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Monday, 14 November 2016

Building Your Nest: Ways To Make Your Garden Sustainable And Eco-Friendly


As a species, all humans are under extreme pressure to improve the way they live and reduce their impact on the world. There are loads of ways that you can do this within the home; but, what can you do in your garden? A lot of gardens have tons of unused space that can be repurposed to help the planet. However small, these changes can still make a difference.

Unfortunately, unless you have a massive garden and several thousand to throw at it, you can’t really generate much power from your garden. Solar panels are great for your roof, but that’s not the garden. If you have a river on or a large hill your land, you can also look into hydro or wind power.

  • Compost Your Waste

Most of our food waste and other organics still have valuable energy that will simply go to waste, if thrown away. Instead, you can compost it. Composting is best done in the dark, as this will encourage insects to do their work. It’s also good to have a separate area of the garden for it; to avoid a mess. You can get your hands on a plastic composter for relatively little. They will reduce the smell, and help to keep everything tidy.

You can use compost on the plants in your garden to help them grow. By letting organic waste breakdown, you create a nutrient rich material without using chemicals. This is a great way to make it easier to grow your own food!

  • Grow Some Fruit And Veg

Most of the fruit and vegetables that we eat come from overseas. They’re transported across land, sea, and air before they meet our dinner plates. This isn’t a problem when you only consider yourself in the mix. But, with so many people relying on their food being available to buy, huge amounts of food have to be moved around.

By growing your own food, you can offset this a little bit. You probably can’t grow everything you’ll need, all year round. But, you can at least limit what you buy. Using a greenhouse will help you to grow food all year round, and will also keep your produce safe from animals.

If you talk to your friends and family, you can even arrange to grow food to share. If each of you focuses on one or two different types of food, you can share your extra produce with those around you; getting food in return.

  • Source Your Own Water

Just like our food, moving water around the world uses a lot of valuable resources, and contributes greatly to emissions. But, most of us live on our own hidden reservoir; the garden. Using Nicholls boreholes or a similar company, you can start sourcing your own water. A borehole takes advantage of the water that the soil and earth in our gardens absorb when it rains. You can start supplying nearly all of your water from your garden, shrinking your carbon footprint and water bill, at the same time.

Be creative, and take advantage of your space. It’s a good idea to leave an area of the garden to grow freely. This gives animals a place to live and increases your garden’s carbon conversion.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Is It Possible For Kids To Find Gardening Enjoyable?


From playing football to sitting on a swing, young children love to spend time outside in their gardens. It’s an environment where they feel safe to run around and explore their surroundings. Their garden can also ignite their imagination which can only make their games even more enjoyable. But despite their love of spending time in the garden, many parents don’t consider gardening as an enjoyable kids activity. While some elements of gardening can be hazardous to small children, there are elements that they can still get involved in. So rather than presuming they won’t enjoy it, here are some gardening activities your kids are bound to adore.

Rake the leaves on your lawn

During the autumn and winter, give your kids the responsibility of raking the leaves off your lawn. This will not only help to keep your garden looking pristine, but can also teach your kids about the change in seasons. You can explain why the trees and plants die and what you can do to make them look even better next year. You could even use some of the leaves for kid’s art projects. You can find some fabulous ideas on https://uk.pinterest.com/. Small children may need some assistance with this activity, but try to let them do as much as they can by themselves. This can make them feel more mature and independent.
 
Create an edible garden

Another fantastic activity your kids will love is planting their own vegetable patch or fruit trees in your garden. They can take part in caring for the edible sections in your garden by watering the patch or trees regularly. Being able to eat the produce they have grown can be a wonderful reward for all their hard work. It can introduce them to healthy foods they may not have encountered before which can improve their diet considerably. Your kids will also love being able to get a snack from your garden rather than going to the store.

See http://www.chrisbowers.co.uk/ for more ideas on types of fruit trees your kids can plant and care for. Alternatively, visit your local gardening centre for vegetable seeds that require little maintenance.

