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January 20, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley Walled Garden news

2016-01-20, Thermometer, Minus 6 in AWG

Minus 6 in Apley Walled Garden today

Phil Allen, Head Gardener of Apley Walled Garden, here explains that January is the perfect time for ground prep, repairs & starting off seedlings.

Ground prep

Now’s the time for ground preparation in the polytunnels & glasshouses (not outside, where it’s frozen hard today – see his photo today of his garden thermometer showing minus 6!)

Phil’s digging in (with a simple spade & fork) the relatively warm horse manure from our own ponies (keeps it local!).


He’s putting new wire, new posts & new gates on the fruit pen (aka fruit cage) (where the raspberries grow).  The polytunnel doors have been repaired, damaged by high winds in December.  The tunnel of hazel sticks against which to grow peas & beans will be installed this month, usually done in April or May, but this year, he’s been able to get ahead of himself a bit. 


Using a heated propagator, Phil’s started off seedling broad beans, which will be put in the glasshouses by 1 Feb. Coriander is being grown in plastic bags with perlite, a volcanic rock which holds moisture well. Adding a tiny bit of water keeps the perlite moist & hydrogen peroxide (bleach), which breaks down the seed coat. This is chemical stratification, which makes the seeds grow much faster.  If the seed case isn’t loosened, it can easily rot in the ground at this time of year.Shaking seeds in a sandpaper-lined tin is another way of loosening the hard seed coats, to speed up germination.

There’s little growing in the polytunnels so far – just parsley (for the Apley butcher counter), radishes & carrots. They’ll be forced on as soon as they get a bit of sunshine.  Phil’s also growing seedlings of early cauliflower, early calabrese & early cabbage in plastic bags (which stop the mice eating the seeds).  They’ll be ready to plant by the end of February.


We’re delighted that a possible new volunteer approached us, seeking some relevant horticultural experience. She’s having a trial day on Thursday this week & will no doubt help Phil hugely this year.

Hear him on the radio

Don’t miss hearing Phil sharing more of his gardening tips on BBC Radio Shropshire’s Gardeners’ Question Time this Sunday, 24 Jan, 12-1pm.

Online DeliShop

All year round, Apley Farm Shop sells 2 sizes of veg boxes onsite & online. Click HERE to order the family veg box or HERE to order the smaller size. These are only available for Click & Collect. Some items are available for home delivery. We always use Apley Walled Garden’s produce whenever it’s available.

Apley Tomato

For the diaries of tomato lovers, I’m just planning the first ever Apley Tomato Festival 24-25 Sept, which will run as part of the Apley Harvest & Craft Fair. More details on that very soon. Chef demonstrations, tomato recipes, tasters, numerous varieties …

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