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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Win a Delicious Healthy Veg Box


Riverford delivers healthy delicious and award-winning organic vegboxes and other food fresh straight  from the farm to your door and for this months competition we have one of their fantastic well packed hampers to give away.

Riverford offers a range of weekly organic essentials like vegetables as well eggs, milk, meat, juices and cereals, they can even deliver wine and chocolate when you need a treat and their amazing Organic vegboxes start from just £10.35 for the small classic vegebox. The Riverford box scheme began when Guy Watson started delivering vegetables locally to 30 friends in Devon. They now deliver around 40,000 boxes a week to homes around the UK from their regional farms. Ordering is easy and flexible, delivery is free and you don’t even need to be at home. www.riverford.co.uk

The prize is a large vegbox with meat that will be enough organic meat and veg to feed 4+ people for around a week. Typically 12 veg varieties with potatoes, carrots and onions most weeks. You’ll also get 3 RSPCA award-winning meat items that will always include a joint and mince, plus a different cut such as diced chicken.

To be in with a chance simply tell us what you would like to cook with your prize and who you would love to cook the meal for.

Extra entries can be made by sharing this competition on Twitter (include #DiligentGardener) or by liking our page and sharing the competition on Facebook.

An additional entry can be made by "following" this blog via Google Friend Connect

Terms and conditions: This competition closes at 23.59 on 31 October 2014. Any entries received after this time will not be counted. Entrants must be UK residents aged 18 years or older to enter. By entering this competition you agree and consent to your name being published and by taking part in the competition, entrants are deemed to have read, understood and accepted all of the Terms and Conditions and agreed to be bound by them. The winner will be selected at random from the valid entries and will be announced here on the blog. Please make sure we are able to contact you if you do win.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Garden Storage Options for Your Tools and Bikes this Winter

Those cold winter months are just around the corner and that means that if you’ve not already started, then it is time to start making preparations for your garden. It may be hard to believe, but a garden is not all about your luscious lawn and well-tended shrubs and beautiful flower beds. From your BBQ to your bike to that abundance of garden tools you’ve collected over the years, there are just so many items that require protection from the harsh weather conditions. With those chilly, autumnal days are fast approaching and so there really is no better time to consider your winter storage options.

“Spring” Clean

It’s important to keep your garden tools out of the wind and rain and the more you look after your tools, the longer they’ll last. Ensure you clean them properly before storing them, or else they could rust or become stiff before spring arrives. A warm bucket of soapy water and a household sponge are the easiest way in which to do so, but be sure to clean those hard to reach places too.

If you’ve decided to put your bike into storage for the winter months or even just for a few days, then you’ll most likely want to consider giving it a clean and a quick check up before you do. You may already carry out a yearly service on your bike to make sure that is in safe, working order but it’s vital that your bike is cleaned and oiled regularly too. Especially if it’s going to go untouched for a few months, or else you run the risk of it rusting or tainting. 

Storage Facilities


Garden storage is a must for any garden and no matter how big or small your garden may be, there are plenty of options available to you. The garden shed is nothing new, having been a firm fixture in back gardens for many, many years and are the obvious solution to storing a whole host of items. Whether you opt for a metal, plastic or wooden frame, making room for a garden shed can help you to keep your garden tidy and your tools safe and secure.

It’s so important that you utilise the space inside your shed as best you can, especially if your shed isn’t the largest.
Clever space saving ideas such as mounting your tools to the wall of your shed, or turning old plant pots into storage containers.

Cycling seems to have become somewhat of a staple hobby for a huge amount of people this summer thanks to the Tour de France arriving in the UK. If you’d rather not store your expensive bikes with your lawnmower, then fear not, as there is an easy solution. Companies such as
Sheds and Things offer a range of bike storage options and whether you want to store one bike or four, they come in a range of sizes to suit you (and your garden).

Winter aside, keeping your tools, your bike and other garden items stored correctly is extremely important, not just in terms of maintenance, but in terms of security too.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Why Garden Furniture completes a Garden

Your garden is something very personal to you; you look after it, you decide how it looks and more significantly you decide what goes in it. With that final point I’m not just referring to the trees, flowers or herbs you may plant, or the appliances and tools; yes these are an important part of it but what really completes your garden above all is the furniture you choose.


It could be said that a garden without furniture is like a guitar without any strings – you have the basic elements but there’s a crucial part missing that you need to get before you can fully enjoy it. What’s more is there are specific areas of your garden that you will find have their own unique features when you acquire yourself some furniture for them.

Patios
A patio is without a doubt a place for socialising all year round; from the excitement of bonfire night to the warm late summer evenings – a patio is a place for friends and family to gather.

What you can’t expect though is for everybody to remain standing the whole time they are out there, nor will they have enough hands to hold all of the potential food, drinks and technical devices you expect to see at social occasions these days - the obvious solution to this is some furniture. Shackletons provide a fantastic range, from tables to loungers to sofas that will accommodate your every need. Also you will be able to find the type, size and material that you think best matches your patio – this is as much your choice as the rest of your garden and with the right ones your social events will feel just right.

