July 2020 Garden Tips

Garden Notes for July 2020.

It will soon be mid-summer and many of the earlier flowering perennials start to look rather forlorn. It may be worth your while to be ruthless and cut back foliage that is straggling. In particular, hardy geraniums, delphiniums alchemia mollis (Lady’s Mantle) should all benefit from this treatment.

July is a good time to be buying new strawberry plants, or propagate from your own runners. You should aim to replace all the strawberry plants that are 3 years or over. Remember to remove runners that are not needed.

Plant out sprouting broccoli, Calabrese, winter cauliflower, kale and Oriental greens. Place bricks or tiles under developing marrows and squashes as it helps to prevent rotting and will aid ripening.

Stake sunflowers and autumn perennials like Michaelmas daisies to help them through the time when the wind will blow. Remember to keep your mower blade raised in dry spells; allow the grass to grow to 3cm. Shade and ventilate the greenhouse.

When roses have come to the end of their first glorious flush of blooms, try to give them a feed of a complete fertilizer as this will help with the second lot of blooms. Don’t forget to dead head them as well. Outdoor chrysanthemums will also need a feed, one with a high potash content to help the flowering process.

Early crops of new potatoes, early peas and broad beans will soon be finishing, make sure to clear away the top growth as soon as possible to make room for crops like spring cabbage – a good variety is called “Spring Hero F1”, then there is Artic King lettuce which is an updated version of the reliable “All the Year Round” lettuce. There is a lot said about leaf greens, and one that is recommended for late summer sowing is Japanese Green Mizuma.

Complete leek planting as soon as possible. Sow swede by the middle of the month. Lift shallots when their foliage has yellowed and turned over. Make sure to dry them out completely before storing.

Early in the month dig up and divide dwarf and intermediate bearded irises if they have been undisturbed for 3 or more years. Tall bearded irises should be treated in a similar way towards the end of the month.

Watch out for the lily beetle. If you see any sign of damage, and apply an appropriate treatment. The beetle itself is a rather fetching shade of red, but it is their orange-red larvae that hide beneath the leaves that will do the damage.
Chris Coke

Help the Gardener’s Charity, Perennial

This worthwhile charity has organised an online gardening competition. Details can be found on their website at https://perennial.org.uk/home/how-you-can-help/gardening-competition/

This competition involves sending in photos of your garden with a £5 entry fee to fulfil one of the 10 different categories. These will be judged by a panel of well-known gardeners and you could win a £250 garden hamper.

June 2020 Garden Tips

Garden Notes for June 2020.

The weather is always a good topic for gardeners, so much depends on it. Writing in the middle of May we are going through a sunny and dry spell. Early on in the month we did have some frost that caught me out and the tops of my spuds suffered. Evening temperatures should be high enough in June but keep an eye out for the younger plants if rain does not arrive fairly soon.

Frost susceptible, fast growing plants like dahlias, courgettes and so on should be put into their final homes assuming that there is no ground frost forecast. If it has been very dry, make sure that they have a good drink before and after planting them out. But don’t water them all the time. Give the roots time to settle down and then water (if necessary, and allowed) about once a week with a thorough soaking, preferably in the evening or early morning before the sun has got its full power switched on.

Hedges need regular attention now, and should be kept in shape; otherwise they can so easily get away from you making the task so much more difficult. Grass needs to be mown, but keep the cutter bar on a high level and the lawn will look greener for much longer. Do not put sprinklers on lawns, even if they do turn a dusty brown, as soon as the rain comes back they will recover with surprising speed. If you do water the lawn you are wasting a precious resource to no real effect.

In the vegetable plot, make sure potatoes are kept ridged up; otherwise the tubers get exposed and ruined. Late Savoy cabbage can be sown now – use a variety like ‘Ormskirk’. Winter cabbage like January King should be planted out now. Leeks should be planted out using a dibber to make a hole about 6 to 8″ deep, and then water it in well.

Continue to make successional sowings of lettuce. Ones like ‘Tom Thumb’ ‘Little Gem’ and ‘Mini Green’ are fast growing, and the right size for many people. Webbs Wonderful is superb but rather large.

Early tomatoes should be ripening fast and the fruits should be picked regularly.

Roses are at their best towards the end of the month. It helps to keep them cut regularly and feed with a potash feed to keep them blooming longer. If you want to have specimen blooms it is advised to take out the side shoots carefully, as well as the smaller buds, leaving just one strong one at the end of the stem. Keep an eye out for pests and disease. Keep mildew at bay by regular spraying.

