Tips/Growing information

May in the Veg Garden

Peas and beans can be sown outdoors. All vegetable plants can be planted outdoors once ready and if weather conditions are good. Leeks and late Brassicas can be sown now for over wintering

April in the Veg Garden

It’s time to sow the following seeds:

1st Beetroot and carrots outdoors. Plant Brassicas outside and onions from the end of April

March in the Veg Garden

It’s time to start sowing the following seeds:                                                                                        

Brassicas’, Aubergine, Chilli, early lettuce, Jolant Leeks, Sweet Peppers and Tomatoes (outdoor varieties)

February in the Veg Garden

It’s time to sow the following seeds:

Aubergine, Chilli, Sweet Peppers, Tomatoes (early varieties).                                                 Smaller varieties of onions and leeks                                           

It’s time to top dress with general fertiliser:

All overwintered garlic and onions

January 2018

The vegetable guide below was in with a Garden Illustrated Magazine. I thought it may be of interest to members and get them thinking about what to plant for this years Dodford Show

Dodford Gardening Club members plant for 2017 Dodford Show

Fuchsia Update - May

The Fuchsia plants were avaiable to members that wish to take part in the Dodford Gardening Club members only class at the Dodford Show. Members paid £2 for a plant and a pot and saucer to exhibit the plant in at the show.

Growing details etc are below:

Fuchsia Update - February

The Fuchsia plants were potted on, on 14th February. The first picture shows the potting on from a 2.5 " to a 3" pot. (5cm to 7.6cm). Notice the preformed shape of the compost in the 3" pot, this facilitates ease of transplanting without disturbing the roots of the plant. Into the depression a small pinch of friendly Mycorrhiza Fungi has been added to assist with the root development.

Fairfield 001 (23)

The composition of the potting Medium is detailed below, with indication of the pH values.

F2.   FUCHSIA MIX   2017    Quantity 30 Litres   pH  6.5

after 2.5” (6cm) pot up to and including 3.5” (9cm) pot


Peat (Irish Moss)                                                                             15  Litres
Sand  (Coarse Concrete Sand through Medium Sieve)                        3  Litres       
Loam (sterilised) pH  6.8                                                                   6  Litres       
Vermiculite (Fine)                                                                              1 Litre
Grit (small) dust to 2mm                                                                   2 Litres
Perlite            (Horticultural) 2.00mm – 5.00mm                                3 Litres



Vitax  Q4  Professional   5.3   7.5   10.0                                          36 gms          
Nitrogen (N)                                                                                        36 gms          
Phosphates (P)                                                                                   18 gms
Calcified Seaweed                                                                             36 gms
Nutrimate                                                                                           36 gms
Epsom Salts                                                                                        30 gms

R.J.J.   13.2.2017

The second picture shows a completed tray of plants. Some of the plants have had the growing tip removed above the second pair of leaves to encourage branching.

Fairfield 002 (11)


Fuchsia Plant Update - January

The Fuchsia plants are now in their first pot 2" which includes a little bit of feed, they have also had some trace elements added to their water. There are still 56 surviving as shown in the photo below which was taken on 5th January 2017

Fairfield 001 (23)

Member Roy James has been very busy propagating Fuchsia cuttings for members so they can take part in the members only class in this years Dodford Show. Although we have chosen a Fuchsia plant again this year we have chosen a different variety. Roy started with 60 cuttings, 3 didn’t take and one was weak and was thrown out so there are 56 remaining which I think is a high success rate. Hopefully he will pass on his propatation tips to us during the workshop evening in April!

The photo below was taken on 12 December 2016 when the cuttings were 6 weeks old, they looked like they were going well for the time of year and were ready to be potted on and fed for the first time having been grown in a deep 60 cell tray.

As the plants are grown on I will keep you all up to date with their progress.


Dodford Gardening Club members plant for 2017 Dodford Show



Blight Alerts

For those of you who are growing  Potatoes this year or growing tomatoes you may wish to take advantage of the blight alerts in the local area by signing in to




The plant is a Hardy Fuchsia, the flowers are single (4 petals) and will grow as an Upright Bush or Shrub.

It is to be Exhibited in the 13cm/5” Terracotta coloured Pot and Saucer supplied.

The plant growing in a 7.6 cm/3” pot has been treated with Mycorrhiza fungi and contains sufficient food to last until 6 June.

Place a label in the pot (Class 37), use the label as a guide to give the plant a ¼ turn each day.

By the 6 June, it should have been re-potted into a slightly larger size pot with fresh compost. Continue re-potting and slightly increase the size of pot each time. Finally it should be in the 13cm/5” pot by 11 July with additional fresh compost.

From 15 August the plant will require a liquid feed when watering the plant, diluted tomato liquid feed will be suitable.

To encourage the plant to grow and take shape it will be necessary to “pinch out” the tips of the growing shoots when they have developed 3 pairs of leaves.