Your Lawn
The other area that cries out for some furniture is your lawn. In the spring and summer months your lawn will be a lush emerald while your plants will be blooming and blossoming into a kaleidoscope of colour for you to enjoy; the autumn will then show off its pretty, golden browns before the winter potentially showers your garden with a blanket of crisp snow. Whatever the season nothing will beat sitting out in and relaxing on your own comfy bench or chair, feeling yourself calmly unwinding in your own personal Eden. 

Finally, much like your patio the choice is yours from a design point of view; the materials and types are entirely up to you. Channel your inner-nobility and go for a traditional 1900s Edwardian look or go for a more contemporary style – whatever you decide you will find that the furniture really does complete your garden.

Sliding Doors: A Perfect Fit for your Garden

Are you are considering home improvement of some variety? Perhaps aimed at making the most of the sometimes sadly overlooked garden you have? There is a straightforward and very effective means in which to do this - installing a set of sliding doors on the rear of your house or perhaps even on your greenhouse or on your shed.

You may think that sliding doors are reserved only for beach houses and might not suit your property and garden, however this is certainly not the case and by getting some fitted you will be opening yourself up to the many, many benefits that come with this choice. So what are some of the positives on offer to you?

Natural Beauty
If you take great pride in your backyard you should be showing it off for all to see; many beautiful gardens often go unnoticed purely because they cannot be seen or are obscured by closed doors and shut blinds. By replacing your dull back door or rear wall with a set of sliding doors it will be impossible for people to ignore what you have worked so hard to nurture. On top of the wonderful view you’ll get other plus points are that the doors will let in lots of natural light to your house illuminating the interior, you will find yourself saving on energy bills as your house is warmed by nature and you will save a great deal of space without the hassle of a hinged, swinging door.

Greenhouse Effect
Sliding doors aren’t just for your house – by adding a set to your Greenhouse not only will they give it a complete and finished look you will reap the benefits of convenience by casually being able to slide the door open without running the risk of a swing door clattering into you or damaging any of your plants.
Further to this your plant life will thank you when they grow strong, healthy and plentiful thanks to the full light they will get should you choose to fit in glass panelled doors.

Don’t forget the Shed

Yet another place you could fit them would be on your garden shed. Again, aside from being a more convenient and aesthetically pleasing addition, you will also gain added peace of mind knowing your tools and lawn equipment are safe and secure behind a set of sturdy, robust and well-made sliding doors.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Why Choose a Polytunnel to Grow Your Garden?

More and more people are taking steps to grow their own fruit and vegetables in their very own garden. Apart from the extra work to nurture and tend to your own produce, it is actually incredibly satisfying and helps to build a sustainable lifestyle.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or don’t know where to start, picking your plot and the best environment to grow your own plants is often a tricky decision. Many people opt for greenhouses but polytunnels are an increasingly popular alternative - here’s why.

1. Loads of Light
The polythene that creates the tunnel is actually specially manufactured to filter UV rays and allow enormous light diffusion and distribution over the plants and soil. The dome-like shape of the tunnel allows vegetation to receive essential sunlight throughout the tunnel no matter how big or small it is.

2. Heat Retention
Not only does the technically advanced material create UV filtration and light distribution but it also retains heat. This means that plants are protected in adverse weather conditions, particularly in variable climates like the UK. The tunnels are designed to encourage and help plants and crops grow to the finest health and quality so that your skill and attention doesn’t go to waste.

3. Cost Conscious
Did you know that a polytunnel will cost less than half of a greenhouse that’s around the same size? With the wide variety of options in a polytunnel you could also get round four times the growing area when compared with a greenhouse. In this way, a polytunnel would suit different financial circumstances and seems like a smarter option.   

4. Flexibility and Versatility
Another advantage is that polytunnels can be moved and reconstructed in different areas of your garden if you decided to change plans. They come in a range of shapes, sizes and options depending on what you’re looking for and can be used to grow a wide range of plants, foods and flowers and even exotic species too!


As you can see, polytunnels are definitely worth considering if you want to get those green thumbs to work and grow your very own produce or plants in your garden. 

Friday, 25 July 2014

Don't Overlook the First and Last Thing People See in Your Garden!

First impressions are hard to undo when it comes to people walking up to your front door. If you have buy that is in disrepair or looks shoddy, it is saying more about you than the humble fence. Thankfully, it’s not hard to make your fencing say good things about you than bad things, as long as you pay attention to it before the guests arrive.

How to Make a Beautiful Impression

Your choice of fencing can set the tone of the house. It can be as decorative or utilitarian as your heart desires. Wrought iron fencing brings some old world charm to your house facade while picket fencing is an American favorite. Install a high privacy fence, to make it useful as well as beautiful. There are ways to modify fencing that is already installed. Keep it looking its best so that it can put on its best face, no matter who comes to your door. For example:

Keep It In Good Shape - Inspect your fence regularly and replace loose boards or broken hinges. Animals can damage your fence and it may need some repair every now and then. Bad weather can also wear down the paint on it making it look almost shredded in places. You can sand flaking paint off, give it a new coat of paint, and make repairs when needed to keep it in top shape.

