Seasonal Tips to help you make the most of your garden.
• Calling local gardeners! Enter Newbury Building Society’s #YourNBS Sustainable Community Photography Competition. Share pictures of your garden or compost about what environmental sustainability means to you at home or in your community. Deadline 17 Oct.
• September gardening advice from the RHS includes dividing herbaceous perennials, reducing watering of houseplants, netting ponds before leaves fall, collect and sew seed from hardy annuals.
• If you have a problem with coriander bolting, the team at Shalbourne Community Growers suggest sowing the seed in September. It’s long daylight hours that prompts coriander to bolt so September’s shorter daylight hours provide better conditions.
• Keep checking your cabbage leaves for butterfly eggs but if caterpillars are already munching your brassicas, here is some good news
• Still time to make comfrey and nettle liquid feed for your garden.
• How to ripen green tomatoes – in this country they often need help to ripen on the vine before the end of the season…
• Blight is heartbreaking especially on tomatoes. If potato foliage is affected late in the season it doesn’t seem to affect the crop. See advice from the RHS here.
• Bare patches of soil left after veg crops have finished can be sown with ‘green manure’ crops to increase fertility of the soil.
• Dig up potatoes before they get slug damage and pick autumn raspberries, rhubarb and runner beans.
• Lift bulbs and store in a shallow dry box and when they are dry cut off the dried roots and peel off dried skins. For more on dividing bulbs see advice here.
• Watering takes time and frankly, water is precious so here are tips on how to efficiently water your plants for best root growth.
• Reminder to buy peat-free compost.
• Don’t forget this is the time to sit back and enjoy your garden and the fruits of your labour! It is important to relax as well as work in the garden. Watch the insects enjoy your flowers, listen to birdsong and keep an eye out for curious fledglings. .
Grow Your Own Veg
• Latest inspirational blog from Belinda at Plot 7 Marsh Lane Hungerford Allotments
• listen here (from 4 min 30sec) to Penny’s tour of Hilly Reem’s inspiring 60 year old veg garden (including a 100 year old rhubarb plant!).
• More tips for growing your own produce:
Wildlife Friendly Gardening
• If you find a bee swarm in your garden first please double check they are honeybees from this guide and then contact: Newbury Beekeepers, Marc Benson on 07746 374819 in Wash Common, Vale & Downland Beekeepers (for Wantage Area) or Swindon & District Beekeepers – any of these people will be very happy to collect the swarm from you.
Composting & Fertilizing
• It is worth growing comfrey to make a liquid fertilizer for your garden. Roughly chop up leaves in a bucket of water and nettle leaves too. Stir occasionally. When the water is dark green and smells like fertilizer then dilute it with more water and gives your crops a good drink. Here is a demonstration by Monty Don.
• reminder to men to pee on their compost heap! According to The Daily Telegraph this is an important chore and one that is physically easier for men and their pee happens to be slightly less acidic than women’s.
• Watering takes time and frankly, water is precious so here are tips on how to water your plants for best root growth. To prevent evaporation, we cover soil with gravel, mussel shells and big leaves like rhubarb.
• River-friendly rain garden design ideas to minimise the amount of watering you have to do – from ARK (Action for the River Kennet).
Gardening and Wellbeing
• How to garden without injury to keep fit – top tips from Andy at West Berkshire Injury Clinic.
• Sue Stuart-Smith explains in her book The Well Gardened Mind how gardening relieves stress and can transform our health, wellbeing and confidence.
• Early spring when the tree is still dormant is the best time to graft trees. When the tree wakes up, the sap will hopefully start flowing across the tissues of the graft. It is important to use a very sharp knife so the cut edges are smooth and clean and meld together (it is worth practicing the cuts on spare wood first.) For more information contact Growing Newbury Green. Here is a demonstration from one of the community orchards in Newbury.
Gardening Courses & Clubs
Gardening Courses with Sonia Wright near Marlborough. Something for every garden enthusiast at these one day workshops with award-winning gardener Sonia Wright. Gift vouchers available. To find out more, email email@example.com or call 07917 784602..
Newbury & District Gardeners meet fortnighly during the winter. Lecture series in Newbury open to the public.
If You Don’t Have Your Own Garden
When we can travel again, there are many allotments across the area which might have free plots. There are also community garden centres that are always grateful for volunteers and provide a social experience where you can learn a lot about gardening.
For inspiration on houseplants listen to Gardening Show with Linda & Jane on 4LEGS Radio: houseplants, terrariums and dragon plants (from 13 mins) – plus weeding, sowing crops under glass like chillis and sweet peas (from 27mins), early flowering plants and assessing the structure of your garden in the winter (from 30 mins).