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Friday, 13 October 2017

October Jobs in the Garden

Many believe that the cooling weather means it's time to pause gardening efforts for the year. However, if you're hoping to have healthy plants growing when next year rolls around, you'll want to do a bit of planting in the coming weeks, sowing seeds that can survive and grow through the winter to sprout and bloom in the spring!

Specifically, there are a number of delicious vegetables that you can plant during the autumn and early winter so as to harvest in spring. If this is something that interests you, and you like the idea of plotting a vegetable garden before the real cold weather sets in, here are a few tips for cool weather gardening, as well as a few great vegetables to plant.

Tips For Cold Weather Gardening Comfort

  • Purchase Gloves - Generally, some manner of gardening gloves are recommended for your yard work in any season - but particularly with the weather cooling off, it might be a good idea to buy new gloves. Cold, stiff hands make it very difficult to handle equipment and go about gardening, and it's an easily avoided problem!

  • Wear A Winter Hat - This may seem like a very obvious suggestion, and for some it is. However, it's important to emphasize the hat above other cool weather attire. Bulky jackets and overcoats can make gardening tricky, as they make it harder to be flexible bending to plants, getting on the ground, etc. Keeping your head warm warms your body effectively, however, and a winter cap doesn't get in the way of your activity.

  • Address Seasonal Irritation - Allergies are generally more closely associated with the spring season, but different people react differently to cold weather. One example is in eye irritation that can result from spending time outside in your garden in an unfamiliar season. If this is an issue for you, a quick visit to Acuvue can help you to identify potential reasons for irritation, as well as different solutions - eyedrops, contact lenses, etc. - to keep you more comfortable.

Vegetables To Plant This Season

  • Asparagus - This is a long-term project, as Asparagus beds require 2 years to be ready for picking, but it's nonetheless a vegetable that can be planted in cool weather.

  • Onions & Shallots - There are many varieties of onion that can be planted now for harvest in the spring. Telegraph notes several suitable varieties, and even sells them in their garden shop online.

  • Spinach - A common favourite among home vegetables, sowing spinach now can give you a beautiful salad supply come spring. Merlo Nero is one recommended variety.

  • Cabbage - This is a great option because it will be ready in some capacity by early spring, but will continue to grow thicker and heartier after your initial harvest.

  • Peas - Another delicious option, fairly easy to grow and which will be ready by spring or early summer if planted in the next month.
Whatever you opt for I hope they do well for you.

DG

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Conquering Mole Hills And Other Mountains In Your Garden

If you are an avid gardener, you’ll know that it can be difficult keeping your yard beautiful. There are numerous common issues that gardeners deal with everyday they get down on their knees and stain their trousers with green. Thankfully, most of these problems have fairly simple solutions. If you have had any annoying issues when you’ve been gardening, you just might find the solution right here.

Water Water Everywhere
 

Perhaps your biggest issue is that there is just too much darn water flooding your garden. Water is obviously essential for plants to grow but too much, and you’ll essentially drown them. If your soil density is too high, it won’t be permeable. There might also be an issue underneath your soil that means water builds on the surface, turning your grass into a soggy mess. If you have this issue, you can look into permeable solutions. You can get this laid down underneath your garden by a professional landscaper.

Alternatively, you might just want to check how dry your soil is before you try planting new flowers in your garden. Give your soil a squeeze. If water drips out, it might be best waiting for it to dry out a little more.

Chomping Insects
 
All gardeners know that feeling when you wake up, check your plants and veg in the backyard only to find little chunks taken out of leaves, flower petals and even the potato. If that’s the case, snails and slugs are the most likely culprit. They’ve sneaked in, albeit slowly and devoured your plants while you have been sleeping. There is a way to fix this issue too though. You can use copper slug tape to protect your plants and vegetation in your garden. With a trick like this, you should easily be able to make sure that no more damage is done to your plants by hungry insects in your garden.

