in only a couple of weeks. Most of the brassica, like cauliflower and cabbage take up to 16 weeks to mature so may be a more long term project.
Another activity for gardeners at this time of year is composting. Deciduous trees are colouring up and starting to lose their leaves, so rather than putting them into the green bin why not turn them into compost that you can then use in your garden. A guide for composting is that “anything that was once growing “can be put into compost bins. Kitchen scraps, leaves, lawn clippings, paper, cardboard, even hair can be used. Try to have equal amounts wet material, for example kitchen scraps and dry, for example shredded paper as this will help to stop your compost getting too wet and smelly. The finer the material you use the quicker it breaks down and becomes usable so shred paper and cardboard, cut pruning’s into smaller pieces or run them through a shredder or even under your lawn mower. There are lots of different design compost bins available from the classic Gedye which sits on the soil to a large range of “tumbling” bins. Tumbling or rotating compost bins are a bit more versatile as they don’t need to sit on soil, and they generally turn out usable compost sooner due to the ability to turn and mix the material. Once it’s ready either dig it in to your soil or use as mulch, the ultimate recycling! Take a look at our compost bin options.
There are plenty of beautiful plants in garden centres now ready to go in the garden, as I said last month autumn is by far the best time to plant. In store now you’ll find a great all-rounder in Geranium Big Red. This is an improved version of the classic hardy red geranium you would see all over Europe in pots, baskets and window boxes. It’s equally at home in the ground too so well worth having a look at. Another to consider is white candytuft. The Iberis is a low growing perennial that will grow in part shade or full sun and is quite drought tolerant when established. They are predominantly spring flowering but may throw flower at other times of the year too. Fantastic for rockeries and under planting standard roses the flowers are also bee and butterfly attracting, definitely an added bonus! See our current plant specials.
The weather forecast for the long weekend is low 20’s and fine, perfect for gardening! If you are coming in, be aware of the current regulations regarding social distancing designed to keep yourselves and us safe. Also keep in mind that home delivery is available for all your gardening needs too. Stay safe and see you soon.