Suckers that sprout up from the base of damson and plum trees can become troublesome unless dealt with early on, so dig them out and burn the resulting twigs.

As alpine plants finish flowering, trim them back to keep the plants neat and compact. It will also encourage them to make good growth for next spring. Any gaps or vacant spots in the rock garden can be planted with summer flowering annuals or bedding plants to maintain the overall colour. Towards the end of the month cuttings can be taken from the alpine stock to increase the number of plants. Root the cuttings in a sandy compost.

Chris Coke

CHS Summer Show

Each year since 1893 an annual Flower Show has been held in Capel. Only the war years prevented it taking place (1940-46). This spring we have been fighting a different battle altogether and it looks as though we shall be doing so for some time to come. In line with current government guidance, and with the well-being of our local community firmly in mind, the CHS Committee have reluctantly made the decision not to proceed with this year’s event. We are however all looking forward to producing a truly fabulous Capel Show next year, on 21 August 2021

Now, some good news …………

Judging of the Allotment Competition (Temple Lane and Recreation Ground) will still go ahead on Sunday 12 July.

For those of you taking part in the Potato Competition, do keep going and we shall figure out a way of judging the heaviest crop over the weekend 15/16 August.

Indeed, do all keep busy in your gardens as we are looking at organising a Garden Competition – something along the lines of Open Gardens but without the people!

We are also hoping to provide some projects for children to enjoy during summer days at home.

For more information on all of the above we shall of course update you monthly through these pages

May 2020 Garden Tips

Garden Notes for May 2020.

Everything is ‘unprecedented nowadays following the lockdown, so we can’t just turn up at a garden centre. There are some locally that have websites and will take orders, Newbridge, Hilliers and Knights at Betchworth spring to mind. You may have to collect yourself or pay for a delivery charge. Putting plants outside a bit later is no bad thing. I well remember Neil Carter’s father, Ray, sowing his carrots in June in his garden at Misbrooks Cottage and commenting to me that people in Capel always sowed far too early.

May is always such a hopeful month, but don’t be fooled by all the half-hardy bedding plants that will be offered temptingly. It is not safe to plant them outdoors. Even if plants like geraniums, salvias, lobelia, marigolds and so on are not killed by a late frost, they can still receive such a severe check from cold May nights that they never completely recover to give a proper display.

But don’t let that put you off getting in stock where you can give it some protection in a cold frame or greenhouse. Use of garden fleece at night will also be just sufficient to keep off the worst falls in temperature and will help to harden off the plants in time for June when they can be planted out.

Sweet peas should be tied in regularly, especially if you are trying to grow large blooms, as you will be taking out the side shoots so that all the growth goes into the tip. They can be fertilised use one that has a low nitrogen content as too much may increase bud dropping.

Keep up succession sowings of lettuces and peas. Runner beans and zucchini should be sown early on. Because our garden is a veritable slug and snail city (we have a lovely lot of thrushes who help keep the snails under control) we generally start our runner beans in the greenhouse and plant them out at the end of the month. To give runners the best chance, sow them individually in the divided plastic trays (24 to a seed tray). Try to get the beans out before they start shooting too much and become tangled up with each other.

Lawns will need regular attention now, after their winter sleep. Keep the mower on a high setting to start with as this helps encourage growth and will keep the lawn greener during the summer months.

If you have the ground, early May is a good time to plant main crop potatoes that will be harvested in late August/early September and will keep you supplied throughout the winter. Varieties include: Arran Victory, Cara, and Nicola.

All tall flowering plants like delphinium, gladioli, even some of the carnations will need to be staked, as they really do need support when they are in full flower.

Put clean straw, or black plastic under strawberry plants to keep the berries clean and protected. You can also use the black matting for suppressing weeds leaving sufficient room for the plants. Be careful, the matting can also be a wonderful hiding place for slugs and snails and even, as I found out one year, a wonderful playground for field mice!

Chris Coke

Virtual Garden Tours

How we all love to visit beautiful gardens and how very much we are missing those spring outings just now.
The National Gardens Scheme have posted some virtual garden tours on their website and delightful they are too.  So, put on the kettle, make a cup of tea (and risk a slice of cake even) whilst settling down to view these amazing gardens.

https://ngs.org.uk/virtual-garden-visits/

Once viewed you might also like to consider donating to their latest appeal.

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

Quiz Night and Supper CANCELLED

Capel Horticultural Society committee have reluctantly decided to postpone the Quiz Night and Supper planned for Saturday 21 March.  This popular event has been rescheduled for Saturday 3rd October in Capel Memorial Hall.