Alan's Weekly Garden Tips - Week Forty Six

Published on November 14th 2019
Hoar frost on Rudbeckia seed heads

Home grown food – Herbs

  • Most herbs become dormant in winter, but a few can still be grown to flavour your meals!
  • You can force mint into new growth if you pot up a few roots and keep the pot in a warm and light position. No reason to stop having fresh mint tea just because it's winter! It's best to split up older plants and re-pot a young piece from around the edge. Throw the older bits away.
  • Supermarket bought basil plants soon struggle in the kitchen, but potted on into fresh compost and put on the brightest windowsill you may find they take on a new lease of life!
  • Sow coriander, basil and mustard and cress seeds on a tray lined with kitchen paper roll. Keep it moist at all times, and you'll soon have micro-leaves for your sandwiches or to garnish a plate.
A Johnsons micro-greens growing kit
A Johnsons micro-greens growing kit
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Greenhouse, Polytunnel and Conservatories

  • Insulate greenhouses with bubble polythene. A layer of this can lift the temperature by a few critical degrees to keep the frost out and can save up to a third of the fuel costs of a heated greenhouse.
  • Open the ventilators a little on mild days to encourage good air circulation and minimise disease spread.
  • Wash the glass down with Jeyes Multipurpose Disinfectant and Cleaner to allow as much light in as possible.
  • Watch out for any mice that might move inside at this time of year!
A close up of a mouse
Mice move into the warmth in November

Flower Border and Pot Tips

  • Move planted pots closer together so that they protect one another in cold weather.
  • Remove saucers from underneath pots, and ensure excess water can escape through the drainage holes by standing them on pot feet or tiles.
  • Protect tender alpine and succulent plants from the cold and wet with a sheet of glass or a garden cloche. In the wild, many of these plants are protected from the cold and wet by several feet of snow.
A cloche covering a succulent plant
A cloche covering a succulent plant
  • Some plants can be protected in winter by their leaves. Giant rhubarb (Gunnera) can be protected by cutting off its leaves and inverting them onto the growing point.
Gunnera leaves on top of growing points
Gunnera leaves inverted onto growing points
  • If you haven’t done it already, trim the dead flower heads off summer and autumn flowering heathers. A pair of sharp shears will be suitable for this. Trim a little off the shoot tips as this will keep the plants compact.
Pruning heather plants with garden shears
Pruning heather plants with sharp garden shears
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