Encourage them to get messy

It’s no secret that gardening can get messy. This is one of the main reasons why your children will enjoy it so much. Allowing your kids to get messy encourages them to explore and learn more about their environment. So let them help you pull up weeds and dig through the soil with their hands. You can even create games that involve soil from your garden such as building a mud castle. This can teach them more about your garden while also allowing them to unleash their creativity. But if you don’t want your kids to get too messy, take a look at the kids clothing on https://www.spottygreenfrog.co.uk/.

These activities can help make gardening fun and age appropriate for your children. It will be hard to keep them indoors when they find spending time in the garden so enjoyable and rewarding. So if someone asks you if your child enjoys gardening, you can confidently say yes.

Can You Transform Your Garden Into A Winter Wonderland?

For some people, the onset of colder weather and longer evenings means no more time in the garden. For some, that is a good thing - leave it there, and come back to it in March to deal with the mess. For others, it's a shame - because they haven't twigged that the year-round garden is a possibility. Of course, it takes some extra work, and you need to wrap up warm, but your garden in winter can be spectacular.
 
We've seen before that it's possible to plant the right things and have a garden that's in bloom all year. But what about the rest of the things you do with your garden? One of the things that makes an outside space welcoming is some signs of life out there. And flowers or plants, although they are alive, don't exactly do much. You can't very well enjoy them through the window for four or five months.
 
So even if a garden is in bloom all year, that doesn't mean you've got a year-round garden. How can you make it a place where you'll happily spend time in winter, without freezing to death in fifteen minutes? Fortunately, it's more than possible.
 
 
Step 1: Install A Fire Pit
 
The name conjures up images of a supervillain in a Hollywood movie, but the reality is, fortunately, a lot more benign. Let's think about fire pits this way: construction sites don't close down for the winter, do they? And manual work, though it makes you sweat, doesn't keep you warm. So workers on their down time stand around a brazier to warm up.
 
A fire pit in your garden has the same benefits. You can do some weeding, repaint a fence and keep the garden in tip-top condition. When time comes to take a break, a cup of coffee standing by the fire pit can be like heaven.
 
Step 2: Pick The Right Furniture
 
An abandoned garden bench in winter has a certain sadness to it. You can't help thinking of pleasant summer days spent sitting there. And sitting there is what a lot of garden furniture does when the mercury drops below ten degrees. All-weather furniture, from Bridgman.co.uk or other vendors, allows you to still spend time out there. Position it close enough - but not too close - to the fire pit and you've got a lovely winter garden experience.
 
Step 3: Make It Welcoming To Little Visitors
 
 
Many of us have a bird feeder in our garden to attract feathered friends, but with fewer breeds around in winter they often go ignored. Not all birds fly south when it starts to get chilly. Those that hang around will be hungry, so keep the feeder up and favour more fattening treats. Food in nature is going to be in shorter supply, so giving them a fattening treat like suet will keep them coming back.

Step 4: Winterise Your Pond
 
In the UK, winter temperatures can get below freezing - especially at night. A lot depends on the depth of the pond, but if you have fish in there, it is essential to stop it freezing entirely. You also need to remove any rotting vegetation, as these can release gases that are toxic to fish. If you have a pond filter, move it closer to the surface, as the bubbles caused will reduce the risk of freezing. And if you can't stop it freezing, it's time to move the fish to an indoor tank.

 

 

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Ye Olde Garden: How To Get Vintage Style Into Your Back Yard


If you’re like many gardeners, you have a bit of a soft spot for homes that have vintage appeal. There’s something wholly romantic about anything that has a history. But getting that romance to spill out into your garden can be a challenge. Where to start?
The good news is that there are plenty of ideas rustling around for how to do just that. Anybody can now turn up to their local garden centre and start putting together their own vintage garden design. Here are some top tips.

Love Your Roses
 
 
Ever since the Wars of the Roses, the rose has been a central emblem in British history. So what better way to bring a touch of the old world to your garden than through the rose. It is the quintessential British flower.
Nothing gives a garden more of a vintage look than a wooden archway, adorned with pale, white roses. What’s more, roses produce a beautiful scent you can enjoy while reading on your garden bench.

