Competitions,Gardening,News

Vintage Sunday this Sunday. 550 New Chickens and the Weekly Gardening Tips24 May

Another lovely bank holiday!

High winds with plants in full leaf is a recipe for damage. There is not too much you can do other than tie everything up. Newly planted tall plants need canes or stakes and then tying firmly to that support. Make sure that that there is good connection between the plant and the support, loose connection between a windswept tree and a stake may result in chaffing ,de barking of the tree. There is not a lot you can do to protect the fragile new leaves on a plant other than cover the whole thing up, which in the case of a tree would be difficult. It is a little more practical to put a cloche over newly planted vegetable plants, well worth it if you have one. Covering newly seeded plants with a cloche or glass will speed their growth by creating a micro climate around the seed / plants. The air is warmed within the space to a higher temperature, the air warms quicker in the morning and cools later in the evening creating longer growing days, it also helps retain the heat from the soil at night. It will also keep in the moisture creating a moist humid climate around the plant.

BellPlantationMay2013-1

Roses could probably do with a fungicidal spray, I have just seen the first sign of black spot on one of my roses at home, if it got a little warmer the aphids would be attacking the soft new buds on the roses too.

This weather will really test our new Suttons grafted tomatoes which are supposed to grow outside better than the non grafted tomatoes, they also crop 70% heavier than the normal tomato. We have also have some much larger tomato plants with fruit already set on them also courgette, chilli sweet and hot, aubergine and courgette, buy some time!

If you are growing fuchsias pinch out the growing point in each plant to encourage more bushy growth, side shoots can be picked out later to create a symmetrical plant.

BellPlantationMay2013-2

The forecast for the weekend does look a little better than today, thankfully. We have got an all-day Most Marvellous Vintage Sunday this weekend.

We have got wheelbarrows full of wonderful plants here for your garden. 550 new chickens arrived this week. Keep your hens shut up at night, foxes are busy feeding their young at the moment so they are prepared to brave all risks to get an easy meal.

‘Oak before Ash in for a splash’, I hope this is the case

Have a lovely Bank Holiday weekend, we are serving cream teas on the lawn!

Ashley

www.bellplantation.co.uk | www.poultrycentre.co.uk

Competitions,Gardening

Vintage Fair this Sunday – BBQ and Live Music. Bare root planting tips.28 Sep

September 29th another wedding anniversary, next year it will be 29 years on the 29th!  At the end of September 1984 we would be getting ready to plant bare root hedging and trees within the next couple of weeks, the leaves would be falling and the plants going into dormancy. Bare root planting has slipped back to November because the growing seasons recently have been much longer, I wonder what will happen this year? Many trees and shrubs can be planted as bare root, this is literally not in a pot and with no soil around the roots. The bare root season when the plant is dormant, usually between November and February. It’s always better if you can get your bare root plants settled in before Christmas so if March gets really hot which it can the plant will have already grown the very small fine root hairs and be able to survive. Bare root plants are usually much cheaper to buy as they cost less to produce. The types of plants commonly purchased as bare root are Ash, Oak, Beech, Thorn, Blackthorn, Chestnut etc. etc. If you are planting Box hedging it is far more cost effective as bare root. Not all plants transplant well as bare root so they remain available in a pot. Root grow mycorrhizal fungi are fantastic for helping plants get established.

Bantam pair

“Bantam pair”

This Sunday 10.30am – 4.30pm Most Marvellous Vintage fair at the Garden Centre BBQ, and live music

Vintage fair

“Vintage fair”

Look forward to seeing you

Have a great weekend

Ashley

www.bellplantation.co.uk | www.poultrycentre.co.uk

Competitions,Gardening,News

Stunning reclaimed teak root furniture. Win a lunch for two at the Plantation Café.29 Jun

It’s all wildlife and natural earthy stuff this week.

Bumble bees working hard, ducklings on the pond, sparrow eggs in the plant area, deer eating our David Austin roses and the pigs are getting nice and heavy!

Buster the Bumble bee bouncer lets in one of his hardworking fellow team mates.

“Buster the Bumble bee bouncer lets in one of his hardworking fellow team mates.”

Ducklings on the pond

“Ducklings on the pond”

We have had another massive delivery of reclaimed teak and teak root furniture this week (I hope the sun shines soon). These decisions of which products to buy were all made during last winter when we were expecting a spring/ summer season!

Recycled Roots

“Recycled Roots”

We had a great day on Sunday with the Most Marvellous fair at the weekend. We enjoyed having customers from Northampton who didn’t know we were here, spread the word.

Prize draw – Lunch for Two

Instead of Gardening tips this week we are having a little competition, anyone who ‘Likes’ our Garden Centre Facebook or Twitter page will be entered into a draw to win Lunch for Two at the Plantation Café.

Like us here: www.facebook.com/Bellplantationgc

Follow us here: twitter.com/bellplantation1

Got to do some Gardening. Ants are a real problem at the moment – Nippon products are one of the best for Ant control. Salt, boiling water, flour are some other ideas people use. If you have anything flowering in your garden, remove the dead flowers after flowering, this will encourage the plant to flower again.

Dunnock eggs in the plant area

“Dunnock eggs in the plant area”

Have a great weekend

Ashley

Competitions,Gardening,News

Come and see the worlds LARGEST spade.06 May

 

The Bell Plantation Garden Centre is proud to announce that we are in possession of officially the worlds largest spade.

Made here in the UK by Bulldog tools, it required 160 hours to build and included every department at their factory in Wigan. The spade stands at 3.61 meters high and weighs 180kg.

We’d love for you to come down and have your photo taken with the spade, but sure you bring your camera.

Competitions,News

Win a meal in the Bell Plantation Restaurant17 Aug

To celebrate the opening of our new restaurant were giving away a free meal for 2. Were delighted with the refit and wanted to make sure that everybody know that were now serving really high quality evening meals in a warm and welcoming environment.

The meal includes a bottle of wine a great choice of starters, mains and beautiful deserts.

How do I enter?

First things first, the winners will be chosen at random on 12th September. Only one entry per person and

All you need to do is add a comment below (click here) that answers the question:

“My favourite food in the whole wide world is……….”

When you enter your comment you’ll see a space for an email address so we can get back in touch with our winner. Good luck.

It’s been a while – enjoy the Bank Holiday Weekend

It’s been a while – enjoy the Bank Holiday Weekend

My apologies for not keeping in touch over the last couple of weeks, I have sent out my little ditty but no one received it due to technical problems with the system! Haven’t got a clue, it doesn’t involve soil! Anyway we have nearly missed May,so far been pretty cold, plant growth is certainly behind where it was this time last year.

