Gardening through the Seasons with Margaret Finch / Grasses

Hello Gardeners 
As a keen gardener usually even in some of the worst weather conditions there’s still 
jobs to achieve outside but it’s a gale blowing today -plants don’t keep still for pruning 
making the tasks difficult, but very luckily my Shallots have arrived.
They  have self -isolated for a week and today is the perfect time to’ pot ‘them up.
This is a great way to get ahead giving them a good early start and helps if your ground
is not ready.
As the photo shows, I ‘pot’ them up in multi -purpose compost in 9cm pots pushing bulbs in about 1 inch firming in, watering and placing in a cold greenhouse they will take a few weeks to shoot hopefully can be planted out in March when well rooted.
If you prefer to plant bulbs directly outside, plant into well worked ground about 10 inches /25cm apart with rows 16inches /40cm wide. When planting bulbs directly into the ground, push down an inch, firming in well, to avoid birds pulling them up, covering them with fleece will also help until shooting. A sunny site is preferable and watering if dry will help to swell bulbs. Keep weed free and cut out any flower stems.
They should produce 8/10 more Shallots around the Mother Shallot. Lift in July when foliage goes yellow and dies back allow to dry storing in a light frost-free place.
They are easy to grow with lots of rewards and good yields with very little pests. Onion white rot will make leaves go yellow when in full growth with a white fluffy fungus attaching to the roots, destroy these as there is no cure.
My favourite varieties Golden Gourmet yields well good for pickling and Jermor a French
Banana Shallot copper coloured skin brilliant for cooking. Both store well and last better
than Onions and don’t make you cry so much when peeling in the Kitchen!
Buy now and enjoy Gardening 
Margaret Finch

GOOD WISHES AND GRASSES

As this is the first Gardening Blog of 2021 we wish you all A Very Happy and Healthy 
New Year, with lots of happy gardening planned for this New Year ahead.
While it’s so cold there’s nothing better than sorting out last year’s seeds and looking 
and planning this year’s seed orders.

Looking out at the Garden there’s still plenty of interest with so many different textures -the greatness of Grasses give a huge Winter impact.
Although non evergreen varieties now gold and brown and you could think dead but still giving lots of pleasure waving about in the Winter wind bringing the Borders to life and make stunning features when frosted.
My favourite being the Miscanthus sinensis a brilliant stand -alone grass with silvery
foliage and fantastic red plumes of flowers that look so dramatic in the evening sun.
Great to use in amongst Garden flowers in a vase. It likes well drained soil and to be cut to the ground in early spring, but is still good for hibernating insects in the Winter .
Grasses make brilliant swathes in Borders with Verbena Bonariensis and Hakonechlo
Macro with its interesting wavy leaves and evergreen Festuca Glauca make brilliant grasses for growing in containers.

Enjoy your Gardening and planning for this year ahead and take care.

Margaret Finch

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