How to Harvest and Store Onions

August 31st, 2016 | The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

store onionsIf you’ve grown onions this summer, you’ll most likely want to store some for use over winter. This post will share advice on how to harvest and store onions to enjoy all through the year. 

  • The cue for harvest-able onions, that can be stored is when the leaves on the plants begin to flop over and turn brown at the edges.
  • After they’ve been like this for a week, carefully dig them out of the ground using a fork. Lay them out on the ground or on a wire rack. Leave them like this for around a week.
  • If the weather is wet, ensure you dry them undercover. A tunnel or greenhouse, will do the job perfectly.
  • Prevent the bruising of onions by handling them carefully.
  • Onions needs to be cured before they can be stored. This simply means drying the outer skins. This can be done by laying them on racks or layers of newspaper.
  • Spread the onions out to ensuring plenty of circulating air to prevent mould or rotting. This process may take a further two weeks.
  • You’ll know onions are ready to store when the skins are papery, the leaves are shriveled and the roots appear dry. You should remove the roots and any dead skin.
  • If you’d like to store your bulbs as onion strings, cut the stems around 2 – 3 inches from the neck of the bulb.
  • All onions should be stored in a cool, dry and well ventilated area. They should also be stored out of direct sunlight, for example in a garage or unheated room in the house.
  • Don’t store any soft or damaged bulbs, use these as soon as possible instead.
  • Use netting bags or sacks to store the onions, these can hang up. They should be checked every now and then, to remove any bad onions.

These are just a few tips on how to store onions. The video below offers further advice on storing onions and using varying methods. If you have any suggestions on storing onions, be sure to let us know in the comments below. 

 

GrowVeg – How to Harvest and Store Onions

How to Harvest and Store Onions

Mr Fothergill’s award winner Sarah plans a new career in horticulture

August 30th, 2016 | News | 0 Comments

Award winner SarahCapel Manor College’s horticultural student Sarah Ruggeri is the 2016 winner of Mr Fothergill’s Award for the student who has demonstrated the highest skills in plant care and propagation. She was recently presented with a commemorative shield and a bursary of £500 by the company’s joint-managing director John Fothergill.

“Sarah has faced a great deal of personal challenges this year, but she has been determined to achieve this qualification. Her work is always to distinction standard, on time and with a flair for detail and creativity, especially in relation to propagation and growing plants in the protected environment. Sarah naturally helps other students within the group and is often the first to respond to queries and always gives generously with information to help” says Sarah Seery, head of horticulture at Capel.

Sarah Ruggeri worked in the City for 20 years before deciding on a career change. She says “I did a couple of short courses first, a gardening course and a floristry course, and it was the gardening one that had me truly hooked. It’s always something I’ve loved and I’m always outside in my own garden, but I hadn’t really considered it as a career before. I then went on to do the Level 3 Diploma in Horticulture covering the Amenities, Crops and Hard landscaping units. It was hard work, but I loved it and thankfully passed with a distinction. I’m now looking to find work, ideally with a garden maintenance firm”.

Capel Manor is the largest land-based college in Greater London, offering a range of nationally accredited courses and apprenticeships and with six centres across Greater London; they are within reach of anyone with a passion for the great outdoors. Subjects offered include horticulture, arboriculture, countryside management, environmental conservation, floristry, garden design, and landscaping. For more details of courses at Capel, visit www.capel.ac.uk

For more information on Mr Fothergill’s range, or to request a catalogue, please visit www.mr-fothergills.co.uk, telephone 0845 371 0518 or write to Mr Fothergill’s, Gazeley Road, Kentford, Suffolk CB8 7QB.

How to Grow New Herbs from Cuttings

August 26th, 2016 | The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

grow new herbsEveryone loves to get something for nothing, and gardeners are no exception. Herbs can easily be grown from cuttings, this post will show you how to grow new herbs from cuttings already in your garden.

  • Last summer is the perfect time of year to take cuttings from semi-ripe herbs. Herbs that you can take cuttings from include: lavender, rosemary, sage and thyme.
  • Semi-ripe cuttings are taken from stems that are beginning to harden up or ripen before winter. The base of cuttings should be slightly woody and the top of the herb cutting should still be soft.
  • Ensure the cuttings are taken from non-flowering, healthy and pest free plants.
  • Cut herb stems in the morning when temperatures are cooler and cuttings are less likely to wilt.
  • Use a sharp pair of clean pruners and place the herb cuttings into a plastic bag to stop them drying out.
  • If you are unable to tend to the cuttings immediately, store them in the fridge to keep them fresh. They can be stored here for up to 12 hours.
  • Your cuttings should be around 4 – 6 inches long or 10 – 15 cm. If not, you can trim your cuttings to this length by using sharp pruners for a clean cut.
  • Cut of the lowest leaf stems from the cutting, so there are only three or four remaining.
  • Following this, dip the ends of the cuttings into hormone rooting powder/gel. This will improve the chances of growing new herbs from the cuttings.
  • To plant the cuttings, mix sand and potting soil. Fill plastic pots with this mixture and insert the cuttings into each pot.
  • Label each pot so you know which herbs are in each. Water them well and then leave them to drain.

