Posts Tagged ‘rainwater harvesting’

The year’s garden, week by week.

Friday, March 11th, 2011

March 11th. 2011

March 2nd week

A bit more structure to my blog this week.

Kitchen garden

The spring is in full swing now. Farmers are extremely busy cultivating the land and sowing , so take a leaf from their book and get busy.

1. If you haven’t already got the maincrop potato tubers, onion sets and garlic, planted, do so this weekend.

2. Prepare the ground for the beans. See item no 10 Second week Feb. blog.. Do not plant Beans out yet, much too cold. Get them started in root trainers or small deep pots, indoors in the greenhouse.

3. Parsnips can be difficult to germinate. I sometimes sow a batch in Feb/March, when conditions allow, sometimes it works, sometimes, they fail to rise to the occasion. If you want to take the chance out of parsnip success, leave until May to sow them.

4. Get all the cultivation of your outdoor growing areas done now if you have not already done so.

5. Areas already prepared, keep an eye for sprouting weeds and remove immediately before they seed and spread. For ease of maintenance of kitchen garden, all areas surrounding should be kept weed free at all times.

6. Sow some early carrots in the greenhouse

7. Consider harvesting the rainwater. We purchased 2 new large plastic oil tanks and rigged them up to the two large sheds. Great for watering the greenhouse, especially the seed trays and seedlings. The mains water is very hard.

8. Home composting. If you can get a tumbler composter it is the fastest, most efficient type. You would need two. Make sure, when they are full, that you will physically be able to turn them. Some designs are painful! Otherwise, simple heaps in the kitchen garden, well composed of different layers of green & brown material will work fine. Compost happens!

9. Mulch the fruit bushes, especially Raspberries & feed

10. Gardening Tools should be cleaned thoroughly. At the beginning of winter a bucket of sand with some waste oil mixed in, is a great way of cleaning and preserving tools in good condition. Just plunge the steel part in and out, wipe off and store. The bucket of sand without oil is a great quick cleanser at this time of the year when you are using the tools constantly.

Ornamental Garden

1. There is still time to plant bare rooted trees, hedges, roses etc., but hurry, the sap is rising!

2. Divide and transplant snowdrops now

3. The lawn can be cut if ground conditions allow. Raise the mower a notch. Cutting it too short now will encourage new soft growth which will damage in cold spells. Do a critical survey of the lawn now. Are there weeds, moss, bare patches, build up of thatch, looking bedraggled after the winter? Talk more about this in April.

4. If your lawn mower was not serviced after last year’s season, bring it in now for a service. Blunt blades leave jagged grass. Not a cool look!

5. Keep ahead of the weeds. Tip along the beds with your hoe. A few minutes regularly hoeing in early spring will save hours of valuable BBQing and relaxing time, later in the summer. When you have beds all clean and fresh, apply a 75mm layer of fine bark mulch. It keeps the moisture in and annual weeds to a minimum. Perennial weeds like Docs and nettles will persist unless the root is removed by manual or chemical means.

6. Clean out all last years pots. Put a layer of stones in the base, then a layer of fleece blanket, then some good top soil mixed with compost and grit sand. All set for planting later in the spring.

7. Pruning. When Forsythia is finished flowering, cut out the flowering branches. Winter heathers, give them a shave after flowering. Dogwoods, prune back young dogwoods hard, by about 2/3rds. Old overgrown shrubs can be rejuvenated by cutting back hard now. Never cut the following back hard, Broom, Lavender, Heathers. Escallonia hedges have been suffering badly from blight and frost damage for the past 3 years. My advice in coastal areas is to cut back hard now, feed with pelletted chicken manure and keep them weedfree at the base. Inland Escallonias, if the frost doesn’t kill them this year it may next year, consider planting a hardy hedge. They are not so great in areas prone to heavy frost. The same applies to Griselinea hedges. Hardy hedges include, Beech, Holly, Hawthorn, Laurel, Hornbeam, Yew.

8. Plant some Lillium bulbs in pots. Will give a great show later and if given a bit of protection for the winter will come back next year.

9. If you want to cover an unattractive wall or fence, fix lines of vine eyes with rust proof heavy wire and plant Rosa Madame Alfred Carriere, along with Clematis Jackmanii superb (in the same planting hole). Train the stems onto the wires as they grow. Enjoy!

10. Bring a bit of nature into your garden, butterflies & bees. Plant Verbena bonariensis x lots, Buddleia, Sedum spectable, Cotoneaster, Fuchsia, Lavender,

11. Visit your local garden centre and see what,s looking good now. Plant if you are ready to do so, otherwise take a note in your new hardcover garden note book of what’s looking good and take a photo, for future reference.

12. Enjoy your garden this weekend!

My plant of the week:

Contorted Hazel

Contorted Hazel

Tip of the week: When planting onion setts, snip off the little dead shoots. This will help prevent birds from lifting them out of the ground.