Chelsea
Again this year Bell Plantation sponsored Nicolas Moreton’s www.nicolasmoreton.com stand at the Chelsea Flower Show. This involves me, several of the Bell Plantation and Groundcare Company team spending several days at Chelsea building Nicolas’s stand. The atmosphere at the show build up is amazing,camaraderie flows, the change of scenery is like watching speeded up film in real time. Horticulture is a wonderful industry to be involved in, unfortunately in recent history it hasn’t been cool! Maybe things are starting to change, I hope so. So many people are missing out on a great vocation.Great fun,very wet and hard work. I must say the stand looked great when it all came together. Nicolas is an amazing sculptor using natural stone, based near Towcester.
Beef Shorthorn

We finally have some Wappenham beef in the Plantation Farm Shop. This is the first of my Beef Shorthorn cattle to be sold in the shop, hopefully the first of many if you enjoy eating it. She was born and bred in Wappenham, ate grassed based food all her life and was never injected with anything, she was a real sweetie! Beef Shorthorns are a traditional English breed of cattle developed over several hundred years to produce the tastiest meat. The meat has traditional marbling (small deposits of fat) in the meat which adds flavour and aids cooking. As we don’t yet have a butcher in the Plantation Farm shop the meat was butchered and flash frozen before coming back to the shop. I look forward to your feedback on the meat?

As the weather is a little cooler than normal this year it makes life a little less frenetic,although there is still a lot to do. As it is not too dry it is a good time to get some weed and feed on the lawn, or even just feed if you have no weeds. Mowing a lawn regularly and removing the grass depletes the nutrients in the ground. Every time you cart a box of grass off the lawn you are taking away some of the essential minerals needed for good plant growth. Poor ground favours weeds and moss, it is therefore essential to keep the soil fertile, this in turn will help suppress weed growth and moss.
Keep feeding all your plants this will keep their leaves green.
Herbaceous

Our plant area is as full as it has ever been with wonderful plants (several featuring at Chelsea flower show) Steve and Judy have done a great job sourcing a fantastic range of plants.

Last Saturday we had 100 Silkie hens delivered, what a site I have never seen so many Silkies in one place at a time, they looked amazing. Silkies are well known for their calm, friendly temperament. Among the most docile of poultry, Silkies are considered an ideal pet. Hens are also exceptionally broody, and make good mothers. Though they are fair layers themselves, laying about three eggs a week, they are commonly used to hatch eggs from other breeds and bird species. We also managed to hatch 3 of our own Chinese geese, the goslings are on show in our poultry shop.

I hope the TV coverage of the flower show has inspired you, we would love to help you achieve you dream garden, if you need any help give us a shout.

Have a great weekend

Ashley

Wappenham Beef and Chelsea Flower Show

Wappenham Beef and Chelsea Flower Show

Chelsea

I am delighted to say that again this year we are sponsoring Nicolas Moreton’s Exhibition at Chelsea flowers show. This means the Bell plantation team have spent several days down in London building and landscaping the stand, yesterday we got absolutely soaked! We had to bash on as time stands still for no one and there are deadlines to meet! I wish Nicolas every success at the show. www.nicolasmoreton.com The atmosphere at the show build up is amazing,camaraderie flows, the change of scenery is like watching speeded up film in real time. Horticulture is a wonderful industry to be involved in, unfortunately in recent history it hasn’t been cool! Maybe things are starting to change, I hope so. So many people are missing out on a great vocation.

Herbaceous

With Chelsea flower show next week, herbaceous perennials will be in the spot light, this range of plants are the colour pallet of the garden, they grow quickly every year from the ground and provide a spectacular amount of colour, foliage variation, seed heads etc I am pleased to say Judy and Steve have put together our biggest ever selection of these plants, they look amazing, I will give them a pat on the back. A large proportion of the plants are grown by one of the largest exhibitors at Chelsea, Hillier Nurseries. This range of plants are really easy to grow, if you would like some help on what grows or goes well together ask Steve or Judy.

Beef Shorthorn

I am delighted to say that we now have home produced Wappenham Beef in our Farm shop from our . The particular animal in the shop was born and raised in Wappenham, it never had an injection in its life, a very healthy Beef Shorthorn, she was a sweetie. The Beef Shorthorn breed was formed back in 1783 in the North East of England. They were one of the most popular breeds in the UK until the 1970’s, 80’s when the very heavy muscled breeds, Charolais, Limousin etc came over from France. The French breeds were very lean but they didn’t have the fat marbling in the meat which adds flavour and aids cooking. People are now appreciating taste and quality a little more which has aided the popularity of the Beef Shorthorn.The rise in popularity has lifted the breed off the endangered list of the Rare Breed survival trust. My Beef Shorthorn cattle are really docile, they make great mothers, they have plenty of milk to feed the calf and they don’t eat too much. They make my life easy, so much so that I can go to work at the Garden centre every day, I deal with the cattle early am and late pm every day and at weekends. I hope you enjoy the quality and flavour.

Jenny and Jill thank you very much for your custom, I hope you had a wonderful weekend planting. I know in time your garden will look amazing. Remember to water all your plants well once you have planted them and then keep them watered through the summer, once a week,maybe more if it is hot.

Hopefully see you soon,

Ashley

Wappenham Beef from my Farm

Wappenham Beef from my Farm

Pretty sleepy this morning sat up until 3 am watching the TV, what a surprise?

Our Garden centre is absolutely full of wonderful plants and people. Steve and Judy have sourced the best looking selection of UK grown plants for all purposes and types of garden. Over the last few days we have had some well overdue rain, the ground was getting a bit dry, enough now a bit more sun please.

Now is a great time to plant Dahlia tubers, Gladioli corms and Lily bulbs These plants will provide a great splash of colour in mid to late summer. The flowers are great for cutting and bringing into the house. Dahlias can either be purchased in bags as a large root /tuber or as a growing plant. Planted in the garden as a tuber it will provide a much bigger plant and more flowers than a pot grown plant. Gladioli are usually found only in a bag as a corm, planted now they will grow vigorously to about 1 meter tall and produce a long flower 300mm -450mm long. Lily bulbs also grow quickly and produce a very heavily scented flower, beware of the pollen on a lily it tends to stain clothing.

