Tips from Alex – Jan 2017

Musings of a Hort Soc member by Alex Martin

As I write this in late January, the days are lengthening giving the hint that better times are around the corner but we are still experiencing cold nights with below freezing temperatures. It’s enough to persuade us to be looking at travel brochures in search of warmer climes rather than think about what needs doing in the garden.

​This is the first of a series of postings sharing what knowledge I have of horticulture with other members of the Society.

You may well ask why we are doing this. Two reasons: the Society’s constitution states its objective as:

“To encourage an interest and greater proficiency in leisure gardening and horticultural pursuits generally by the promotion of activities deemed to attain these aims”

and secondly:

the level of entries at our annual show has gradually declined over the last few years and measures need to be taken to address this issue.

It is hoped that this series of postings will contribute to achieving these aims.

I don’t claim to be an expert in all things horticultural but I am happy to share what I do know and my experiences of gardening with all members. I have been asked to write a regular piece suggesting what we gardeners should be doing at given times of the year and will be happy to enter into discussion on any relating topic that members wish to raise with me and we may even share them in this forum.

Gardening is greatly rewarding and covers an enormous range of topics. These postings will concentrate on the basics of growing flowers, fruit and vegetables.  It can be undertaken in the smallest of spaces. Many varieties of flowers, fruit and vegetables can be grown on a sunny windowsill or patio.  You can decorate the house with your own cut flowers and eat your own home grown fruit and vegetables, which are far better picked and prepared by yourself in a matter of minutes, rather than those from the supermarket. Imagine your lounge filled with the heady scent of freshly cut sweet peas and then tucking into a nice salad of home grown lettuce, radishes, tomatoes and cucumber. Apart from the nutritional benefits of eating your own produce, the physical activity and fresh air are also beneficial. There is no age limit or sex discrimination in gardening. Get the children and grandchildren involved. They will love it!

Some will suggest that in order to grow successfully, a heated greenhouse is an essential. This is not the case. A warm sunny window ledge can be utilised to get many plants started. For a few pounds you can purchase a heated propagator which costs pennies to run and will pay for itself time and time again. Consult one of the many websites offering this type of equipment or visit your local garden centre. A greenhouse can wait until you are really hooked!