These are just a few tips and tricks on how to begin planting your cuttings. The video below from GrowVeg, offers advice on how you should store your cuttings for the best growth of herb cuttings. If you have any tips yourself on how to grow new herbs from cuttings, do let us know in the comments below.

GrowVeg – How to Grow New Herbs from Cuttings

How to Grow New Herbs from Cuttings

Shasta daisies come up to date

August 26th, 2016 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Leucanthemum (Shasta daisy) 'Goldfinch' has lovely semi-double yellow flowers.Shasta daisies (Leucanthemum) have come a long way since they sagged on spindly stems in my mum’s herbaceous border decades ago. The flowers were bright and cheerful but as soon as it rained the stems bent over or the whole plant simply leaned into its neighbour and squashed it. Not good.

But creative plant breeders in North America, in Holland and here in Britain have been working to improve Shasta daisies and two of the best of these recent introductions are ‘Freak!’ and ‘Goldfinch’. And the fact that they’re short and don’t fall over is just the start…

So yes, they grow no more than 40cm in height and have unusually strong stems so they don’t need staking. But they also branch well from the base so that from June to September there’s a constant succession of flowers. And then there’s the flowers themselves.

Firstly, the old Shasta daisies came in white. Full stop. The flowers of ‘Goldfinch’ (above left) open bright butter yellow and mature through lemon yellow to ivory white and, what’s more, the semi-double flowers have many rows of petals around the golden eye, not just a single ring, so each individual flower lasts much longer.

‘Freak!’ (below) is similar in that it too has many rows of petals but in this case the petals are pure white with neatly frilled tips to each one.

Both are ideal towards the front of sunny borders or in large containers. If you prefer to cut them for the house, cut them when most of the petals have unfurled. Cut the stems at a 45 degree angle, place them up to their necks in buckets of lukewarm water with added flower food and leave them there overnight in a cool place before arranging.

By the way, you can also grow Shasta daisies from seed, ‘Alaska’ is the variety to try, but although they usually flower on quite short plants in their first year, in following years they usually grow to about 1m in height.

You can order ‘Freak!’ and ‘Goldfinch’ leucanthemums separately, or as a collection of both, from Mr. Fothergill’s.

Leucanthemum 'Freak!' is a prolific, slightly shaggy, semi-double white Shasta daisy.

Mr Fothergill’s new weather station to provide worthwhile data on trials

August 25th, 2016 | News | 0 Comments

weather stationMr Fothergill’s has installed a state-of-the-art weather station on its Kentford, west Suffolk, trial ground, which it believes will provide a database of useful information relating to the scores of genera and species it grows every year. The station has been providing information to the company’s horticultural team since April 2016. The system measures temperature, humidity, dew-point, wind direction, speed and chill factor; it includes a barometer, a record of daily rainfall, rain rate and storm total. It also states sunrise and sunset time.

It comprises two pieces of kit – the actual physical weather station and a console connected to a computer, and with benefit of batteries in the console, data will continue to be collected even during a power-cut. The apparatus collects data at regular intervals and a database of all previous months’ weather means all aspects and their impact on the trial ground can be monitored. The plan is to build data over time to check the performance of different genera and species in different conditions.

For instance, in May 2016 temperatures ranged from -0.6ºC to 25.6ºC, and two very notable issues have already been highlighted. The first is the amount of rainfall, which for a relatively dry site has been surprising. Up until 2 August 2016 the site has received 191.6mm, of which 94.6mm fell in June, with 37.8mm falling on the 23rd alone; on 20 June the rain rate was more than 180mm per hour.

Equally remarkable are the fluctuations in temperature in July, with the lowest 8.9ºC and the highest 30.3ºC, which is also the highest so far in 2016. In July there were three nights when the temperature dipped below 10ºC, when the cucumber trial in the polytunnel clearly showed which varieties had the best cold tolerance. Overall mean temperature through the months has been recorded, with April 6.9ºC, May 12.8ºC, June 15.2ºC, and July 18.1ºC. Trial ground manager Brian Talman believes the cooler weather in late spring kept plants back for a several weeks, but, fortunately, July has put them back on track for a good display in August.

For more information on Mr Fothergill’s range, or to request a catalogue, please visit www.mr-fothergills.co.uk, telephone 0845 371 0518 or write to Mr Fothergill’s, Gazeley Road, Kentford, Suffolk CB8 7QB.

weather station