You can also use slug pellets and insect repellents, but it’s far better to just keep those bugs away from the plants and vegs. That way, you can avoid damaging the soil or even the plants with chemicals.

The Black Spot!
 
It’s not as bad as it sounds, but the black spot on your plants can be a real nuisance. You’ll often find it on the leaves of roses in particular. The black spot is quite simply a fungus that grows in murky environments. You can treat it with fungicide, and as such it doesn’t have to plague your plants forever.

Mole Mess
 
Finally, you might have a problem with moles in your garden, leaving little hills that really can seem like mountains, messing up your lovely garden. You can fix that by tackling the food source of these beasties. Moles eat worms so if you kill the worms with pesticide the moles will soon disperse. People often get expert exterminators in to deal with moles, but there is really no need. Once the worms are gone so is their food source, and things will quickly be back to normal in your beautiful garden.


DG


Thursday, 5 October 2017

Onion Soup, fresh from the allotment



Following on from our post the other day about how to grow onions, we thought it would be a good time to think about what to do with some of them! Onion based soups have been popular at least as far back as Roman times. They were then usually seen as food for poor people, as onions were plentiful and easy to grow. The modern version of this soup originates in France in the 18th century, made from beef broth, and caramelized onions. It is often finished by being placed under a grill in a ramekin traditionally with croutons and gruyère melted on top. The croutons on top is reminiscent of ancient soups
INGREDIENTS
  • 6 large red or yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced.
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups of beef stock
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dry thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 slices of toasted French bread
  • 1 1/2 cups of grated Swiss Gruyere with a little grated Parmesan cheese
METHOD
1 Cut each onion in half lengthwise, then slice into half-moons. Slice these half-moons in half again. Place them into a large saucepan, sauté the onions in the olive oil on medium high heat until well browned, but not burned, about 30-40 minutes (or longer). You can let them cook even longer — an hour and a half will give you deeply caramelized onions! Just let them cook, stirring at times, as you see dark colour emerge. After 45 minutes they will look pale mahogany in colour. You can let them get even darker if you like — just don't let them burn or get black. Adjust the heat as necessary.

2 Add the sugar about 10 minutes into the process to help them to carmelise. The rich flavour of the base is not due just to the broth, but to the caramelized onions (typically, the pot is full of sliced onions, which will shrink down to less than half the volume on cooking).

3 Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the stock,  wine, bay leaf, and thyme. Cover partially and simmer until the flavours are well blended, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaf.

4 To serve you can either use individual oven-proof soup bowls or one large casserole dish. Ladle the soup into the bowls or casserole dish. Cover with the toast and sprinkle with cheese. Put into the broiler for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until the cheese bubbles and is slightly browned. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Backyard Buildings: Your Guide To Garden Construction

agriculture, architecture, building


The outdoor space that comes with most properties is severely under used. Most people will let this area fall out of shape, making it hard to use them for hosting guests or entertaining the family. Of course, though, there’s an excellent way to get more out of this part of your home without having to do regular work; building. To help you out with this, this post will be going through some of the best construction projects you can undertake in the backyard.


  • Sheds


A lot of people like to use their outdoor space for storage for large items which can’t fit within the home, like patio furniture and bikes. This sort of option won’t set you back very much, but you might need to get some help to put it up, as they need solid foundations to be safe. Most shed retailers will offer a building service for a minimal fee. So, it’s worth seeing what you can get when you weigh up your options.


  • Stables


Of course, you don’t have to think about a conventional approach when you’re adding to your outdoor spaces. Instead, you can take a walk on the wild side. A company like Vale Stables can help you to find a great stable for your garden, enabling you to keep large animals like horses, sheep, or pigs. You just have to make sure you have enough space for them. Not a lot of people consider this sort of idea, but it can have a huge impact on your garden, even if you only use it as storage or shelter.


  • Summer Houses


When you’re spending time, money, and effort on building something in your garden, you’ll want to make sure that you can get the most out of it. One of the best options to achieve this is a summer house. Being similar to a shed, but designed to be comfortable on a summer or spring day, this sort of option can give you a great resource in your backyard. It will enable you to stay out of the sun, while also enjoying the wonder of the outdoors.