Remove ALL Flower Buds as they appear.

When considering the overall shape of the plant, it may be suitable to pinch out shoots after 2 pairs of leaves to encourage bushy appearance. As the plant is single flowered and the date of Exhibiting is 3 September, this determines the date of the last pinch out which is 11 July.

To encourage all over flowering, the tips of ALL shoots should be pinched out at 11 July.

 After this time NO MORE Flower Buds should be removed.


This plant will be judged on the Flower (30%), Foliage (30%), Cultural Efficiency (30%) and Presentation (10%).


Please note: Although this is a hardy cultivar, it has never experienced outside conditions and should be acclimatised carefully if not being kept in a greenhouse.




Garlic is a most underrated vegetable, fairly easy to grow, similar to Shallots. There are many health benefits associated with garlic.

Like any vegetable the quality of the seed or bulb is very important if you want to grow  a quality and tasty specimen.

 Many of the garlic bulbs that are in the shops come from France, Italy and Spain, some of these have been heat treated to aid condition and storage life.  They are not suitable for growing under the conditions in the UK.  It is essential to grow a suitable variety, in fact some of the best UK garlic is grown in the Isle of Wight.

Different varieties require different planting dates and conditions.

One of the best varieties for the local area in Worcestershire is called SOLENT WIGHT, it also responds well to a planting date of 21st November. ( One month before the traditional Shallot planting date).

Garlic is best suited in a sunny position in fertile soil, requiring 50 gm. per sq metre of a general purpose fertiliser.

The cloves are planted just below the surface of the soil, about 9 inches apart, in rows 12 inches apart.  Regular weeding is necessary and the new bulbs should be ready for harvesting in June/July when the leaves have turned yellow, carefully lift the bulbs and lay them out to dry. The variety Solent Wight, stores very well until the following spring.



Please Note –  Currently there is no Class specifically for Garlic in the Annual Dodford Show and this vegetable can be exhibited in the “Any Other Vegetable Class”. If there is sufficient Interest then a Class specifically for Garlic will be considered.



Peas are a versatile vegetable, easy to grow and provide pickings from May through till the beginning of October, maybe November in a good year.

There are many varieties available, as can be seen from the seed catalogues; with the round seeded varieties for early sowing in January/February followed by the wrinkled seeded that can be sown from March up till the end of June. In the old days the locals in the area of Penny Pot used to say “never plant after Fair Day” (Bromsgrove Strawberry Fair June 24th).

Like any vegetable the quality of the seed   is important if you want to grow a tasty and quality crop.

Peas like an open sunny position with good drainage in a rich soil, with pH of about 7 and is an ideal crop to follow Brassica’s in your Crop Rotation.


Round seeded varieties of note are Meteor and Feltham First.  

These are not the best for freezing, but then the early crop is for immediate eating after the long winter period without fresh peas.  January, February and March are the times for planting 1.5” (4cm) deep in a flat bottomed drill 6” (15cm) wide and spaced 2” (5cm) apart + a few for the mice.

For these early crops the soil can be warmed with fleece or cloches to give an early start and sowing to picking should be about 13 weeks.

These varieties grow to about 18” (45cm) in height and sticks are not required.


There is an abundance of Wrinkle seeded varieties with names such as Little Marvel, Kelvedon Wonder, Hurst Green Shaft, Early Onward and Onward to name but a few. March, April, May and June are the times for planting 2” (5cm) deep in a flat bottomed drill 6” (15cm) wide and spaced 3” (7.5cm) apart. These varieties have higher sugar content and from sowing to picking should be about 16 weeks.

They can grow to varying heights from 2-4ft (60-120cm) and will require Pea Sticks or netting. Some are more suitable for freezing, best to check the seed catalogues for details.


Exhibition Varieties – There is really only one variety that can compete successfully on the Show Bench and this is the variety Show Perfection, available from reputable seed merchants; although the reselected strains do vary between seed merchants.  The top Exhibitors have reselected their own strain over the years. These should be started off in individual pots and grown singly up an 8ft (240 cm) cane.  For Dodford Show, plantings need to be staggered (dependant on weather) during May. Gardening Club members are able to give advice to anyone who comes along to the meetings.


Keeping some of your favourite Peas for next year’s planting is not only money saving, but also helps to improve your own strain, by selecting a few of the “best” pods.


 Mange tout peas are an interesting variety for a gardener who does not have the kitchen staff or time for shelling.  Best sown March and April for summer use, some varieties can reach 5 ft (150cm) so support of sticks or netting will be required. Remember to pick before they are past their best.


Please Note – There has recently been a new found interest in growing Peas at the Dodford Gardening Club and a Class specifically for Peas is being re-introduced into the Annual Dodford Show. So it is now time to get the variety Show Perfection. Anyone who has difficulty obtaining this variety should contact the Show Secretary, before the beginning of May.