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.


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 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.


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 - - 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.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Is It Time To Rethink The Way You Grow Your Fruit And Veg?

Many of us are rather fed up with the increasing cost of food shopping. These days, you won't get much change out of £100 to feed a family of three from a big-name supermarket. As a result, something of a revolution is taking place in our back gardens - literally!

More Brits are converting parts of their garden into places to grow fruit and vegetables. You might think that not much can grow in the UK due to the cold and wet climate. Believe it or not, there's an array of items that thrive in such weather.

The thing is; some of us aren't making efficient use of our outdoor spaces. As a result, we only end up with enough food that could provide just a week's worth of meals. If that paints a familiar portrait, it's time to rethink your strategy. Here's what you should consider doing (or avoiding):

Do grow lots of the things you'll eat often

It's worth sticking to the fruit and vegetables that you'll consume the most. You might think that it would be cool to grow something exotic or seldom seen in your area. But, if it's something you will rarely eat, the effort you put into growing it will be a waste of time.

Examples of the things you may wish to grow in abundance include:

  • Salad leaves;
  • Tomatoes;
  • Onions and garlic;
  • Peas and beans.

Don't forget to test your soil

Yes, most plants need water and light to grow. But, one fundamental rule that catches a lot of folks out is soil testing. Is it necessary? In a word, yes. You need to maintain the right pH balance for the fruit and vegetables that you wish to grow.

The good news is soil testing won't cost you a fortune. You can buy cheap and simple to use kits from your local garden centre.

Do build a greenhouse

One of the annoyances of growing fruit and vegetables is seeing them get destroyed. Insects, slugs, you name it. They want your food more than you do!

A good way to bypass that problem is to build a greenhouse. You can buy them in packs that you assemble yourself. Or you could get one that gets installed for you by the supplier. There are variations of large greenhouses and small ones so you can choose one that fits your garden.

Greenhouses also offer the extra advantage of shelter against extreme weather conditions.

Don't forget to rotavate your soil before sowing any seeds

Looking down at the soil below you, it's easy to assume that it's in good condition. But, one common mistake gardeners make is to forget about rotavating or tilling it.

In a nutshell, rotavating is all about mixing the soil up so that it's loose. This makes it easy to provide the right nutrients for your seeds to grow and plants to flourish. Don't worry if the thought of rotavating your soil by hand makes you cringe. You can buy mechanical rotavators that do the hard work for you!

Good luck with your fruit and vegetable growing.

Monday, 12 September 2016

The Comprehensive Look At Organising A Truly Gorgeous Garden

Gardening is a lot of work. Even if you just want to keep it tidy. So, you want to know that your effort led to something that’s truly beautiful. Of course, tastes will differ on what exactly makes a beautiful garden. But here, we believe it’s a combination of a few different considerations. Below, we’re going to look at how you keep your garden gorgeous.

A gorgeous garden isn’t just one that’s incredibly neat. It should be one that uses colour to such a degree that it touches an emotional part inside of us. Colour has such a strong effect on human psychology and there are a lot of different ways that your garden can use this effect. Use planters, for instance. Better position flowers that might not get along too well to take advantage of the contrast or culmination of the colours.

A gorgeous garden needs to be more than bright and beautiful. It needs to be sustainable. It’s all too easy to get in over your head and create a garden that you’re not as able to keep up with. That’s why you should make sure you’re well organised as a garden. Keep your shed, or wherever else you keep your tools, organised. Don’t use it as storage for bits and bobs but as an accessible and neat area for prep-work. Keep a schedule of all the different tasks that need to be done around the garden so there’s less effort in tracking it all.

Making use of the space you have
Some people have what they might consider a problem. However, we just consider it a different kind of environment to work with. Smaller gardens don’t have as much opportunity for the usual kind of landscaping. They do, however, provide the opportunity to make use of more space. In particular, we’re thinking of the vertical space that’s often left clear in bigger gardens. A vertical planter arrangement can be used to truly striking effect. There are plenty of other vertical gardening techniques to consider as well. A small garden doesn’t have to particularly be lacking.

Outside the flowerbeds
Naturally, you shouldn’t be thinking just about all the greenery in the garden. That’s only one aspect of what makes a gorgeous garden. You should also be thinking about the other kinds of space you can create. In particular, a garden’s better enjoyed if you have somewhere where you can relax in those natural surroundings. Whether you want to use a patio or lay down resin bound paving, you should make that space for yourself. Otherwise, the garden is less a part of the home and more something to simply spectate.