  • Gazebos


A gazebo is fairly similar to a summer house, but it lacks a very distinct feature; walls. Providing shade and shelter, but still leaving you in the elements, this sort of option is great in most gardens. They are cheaper than summer houses while offering most of the same benefits, giving you the chance to save a little bit of money. Of course, though, you’ll have to do some research to find the right style.


  • For The Kids


If you have children, your garden is a great tool which you’re probably under using. Most kids will be happy to spend hours at a time playing in the backyard. But, you’ll need to make sure they have the resources they need to do it. Summer houses for little people can be found fairly inexpensively, and items like swingsets are also cheap. Adding these elements will take some work. But, for the joy it gives, it will be well worth it.


Most people ignore the space they have behind their home. A lot of gardens fall to ruin, their space wasted and going unused. This is a shame, though, as it doesn’t have to be hard to make good use out of this sort of space. You just have to do the right work.


Saturday, 23 September 2017

Growing Herbs with Limited Space

Following on from this post about growing herbs with limited space it is possible to take this one step further and create vertical herb gardens.

Using either a custom kit (widely available) or if you are good at DIY creating your own the key is to use good quality compost and water regularly. Also by harvesting your herbs you will keep it all in check.



Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Alfresco Relaxation: Turning Your Garden Into An Oasis Of Calm

For many of us, there are few places that make us feel calmer or more relaxed than our gardens. Sadly, we don’t all have outdoor spaces that are reminiscent of glossy magazine images, but if your garden is a diamond in the rough, there are lots of ways you can polish it and create a perfect space to chill out. Here are some top tips to bring calm to your outdoor area.





Colourways
When you’re trying to add ambience to a room inside, colour is probably one of the first things you think about. Colours can affect our mood, as well as the look of the room and choosing specific tones and shades can help you to feel calm and mellow. The same rules apply outside. If you’re keen to use your garden as a tranquil spot to rest, relax and recover after a busy day, avoid colours that make you feel energised. Instead, choose shades that help you unwind. Rather than opting for neon pinks and bright yellows and oranges, got for whites, pastel shades and serene colours like duck egg and cornflower blue or lilac. You can add colour to your garden in many different ways. If you’re a keen gardener, fill planters, beds, and baskets with plants and shrubs that will last the autumn. If you have a low maintenance garden, you can add accents with accessories and furniture.


Feeling cosy
In the summer, you can kick back with a good book and a well-earned drink without worrying too much about the weather, but as temperatures fall, it’s a good idea to try and make your garden a cosier, more versatile space. Scatter blankets and throws around sofas and outdoor chairs and take a look at a patio heater buying guide. If you’re after something more rustic, a fire pit may be a solution worth considering. If you weatherproof your garden now, when it gets chilly in the evenings you can stay warm and continue to enjoy your garden.


Lighting
Lighting can play an instrumental role in setting the tone both indoors and outdoors. If you long for your garden to be a sanctuary where you can soak up the peace and quiet and escape the hustle and bustle, use muted lighting that creates a romantic vibe. You could hang strings of oversized bulbs, add up-lighters to your patio or flowerbeds or even create a statement with free-standing outdoor lamps. Finish the look off by placing lanterns and LED candles on decking or garden tables.


Plants
Plants are not just there to look beautiful. They can also add a sensory element to your garden. Many plants are proven to have healing and calming properties, so if you want to de-stress, opt for lavender, bamboo and spider plants.





Do you love retreating to the garden when you get back from work or soaking up the sunshine on a lazy weekend afternoon? If you’re keen to use your garden to de-stress and chill out,  there are lots of ways you can create your very own oasis in your backyard. Think carefully about colours, choose plants that are proven to relax you, keep lighting muted and add heaters and soft furnishings to keep you cosy.


