Sunday, 31 January 2010

January Topical Tips

  • Any plants that are wrapped in voile d’hivernage should be unwrapped daily (when the frost has disappeared) to allow the air to circulate. Whilst the voile is ‘breathable’, with all the rain we have had it traps the damp which encourages the growth of bad fungi and can cause rotting.
  • Any leaves lying around the base of plants, have the same effect. Rake them up and put them into your leafmould bin. They will rot down faster when they’re wet and if they’re peed on !
  • If you’re feeding the birds and other wildlife, make sure that you don’t forget to keep the peanuts etc topped up and unfrozen water available for drinking and bathing – they are relying on you and even one day can make a huge difference. Birds will now benefit from being given fat balls or seed cakes made with home-made suet – they need to eat 40 percent of their own weight every day to survive. (You can make suet by asking your butcher for la graisse qui est autour des rognons de boeuf ou de veau and rendering it.)
  • There’s still time to be planting bare-rooted fruit trees and vines – Pépinière du Flayosquet have a reasonable selection.
  • It’s time (not when there are heavy frosts) to be pruning apple, pear, quince and of course olives ! Pruning guides for the more usual fruits are available through the RHS, or videos – such as this one on YouTube.

Stone fruits such as cherries, nectarines, peaches and plums should be pruned in late spring when they are in bud, as pruning now can allow disease to enter the plant through the wounds.

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