Tag Archives: harvesting onions and garlic

In the Garden January 29, 2010

The buds and flowers are edible and it may be pretty but the Cape Pond Weed is dangerously invasive in our waterways and should be shunned at all times

The buds and flowers are edible and it may be pretty but the Cape Pond Weed is dangerously invasive in our waterways and should be shunned at all times

  • If you have hydrangeas full of fresh foliage but precious few or no flowers, the likely problem lies in your winter pruning. Most hydrangeas set flower buds on last season’s growth so if you cut them off at ground level or too low down the stems, you have cut off all the next season’s flower buds. You can not make them flower this season but get some advice before you prune again this coming winter or be less brutal.
  • The end of January usually heralds the time when garden centres start to take delivery of spring bulbs which are sold dry because they are dormant at this time. If you are after anything beyond the usual mass runs, you will need to start haunting your garden centre because anything rare and choice is likely to be available in small numbers only and to sell out quickly.
  • Summer is a good time to give some attention to water gardens and ponds. You are less likely to suffer from hypothermia and the water can start to get pretty green and algae ridden as temperatures rise. If you don’t have fish, you are highly likely to have a breeding ground for mosquitoes unless your water is flowing. We saw a solar powered mini fountain in a friend’s garden in London which was to counter mosquito breeding but don’t know how widely available they are here. The alternative is a plug-in water feature to keep the water moving. A squirt of CRC across the surface of the water will kill the larvae. You may need to seek advice from your garden centre on algae treatments. The simplest water feature of all is a smaller growing water lily plant in a large bowl and a single water lily flower can be a vision of simple perfection. Never but never unleash oxygen weed into flowing streams and shun the African Cape Pond Weed (water hawthorn or Aponogeton distachyum). We know how invasive both are and Mark battles infestations annually in our stream and ponds.
  • If you have an onion crop, the indication that they are ready for harvest is when the stems turn brown and bend over. Once you have dug the onions, they need to dry out for a few days before storing them. Plaiting them or using mesh onion bags is to allow continued air movement so they don’t rot. Don’t store them in plastic and hanging them is better than boxes on the ground. The same storage rules apply to garlic.
  • It is the last call for sowing sweet corn. Given a reasonable summer and autumn it will mature just in time and then as temperatures drop, it will hold in the garden (it stops growing) part way into winter which greatly extends the fresh corn season. You may never buy frozen corn again.
  • With the many fruit trees sold in recent years, some readers will be picking their plums if they can beat the birds. The best time to prune and shape your plum tree is straight after harvest. You reduce the chance of silver blight entering the tree if you summer prune. The same applies to cherries, both ornamental and fruiting, almonds and indeed all stone and pip fruit and their ornamental relatives.