Naturally, the flowers you choose and how you use them have an impact. But that’s not all. It’s about how you decorate and organise the space you have to work with. How you create a living space so it’s more than just a display. You want to make it a part of the home whose beauty can really be appreciated.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Fun Ideas to Help Add More Colour To Your Garden

Probably one of the most common questions that a keen gardener gets asked is how you can make your garden look more appealing. Being able to add colour to your garden in a classic and subtle way is certainly a skill. You don’t want things to look too bright and brash, but equally, not too dull either. One of the best ways to add colour is using your flowerbeds and planters. You, of course, need to choose the right flowers to plant at the right time. Then the outdoor space can look stunning all year round. To create a flowerbed, a lot of us will just dig a part of the garden or lawn and then go ahead and start planting. You can make a good looking flower bed in many other ways too. Here are a few ideas for you to give a go in your garden.

Colourful garden

Get Creative with Your Use of Planters

You can use a huge variety of different things as planters. Old tin cans, buckets, Wellington boots and pots will work just fine. They can add a bit of a quirky look and add lots of colours while they are at it. You’d be surprised at just how much difference painting a tin can do for the look of the garden. If you wanted something a bit different, though, how about LED illuminated planters? The great thing about them is that they will be a light source at night too. Having some light in the garden is most useful when it comes to winter and earlier dark evenings.

Build a Rockery

Building a rockery is a pretty easy way to give a new look to the garden. They aren’t quite like normal flowerbeds which is why they are a fun addition to the garden. They are different because they can be used where the soil isn’t the best and where it might be a bit gritty. If you don’t have much outdoor space, then they are pretty perfect for that too, as they are self-contained. The plants that grow well in these are mostly quite small, so you know they won’t overtake the space too much. To start with you can lay down the foundations. Then you can add lots of rocks and small stones to the area. When you have the plants that you want, you can plant the plants around. It is a good idea to look into the plants and shrubs that grow the best in a rockery.

Raised Flower Beds

One way to add some colour with your flowerbeds is to make some raised flowerbeds. It might take a little more time, as it will need to be built up. So getting some wooden boards or railway sleepers is a good place start. You could use bricks or cinder blocks if you’d rather too. Just build them up and then you have the space higher up to work from. If you find that you get a bit of an aching back from weeding low down, then raising your flowerbeds might be the best option for you!

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Beyond Planting - Landscaping A Garden For Pleasure

As gardeners, we have some of the toughest jobs to do. There is always weeding, planting and digging to do. By the time we’ve finished all that work, we rarely have time to sit back and enjoy it! Of course, there are plenty of different reasons for tending a garden. You might have fresh herbs and vegetables for your plate. Maybe you grow winning flowers. Could you make some space for a little leisure too?

Landscaping a garden offers you the opportunity to divide your plot up. You could have a vegetable area still. And there is plenty of room to enjoy your shrubs and flowers. But why not build up some areas for dining, cooking, lounging and sitting? There are many ways to enjoy relaxing in your garden after your hard work. And you can design and build it yourself.

Look at websites like that can offer the materials you need. Lean to areas can provide a little shelter from drizzle or direct sunlight. Gazebos or pergolas can also reduce the impact of the light. Building wooden frames give your climbers the perfect perch to climb. Soon, they’ll provide you with a leafy canvas to enjoy a natural little arbor or gazebo for sitting under.

Wood is the ideal material for steps and decking. Shaping your garden in this way with natural materials helps everything blend. You may be reluctant to allocate so much space to this purpose. But it gives you the chance to create paths and sitting areas that meander and nestle in amongst your planting and other garden features.

Water features continue to prove very popular like these at If you like the thought of relaxing in your garden, consider installing one. The sound and motion of the water can be very calming. See the water cascade from one area to another. Or why not have a waterfall wall? Some people include them as part of a pond. Others embed them within a rockery area. There are plenty of choices. The style and design is up to you.

When you design a garden that is multifunctional, it’s important to consider how you will connect each area. What will tie it all together? It could be a colour or a particular plant that features in each section. Black stain or a vibrant colour stain on the wood could be the key. Next, consider how you will move from section to section. Will it be a paved path? Maybe some stepping stones? Or perhaps a decking or veranda feature?

Dining and lounging furniture in the garden can be positioned to offer the best vantage point for each of your garden features. Consider a patio set that can be used for entertaining outdoors. You may have a bricked area for your barbecue. There may even be a play area for your kids. Each of these can be individually designed before you start landscaping your plot. The minimum area for a patio dining set is 2.5 by 2.5 metres. They are often situated quite close to the back door of the house. What will your dream garden look like?

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