Bulbs, Veg, Soft Fruit & Other Seasonal Tasks
As with most jobs in the garden there are many different methods used, the methods used here may not be the ones you would usually use, but after trial and error they’ve worked well for us.
Dahlias: Allow a frost to blacken the foliage knocking the plant into dormancy. Dig up the tuber causing as little damage of possible. Clean off the tubers, and dust with sulphur powder. Sit in boxes of dried peat and cover with dried peat which will help to conserve some of the moisture in the tuber. Place in a cool dry place with good air flow. Check regularly for signs of pests and disease, treat any problems at first sight.
Gladioli: Lift corms about six weeks after flowering or as leaves begin to brown. Corms will need to be brushed off and then the foliage cut to about 1”. Lay corms in a ventilated tray for about a fortnight. After the corms outer skin has dried out the mother corm (the corm you planted) should easily twist away from the daughter corm (the new corm), leaving a clean basal scar, if they don’t, leave to dry for another week before trying again. Throw the mother corm away and clean the new corms, if planted directly in the soil, this may involve removing one of the outer skins. DO NOT remove all of the skins, as this will make the corms dry out. Store the corms root scar downwards in shallow trays in a well ventilated room with good circulation. Check corms regularly over the winter for signs of disease or rotting (see picture), and throw any suspect corms away to prevent problems spreading.
Begonias: Allow a frost to darken the tops, then lift corms, cut foliage back to about 5”. Sit corms upright in shallow ventilated trays and allow to dry for about a week. After corms have dried, remove any soil from around the corm, cut remaining foliage right back, dust with sulphur powder and bury upright in boxes of dried peat. Store in a cool dry, well ventilated place over winter, checking periodically for signs of pests, disease or rot, discarding damaged corms.
Growing winter veg uses pretty much the same methods as growing summer veg, but the range available to grow reduces slightly.
Cabbage* – Plant 10” apart in the ground, 7 to a growbag (equally Spaced) or in individual pots min. 5 litre.
Cauliflower* – Plant 10” apart in the ground, 7 to a growbag (equally Spaced) or in individual pots min. 5 litre.
Purple Sprouting Broccoli* – Plant 18” apart in the ground, 3 to a growbag (equally Spaced) or in individual pots min. 10 litre.
Curly Kale* – Plant 8 – 10” apart in the ground, max 11 to a growbag (equally Spaced) or in individual pots min. 5 litre.
Spinach – Plant 6 -8” apart in the ground or growbags, or in individual pots min. 3 litre.
Leek – Plant 6 – 8” apart in the ground or growbags, or in individual pots min. 3 litre. Compress soil well before planting, bore a hole a few inches deep with a broom handle and sit the plant in the bottom, just covering the roots with soil. Try growing between cabbages to help blanch the leeks.
Spring Onion – Plant 2” apart in the ground or growbags, or in 2litre pots with 5 plants equally placed around the pot.
Carrots – Plant 3” apart in the ground or growbags, or in 3litre pots with 5 plants equally placed around the pot.
Pak Choy – Plant 6 -8” apart in the ground or growbags, or in individual pots min. 2 litre.
Lettuce – Plant 6” apart in the ground or growbags, in troughs or in individual pots min 1 litre. Pick either as loose salad leaves as required, starting with the outside leaves, or let the grow to form a head and crop the entire plant in one go. Can also be grown on kitchen windowsill as young leaves.
Onion Sets – Plant 4 – 6” apart in the ground or growbags, or individual pots min 2litre. Compress soil well before planting push sets in approx. halfway down. Onions will be ready to crop next summer.
*An addition of Calcified Seaweed will help reduce the soil acidity, thus reducing chances of Club root in these varieties.
Blackberry, tayberry, loganberry etc:- Cut back any canes that have fruited to as close to ground level as possible just after cropping. Tie in any new season growth as this will fruit next year. Top dress with sulphate of potash in early April to encourage flower formation.
Summer fruiting: Cut back canes which have produced this years fruit to ground level after cropping, tie in new canes to produce next years fruit. Top dress with sulphate of potash in April.
Autumn fruiting: Cut all canes back to ground level in winter, top dress with sulphate of potash after cutting back and again at the end of May.
Gooseberry: – Prune out dead wood and damaged stems in winter or early spring, prune back established bushes by about a third. When leaves begin to appear, keep a constant check for a white powdery substance on them, American Gooseberry mildew. Although this can be cured by spraying with Dithane945, the mildew will weaken the plant and tarnish eventual crop.
Other Seasonal Tasks:
Autumn Lawn Feeding, scarifying & aerating.
Plant Spring bulbs
Turn empty veg beds and cover ready for spring
Prune summer/autumn flowering shrubs/ climbers after flowering
Plant up pots and baskets for winter colour
Plant fruit trees and bushes
Keep borders weed free to reduce weeding in spring
Give spring flowering shrubs and fruit a high potash feed
Clean up tools