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@ Sheringham Community Paper Issue No 46 - Friday 18th February 2005 - Choose another issue
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Gardening Tips

Your fortnightly gardening tips for indoors and outdoors
Sheringham Community Paper
Winter pruning.  If not already completed, any pruning required on fruit and decorative trees and shrubs is best finished before the sap becomes active. Garden lore is rich with advice, learned books are there to be consulted. However, most of us , and the plants in our charge, manage without degrees in ‘ prunology’, and for ease and simplicity there are a few things it may help to remember.
Remove branches that reach from one side of the tree or shrub across the centre, those that chafe against others and ugly and unbalanced growths.  Always cut back close to a remaining bud and, if at all possible, choose a bud pointing outwards from the centre of the bush or tree.
With top fruit (trees such as apples and pears ) try to allow plenty of air circulation around the branches.  For bush fruit like gooseberries you should be able to move a clenched fist around branches without getting scratched.
Many decorative and fruit bushes flower and fruit on the previous year’s wood. Pruning should therefore remove a good proportion of the flowering / fruiting wood after this harvest to encourage fresh wood for the following year.

Roses.  Traditionalists make a lot of pruning bush ( large-flowered ) roses. Recent research has proved that bushes produce more blossom by being trimmed back by a third with shears or even a chain saw, which is far less time-consuming.   Species and old-fashioned roses require less pruning so, if this is not a task you enjoy, plant fewer of the bush varieties and more of these. Restrict yourself to removing obviously worn-out stems, ugly and diseased pieces and shoots that unbalance the form. Weak growth and bits that clutter the centre should also be removed.

SEED SOWING.  Growing masses of bedding plants from seed is a lot of work and not recommended for the easy garden, but there will be some plants that you will enjoy raising and new ones you may want to try. If there is some heat available, this is a good month for sowing most seeds ( look at the packet instructions, as some seeds need the action of frost to activate them ) The warmth of the kitchen windowsill will be plenty to get most germinating quickly.  It is sensible to use seed compost free of organisms and weed seeds that could inhibit germination or damage or compete with fledgling seedlings. If you do not have a propagator, you can manage perfectly well with a seed tray or pot enclosed in a plastic bag to retain moisture and provide a mini eco-climate, or even a margarine tub covered with cling-film.  The ‘rules’ for successful seed raising are as follows.  Use clean containers and fresh seed compost. Sow seed thinly, so that germinating seedlings are not crowded and do not get drawn upwards seeking space and light. Keep the compost moist but not sodden, which is best achieved in a sealed container or plastic bag. Maintain warmth.

As soon as seed begins to germinate, allow in more air and make sure that the seedlings have full light. Seed leaves are followed by the first true leaf- one which begins to show the characteristics of the species.When the first true leaf is fully developed, the seedlings will be ready for pricking out into individual pots or spaced in trays. Do not allow the growing seedlings to dry out but do not drown them either. Try to prick out only a few more seedlings than you need. There is a temptation to use all the seedlings, thinking in terms of ‘waste not want not’, but time, effort and space spent raising surplus plants is wasted. Keep yourself under control.

Embarrassing Stories

Sheringham Community Paper

I had to change my daughter's nappy on my lap while out with a parent and toddler trip but it was rather runny and most of it went all over my pale green dress. I had to walk around all day with a big brown patch and the smell was unbearable on the way home in the mini bus!
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