Capel’s Scarecrow Bonanza

A challenge!!!!!!

Why don’t you join in by making a scarecrow, for your front garden, to thank one of these “key workers,” or others you can think of!
Let’s see them brighten up our village, from 18 April
Won’t that make walks more fun?

April 2020 Garden Tips

Garden Notes for April 2020.

Clematis are popular.  They are members of the Ranunculae, which are named after ‘Rana’ (the frog) and demand a cool moist root run.  When planting remember that they need shade at the base so it is a good idea to put a piece of stone or paving over the top after you have planted them out.

Plant late flowering herbaceous plants in April, such as kniphofias and michelmas daisies (Aster novi-belgii).  Old clumps of taller rudbekias, helianthuses, monardas and heleniums will benefit from being split up in April since this will revitalise them, especially if they have been producing smaller flowers and losing their lower leaves in the previous season.

Plant onion sets and keep up a succession of salad crop sowings.  April is the time to sow late summer cauliflower.  If frost is forecast, cover up any potato foliage that might be showing.  Make sowings of winter cabbage, purple-sprouting and spring-heading broccoli.

Don’t forget herbs.  You can sow dill, fennel, hyssop, marjoram, rue and thyme.  Parsley should be sown, allow time for it to germinate.  Old fashioned gardeners used to keep a little bit of seed in a waistcoat pocket with a hole so it fell out as they gardened!  (So they tell me).

If you have sweet peas they should be planted out now.  If you are going to try and grow the larger specimens as cordons, start restricting growth by removing all tendrils and side shoots and remember to support them otherwise the slugs and snails will have a feast.

Towards the end of the month, if we have had dry weather, start to thin out salad crops like carrot.  One tip is to water the row the night before so that it is easier to pull the roots out the next day.

Camellias will benefit from a top dressing of leaf mould.  Remember to prune early flowering shrubs like berberis, forsythia, and spiraea immediately after flowering.

Do remember that early morning frosts are a real danger all through April and May, it is not until June, (and even then it can be a bit dicey for the first week!) that it is safe to put out any vulnerable plants – unless you can protect them at night.

 

Chris Coke

Potato in a Sack Competition

Can you grow the heaviest single potato?
Or the heaviest crop of potatoes in a sack?

Capel Horticultural Society will be running its “Potato in a Sack” competition again this year.

Growing potatoes is easy and lots of fun for all the family, and a great introduction to producing your very own vegetables. The winner of the 2019 competition produced a crop of potatoes weighing just under 3 kilos. Can you beat that?

You can collect your free potato with hints and tips on how to grow and look after your potato from outside the front door of Chestnut House, 93 The Street, Capel, RH5 5JX (next to the school), on Saturday April 4 and Sunday April 5.

In the interests of reducing plastic usage we are not giving out sacks this year. We suggest you recycle last year’s bag, if you have it, or use an old plastic compost sack to grow your potatoes in. We do have a small number of sacks and compost bags if needed.

The Potato in a Sack Competition will be judged on Saturday August 15 at the Capel Show. Just bring your full potato sack to the marquee in the morning where your sack will be emptied and your potatoes weighed.

So we can contact you before the Capel Show with the arrangements for entering the competition, please email the Show Secretary – CHS_ShowSec@btinternet.com – to let us know you have collected a potato.

The winner of the heaviest crop of potatoes and the winner of the heaviest single potato will be presented with a certificate and, of course, their prize money.

Good Luck!
Capel Horticultural Society

Litter Pick

Saturday 25 April Capel Village Memorial Hall car park 10am to 12noon

Help the Society to keep the village tidy.  All welcome to join in and finish with complimentary cake and coffee.  Wear clothing and footwear suitable for the weather and remember some gloves.  Grabbers and rubbish sacks provided.  If only for half an hour your help would be much appreciated.

Capel Lunches

On February 6 the Horticultural Society hosted Capel’s monthly lunch club.  Some 30 people attended and enjoyed Shepherd’s Pie followed by a dazzling array of several puddings!  The Society donated £100 to Alzheimer’s Research from donations received.  Many thanks to all those who came along as well as the cooks for their food donations.

February 2020 Garden Tips

Soil is the foundation for all plants in the garden and spending time in its preparation will bring considerable rewards. Ground that is going to be used for root crops like carrots, turnips, potato and radish should have a pH of about 7 (neutral). General fertiliser such as Growmore, or an organic alternative, should be raked in a few weeks before sowing at a rate of about 3-4 ounces per square yard.

In sheltered areas, crops such as onions, peas, lettuce and radish can be sown with suitable protection – either under cloches or heavyweight fleece.

Rhubarb clumps should be lifted and divided in February.

Tomato seed should be sown in greenhouses with appropriate heat to get them germinated.

Established herbaceous plants will benefit from a feed, ideally spread well-rotted farm yard manure, or garden compost around the plant and lightly fork it in.

Now is the time to think about your mower. If you have a standard powered mower like a Hayter you might like to know that the ‘Mower Man’ will come to your house and service it there for a reasonable price. He does not do electric mowers (sorry). Contact him either via his web site – www.themowerman.co.uk or on the phone 07832944791. I am still debating whether to invest in a robot (or auto) mowers but the installation and initial price makes me hesitate.

I’m looking at the possibility of getting LED Grow Lights to help germination on my propagator. The low light level in winter especially delays germination and makes growing strong plants more difficult. It seems to be quite complicated and I do not know all the answers. Much depends on the light wave output so that the wider the spectrum from red though to blue is quite important. The usual price factor applies so that the better the spectrum the higher the cost and whether that is worth it is another problem. Have a look on Amazon under the heading LED Grow Lights for more information.

