Welcome to our web site nursery news
On these pages we update all what is going on at the nursery and keep you up to date on the seasons growing with monthly hints and tips.
For updates on the shows and dates for 2024 see News about our Shows.
If trying trying ‘Grow your Own’ for the first time, don’t be put off by a failure. As we have always said, each year is different, so never be put off by a bad years results. There is always next year, gardeners are optimists. There is always our facebook page to check for daily updates and each monthly mail shots for more information on growing month by month.
There is a Chinese saying which says:
To be happy for a short time; get drunk, happy for a long time; fall in love, happy forever; take up gardening.
Nature is unstoppable.
As always the nursery is open for the collection of all your vegetable plants as the seasons progress.
All our plants are grown using John Innes compost which is loam based. We use biomass boilers to heat all our glasshouses and use predator’s or a natural spray to control unwanted garden pests rather than a chemical spray.
We are committed to following the advice from the experts to deliver the highest standards of safety and hygiene for our staff and customers.
We regret we cannot send any plants to Northern Ireland or the EU.
Available now at the nursery we have
Vegetable seedlings including the
Mammoth Onion and Mammoth Leeks
Tomato, Chilli, Sweet Pepper, Aubergine and herb plants available.
Seed Potatoes, Onion and Shallot sets
Spring planting Garlic,
Rhubarb Crowns. Strawberry plants.
Our full range of seeds
February nursery opening times
Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm
CLOSED SATURDAY AND SUNDAY
Jobs in the garden for February here in the UK
The days are starting to lengthen and a feeling of growth is in the air. Seedlings are appearing and there is potting to be done. There is nothing better than potting seedlings indoors when the weather is cold and wet outside. The start of February was mild but colder days can still arrive and much of the ground is still very cold and wet. Don’t be tempted to work outdoor ground which is still wet, more harm than good can be done, wait until the surface of the ground dries a little. Keep a watch on the weather forecasts for a dip in temperature with a sheet of fleece to cover vulnerable seedlings.
Jobs for February
Outdoor ground is still best left rough to allow the frost and birds to do their work. The frost breaks the soil down and the birds will take any unwanted bugs and grubs. Don’t be tempted to leave it covered with plastic sheeting.
Our exhibition vegetable ground which was dug over in the autumn is still left untouched. The recipe for the preparation of the onion and leeks ground has remained unchanged for over 150years. For the info on this please refer to the first pages in our catalogue or email for a copy.
The Mammoth Onions and Mammoth Leeks for exhibition can be potted on but will still need a warm greenhouse. Take care not to over water young seedlings at this time of year. The smaller varieties of onions and leeks can still be sown in a warm greenhouse to plant outdoors in April or May.
A few early tomatoes can be sown to start the season early. One of the quickest varieties to mature is Red Alert, it will produce cherry sized fruit on a bush plant. There are many varieties of tomatoes to choose from, grow the types which will fulfil your needs, whether Tumbler for a hanging basket, Patio Plum for a small space or some of the taller varieties for a large crop. Home grown tomatoes are a staple of the summer diet.
Chillies and sweet peppers are best sown early they need the time to develop as they grow much slower than tomatoes. All will need overnight warmth to grow well.
Sow Lettuce, Rockets and American Land Cress for a fresh taste of green or for a strong flavour why not try the Wasabi Rocket, Early salad leaves, Beetroot for an early crop and a few herbs can be sown. For a few early carrots why not try Paris Market, it is a small round carrot which will grow happily in a container.
Cabbage such as Hispi or Minicole can be sown, the Hispi is such a versatile cabbage as it can be used at anytime of growth without having to wait for maturity. The large Giant Cabbage is best sown early as it is slow to mature.
Now is the time to sow celery of all varieties. For sowing celery follow the rule for sowing,’ most seeds should be covered the depth of the seed’, so don’t cover too deeply. We always water from the top, this is where the seed is. Seeds will not germinate in dry compost.
The onion and shallot sets which are available now can also be put into small pots ready for transplanting when the outdoor ground improves. There are now so many varieties to try. Some such as Santero are mildew resistant whilst the pure white Snowball and Red Baron are mild. The Red Cross has some resistant to bolting which can be a problem in red onions from sets. Check out our website for details of all the varieties we supply. Pink Panther has replaced Rose of Roscoff from sets, the seeds of Roscoff are still available.
