Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

A diary of December duties

Now’s the time of year to buy Amaryllis, (Hippeastrum) ready for flowering for the festive season. Start them into growth in the greenhouse then bring them indoors to flower. Water sparingly at first; trickling a little tepid water around the bulb, and increasing the amount as growth appears. Once they are actively growing, keep them […]

Time to harvest and sow

Aubergines and tomatoes that have finished cropping, as some of mine have, can be composted, creating more space in the greenhouse border and between pots on the bench, admitting more sunlight and improving air circulation around the plants that remain. Early in the month, remove individual leaves around aubergines, peppers and cucumbers and continue feeding […]

Blossom end rot – problem solved.

Blossom End Rot, where the end of tomatoes becomes circular, black and flattened, occurs in peppers and aubergines, squashes and watermelons but is most often seen in tomatoes. It is caused by lack of calcium in the fruits. Plants in soil, growing bags and potting composts rarely lack a supply of calcium but what they […]

Potting on and hardening off.

Sow: outdoor cucumber, marrow, squashes, pumpkins on edge, individually in 7.5cm pots plus French and Runner beans and Sweetcorn in gentle heat in multipurpose compost in a propagator. Tie in the leading shoots of tomatoes, peppers and aubergines as they grow to support growing stems. Continue to prick out and pot on seedlings, gradually increasing […]

Sow, buddy, sow.

Sow broad beans, spinach, cabbage, calabrese, kohlrabi, cauliflower, lettuce, peas for pods and shoots onions, salad onions, turnip, radish, beetroot, leeks, leaf beat and chard under glass. From the middle of the month onwards, sow dill, basil, coriander indoor cucumber, courgette, squash, sweetcorn and tomatoes for later transplanting outdoors. Protect peas, broad beans and sweetcorn […]

Getting ready for spring

Peppers, chillies and aubergines should be sown this month. Gardeners who find, that theirs haven’t ripened by late summer, usually sowed too late. The third week in February is ideal; mid-March is fine and the first week in April is the limit. They need light, warmth and constant temperatures for germination; if you can’t provide […]