Practical Gardening

At our February meeting we started by sharing what we are enjoying flowering in the garden at the moment. Witch hazel, snowdrops, heathers (excellent in Kings Park Southport at the mo), daffodils , crocuses and all spring bulbs and hellebores were amongst those which have been at their best.

We  discussed how the geranium cuttings taken at the end of last year had fared. There had clearly been some successes with an important criteria being ensuring the cuttings were not kept too wet – we looked forward to seeing the end results in Summer.

We agreed we needed to try out the practice of starting cuttings such as fuschia in water first which has been found to be successful by many of the group. We will try this out in the Spring. Interestingly the white ‘roots’ which are always produced in water are apparently not the ‘true’  roots which will be formed once the fuschia cutting is taken out of water and planted.

Other cutting recommendations from within the group based on experience:

  • Cotoneaster: put the cutting in the fridge for a day and then stand in water until roots are produced, then plant in compost  – lots of shrubs have been produced this way
  • Clematis : leave the cutting in the fridge for a few days before planting in compost

Speeding up compost – some of the group chop up the compost on a lawn with a mower before putting in the compost bin/heap and have found this significantly reduces the decomposition time.

Roses have been dormant but it was agreed that once active, spraying with Rose Clear every two weeks is a good treatment to prevent black spot – any leaves with black spot should be removed and burnt if possible but NOT put in the compost bin as this could spread the disease.

Jobs to do now include:

Turn compost, dig up couch grass, dandelions and other weeds and start to tidy borders.

Prune climbing roses (only- standard roses shouldn’t be pruned until March)  to take off branches thinner than a pencil as they won’t support a  flower

Cabbages and apples – add lime now. Sew tomato, broadbean, brussel sprouts, peas (protect from mice with prunings stuck in the ground) and lettuce seeds. Plant onion sets and garlic and chit seed potatoes. Outside vedg patches can be warmed with plastic ready for planting out later

Prune apples shaping the trees and also winter flowering clematis and jasmine, cut down autumn flowering raspberries and strawberry plants can be moved/planted indoors for early fruit.

Sweet peas can be started indoors in cardboard toilet roll holders stood in a plastic (ice cream type) tub on the window sill.

Plant food several of the group recommend the following ‘recipe’: Gather nettles and comfrey in a bucket and ‘just’ cover with water. Leave for 3 weeks. Sieve and add the liquid to the compost heap. To use as a plant food dilute 1:20 in water

Good meeting enjoyed by all









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