Beef Shorthorn

I am delighted to say that we now have home produced Wappenham Beef in our Farm shop from our farm. The beef was frozen when butchered so will be sold frozen and taste delicious and fresh when you eat it. The particular animal in the shop was born and raised in Wappenham, it never had an injection in its life, a very healthy Beef Shorthorn, she was a sweetie. The Beef Shorthorn breed was formed back in 1783 in the North East of England. They were one of the most popular breeds in the UK until the 1970’s, 80’s when the very heavy muscled breeds, Charolais, Limousin etc came over from France. The French breeds were very lean but they didn’t have the fat marbling in the meat which adds flavour and aids cooking. People are now appreciating taste and quality a little more which has aided the popularity of the Beef Shorthorn.The rise in popularity has lifted the breed off the endangered list of the Rare Breed survival trust. My Beef Shorthorn cattle are really docile, they make great mothers, they have plenty of milk to feed the calf and they don’t eat too much. They make my life easy, so much so that I can go to work at the Garden centre every day, I deal with the cattle early am and late pm every day and at weekends. I hope you enjoy the quality and flavour.

Jenny and Jill thank you very much for your custom, I hope you have a wonderful weekend last weekend planting all your specemin shrubs . I know in time your garden will look amazing. Remember to water all your plants well once you have planted them and then keep them watered through the summer, once a week,maybe more if it is hot.

Have a great weekend

Would be good to see you

Ashley

April Showers?

April Showers?

Warm windy sunny weather and no rain, we are watering everything like crazy in the plant area. All hands on the pump and 1 man down, get well soon Steve.
This is a very exciting time for us filling the Garden Centre up with beautiful new plants and products for you to see.
We took delivery of our 24 pallets of PH Professional range of compost, it feels and smells delightful compared to the normal main brand composts, it is a little more expensive but you will get much better results, better germination when planting seeds, better growth from seedlings, shrubs, tubs and planted containers. The reasons for better performance are a balanced pH value, the correct bulk density measured in grammes per litre of compost, correct trace element balance, it contains a wetting agent to help re-wetting and drainage. We currently use it a lot here at the Garden Centre for our containers and hanging baskets.

Mr Fitzpatricks Cordial
Erris (Farm Shop Manager) and I had a great day out at a food fair in Birmingham this week, Wow! We didn’t need lunch or a drink as we tried so many wonderful samples of tastey food and drink. To our delight there are numerous foods grown and made very close to us here at Towcester, watch this space as I am sure we will be stocking some of them very soon. One product we have actually got in this week following the show (not so local) is Mr Fitzpatricks Vintage Cordials from Preston, we loved it so much we brought it!!. A great history and a fantastic tasty drink, we have a range of 12 of their flavours. Have a look at their website www.mrfitzpatricks.com Who needs alcohol?

Grafted Tomatoes
Our vegetable plant stock is nearly up to capacity. The Grafted Vegetables came in this week. Grafted vegetable are a little more expensive than normal seed grown veg, it is claimed that you get 75% more fruit per plant, there are 6-8 trusses on a tomato plant, longer cropping period, grow well at lower temperatures. Some of the grafted plants have been grafted with 2 different types of tomato onto the same root! Suttons also delivered a massive range of Chilli plants, all the plants have a marked label showing the ‘Scoville rating’ (how hot a chilli is). They make a really attractive plant approx 30cm – 60 cm tall.

Watch out for the frost, keep new plants protected from the frost. Water all your pots and containers as it is so dry at the moment. Feed all your shrub beds and borders with a dry feed. Weed and feed the lawn. Plant seeds in the veg garden, don’t plant all the seeds from the packet at the same time as you will have too much food to eat at the same time.

Have a great weekend

Ashley Warren

My April Walkabout

My April Walkabout

I gave an interview on BBC Radio Northampton at about 8.00am this morning (Thursday), I was asked by Bernie Keith, did I think it changes had been beneficial to the traffic flow around the roundabout, I said I hoped it would create a significant improvement but it was a bit too early to tell. I was then very late for work as the roundabout had experienced its first serious accident since being re developed. I hope those concerned were ok?

They say a picture can paint a thousand words, that probably true but it doesn’t get across how wonderful our Garden Centre looks right now, so I ran round the Garden Centre (probably not quick enough for some) with my i phone, link attached.

I don’t do pride, however I would like to say that our great team of people have got this Garden Centre looking as good as it has ever done. Now the sun is finally starting to warm us and the soil up the plants are responding with good growth and flower. We have missed out on a long spring as March was so dull. Plants are all now moving into top gear all at once. It is a great time to feed all plants by throwing some fertiliser onto the ground around the plants. Growmore is a well balanced feed with an application rate of 50-100 grms per meter square. It will move into the soil slowly with rain or watering, it will remain in the soil for several months after application. Feeding plants well will encourage growth, encourage flowering, reduce stress and therefore reduce disease.

As it is the middle of April it is important to get some vegetables in the ground either seeds or plants. We have got seeds, small plants or big plants plus great advice. If you are trying to encourage the younger generation Radish germinate and grow very easily, I am not so sure they will enjoy eating them though! Beetroot are also easy to grow from seed outside in the soil, they are also a great super food, and they make your wee go red!. Sometimes it can be as economic to buy some small veg plants rather than a packet of seeds. Small plants will establish better than sowing seeds in a less well prepared seed bed. Buying plants also buys you time, you will be able to harvest the plants sooner than if you planted seeds.

heuchera

Heuchera are a small semi evergreen plant that have a massive variation in foliage and flower colour. They are pretty tough and grow well in most soils. The foliage colours, textures and leaf patterns are amazing, they vary from lime green,oranges to dark green and light to dark purple. The flowers stand up well above the plant on this whispy stems white, red to purple. They are great at filling out a shrub be or herbaceous border.

For all you more experienced Gardeners I have got 24 pallets of Professional PH Compost from Doncaster arriving tomorrow!!

Have fun in your Garden, would be great to see you.

Ashley

My talk with Paulerspury Horticultural Society

My talk with Paulerspury Horticultural Society

I had a really great evening yesterday, I was invited to talk to the Paulerspury Horticultural Society about Bell Plantation, how I have developed it over the last 25 years, our plans for the future and our values, plus a bit about growing vegetables, it was good to see so many familiar faces. What on earth could I teach master growers about growing vegetables? We all had a good chat about the Bell Plantation and a small chat about growing veg. I asked what we could do as a business to help Growers and village Hortic Societies. The conversation moved onto the closure of Youngs Nursery at Blisworth. The majority of my Audience loved the professional compost PH from Doncaster that Youngs used to stock, as a result of this we have got a 24 Pallet load arriving here on the 17th April. I also learned of a few other want’s and needs that we will put into action in the future to accommodate the more experienced gardener. Thank you all for the feedback and information it was a pleasure. If you are involved with a Horticultural Society please drop me a line so that I can keep you posted with our new Gardener products.