Remember your house-plants on cold, frosty night. Keep them on the room side, not behind the curtain. Plants are most likely to die from drastic temperature changes between a heated room in the day and a frosty sill at night.

Verbenas can be difficult to raise from seed, the best way to do it is to keep one or two plants for stock, and to take cuttings about the middle of February. Just cut a tip and place it in a good rooting medium and you will be able to have several hundred cuttings from one good stock plant.

Young plants of perpetual flowering carnations should be potted on as soon as the small pots are filled with root growth. Keep the plants in a light, airy place that is cool – they do not like too much heat.

Chris Coke

Quiz  Night  and  Supper

CAPEL  HORTICULTURAL  SOCIETY

QUIZ  NIGHT  AND  SUPPER

SATURDAY  21st   MARCH

 

Our ever-popular quiz night and delicious supper returns to Capel Memorial Hall on Saturday 21st March, 7 for 7.30pm.

As usual teams of 8 will be testing their general knowledge (don’t worry there will not be an abundance of horticultural questions!) against one another.  Every year we sell out so do please book early to avoid disappointment.

Menu choices are:

 

  • Lamb Tagine and herby couscous, or Lamb Tagine with baked potato, or

 

  • Chardonnay Chicken with artichoke hearts, baked potato and petit pois, or

 

  • Baked vegetarian sausages with double onion marmalade with baked potato and petit pois

Followed by:

 

  • Sticky chocolate and orange sponge, or

 

  • Lemon meringue roulade, or

 

  • Cheese platter

 

Finishing with:

  • Tea, coffee and mints

 

All this for just £16 per person.  Please remember there is no bar facility so you will need to bring your own beer/wine and glasses.

 

Bookings should be for tables of 8 people and once your menu choice has been made, to avoid disappointment, do please stick with it.  To make your booking contact Rosemary Goddard on 01306 711259 or email rosemary@stylehurstfarm.com as soon as possible.

January 2020 Garden Tips

Garden Notes for January 2020.

Here we go for another New Year with all its hope and possibilities to have a good growing season. It is also a Leap Year with that all important extra day at the end of February that seems to make such a difference.

This is the time of year when houseplants are most appreciated. Azaleas, cineraria and cyclamen will all help to cheer things up. Do not over water, and most of these plants like cool conditions.

When your seeds arrive from the supplier keep them in a cool dry place until required. Protect pea seeds in particular because mice love them, and they have already got into our garden shed where they have started on anything that they can reach. Remember paper is no barrier to sharp teeth, and makes lovely nesting material.

Rhubarb can be forced using an upturned bucket or tub. This should be covered with garden fleece to keep off any frost. Another tip is to slice off a bit of the main root, leave it exposed for 2 or 3 frosts and then pot it up and move it into a cool greenhouse. This will make it start to produce some tender sticks of rhubarb for you to enjoy in March.

When seed potatoes arrive, keep them in a frost-free place and stand the tubers, eye-end uppermost, in shallow boxes. If you can get large egg trays these are ideal for keeping the tubers upright and just separated to prevent any infection spreading.

Remember, even if we do get a few mild days towards the end of the month that any seeds that are sown need a constant temperature to start them off, at least 8 to 10 degrees Centigrade, so do not be tempted to sow outdoors, as temperatures drop well below these levels at night time, even when it is mild.

To get the best onions for the Summer Show (Saturday August 15 2020, this year – make a note!) apart from starting the first sowings this month, you should give a good dressing of wood ash on the site of the bed that you will use, since they really like potash. For the keen gardener, sow your onion seeds as early as possible in good compost on a propagator to get them started.

Towards the middle of the month, start to make preparations for taking chrysanthemum cuttings. If you have a cold frame make sure it is ready and make up the necessary soil. A good mixture is two parts loam, one part peat, and one part sand to ensure good drainage. Any pots or boxes should be cleaned and the chrysanthemum stools brought in to start them growing sturdy cuttings.

Chris Coke

Announcement

Following the sad news of the passing of Pat Goodall, the committee wished to forward details of her funeral.

It will be held at Worthing Crematorium on the 12th December 2019, at 12 noon.

Our thoughts go to her family at this time,

CHS Committee

December Garden Tips

Garden Notes for December 2019.

There have been quite a few berries on the holly and lots of food because of the open autumn we have had this year, despite the recent rain. Some people say that it is a sign of severe winter to come, and the odds must be shortening since we have not had a really bad one like 1961/62, or in 1947 but the fact of the matter is that a good crop of berries only tells you that we had a good spring and early summer. So, who knows what will happen? However, one thing we can be sure of is that the migrant fieldfares, redwings and other berry loving birds will soon be descending to feast on the holly trees. So, if you want some decorations for Christmas cut a few branches in early December and store them in a cool, frost-free place and they will last for at least 3 weeks.

Use this quiet time to plan for the growing season, and get your seed orders in early to make sure you get the variety of seed you want, since shortages do occur and the suppliers deal on a first come, first served basis.

Keep an eye on your garden tools, especially the machinery and cutting tools which can be serviced and/or sharpened by specialists.

Large flowered clematis, like Clematis jackmanii and the many hybrids from it, should be pruned towards the end of the month. They can be cut back quite severely. Prune back to good, well developed buds.

If you are planning to sow hardy annuals in the spring, they will benefit from an early preparation of the area. So long as the soil is in reasonably good heart it is best not to put any fertiliser, since annuals do best in a soil that is not too rich.

When picking Brussels sprouts keep the tops, and only use the best when all the sprouts have been harvested. Some of the winter broccoli may be starting to form their curds. Turn in the leaves to protect the curd from frost, and cut regularly as once they have reached their full development the curds soon begin to open and will spoil.

A very happy and peaceful Christmas to you all.

 

Chris Coke