Where did that rain come from? Wow! Not much fun getting to work on Wednesday morning to find most of the buildings flooded. The water came in straight off the grass field as the soil was near saturation point. When we construct our new car park we will have to install some serious drainage to prevent future run-off.

Hopefully the soil will dry out a bit in the next few days to allow some planting. Shallots, onion sets and early potatoes can now be planted. Growing shallots is great fun and very easy, as are all varieties of onion. Put a small onion in the ground, in the Autumn harvest either a bigger onion or lots of little ones. Eating your own pickled onions is extremely rewarding. They taste far better than your average supermarket brand.

Shallots like a well-dug soil. Best to add some fertiliser if you can, digging it into the ground before planting. Plant the small shallot sets 12cm apart and approx. 3cm deep. Keep an eye on them for the first few weeks while they establish, re-firm them in the ground if they are disturbed by birds etc. Once established there is very little that can go wrong. Keep them watered, fed and free of weeds and expect to harvest a great crop. In late summer when the leaves start to go a bit yellow pull them out of the ground and lay them in the sun to dry. When the skins are completely dry rub off the loose skin and store in a dry place for use or pickle them. Chop the bottom and the top of the onion remove the hard dry skin and pop in the vinegar, put the top on the jar, job done.

There are some great flowering plants around at the moment hugely aromatic Sarcococca humilis, very elegant Hamamelis Intermedia with amazing flowers, Prunus Pissardii Nigra very strong pink flowering tree/shrub.

As the new shoots come through the soil remember that they may be eaten by slugs, use your preferred method of protection, eradication.

It’s a good time now to split those large overgrown clumps of perennial roots. Don’t be scared how you chop them they are as tough as old boots. Letting them dry out on the surface will cause more harm to them than a physical chop.

We are hoping for some good weather for the rest of this month, as you would expect. It will be good to see all you fair-weather gardeners again for another season. The BPGC is bursting with wonderful plants and gardening goods.

For the first time in my business career we have taken on a small marketing team! We won’t pester you, we just want more people to visit.

Have a great weekend.

Ashley Warren

Ashley Warren

Ashley Warren has lived and loved horticulture and agriculture all his life; he had his first greenhouse at the age of 10 and his first cow when he was 16. He started landscaping in 1984 mainly in Milton Keynes and then all over the country. He moved to Daventry Road Farmhouse in 1987 and has developed Bell Plantation Garden Centre in Towcester, Northants over the last 30 years.

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