Camelia2

Magnolias are looking fabulous, at the moment.They are grown for their showy,solitary,fragrant,flowers. They are fully hardy to frost tender depending on variety. They grow well in moist, well-drained, humus rich acid to neutral soil in sun or partial shade, they do not like a windy site, I have one Magnolia grandiflora either side of my front door in a windy position and they are not that happy, struggling to get established, I probably move them at the end of this year.

Sheena walks Minnie our Jack Russell around the fields every day, last Thursday you could see Minnie walking in the rape field, by Saturday you couldn’t see her as the rape had grow several inches in just a few days.

The strong sun this week has warmed the soil and encouraged all the plants to start growing. A few days after the first cut of the lawn is the ideal time to get a weed and feed onto the grass. Remember not to cut the lawn too short on the first cut. It makes really hard work for the mower and the human operator! Lower the mower over the first 3 to 4 cuts to the optimum level.

Have a great weekend

Ashley

April Flowering Plants and Easter

April Flowering Plants and Easter

Not much sun last week suppressed the potential growth in the garden, the lack on sun meant the air was cooler and no solar gain to the soil delaying the full onset of Spring.

Some of the first colour in gardens is provided by flowering cherries, Prunus ‘Kojo- no-mai’ and Prunus incisa ‘Paean’, these are both shrub like plants that eventually grow to height of about 1.5 meters, they are currently covered with pale pink flowers. A larger shrub / tree providing a mass of deep pink flowers is the Prunus cerasifera ‘Pissardii Nigra’ (bit of a mouth full) a really great tree/shrub with dark purple foliage, great for early striking colour. I planted a multi stemmed one in my garden last year it was about 3 meters tall, it is delivering the goods covered in flowers. They are a really tough plant that grow well in most soils. They are well suited to the soil type here in sunny South Northants!

prunus kojo

The wind has been a bit of a problem last week, check to see that any newly planted trees or shrubs have been moving around in the soil, if they have fill in the socket formed in the ground with some soil and heel them in firmly, adjust and tighten the tie.

Fertiliser, now is a great time to go around all your plants with a huge bucket of Growmore or Chicken Poo, these granular fertilisers are best put on the ground now so that by the time the plant needs the nutrients the rain should have washed them into the soil. All plants will benefit from a good early feed, you will get better flowering, fruiting, colour, less disease, faster growth, spread the poo nutrients!
If in any doubt about anything in your garden we have a wonderful well experienced team of friendly people here at the Bell Plantation, there is no such thing as a silly question.

I must tell you,(however I am not supposed to market in this blog) we have a wonderful range of Chocolate in the farm shop that has been made in the form of hand tools spanners, paint brushes, nuts and bolts etc. The nut actually is threaded and comes off the bolt!! its very good chocolate too.

I have just put our first Goose eggs of the season into the incubator,I didnt fancy scrambled egg this morning! 37.7 degrees centigrade a bit of humid air for 29 days and we should have some Geese, the wonder of life. Obviously they would be better hatched under a Goose Mrs Goose did not feel like sitting on her eggs at the moment.

turf

We’ve got a pallet of turf in stock if anyone wants a DIY weekend on the lawn. It’s £4.49 a roll or 10 for £40. It is the best quality turf so don’t hesitate.

Have a wonderful Easter, we too will be having the day off on Sunday only (Sunday trading laws), it is one of the 4 days a year we are shut!!
It is a great weekend for family life and of course Gardening.

Happy days

Ashley

Ashley’s Blog

Ashley’s Blog

I am pleased to say that the works on the roundabout seem to be nearing completion. It seems to take for ever to get the last finishing touches together. Already the traffic flows have changed, it now really needs the new traffic lights working to prioritise the flow. I sound like a bit of an expert on traffic flow!! Sheena and I purchased some of the site here at Bell Plantation before the first A5 / A43 roundabout was built back in 1987, when it was just A5 north and south. We purchased the house that Klas Day Nursery now occupy. Since then the whole of the A43 from the M1 to Oxford has been re built, bypassing Towcester and Brackley. As a business trading through the re development of the roundabout has been difficult, I hope once it is complete you will all return to our wonderful family run, friendly business.

We are still recruiting, we need a Chef for the Cafe, full time. We need a front of house person in the Cafe, 10-30 hours a week.We need a Farm shop assistant 20-30 hours a week, so if you know anyone who is interested please drop me an email.

strawberries

We have had so many deliveries of plants in this week, Judy was on her own in the plant area yesterday as Steve had his day off , 5 lorries arrived with plants, Judy was still smiling at the end of the day. We have got a small selection of fruit and vegetables to start off the season, tomatoes included. It is still too cold to put some of these plants outside, however if they are protected from the frost and in some cases given a small amount of heat they will grow on to provide an early crop of vegetables. Traditionally gardeners sowed their first seeds in the vegetable garden under a plastic cloche. Garden Cloches keep in the heat from the sun, the soil warms up more as it is protected from the cooling wind. During the night when there is no sun the warm soil prevents the air in the cloche freezing, this is not enough protection for tender plants ie tomatoes and cucumbers, they will need some heat protection until mid April. Cloches are great for early beetroot, lettuce, cabbage, carrots etc. It is amazing how positioning plants against a sunny wall can make a difference, brick or stone walls absorb a huge amount of heat from the sun, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers etc planted against a wall in a container or in the ground in a grow canopy will be protected from the frost by the residual heat from the wall and the tomato canopy, all this extra heat will allow earlier cropping.

Time to prune roses, I have spoken to the team at David Austin in the past re pruning their roses, they said they prune most of there roses with a hedge cutter!! Shrub roses may be? When you only have one or two it is important they fit your garden and they are growing in the direction and shape you want them. Early in the season you can prune back harder than later in the season. If you prune back hard later in the season it will delay flowering.

Just a quick note!! We have our own Pork sausages available in the Farm Shop in a couple of weeks we will have our home produced beef. A complete, locally grown Sunday lunch in one shop!

Our team look forward to seeing you.

Have a great weekend

Ashley

The sun is shining (apart from this morning)

The sun is shining (apart from this morning)

Ash is off today looking at buying a brand new Shorthorn bull for his herd. They are pretty expensive but can be really worth it if they sire great calves with strong genes.

What a fantastic day it has turned out to be – warm, sunny and clear. All after the most complete solar eclipse since 1999. I watched it from my patio at home and only just saw it through the cloud. It created an unusual atmosphere in the air – cold and a very odd light.