Lay Down Rustic Sleepers
 
If your garden is split up into sections, a great way to section off different areas is to use sleepers. The problem is that many modern sleepers don’t look particularly vintage. The good news is that some sleepers, like M-track sleepers, have a rustic finish. This means that you can lay them down in your garden, even if you’re going for that iconic vintage effect.

 
Host A Tea Party
You don’t have to redesign your garden to make it more vintage, of course. You can just change what you do in it. A very good idea is to bring your table and chairs outside and have your very own Mad Hatter’s tea party. Set your table up underneath a pergola or an awning. Then dress the table with all the usual trimmings. Don’t forget the cake stand and your mother’s crockery.

Make Garden Buildings Look Pretty
In the past, garden buildings were the preserve of the rich, unless you were penniless, in which case you had an outhouse. As a result, they were beautifully designed and cared for. Outdoor buildings were a retreat, not some vulgar receptacle for your garden tools.


It’s easy to pretty up your garden buildings, like sheds. The first is to make sure that they’ve got a nice lick of paint. Duck egg blue is always a good colour for gardens with plenty of greenery. But you can choose from other rustic favourites, like cream or pastel green. Next, ensure that your outbuildings are beautifully situated. Nothing kills the rustic feeling of a garden more than sheds that are stuck out by themselves on big, concrete foundations. Think about how you can make your garden buildings look nestled away behind rows of beautiful flowers, trees, and bushes.
Accessorise Your Way Into The Past
The great thing about accessories is that they can fit into practically any space, no matter how small. Grab things like church candles, mason jars with tealights and fresh hydrangeas. Make your vintage garden stunning both day and night.


Thursday, 6 October 2016

Easy Ways to Prolong The UK Growing Season

The UK might not be known for its fantastic weather, but it doesn’t mean us Brits can’t have success in the garden! The average growing season is now a month longer than it was in the 1990s, but due to our long and cold winters it’s still much shorter than other places in the world. However with the right know-how and equipment it’s easy to prolong the growing season, and achieve more crops. Here are some of the ways you can go about doing it, to get the most out of your garden.


Grow Houses
Growhouses such as greenhouses and polytunnels will absorb heat from the sun, and protect tender and half-hardy plants from the frost over the winter. To go a step further, you could insulate your structure with a layer of bubble wrap, or have heating installed. The temperature you’ll need to maintain will depend on the crops you’re growing so be sure to thoroughly research everything. Having a warmer environment in the garden allows you to keep growing produce right into the year. There would be no chance of this otherwise in the frosty UK winter!


Cold Frames and Hotbeds
Cold frames and hot beds are useful accessories to a greenhouse. Frames are boxes which lie flat on the ground with a glazed, sloping lid. A cold frame is left as it is and will provide protection from frost and a natural greenhouse effect from the sun. A hotbed is a cold frame but with an added heating device. This can be in the form of manure or nitrogen-rich compost. You can take advantage of this natural energy and chemical reaction by putting it where both the fertility and warmth will have the best impact.


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Mulch
Adding a layer of mulch, organic material such as bark, chippings, leaves or compost, is useful over the winter. It adds a protective barrier which helps to keep the base and roots of plants warm and avoid evaporation so that it doesn’t dry out. Mulch prevents soil compaction and also keeps out weeds which will prevent root competition. An easy, inexpensive way to protect your plants and keep them happy right the way through the year.


Cloches
Cloches are glass or plastic covers which will protect single plants. They 'buffer' temperature for late-ripening crops, reducing the sharpness of early frosts. As well as protecting from the elements, it will also protect against pests. Cloches act as mini-greenhouses and will help to keep your more tender plants protected. Taller cloches promote ripening of aubergines, tomatoes, and peppers. Cucumbers. Wind protection increases growth rates and leaf surface area, and also promotes ‘softer’ growth. This is useful for leafy crops such as salads, spinach, and cabbage where soft growth is desirable. Cloches also offer a favourable environment for cuttings as well as helping to germinating seeds. You can buy specially made glass cloches, or also make your own out of simple materials you’d find at any DIY shop.