Go for a Custom Paint Job -
Add a pop of colour to your fence by painting a mural on it. If you don’t want giant poppies painted on your fence, you can still opt for a bold color choice like blue or steel gray, instead of the usual white. There are numerous stains that can also bring out the best in different wood fences.

Landscaping - Inspect the trees and bushes that are planted around your fence so that they don’t interfere with walking through a gate or end up obscuring the view over the fence. Keep all your landscaping tidy by adding fence elements, like arbors or trellises, to keep your landscaping under control while adding beauty to your fence design.

Fencing doesn't have to be ornate to be beautiful. A white, picket, fence is a simple option that many households dream about before they even make a home purchase. Fences create good neighbours by delineating borders and keeping people out of your yard, when you don't want them there. It’s also quite an inexpsive way to make your yard beautiful – check out the pricing at
Buy Fencing Direct for example.

They are utilitarian and can also be a central part of your curb appeal. It doesn't matter what your tastes are like, there is a fencing style out there to suit your lifestyle that can reflect your personality too.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Summertime garden checklist: How to keep on top of general maintenance

With summer underway and hot temperatures making their presence felt across the UK, your gardens could probably do with a bit of TLC. Here we provide the ultimate summer garden checklist to help you keep on top of general maintenance come rain or shine.

Flowers

·         Always be vigilant and look out for pesky pests such as aphids and slugs. Pesticides aren’t your only option for this, so research natural deterrents and make your garden beautiful and pest-free.

·         As plants such as roses continue to bloom, prune and feed them to encourage new blooms into late summer. Shrubs may also need a boost so give them a good feed to promote growth towards the end of the season. Find out what kind of soil you have and then adapt your feed to supplement it with the nutrients it needs.

·         Opt for potted plants if you find tending a whole garden of foliage too strenuous. This is even possible in retirement homes such as those offered by McCarthy and Stone  where landscaped gardens are a common feature.

Greenhouses


·         Wash and clean the glass, both inside and out, to keep your greenhouse looking great no matter what the weather.

·         Store planting materials under benches and tables within greenhouses to stop them from cluttering up the house and to ensure you always have access to the tools you need. Make sure any sharp edges on tools are covered are stored in a way that won’t present a risk of accident.

·         Grow young plants or vegetables in your greenhouse to ensure you have plenty of colourful things to look at whatever the weather does to your outside garden.

Vegetable and fruit


·         Grow a variety of fruit and vegetables to provide yourself with fresh produce throughout the year. You can freeze excess produce you’ve grown to defrost and use later or turn into jams, chutneys and other sauces if you prefer.

·         Prune vines in August to keep fruit ripening throughout the season and to prepare your plants for the autumn and winter. If you’re not sure exactly when to prune certain plants then this checklist from The Daily Telegraph can help.

General tips

·         Water your plants regularly, choosing cooler parts of the day (such as early morning and night-time) to do it.

·         Re-sow bare patches of lawn with new seed or turf and tidy up the edges with sheers. Placing edging stones can help keep your lawn under control in the long term and giving the whole thing a quick feed of nutrients and water will keep it green and luscious.

Sources:




Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Are Garden Offices Great For You?

This is quite an interesting question. Since you are here, reading these lines, it is obvious that you are thinking about the possibility of buying or building garden offices. We are faced with various different options that are available on the internet. You can now buy something that is perfect according to the wishes you may have. However, although this is the case, will garden offices be suitable for the needs you have at the moment?

In order to answer this question, you need to basically take a quick look at the various options that are available for you. It is important that you think about the work that you do on a daily basis. That will have the highest impact on the work that is to be done. Stay focused on your routine. Is it possible to do work while at home? If so, will you be comfortable working in a garden office or you just need a shed? This is a really simple question that you can ask yourself.

No matter what you may believe at the moment, the truth is that the garden offices can be great for you. There are so many options that are currently available and it is practically impossible not to find something that is truly appropriate. You just need to be patient enough. Take a look at manufacturers and sellers like GardenSpaces.co.uk and you will notice that you can find something that is appropriate, based on the needs you have at the moment.

The only problem is that you have to choose based on the needs you have right now. In most situations people will just consider the first garden office that they find and that looks appealing. If the price is suitable based on the budget of the buyer, the sale is usually made. Do not hurry this choice process. It can lead towards making such a mistake.

Our recommendation is to simply take a look at all the garden offices that are available. Some are more suited for some professionals. As a simple example that you can easily consider, in the event that you are a freelancer that works with computers, you will need a suitable power supply network built inside the office. Make sure that you can accommodate all the furniture you need in order to do your job. That will help you out the most.


The good news is that there are many different manufacturers available on the market. The bad news is that some of them are not going to bring in the high quality you are surely after. With this in mind, try to learn all that you can about the manufacturer. See if the clients that were serviced in the past are happy with what they received. Whenever you notice many complaints that are written about a considered manufacturer, you need to stay away. There is a pretty good chance that problems would appear in your case too. Simply compare the deals and try to find something that is truly appropriate. You will definitely appreciate the choice that you make if it is based on as much research as possible. 
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