The Garden Centre has been busy today, people buying plants and supplies for the weekend, popping in for a quick lunch or Coffee. We’ve got a really full plant area, lots of stock of herbaceous, bedding and shrubs arriving as we speak. We also have a new specimen area, full of larger, more established plants and loads of alpines which look great with Errington Raey’s courtyard collection – see below.

courtyard

We’ve also had a massive change around in the Farm Shop this week, we’ve replaced the fridges with brand new ones, creating even more space for delicious food.

FS

The roundabout is pretty much finished, at last! The traffic flow is a lot greater than before, they need to get the lights working but at least we aren’t sitting in long queue’s any more.

Pop in this weekend if you’re out an about, we’d love to see you. If not, enjoy the good weather, get out in your gardens.

Regards,

Freddie

Spring into your garden this March

Spring into the garden this March

I have had 10 days off work with a chest infection and have missed most of March, well a third anyway. At this time of year there is so much that can be done in the Garden. This week the soil has started warming up, absorbing the increased energy from the sun. All the tiny little root hairs on the end of large trees to the smallest seedling will be twitching into activity, weeds included.

As I write this the the wind and the sun are drying out the surface of the soil. This is the best time to work the soil as you will cause less damage to the soil structure, good soil structure is essential for good plant growth. Turning over the soil either by digging or rotavating will open up the soil, reducing compaction, incorporate oxygen and create the right soil, air and water balance for great root growth, if you get a chance incorporate organic matter and fertiliser now is a good opportunity.
Obviously, established shrub beds and herbaceous borders may not need digging, however a good mulch every couple of years will help keep the weeds down, increase moisture retention, improve fertility and increase organic matter. All these things will help to make your garden grow better and look more beautiful than it would otherwise have done.

Within the next week or so you can start to plant early potatoes, we have got over 40 varieties available. Good boilers, chippers, mashers etc. Why don’t you grow some for showing at your local village garden show, late summer, autumn its great fun, if you need any info drop me a line or have a word with the Bell Plantation team.

seed potatoes

Now is a great time to plants vegetable seeds if you want to crop them early. Tomato seeds planted in a plastic propagator on the windowsill or heated greenhouse give great results and wonderful for encouraging the next generation of budding gardeners.

If planted now in a propagator in the kitchen, the seeds will take a couple of weeks before they pop up through the compost, they will then grow quickly (depending on heat and light levels) into small plants, about another 2-3 weeks. When about 20-30mm tall plant them into individual 10cm pots, they can then grow in these for another 3-4 weeks before planting in a larger pot or grow-bag. Make sure they are planted outside when frost free or plant them out earlier in a grow frame.

Propergaring Seed

I have started calving my cows at home, we have already had 3 calves another 24 to go. I like to calve the cows in the spring so that there is lots of grass in April for the cows to produce lots of milk for the calves. We will very shortly be introducing our own beef into the farm shop 3-4 weeks. A week on tuesday / wednesday we will have our first lot of home grown pork and sausages for sale, will keep you posted.

Freddie says keep an eye on the website for loads of great deals and opportunities.
We are also recruiting for 4 new positions at he Bell Plantation.
If you would like to join our friendly family business drop me a line ashley@bellplantation.co.uk

Have a great weekend

Ashley

It’s been a while – enjoy the Bank Holiday Weekend

It’s been a while – enjoy the Bank Holiday Weekend

My apologies for not keeping in touch over the last couple of weeks, I have sent out my little ditty but no one received it due to technical problems with the system! Haven’t got a clue, it doesn’t involve soil! Anyway we have nearly missed May,so far been pretty cold, plant growth is certainly behind where it was this time last year.

Chelsea
Again this year Bell Plantation sponsored Nicolas Moreton’s www.nicolasmoreton.com stand at the Chelsea Flower Show. This involves me, several of the Bell Plantation and Groundcare Company team spending several days at Chelsea building Nicolas’s stand. The atmosphere at the show build up is amazing,camaraderie flows, the change of scenery is like watching speeded up film in real time. Horticulture is a wonderful industry to be involved in, unfortunately in recent history it hasn’t been cool! Maybe things are starting to change, I hope so. So many people are missing out on a great vocation.Great fun,very wet and hard work. I must say the stand looked great when it all came together. Nicolas is an amazing sculptor using natural stone, based near Towcester.
Beef Shorthorn

We finally have some Wappenham beef in the Plantation Farm Shop. This is the first of my Beef Shorthorn cattle to be sold in the shop, hopefully the first of many if you enjoy eating it. She was born and bred in Wappenham, ate grassed based food all her life and was never injected with anything, she was a real sweetie! Beef Shorthorns are a traditional English breed of cattle developed over several hundred years to produce the tastiest meat. The meat has traditional marbling (small deposits of fat) in the meat which adds flavour and aids cooking. As we don’t yet have a butcher in the Plantation Farm shop the meat was butchered and flash frozen before coming back to the shop. I look forward to your feedback on the meat?

As the weather is a little cooler than normal this year it makes life a little less frenetic,although there is still a lot to do. As it is not too dry it is a good time to get some weed and feed on the lawn, or even just feed if you have no weeds. Mowing a lawn regularly and removing the grass depletes the nutrients in the ground. Every time you cart a box of grass off the lawn you are taking away some of the essential minerals needed for good plant growth. Poor ground favours weeds and moss, it is therefore essential to keep the soil fertile, this in turn will help suppress weed growth and moss.
Keep feeding all your plants this will keep their leaves green.
Herbaceous

Our plant area is as full as it has ever been with wonderful plants (several featuring at Chelsea flower show) Steve and Judy have done a great job sourcing a fantastic range of plants.

Last Saturday we had 100 Silkie hens delivered, what a site I have never seen so many Silkies in one place at a time, they looked amazing. Silkies are well known for their calm, friendly temperament. Among the most docile of poultry, Silkies are considered an ideal pet. Hens are also exceptionally broody, and make good mothers. Though they are fair layers themselves, laying about three eggs a week, they are commonly used to hatch eggs from other breeds and bird species. We also managed to hatch 3 of our own Chinese geese, the goslings are on show in our poultry shop.

I hope the TV coverage of the flower show has inspired you, we would love to help you achieve you dream garden, if you need any help give us a shout.

Have a great weekend

Ashley

Wappenham Beef and Chelsea Flower Show

Wappenham Beef and Chelsea Flower Show

Chelsea

I am delighted to say that again this year we are sponsoring Nicolas Moreton’s Exhibition at Chelsea flowers show. This means the Bell plantation team have spent several days down in London building and landscaping the stand, yesterday we got absolutely soaked! We had to bash on as time stands still for no one and there are deadlines to meet! I wish Nicolas every success at the show. www.nicolasmoreton.com The atmosphere at the show build up is amazing,camaraderie flows, the change of scenery is like watching speeded up film in real time. Horticulture is a wonderful industry to be involved in, unfortunately in recent history it hasn’t been cool! Maybe things are starting to change, I hope so. So many people are missing out on a great vocation.

