Posts Tagged ‘Halloween’

October Gardening Advice

October 1st, 2019 | News | 0 Comments

Mr Fothergill's October Gardening Advice 2019

If you listen quietly to your pumpkin patch, you’ll hear the growing whispers of ripening pumpkins, eager to take centre stage on Halloween night. There’s a chill in the air. As nights draw in, and temperatures drop, we need to prepare our gardens and allotments for the cold months ahead. Whether it’s making warming soups from homegrown produce, or planting bulbs for the spring season ahead, this is a busy time. But it’s also a glorious time, as autumn’s palette is awash with rich golds, reds and oranges.

So, raise a cup of homemade soup, and celebrate the harvest season.

In the flower garden

Bedding

It’s fair to say that summer bedding plants have had their moment in the sun. Remove them from your pots, containers or borders and replace with polyanthus and pansies. Give them fresh multi-purpose compose and water in well. However, if you’re leaving your borders bare, then clear the area of weeds, cutback and remove any unwanted debris and mulch the area with a thick bedding of well-rotted manure, compost or bark chippings. This will not only suppress weeds, but add nutrients to your beds.

Hardy annuals

If you’re looking ahead to next spring, then now’s the time to sow hardy annuals. Cosmos, marigolds or cornflowers can either be sown directly into the soil or into seed trays with sieved seed compost. Place in water-filled tubs, and let the trays soak the water up, as watering overhead will disrupt the soil, and spoil the seed. Place carefully in a warmed greenhouse, and keep an eye on them throughout winter. You can also sow sweet peas in pots, and let them grow on in the greenhouse.

Tender plants Protect tender plants with fleece in the winter months

As temperatures begin to drop, you need to bring think about winter protection for your tender plants. Cannas are not made for colder weather, so find a spot in your greenhouse or shed, where it’s light and frost-free. Cut away dead flowers or leaves to help prevent rot. For further protection, wrap them in fleece. Check plants regularly.

Bulbs

Now’s the time to plant tulip, daffodil and crocus bulbs. Whether they’re going into pots, containers or the ground, the golden rule is plant them to the depth of three times their height. Ensure the soil is well drained, as sitting in water over winter will increase their chances of rotting, so consider adding grit for drainage.

If you’re planting in pots, you may want to think about using the ‘lasagne’ method. This is when you take different flower types and layer them one above the other. For example, first to flower would be snowdrops, so they would sit at the top of your ‘lasagne’. The next layer would be crocuses, and so on, until finally, tulips. It’s a great way to get the most from one pot or container, giving you continuous colour throughout the spring.

Dahlias

Unless you live in the south of the UK where winter temperatures are more forgiving, now’s the time to lift your dahlias as a harsh frost could put an end to any further blooms. Once lifted, foliage should be cut back to a few cms above the tuber, turned upside down and left to drain for a few days. Once dried, these can be placed somewhere cool, dark and frost free. Ideally, place them in paper, or straw, in a box, and check on them every so often to make sure they haven’t rotted.

Roses

Once your rambling and climbing roses have finished flowering, give them a prune. Then tie them in, to prevent any damage over the coming winter months. Remove all foliage from site, if your rose has had black spot, then it can fester in any foliage not collected, and re-appear next year.

Fallen leaves

A garden rake and a pile of fallen autumn leaves on a lawnAs the leaves begin to fall, it’s important you keep on top of them and rake them clear from your lawn. Any build-up can harbour pests, stop light getting to your lawn, and create a ‘browning off’ effect. It’s especially important to keep paths and patios leaf-free as with a layer of frost, it can be easy to slip and hurt yourself. If you’re not adding leaves to your compost heap, think about creating a wired pen. Leave them to rot down for six to twelve months and you’ll have free leaf mould which is great for mulching plants. If space is an issue, use bin liners which can be tucked away in small spaces. Make sure you create several small holes in the bags, however, or your leaves will quickly become a bag of badly-smelling slush.

Perennials

Leaving perennials untouched over winter not only adds structure to your garden, but it gives a well needed food supply to your garden wildlife. If you decide to cutback, then take it to the base of the plant. If they’re summer flowering perennials, consider dividing and re-planting, to increase next year’s summer blooms. Plant in well, water and give the plant a heavy mulch to protect it from the colder weather. Don’t cover the stems as this will cause the plant to rot.

On the veg patch

Pumpkins

Pumpkins and squashes should now be lifted. To ensure they last throughout the winter months, leave them in the sun for several days to harden their skins. After that, place somewhere cool.

Apples and Pears

This will be the final opportunity to harvest the last of your tree fruit, such as apples and pears. What isn’t going to be used straight away, can be stored. Ideally use slatted shelves or boxes, and place the fruit carefully on them. Check that each fruit is not bruised or damaged, and try not to let it rest on another fruit. Place in a frost-free, dark, but well-ventilated cool room. Check regularly, and remove any fruit that has spoiled.

Rhubarb

Now’s the time to lift and divide rhubarb crowns. Using a sharp spade, divide the crown, ensuring each section contains at least one growing point. Re-plant in well drained, fertile soil, ensuring each crown is well spaced.

Beans

With your bean plants spent, don’t be too keen to remove them from your bed. Instead, cut the plant to the base and remove the foliage. The roots produce nitrogen as they breakdown which will invigorate your bed for next season.

If you have a veg bed already ear-marked for next year’s beans, dig a trench. Over the coming months, layer it with kitchen waste or manure.

