We are very lucky to have enormous amounts of green open space here at Notgrove. Every village cottage has its own garden, our converted barns have private outdoor areas and the pods are surrounded by grassland and bedded banks. Not forgetting by any means The Manor and the fantastic grounds that it sits in.
No wonder we have our wonderful green fingered expert Mike on board the team. He is our Head Gardener. Actually he is our sole employed gardener who works extremely closely alongside Diana in producing the stunning gardens around the manor and all over the estate.
Mike works exceptionally hard and his knowledge on anything that ‘grows’ is pretty admirable. He has very kindly put together a few tips for the Month of May and is happily sharing them with us all!
So Its time you popped on your gloves, dug out your knee pads and get that trowel at the ready! No excuses!
A good trap for Woodlice.
If your greenhouse is affected by woodlice- a tried and tested tip is to drop the odd banana skin on the floor and check it the next day- I've just removed over 50 woodlice. Greenhouse cleared. No need for chemicals.
In order to keep up the supply of vegetables such as lettuce, over a long season, sow a pinch of seed, about once every 2 weeks. Don't be tempted to sow all the seed from a packet all in one go otherwise you will get a glut of produce and throw most of it away. A pinch of seed every few weeks will ensure you have a continual supply.
Feed your raspberries, strawberries, blackcurrants, red currants and white currants. A healthy well fed plant produces more flowers and more fruit. Water well in dry periods assists in producing the best quality fruit.
An old tried and tested method of killing these pests which affect many plants, is to spray them with soapy water or diluted washing up liquid over affected the plants. (As the foam dries it forms a skin over the insects effectively suffocating them)
Prevent Slug Damage.
An old gardening tip which works is to spray the leaves and soil with a strained solution of lime water- prepared by mixing 4 ounces of freshly slaked lime in a gallon of water. After stirring thoroughly allowing the lime to settle, pass the liquid through the finest muslin.
Apply through a fine rose watering can in the evening when the slugs are about .This solution is one of the best slug preventatives and destroyers known, it will shrivel them up and render your plants distasteful to later invaders. Sounds labour intensive but at least you won't kill your hedgehogs...or the birds....
Pinch out your Hardy Annuals
Pinch out each growing shoot even if you see a flower bud- this will produce more flowers over a much longer season. Garden centre bedding plants are the ones that need this treatment.
If you have to buy bedding plants from a garden centre- pinch out every flower bud, then feed (and water of course) when you plant them out- allow the plant to grow and you will get more flowers than you paid for, then you will realise next year you won't have to buy so many.
On the subject of hardy annuals you can still sow seeds now to give you colour later on into late summer and autumn. They are best sown late autumn and grown on in an unheated greenhouse then planted out in the spring. You will have much more vigorous plants flowering much earlier and more prolific than spring sown seeds.