Herbaceous

With Chelsea flower show next week, herbaceous perennials will be in the spot light, this range of plants are the colour pallet of the garden, they grow quickly every year from the ground and provide a spectacular amount of colour, foliage variation, seed heads etc I am pleased to say Judy and Steve have put together our biggest ever selection of these plants, they look amazing, I will give them a pat on the back. A large proportion of the plants are grown by one of the largest exhibitors at Chelsea, Hillier Nurseries. This range of plants are really easy to grow, if you would like some help on what grows or goes well together ask Steve or Judy.

Beef Shorthorn

I am delighted to say that we now have home produced Wappenham Beef in our Farm shop from our . The particular animal in the shop was born and raised in Wappenham, it never had an injection in its life, a very healthy Beef Shorthorn, she was a sweetie. The Beef Shorthorn breed was formed back in 1783 in the North East of England. They were one of the most popular breeds in the UK until the 1970’s, 80’s when the very heavy muscled breeds, Charolais, Limousin etc came over from France. The French breeds were very lean but they didn’t have the fat marbling in the meat which adds flavour and aids cooking. People are now appreciating taste and quality a little more which has aided the popularity of the Beef Shorthorn.The rise in popularity has lifted the breed off the endangered list of the Rare Breed survival trust. My Beef Shorthorn cattle are really docile, they make great mothers, they have plenty of milk to feed the calf and they don’t eat too much. They make my life easy, so much so that I can go to work at the Garden centre every day, I deal with the cattle early am and late pm every day and at weekends. I hope you enjoy the quality and flavour.

Jenny and Jill thank you very much for your custom, I hope you had a wonderful weekend planting. I know in time your garden will look amazing. Remember to water all your plants well once you have planted them and then keep them watered through the summer, once a week,maybe more if it is hot.

Hopefully see you soon,

Ashley

Wappenham Beef from my Farm

Wappenham Beef from my Farm

Pretty sleepy this morning sat up until 3 am watching the TV, what a surprise?

Our Garden centre is absolutely full of wonderful plants and people. Steve and Judy have sourced the best looking selection of UK grown plants for all purposes and types of garden. Over the last few days we have had some well overdue rain, the ground was getting a bit dry, enough now a bit more sun please.

Now is a great time to plant Dahlia tubers, Gladioli corms and Lily bulbs These plants will provide a great splash of colour in mid to late summer. The flowers are great for cutting and bringing into the house. Dahlias can either be purchased in bags as a large root /tuber or as a growing plant. Planted in the garden as a tuber it will provide a much bigger plant and more flowers than a pot grown plant. Gladioli are usually found only in a bag as a corm, planted now they will grow vigorously to about 1 meter tall and produce a long flower 300mm -450mm long. Lily bulbs also grow quickly and produce a very heavily scented flower, beware of the pollen on a lily it tends to stain clothing.

Beef Shorthorn

I am delighted to say that we now have home produced Wappenham Beef in our Farm shop from our farm. The beef was frozen when butchered so will be sold frozen and taste delicious and fresh when you eat it. The particular animal in the shop was born and raised in Wappenham, it never had an injection in its life, a very healthy Beef Shorthorn, she was a sweetie. The Beef Shorthorn breed was formed back in 1783 in the North East of England. They were one of the most popular breeds in the UK until the 1970’s, 80’s when the very heavy muscled breeds, Charolais, Limousin etc came over from France. The French breeds were very lean but they didn’t have the fat marbling in the meat which adds flavour and aids cooking. People are now appreciating taste and quality a little more which has aided the popularity of the Beef Shorthorn.The rise in popularity has lifted the breed off the endangered list of the Rare Breed survival trust. My Beef Shorthorn cattle are really docile, they make great mothers, they have plenty of milk to feed the calf and they don’t eat too much. They make my life easy, so much so that I can go to work at the Garden centre every day, I deal with the cattle early am and late pm every day and at weekends. I hope you enjoy the quality and flavour.

Jenny and Jill thank you very much for your custom, I hope you have a wonderful weekend last weekend planting all your specemin shrubs . I know in time your garden will look amazing. Remember to water all your plants well once you have planted them and then keep them watered through the summer, once a week,maybe more if it is hot.

Have a great weekend

Would be good to see you

Ashley

April Showers?

April Showers?

Warm windy sunny weather and no rain, we are watering everything like crazy in the plant area. All hands on the pump and 1 man down, get well soon Steve.
This is a very exciting time for us filling the Garden Centre up with beautiful new plants and products for you to see.
We took delivery of our 24 pallets of PH Professional range of compost, it feels and smells delightful compared to the normal main brand composts, it is a little more expensive but you will get much better results, better germination when planting seeds, better growth from seedlings, shrubs, tubs and planted containers. The reasons for better performance are a balanced pH value, the correct bulk density measured in grammes per litre of compost, correct trace element balance, it contains a wetting agent to help re-wetting and drainage. We currently use it a lot here at the Garden Centre for our containers and hanging baskets.

Mr Fitzpatricks Cordial
Erris (Farm Shop Manager) and I had a great day out at a food fair in Birmingham this week, Wow! We didn’t need lunch or a drink as we tried so many wonderful samples of tastey food and drink. To our delight there are numerous foods grown and made very close to us here at Towcester, watch this space as I am sure we will be stocking some of them very soon. One product we have actually got in this week following the show (not so local) is Mr Fitzpatricks Vintage Cordials from Preston, we loved it so much we brought it!!. A great history and a fantastic tasty drink, we have a range of 12 of their flavours. Have a look at their website www.mrfitzpatricks.com Who needs alcohol?

Grafted Tomatoes
Our vegetable plant stock is nearly up to capacity. The Grafted Vegetables came in this week. Grafted vegetable are a little more expensive than normal seed grown veg, it is claimed that you get 75% more fruit per plant, there are 6-8 trusses on a tomato plant, longer cropping period, grow well at lower temperatures. Some of the grafted plants have been grafted with 2 different types of tomato onto the same root! Suttons also delivered a massive range of Chilli plants, all the plants have a marked label showing the ‘Scoville rating’ (how hot a chilli is). They make a really attractive plant approx 30cm – 60 cm tall.