Thursday, 10 August 2017

Dividing Rhubarb


If you grow rhubarb in your garden or allotment you should be thinking about dividing it over the next few weeks if you haven't done it for a while. Rhubarb plants should be divided every five years or so giving you additional plants but also healthier ones too.

How to divide Rhubarb
Dig up the crowns and roots taking extra care not to damage the crown. Divide the roots into 4 to 8 pieces depending on the size of the plant you are lifting. It is best to divide the dormant crowns between two large buds called eyes so that at least a 5cm or so section of storage root is left attached to each bud. Remember to take care not to break off the delicate buds as these can easily be broken, but other that that the roots are actually pretty tough and can tolerate quite a lot of rough treatment. Small buds will give you small plants for the first few years after planting until the newly divided plant bulks up again, while four to ten new roots can usually be obtained from crowns that have been grown a few years.

Take care not to allow the divisions to dry out or to freeze if you are not to going to be planting the straight away. Remember that when you are dividing crowns for re-planting, it is a good idea to identify the most vigorous plants the previous summer and use these as planting stock in the Autumn. The depth of planting should be so that the top of the plant is at, or only just below the soil surface. Gently firm the surrounding soil and water the new plants in well. The space between plants should be approximately 75cm (30in) for smaller varieties, and up to 120cm (48in) for larger varieties. It is a good idea to identify where the newly divided crowns have been planted with a cane until new shoots appear above the soil surface in February or March.

It should be obvious but crowns from diseased plants should not be divided from.

Soil Preparation
All Rhubarb varieties develop a deep root system and will grow best in a fertile, partially shaded, free-draining soil. It is a good idea to prepare the ground in advance, start digging over your soil four weeks before planting and remove any stones you find and adding as much organic matter as possible.

Heres a useful video:

Thursday, 27 July 2017

‘Excuse Me, This Is My Garden!’ 4 Ways To Make It More Private

What springs to mind when you think about a summer garden? The odds are that you will imagine a nice decking, a neat lawn, and beautiful flowers with vibrant colours. What you won’t think of is the lack of privacy. Unfortunately, lots of houses don’t have enough space between the plot of land and the neighbours. As such, it can feel like you are constantly being watched when you just want to enjoy the warm weather. The only thing to do is add features which safeguard your privacy. With that in mind, below are the tips that you will want to consider.




Put Up A Fence


The reason people go to companies like Oakdale Fencing and ask for an estimate is the effectiveness. Simply put, there is no better way to shut out the neighbours than a fence. After all, they are high and sturdy and solid, so what more could you want? The only issue is getting the height right. If you go too high, you will send a message that some people might take personally. The key is to get it high enough to restore your privacy, but not to make your neighbours think you are antisocial.


Plant Shrubs


Another option is to use Mother Nature to your advantage. That way, the people next door can’t complain about your fence being too high and shutting them out. To do this, you will need to plant shrubs that grow tall and have thick foliage. Then, the hedges will take care of the issue naturally without the necessity of a man-made contraption. Of course, they will need some care and attention as they can look cluttered and untidy when they grow too thick. But, if you trim them down once in awhile, they can be stylish and private at the same time.




Don’t Use Platforms


Lots of homeowners like to add a platform to their garden, particularly if they have decking. The problem is that a raised platform adds height and makes the grounds more visible. So, you will want to omit it wherever possible. The options are to forget about decking altogether and use stone as an alternative or lower the platform. Hopefully, this will help you keep a shred of decency the next time you are hosting friends or relaxing in the evening.


Be Realistic


Sadly, it is not practical to make the entire garden private because the space is too big. What sites like BHG says you can do, though, is take one area and concentrate on making it as closed off as possible. As long as you pick a part of the garden that is concealed to being with, it’s a much easier task. Plus, it will save you a lot of money and time as opposed to transforming the whole garden. Then, at least there is one space which you can enjoy without worrying about watching eyes.




Privacy is a big deal, and now you can treat it with respect thanks to the advice above.



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