21 September, 2019

March Gardens 2012

Garden experts

Broughton's gardening experts from the left Peter Blackburne-Maze and Jonathan Piercy (AGW 2011)

Jonathan’s tips.

Fruit trees, roses etc can all now be pruned for the coming season.

This is your last chance to transplant anything bare-rooted and also to split herbaceous perennials.

Fertiliser can be applied to shrubberies and herbaceous and rose borders.

If you have had plants protected from frost remove the fleece towards the end of the month.

Vegetable and annual seeds can be sown and kept in the greenhouse.

Spring bulbs can be planted.

Autumn bulbs can benefit from a dressing of bone meal as they begin to go dormant. Mark places in the garden that require more bulbs so you know where to plant them in the autumn.

Manure can be dug into the vegetable garden ready for the coming season.

Take a look in your compost heap. It may require a turn over after the winter months.

If you have pots planted with bulbs and pansies, check that they have sufficient moisture.

The lawn will be coming to life. Raise the blades on the mower for the first cut.

Watch for moss in the lawn and treat with sulphate of iron.

 Jonathan Piercy March 2012


Advice from Peter Blackburne-Maze


Why is it that the most expensive and important items in the gardener’s armoury are also often the most neglected? I’m talking about the tools we use.

Most people would say that they simply can’t be bothered to clean them. The job has been done so let’s get indoors to the fire or move on to the next task.

And why should we spend time cleaning the things? Well, the obvious reason is that allowing metal tools to rust away is simply throwing away money. They won’t last as long as those that are well maintained so will need replacing that much sooner.

Nor can you expect neglected tools to work properly. If, for example, you are always putting the spade away still caked in mud and rusty, it simply won’t do the job of cutting through the soil and digging properly.

From that, it immediately follows that dirty tools need a lot more effort to get them to work.

Hoes also need to be kept clean and bright. Not only will a muddy and rusty one fail to cut through the weeds and the soil cleanly but it also stands a very good chance of damaging neighbouring wanted plants. All the effort required to drive it through the ground will, sooner or later, lead to casualties.

Secateurs and knives are really the main victims of neglect. If they’re blunt, they’re an abomination. In fact, they are worse than that because the extra force needed to cut through whatever it is will actually damage the tissue.

Added to that, it is far more dangerous for the user. If you have to fight with a knife to get it to cut through something, it stands a very good chance of carrying straight on into your hand when it finally gets through.

This leads to the apparently ridiculous fact, but true, that a blunt knife or secateurs are more dangerous than sharp ones.

There’s one very important thing that I haven’t touched on yet; stainless steel tools. These have more than proved their worth.

They cost more than ordinary steel ones but this is made up for by them being easier (and therefore, quicker) to clean and, thus, they last longer.

They must be looked after just as well as other tools, though; it’s just that they’re easier to keep clean.

As regards tools in general, all must be kept as clean as you can and should be dealt with as soon after use as possible, and certainly before they are put away for any length of time. Only in this way will you stop them from spoiling.

All tools involved with soil cultivation must have the earth scraped off as soon as you finish with them. Any left on must be brushed off before putting the final touches to it with an oily rag. It will protect them from rust for months.

Now you can put your feet up!

Peter Blackburne-Maze March 2012






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