Watch out for the frost, keep new plants protected from the frost. Water all your pots and containers as it is so dry at the moment. Feed all your shrub beds and borders with a dry feed. Weed and feed the lawn. Plant seeds in the veg garden, don’t plant all the seeds from the packet at the same time as you will have too much food to eat at the same time.

Have a great weekend

Ashley Warren

My April Walkabout

My April Walkabout

I gave an interview on BBC Radio Northampton at about 8.00am this morning (Thursday), I was asked by Bernie Keith, did I think it changes had been beneficial to the traffic flow around the roundabout, I said I hoped it would create a significant improvement but it was a bit too early to tell. I was then very late for work as the roundabout had experienced its first serious accident since being re developed. I hope those concerned were ok?

They say a picture can paint a thousand words, that probably true but it doesn’t get across how wonderful our Garden Centre looks right now, so I ran round the Garden Centre (probably not quick enough for some) with my i phone, link attached.

I don’t do pride, however I would like to say that our great team of people have got this Garden Centre looking as good as it has ever done. Now the sun is finally starting to warm us and the soil up the plants are responding with good growth and flower. We have missed out on a long spring as March was so dull. Plants are all now moving into top gear all at once. It is a great time to feed all plants by throwing some fertiliser onto the ground around the plants. Growmore is a well balanced feed with an application rate of 50-100 grms per meter square. It will move into the soil slowly with rain or watering, it will remain in the soil for several months after application. Feeding plants well will encourage growth, encourage flowering, reduce stress and therefore reduce disease.

As it is the middle of April it is important to get some vegetables in the ground either seeds or plants. We have got seeds, small plants or big plants plus great advice. If you are trying to encourage the younger generation Radish germinate and grow very easily, I am not so sure they will enjoy eating them though! Beetroot are also easy to grow from seed outside in the soil, they are also a great super food, and they make your wee go red!. Sometimes it can be as economic to buy some small veg plants rather than a packet of seeds. Small plants will establish better than sowing seeds in a less well prepared seed bed. Buying plants also buys you time, you will be able to harvest the plants sooner than if you planted seeds.

heuchera

Heuchera are a small semi evergreen plant that have a massive variation in foliage and flower colour. They are pretty tough and grow well in most soils. The foliage colours, textures and leaf patterns are amazing, they vary from lime green,oranges to dark green and light to dark purple. The flowers stand up well above the plant on this whispy stems white, red to purple. They are great at filling out a shrub be or herbaceous border.

For all you more experienced Gardeners I have got 24 pallets of Professional PH Compost from Doncaster arriving tomorrow!!

Have fun in your Garden, would be great to see you.

Ashley

My talk with Paulerspury Horticultural Society

My talk with Paulerspury Horticultural Society

I had a really great evening yesterday, I was invited to talk to the Paulerspury Horticultural Society about Bell Plantation, how I have developed it over the last 25 years, our plans for the future and our values, plus a bit about growing vegetables, it was good to see so many familiar faces. What on earth could I teach master growers about growing vegetables? We all had a good chat about the Bell Plantation and a small chat about growing veg. I asked what we could do as a business to help Growers and village Hortic Societies. The conversation moved onto the closure of Youngs Nursery at Blisworth. The majority of my Audience loved the professional compost PH from Doncaster that Youngs used to stock, as a result of this we have got a 24 Pallet load arriving here on the 17th April. I also learned of a few other want’s and needs that we will put into action in the future to accommodate the more experienced gardener. Thank you all for the feedback and information it was a pleasure. If you are involved with a Horticultural Society please drop me a line so that I can keep you posted with our new Gardener products.

Camelia2

Magnolias are looking fabulous, at the moment.They are grown for their showy,solitary,fragrant,flowers. They are fully hardy to frost tender depending on variety. They grow well in moist, well-drained, humus rich acid to neutral soil in sun or partial shade, they do not like a windy site, I have one Magnolia grandiflora either side of my front door in a windy position and they are not that happy, struggling to get established, I probably move them at the end of this year.

Sheena walks Minnie our Jack Russell around the fields every day, last Thursday you could see Minnie walking in the rape field, by Saturday you couldn’t see her as the rape had grow several inches in just a few days.

The strong sun this week has warmed the soil and encouraged all the plants to start growing. A few days after the first cut of the lawn is the ideal time to get a weed and feed onto the grass. Remember not to cut the lawn too short on the first cut. It makes really hard work for the mower and the human operator! Lower the mower over the first 3 to 4 cuts to the optimum level.

Have a great weekend

Ashley

April Flowering Plants and Easter

April Flowering Plants and Easter

Not much sun last week suppressed the potential growth in the garden, the lack on sun meant the air was cooler and no solar gain to the soil delaying the full onset of Spring.

Some of the first colour in gardens is provided by flowering cherries, Prunus ‘Kojo- no-mai’ and Prunus incisa ‘Paean’, these are both shrub like plants that eventually grow to height of about 1.5 meters, they are currently covered with pale pink flowers. A larger shrub / tree providing a mass of deep pink flowers is the Prunus cerasifera ‘Pissardii Nigra’ (bit of a mouth full) a really great tree/shrub with dark purple foliage, great for early striking colour. I planted a multi stemmed one in my garden last year it was about 3 meters tall, it is delivering the goods covered in flowers. They are a really tough plant that grow well in most soils. They are well suited to the soil type here in sunny South Northants!

prunus kojo

The wind has been a bit of a problem last week, check to see that any newly planted trees or shrubs have been moving around in the soil, if they have fill in the socket formed in the ground with some soil and heel them in firmly, adjust and tighten the tie.

Fertiliser, now is a great time to go around all your plants with a huge bucket of Growmore or Chicken Poo, these granular fertilisers are best put on the ground now so that by the time the plant needs the nutrients the rain should have washed them into the soil. All plants will benefit from a good early feed, you will get better flowering, fruiting, colour, less disease, faster growth, spread the poo nutrients!
If in any doubt about anything in your garden we have a wonderful well experienced team of friendly people here at the Bell Plantation, there is no such thing as a silly question.

I must tell you,(however I am not supposed to market in this blog) we have a wonderful range of Chocolate in the farm shop that has been made in the form of hand tools spanners, paint brushes, nuts and bolts etc. The nut actually is threaded and comes off the bolt!! its very good chocolate too.

I have just put our first Goose eggs of the season into the incubator,I didnt fancy scrambled egg this morning! 37.7 degrees centigrade a bit of humid air for 29 days and we should have some Geese, the wonder of life. Obviously they would be better hatched under a Goose Mrs Goose did not feel like sitting on her eggs at the moment.

turf

We’ve got a pallet of turf in stock if anyone wants a DIY weekend on the lawn. It’s £4.49 a roll or 10 for £40. It is the best quality turf so don’t hesitate.

