River Wissey Lovell Fuller

January Gardening

February 2016

January Gardening. Happy New Gardening Year! The New Year brings a new start for the garden, and why not begin the gardening calendar by recycling the Christmas tree, shredding it for mulch. When it’s warm enough to brave the elements, there are plenty of tasks to do in the garden and it’s the perfect time to put your (possibly new) secateurs to use, starting with Wisteria. You don’t have to prune Wisteria; they can live a long, healthy life with no pruning at all, sprawling over everything in its path. However for the gardener who has limited space and wants to enjoy more visible and abundant flowers, routine pruning in summer and winter is a necessary chore. Pruning twice as year is referred to as biannual pruning. By tiding it up before the growing season starts whilst it is dormant and leafless it’s much easier to see what needs pruning. Simply cut back side shoots to 2 or 3 nice buds, creating lots of small spurs along a main stem, this will direct energy to flower production rather than vegetative growth. As well as Wisteria deciduous hedges such as hawthorn, beech or hornbeam can be renovated in January when they are dormant and leafless. If drastic renovation is required it’s better to stage this gradually over two or three years. It’s also time to prune Apple and pear trees. Later in the month seed potatoes will be available. It’s best to purchase them as soon as they arrive in store as the best choice will be available. I recommend growing basic seed, (or Scottish seed potatoes – includes our supplier JBA) as this is the best grade available to the home gardener. They are completely free from potato specific viruses, pests and diseases such as mosaic virus, leaf roll, blackleg, brown rot, ring rot, cyst nematodes and wart virus to name a few! Certified or CC seeds are a low grade and may still contain a small number of pest and diseases so are best grown in bags or containers and not in the soil. We do not recommend growing ordinary ‘supermarket’ potatoes as these can carry high numbers of bacteria, fungus and eel worm. Once you’ve purchased your seed potatoes, remove them from the net/ bag immediately and place in trays (or egg boxes) eye end up for Chitting. Chitting is the term used for the process of developing shoots on the potato. You should start chitting your seed potatoes six weeks before you intend on planting them outdoors. Also in the vegetable garden, it’s time to start forcing rhubarb. When conditions allow, continue to dig over beds, borders and the vegetable plot. Forking over now not only prepares the soil for planting it helps reduce pests by exposing them to hungry birds. Sadly, many weeds survive the cold weather so hoe away now before they leap into growth in spring. Hoeing and digging will not only keep you warm, it will also burn away those added Christmas calories! Rachel Sobiechowski BSc (Hons) P&R Garden Supplies, Fengate Drove, Brandon 01842 814800 www.p-rgardensupplies.co.uk

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