Do you have any tips and tricks for extending the growing season





Thursday, 22 September 2016

Utilise Your Small Garden With These Fantastic Tips

Having a small garden doesn’t have to be the end of the world for keen gardeners. In fact, there is so much you can still add to your garden to ensure it’s one of the best areas of the property. After all, you will want your guests to be impressed when you take them outside of your home. Therefore, here are some fantastic tips so that you can utilise your small garden.

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Use pots for plants

You don’t have to take up too much room when you want to grow plants and vegetables. The best way to do this is by growing them in pots instead of in the ground. That way, they won’t take up too much room but will still bring a colourful array of flowers and herbs to your backyard. You can then place these pots around the garden so that it will add a pop of colour to different areas. If the weather is going to be bad, you can even bring them inside so that they won’t get harmed. Therefore, consider buying several pots so that you can get planting to your heart’s content.

Plants In Pots, Summer, Green, Gardening, Nature

Consider vertical plants

Instead of going outwards with your plants, you should consider adding some vertical plants for your garden. That way, they won’t take up much space in your small garden while they grow. They also look beautiful and will add character to your backyard. Also, consider adding these vertical plants against your walls in the yard, so that they have plenty of room to grow. And once you have got the perfect fencing suppliers sorted for your garden, you could even grow plants against these to make the most of the space in your yard. Some gardeners even mount stacker plant boxes to their fence to create the ultimate vertical garden.

Image result for vertical garden

Install a small pond or water feature

You don’t need the biggest garden in the world to have a small pond or water feature. In fact, as we talked about before, a small fountain would really finish off the garden nicely. Therefore, you should consider what would work best in your garden. A small pond is an ideal way to add some life to your garden. As you can read about in this article, the tiny oasis will bring butterflies and birds flocking to your garden. As well as this, it can provide some much-needed colour to tight areas in your garden. However, choose fish that are easy to look after so it’s low-maintenance!

Water, Garden, Aquatic Plant, Plant, Park, Pond

Use bookshelves and ladders for pots in garden

When you are struggling for space in your backyard, it’s time to be creative with ways to hold your flower pots. Using old bookshelves and ladders for your pots is an ideal way to use little space while creating a flower haven. As described in this feature, you can see how fantastic it can look to display them on a ladder in your backyard. Therefore it’s time to put your creative thinking hat on when trying to utilise your small garden.

File:Plant display, Daylesford - geograph.org.uk - 1440469.jpg

Remember that if you still want an area for entertaining, you could remove some of the lawn. That way, you can create a small patio area for your table and chairs.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Digging Deeper Into The World Of Giant Vegetables


Growing our own vegetables is a pastime enjoyed by many - the fresh air, relaxation, having only the freshest food to eat at home. However, there are some gardeners who do things a little differently and grow their veggies for one purpose and one purpose alone - growing enormous vegetables.
The Weird & Wonderful World of Giant Vegetables

This infographic from Sun Leisure digs a little deeper into the weird and wonderful world of giant veg, taking a look at just what it takes to turn regular sized produce into something gigantic.

It looks at some of the most commonly grown giant vegetables, including potatoes, cabbages, pumpkins, and more, as well as lots of handy tips, such as what time of the year to grow and what pests you should be keeping an eye on.

Naturally, there are also some of the record breaking vegetables in there too, including a pumpkin heavier than a polar bear, carrots heavier than a bowling ball, parsnips taller than a giraffe and much more.

Digging Deeper Into The World Of Giant Vegetables


Growing our own vegetables is a pastime enjoyed by many - the fresh air, relaxation, having only the freshest food to eat at home. However, there are some gardeners who do things a little differently and grow their veggies for one purpose and one purpose alone - growing enormous vegetables.


This infographic from Sun Leisure digs a little deeper into the weird and wonderful world of giant veg, taking a look at just what it takes to turn regular sized produce into something gigantic.

It looks at some of the most commonly grown giant vegetables, including potatoes, cabbages, pumpkins, and more, as well as lots of handy tips, such as what time of the year to grow and what pests you should be keeping an eye on.

Naturally, there are also some of the record breaking vegetables in there too, including a pumpkin heavier than a polar bear, carrots heavier than a bowling ball, parsnips taller than a giraffe and much more.
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