River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Stoke Ferry Harvest Fayre 2003

April 2003

Hints and tips on growing winning fruit, veg and flowers for this year's Harvest Fayre

April is one of the busiest months of the year for gardeners, with lots to do and not enough daylight hours in which to do them. Whether you are planning to enter vegetables, fruit or flowers in the Harvest Fayre horticultural show (see the full list of categories below), now is the time to put in the groundwork. It's a great excuse to get outside and enjoy the warm spring sunshine.

What to do this month

Plant onion sets and sow salad crops. Sow late-summer cauliflowers and set out late summer cabbages sown last month (plant with a dibber, about 18 inches apart). Cover potato foliage if frost is forecast. If you are going for something a bit different like globe artichokes for the novelty veg category, now is the time to plant them.

Under glass, sow seeds of French beans 2-3 inches deep and 4-6 inches apart.

Apple, pear. plum and cherry will start flowering in April. The greatest danger at this time of the year is frost damage to the flowers. Protect by covering with an old net curtain or fleece. If there is a dry spell, remember to water your strawberries. Watch for greenfly on strawberry plants and spray if necessary.

After hoeing the weeds, mulch flower beds (making sure that the ground is moist first). Complete pruning the roses if you have not already done so. Feed bushes with a good handful of fertiliser around their base. Established roses will appreciate a mulch of well-rotted horse manure (Murphy will provide!). Check your stored dahlia tubers are disease-free before planting them out towards the end of the month. Now is the time to lift and divide herbaceous plants such as Michaelmas daisies, rudbeckias and helianthus.

The complete list of categories is shown below:

Class A - Vegetables, Class B - Fruit, Class C - Flowers, Class D - Jams and Pickles, Class E - Cakes, Class G - Bread, Class H - Beer and Wine, Class I - Novelty veg, Class J - Junior.

The entrance fee is 50p per person and 25p for those under 18; this entitles you to enter as many of the above classes as you wish. The winner of each class wins a certificate and a silver cup to keep for one year. For more information contact either Marion Clarke on 01366 500032 or Chris Hollier on 01366 500872.

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