Have a wonderful Easter, we too will be having the day off on Sunday only (Sunday trading laws), it is one of the 4 days a year we are shut!!
It is a great weekend for family life and of course Gardening.

Happy days

Ashley

Ashley’s Blog

Ashley’s Blog

I am pleased to say that the works on the roundabout seem to be nearing completion. It seems to take for ever to get the last finishing touches together. Already the traffic flows have changed, it now really needs the new traffic lights working to prioritise the flow. I sound like a bit of an expert on traffic flow!! Sheena and I purchased some of the site here at Bell Plantation before the first A5 / A43 roundabout was built back in 1987, when it was just A5 north and south. We purchased the house that Klas Day Nursery now occupy. Since then the whole of the A43 from the M1 to Oxford has been re built, bypassing Towcester and Brackley. As a business trading through the re development of the roundabout has been difficult, I hope once it is complete you will all return to our wonderful family run, friendly business.

We are still recruiting, we need a Chef for the Cafe, full time. We need a front of house person in the Cafe, 10-30 hours a week.We need a Farm shop assistant 20-30 hours a week, so if you know anyone who is interested please drop me an email.

strawberries

We have had so many deliveries of plants in this week, Judy was on her own in the plant area yesterday as Steve had his day off , 5 lorries arrived with plants, Judy was still smiling at the end of the day. We have got a small selection of fruit and vegetables to start off the season, tomatoes included. It is still too cold to put some of these plants outside, however if they are protected from the frost and in some cases given a small amount of heat they will grow on to provide an early crop of vegetables. Traditionally gardeners sowed their first seeds in the vegetable garden under a plastic cloche. Garden Cloches keep in the heat from the sun, the soil warms up more as it is protected from the cooling wind. During the night when there is no sun the warm soil prevents the air in the cloche freezing, this is not enough protection for tender plants ie tomatoes and cucumbers, they will need some heat protection until mid April. Cloches are great for early beetroot, lettuce, cabbage, carrots etc. It is amazing how positioning plants against a sunny wall can make a difference, brick or stone walls absorb a huge amount of heat from the sun, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers etc planted against a wall in a container or in the ground in a grow canopy will be protected from the frost by the residual heat from the wall and the tomato canopy, all this extra heat will allow earlier cropping.

Time to prune roses, I have spoken to the team at David Austin in the past re pruning their roses, they said they prune most of there roses with a hedge cutter!! Shrub roses may be? When you only have one or two it is important they fit your garden and they are growing in the direction and shape you want them. Early in the season you can prune back harder than later in the season. If you prune back hard later in the season it will delay flowering.

Just a quick note!! We have our own Pork sausages available in the Farm Shop in a couple of weeks we will have our home produced beef. A complete, locally grown Sunday lunch in one shop!

Our team look forward to seeing you.

Have a great weekend

Ashley

The sun is shining (apart from this morning)

The sun is shining (apart from this morning)

Ash is off today looking at buying a brand new Shorthorn bull for his herd. They are pretty expensive but can be really worth it if they sire great calves with strong genes.

What a fantastic day it has turned out to be – warm, sunny and clear. All after the most complete solar eclipse since 1999. I watched it from my patio at home and only just saw it through the cloud. It created an unusual atmosphere in the air – cold and a very odd light.

The Garden Centre has been busy today, people buying plants and supplies for the weekend, popping in for a quick lunch or Coffee. We’ve got a really full plant area, lots of stock of herbaceous, bedding and shrubs arriving as we speak. We also have a new specimen area, full of larger, more established plants and loads of alpines which look great with Errington Raey’s courtyard collection – see below.

courtyard

We’ve also had a massive change around in the Farm Shop this week, we’ve replaced the fridges with brand new ones, creating even more space for delicious food.

FS

The roundabout is pretty much finished, at last! The traffic flow is a lot greater than before, they need to get the lights working but at least we aren’t sitting in long queue’s any more.

Pop in this weekend if you’re out an about, we’d love to see you. If not, enjoy the good weather, get out in your gardens.

Regards,

Freddie

Spring into your garden this March

Spring into the garden this March

I have had 10 days off work with a chest infection and have missed most of March, well a third anyway. At this time of year there is so much that can be done in the Garden. This week the soil has started warming up, absorbing the increased energy from the sun. All the tiny little root hairs on the end of large trees to the smallest seedling will be twitching into activity, weeds included.

As I write this the the wind and the sun are drying out the surface of the soil. This is the best time to work the soil as you will cause less damage to the soil structure, good soil structure is essential for good plant growth. Turning over the soil either by digging or rotavating will open up the soil, reducing compaction, incorporate oxygen and create the right soil, air and water balance for great root growth, if you get a chance incorporate organic matter and fertiliser now is a good opportunity.
Obviously, established shrub beds and herbaceous borders may not need digging, however a good mulch every couple of years will help keep the weeds down, increase moisture retention, improve fertility and increase organic matter. All these things will help to make your garden grow better and look more beautiful than it would otherwise have done.

Within the next week or so you can start to plant early potatoes, we have got over 40 varieties available. Good boilers, chippers, mashers etc. Why don’t you grow some for showing at your local village garden show, late summer, autumn its great fun, if you need any info drop me a line or have a word with the Bell Plantation team.

seed potatoes

Now is a great time to plants vegetable seeds if you want to crop them early. Tomato seeds planted in a plastic propagator on the windowsill or heated greenhouse give great results and wonderful for encouraging the next generation of budding gardeners.

If planted now in a propagator in the kitchen, the seeds will take a couple of weeks before they pop up through the compost, they will then grow quickly (depending on heat and light levels) into small plants, about another 2-3 weeks. When about 20-30mm tall plant them into individual 10cm pots, they can then grow in these for another 3-4 weeks before planting in a larger pot or grow-bag. Make sure they are planted outside when frost free or plant them out earlier in a grow frame.

Propergaring Seed

I have started calving my cows at home, we have already had 3 calves another 24 to go. I like to calve the cows in the spring so that there is lots of grass in April for the cows to produce lots of milk for the calves. We will very shortly be introducing our own beef into the farm shop 3-4 weeks. A week on tuesday / wednesday we will have our first lot of home grown pork and sausages for sale, will keep you posted.

Freddie says keep an eye on the website for loads of great deals and opportunities.
We are also recruiting for 4 new positions at he Bell Plantation.
If you would like to join our friendly family business drop me a line ashley@bellplantation.co.uk

Have a great weekend

Ashley