Seed potatoes are now available these can be put to ‘chit’ ready for planting. Again the choice is vast, one variety for every taste and condition. Why not plant a few inside for an early crop? The optimum time for planting potatoes is when the ground temperature reaches 8°C. The traditional earliest dates for planting are St Patricks Day, March 17th and Good Friday (which moves, this year it is March 29th) but they can be planted up to the end of April, so there is a wide window. Planting too early leaves the window open for the tops to be frosted, this doesn’t usually kill the potato but it does make them mature later.
Any garlic and overwintering onion sets planted in the late autumn will benefit from a top dressing of general fertilizer to give a boost to their conditions after the winter months.
When changing to non peat based compost remember it will act differently, so be prepared to feed the pots more often and monitor the watering of the pots. John Innes, a much heavier compost, retains the water so the plants needs less watering.
A mixture of the two composts is often a good option, giving the water retention of the John Innes with the lightness of the peat free.
Before putting time and effort into growing from seed, always source seeds and plants from reputable UK nurseries, garden centres and suppliers. Many gardeners buy seed from internet based unknown names. Some online sellers appear to be UK-based but are actually overseas, sending seed without the necessary legal documents and inspections.
W Robinson & Son (Seeds and Plants) Ltd
‘The Home of the Mammoth Onion’
Sunny Bank, Forton, Preston
A pest solution.
Now that conditions are correct for planting leafy vegetables slugs can be a problem. Use this simple garlic repellent to deter garden pests like aphids and slugs. It can also help eliminate powdery mildew on foliage.
Peel the cloves from a whole head of garlic and put in a food processor or blender with 235 ml of water. Purée the mixture (this takes about a minute in a regular food processor). Alternatively, chop or crush the cloves as finely as you can by hand and mix well with the water.
Add a further 700ml of water to the mix, along with 30ml of any liquid soap. Blend again and then transfer to a clean jar.
Leave the mixture to steep overnight, or for at least 12 hours, so that the garlic can infuse the liquid with its potent sulphur compounds.
Once the mixture has had time to steep, strain it through a muslin cloth or fine mesh strainer to remove the solid garlic pieces (which would otherwise clog the nozzle on your spray bottle).
Pour the garlic-infused liquid into a reusable spray bottle and store in the fridge between uses.
Mist plants in the evening, holding the spray about 15-30cm away from the foliage, and cover both sides of the leaves with an even coating of the garlic pesticide spray. Re-apply every few days (and after any rainfall) when your plants are suffering with an infestation, or once a week as a deterrent.
Garlic has a reputation for warding off vampires but it’s also effective against smaller blood-sucking creatures such as mosquitoes.
Add two-three crushed fresh garlic cloves to a food grade oil such as sunflower oil and leave to infuse for 24 hours.
The following day, add 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice to the mixture, along with 500 ml water.
Strain the garlic, lemon and oil mixture through some muslin cloth or a fine mesh strainer to remove the pieces of garlic.
Transfer to a spray bottle and apply this natural repellent as needed to keep mosquitoes away.
Below is a guide for when to feed vegetables which we hope will be of help.
GENERAL RULES FOR FEEDING VEGETABLES.
All root vegetables….. Never. If the ground is correctly prepared.
Brassica…… Never. If the ground is correctly prepared
Chilli Peppers….. When the fruit has started to set and swell well, never feed too early.
Courgettes, Marrows and Cucumbers…… When first picking starts.
Onions and Leeks……. Never. If the ground is correctly prepared.
Onions and Leeks for exhibition……. Never. If the ground is correctly prepared. However they respond to a feed of Nitrate of Soda if a burst of growth is needed.
Peppers and Aubergines…….. When fruit is golf ball size.
Tomatoes under glass……. When the fruit on the first truss is pea size.
Tomatoes outdoors…….. When the fruit on the second truss is pea size.
NEVER FORGET PLANTS DON’T HAVE TEETH, THEY DO NEED WATER TO TAKE UP THE NUTRIENTS IN THE GROUND! ALWAYS WATER THE GROUND WELL IN HOT DRY CONDITIONS.
W Robinson & Son (Seeds and Plants) Ltd
‘The Home of the Mammoth Onion’
Sunny Bank, Forton, Preston PR3 0BN