Tony is our brilliant gardener who has been keeping the Shakespeare Garden and the Park looking great since before the pandemic. At the start of each month, he will be giving some gardening tips for the time of year. There is plenty to get on with so, if you’re a keen gardener or just starting out, we hope you find it helpful. Green fingers at the ready!
1. Now is the time to prepare for the year ahead by ordering seeds, bulbs and plants.
2. Inspect your stored tubers for signs of rot, drying or rodent damage. I.E. Cannas, Dahlias, Begonias.
3. Dig over any vacant plots, ready for planting up.
4. Prune apple and pear trees.
5. Prune blackcurrants, gooseberries and redcurrants.
6. Protect nectarines and peaches from the cold and peach leaf curl by creating a protective cover from polythene and a stick framework.
7. Plant bare root roses.
8. Remove old hellebores leaves and dead head winter pansies.
9. Force rhubarb by covering the crown with a upturned bucket.
10. Plan your vegetable patch to include crop rotation.
Here is a traditional 3 year cycle.
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Plot 1 Brassicas Roots Legumes
Plot 2 Roots Legumes Brassicas
Plot 3 Legumes Brassicas Roots
For those of you who are new to the vegetable growing game the following will explain the above terminology.
1. Brassicas: Are cabbages/brussels sprouts.
2. Roots: Are carrots/potatoes/beetroots.
3.Legumes: Are peas/runner beans/onions/leeks/tomatoes/lettuce.
The reasons for crop rotation are:
To prevent the build up of pests and diseases that are harmful to the crop. It also prevents the depletion of nutrients required by the crop from the soil.
Certain crops can benefit from the previous year’s rotational crop.
E.G: Legumes fix nitrogen into the soil, where as brassicas require good amounts of nitrogen. So it is good practice to allow brassicas to be planted in last year’s legumes plot.