Garlic

A gloves hand planting garlic bulbs into some soilGarlic needs a good cold period to help develop its cloves. Don’t be tempted to use bulbs from a supermarket as they may harbour disease. Instead, buy them from a garden centre or online supplier.

In well-drained, fertile soil, place the individual cloves at 20cm apart, in rows 30cms apart. The cloves tips should be all you see of the garlic. You may want to cover over with either a fleece or netting, to stop birds from pulling them up.

Herbs

Herbs, such as basil, parsley and coriander are not frost hardy. Therefore, pot them up and bring them inside, keeping them on a well-lit windowsill.

Greenhouse

If you’re hoping to use your greenhouse over the colder months, but an electric heater is not an option, then consider insulating it with bubble wrap. As the days get colder, make sure doors and vents are kept closed and any damaged panels are quickly repaired.

Soil

If you’re leaving vegetable beds empty over winter, turn the soil. This will not only get air into the soil, but will expose hiding pests. You can also add a thick layer of well-rotted manure, or compost. Over winter, the worms and weather will help break it down, and integrate it into your bed.

Other Jobs

A selection of carved Halloween pumpkins on a table

  • If you’ve had houseplants outside, now’s the time to bring them back inside. Ideally, let them slowly acclimatise to the indoor heat, otherwise, the shock may damage them. Keep them away from direct heat sources, and place them in a draught free area which is cool but with good light.
  • Give nature a helping hand. Fill your bird feeders and hang fat balls. With cold days ahead, your garden birds will need all the help they can get.
  • If you have a pond, place a ball on the surface. This will keep the water moving, prevent ice forming and ensure any fish can still get oxygen.
  • As this is the month of Halloween, it’s time to carve your pumpkins! This is a great opportunity to get children involved with the allotment or growing patch. Not only will they have seen the pumpkin grow from seed, but they’ll get to harvest and enjoy it. Make sure you don’t waste the flesh; pumpkins make tasty autumn soups and risottos!

Halloween Finale for Staff Competitions at Mr Fothergill’s

October 31st, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

Each year the trials team at Mr Fothergill’s organise fun growing competitions for the staff to have go at.

This year volunteers could grow the tallest sunflower or the heaviest pumpkin. The ones with artistic flair could grab any pumpkin from the field and carve it for Halloween display.

The tallest Sunflower reached 3.06m high and was grown by Lisa from the IT department. She not only watered them every day, but also gave them names, talked to them and sung from time to time.

Lisa commented: “I enjoyed the competition and looking after my sunflowers. Everyday watering with the addition of Seasol every two weeks did the trick. Moreover, when you talk, you release carbon dioxide which plants use to produce food, therefore helping them to grow. I also believe that all living things are somehow connected, so just like animals and people, they need to feel a sense they are loved. I spent 5 mins every evening after work telling them about my day! Now, when it all finished and they died I really miss my three plants I used to talk to.”

12 people took the challenge to grow the heaviest pumpkin. Rachel from our trials team won the competition with a pumpkin weight of 24.3kg. Production director Jeremy gained 2nd place with a 19.5kg fruit and mail order manager Paul was just behind him with 18.7kg.

Rachel said: “It was an amazing summer and pumpkins are very thirsty. I fed the pumpkin only a couple of times with Seasol, I watered every other day in the height of the summer, a whole watering can full at a time as I felt it needed it. It was only when it got a little cooler that the pumpkin got bigger, it ripened well and I did not realise how heavy it was until I tried to lift it!”

At Mr Fothergill’s the growing season ended with the pumpkin harvest and carving competition this year. Eight judges scored six amazing entries. Gladys the Witch created by Carol, Lindsay and Hannah was the judges’ favourite, followed by an eye ball carved with attention to detail by Suzi. Joint 3rd place went to Colin’s Polar Bear Mafia and Jeremy’s Little Boo. All participating employees put much effort and creativity to create a stunning Halloween display.

Gladys-the-witch-stole-1st-place-of-Mr-Fothergills-pumpkin-carving-competition

Congrats-to-Suzi-on-2nd-prize-of-Mr-Fothergills-pumpkin-carving-competition-with-eerie-eye-ballWell-done-to-Colin-for-joint-3rd-place-with-Polar-Bear-Mafia-creation

SWell-done-to-Jeremy-for-joint-3rd-place-with-Little-Boounflower Giant Single costs £1.40 for 75 seeds, Pumpkin Atlantic Giant priced £3.05 for 10 seeds.

Mr Fothergill’s has a wide range of pumpkins and squashes that will look great on Autumn displays, many of them having amazing flavours when cooked. They are available from Mr Fothergill’s retail stockists throughout the UK, from our latest Seed Catalogue or online. Visit your local garden centre for the full range or head over to www.mr-fothergills.co.uk.

Mr Fothergill’s Pumpkin Mercy Dash for Capel Manor College

November 4th, 2013 | News, The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

When Capel Manor College, Enfield, realised it was short of pumpkins for its ‘Hallowe’en Howler’ festival on Sunday, 27 October, Mr Fothergill’s stepped in to see if it could help.

Ian Cross of Mr Fothergill's with his car loaded with pumpkins ready for delivery to Capel Manor CollegeThe company’s marketing manager loaded his car with an assortment of more than 50 pumpkins of all shapes and sizes and headed to Capel Manor College in North London to make sure there were ample supplies of the Hallowe’en staple for the event.

“We grow many varieties on our Newmarket trial ground, so we were pleased to be able to help the College and all the families which attended its Hallowe’en Howler at the weekend” said Ian.