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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Is it a Cucumber, Is it a Melon, No! Its Cucamelon

How cool are these, not a melon and not a cucumber but a cucamelon. One of the highlights of James Wongs new book "Home Grown Revolution".


Described by the seed company as follows:
An heirloom that packs a lot of flavor in an adorable, teaspoon-sized treat! These little charmers are like no other, packing a powerful, sweet, cucumber flavor with a tangy, citrus twist. Delicate foliage and fist-fulls of fruit that look like doll-sized watermelons make these plants pretty enough to grow trellised in a flower garden or cascading in a hanging basket.
They are very small, just an inch and a half tall, light-green fruits with darker mottling look like watermelons for a doll house, which gives them one of their common names, mouse melon. The scientific name of this plant is Melothria scabra and it comes from Central America. The flesh is white, crisp, crunchy with a slight lemony tartness. The flavour is closer to a cucumber than a melon with a dash of lemony zest thrown in for good measure.

Competition: How To Grow Vegetables DVD


We have kindly been given a copy of Thompson and Morgan's DVD "How to grow Vegetables" to give away to one lucky reader. Normally selling for £14.99 on the T&M website it could be yours.

With step by step instructions on how to prepare, sow and tend to your vegetables this DVD will assist new grow-your-own fans as well as old hands.


To be in with a chance to win simply tell us what your favourite vegetable is and why.

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 May 2015. 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.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Hedgehog Awareness Week 2015


Hedgehog Awareness Week runs from 3rd-9th May 2015 and hedgehoggy events are being organised all around the country!

Hedgehog Awareness Week is organised by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and takes place every year.  It aims to highlight the problems hedgehogs face and how you can help them.

This year efforts are focussed on gardeners – there is so much that gardeners can do to help the hedgehog, very simple things like:
  • Ensuring there is access into the garden (all that is needed is 5” square gap).
  • Checking areas before strimming or mowing.
  • Moving piles of rubbish to a new site before burning it.
  • Ensuring netting is kept at a safe height.
  • Checking compost heaps before digging the fork in.
  • Stopping or reducing the amount of pesticides and poisons used.
  • Covering drains or deep holes.
  • Ensuring there is an easy route out of ponds and pools.

BHPS Chief Executive, Fay Vass, Said “There is so much the gardener can do to help hedgehogs, and with hedgehog numbers in decline it is more important now than ever.  We have produced a poster highlighting dangers hedgehogs face in our gardens to mark this Hedgehog Awareness Week.”  For a free copy of the poster or for membership details send an A5 sae to BHPS, Garden Dangers, Hedgehog House, Dhustone, Ludlow, SY8 3PL or see www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk.

We are asking people to pledge to do something positive for hedgehogs during the week.
Here are a few ideas of how you can help:
  • Organise an event such as a cake sale, fun day, sponsored event, coffee morning or jumble sale.
  • Display information (BHPS can provide) in your local Garden Centre, School, Library, etc.
  • Contact your local newspaper or radio station and ask them to help hedgehogs by printing a letter from BHPS (we can provide a letter to the editor on request) or by arranging an interview with us during the week (ask them to call 01584 890 801).
  • Post leaflets in your area letting people know how they can help hedgehogs (BHPS can provide leaflets).

Spring Tips

Gardening nourishes the mind, body and soul when you spend time caring for your plants, helping them to thrive and enjoying the meditative benefits of enjoying nature. If you love to garden but are not always sure how to keep your plants green and healthy, look no further, here are some great tips for newcomers on how to keep your garden thriving:

Keep pruning
By regularly pruning your plants you will prevents them from growing out of control. Just go through and trim the ends off your plants every so often to keep them tidy. What’s more, keeping your plants trimmed helps then to grow more healthily. It’s just like your hair; if you let it grow and grow it will become long and straggly, but when you trim off the dead ends, both your hair and your plants are able to thrive.

Weeding
It is important to weed regularly in order to prevent them from taking over all the healthy soil. Weeds should be taken care of as soon as possible by pulling them out by the root. If you miss the root, they will only grow back with a vengeance. You might decide to spray the area with a weed killer after you have pulled them out. There are different varieties to choose from, some more natural than others. Using groundcover plants or mulch will help prevent weeds from spreading, because without light they are unable to grow.

Use mulch
When it comes to soil, you have lots of different options for what to use for your plants. Mulch is a rich, healthy type of soil that will give your plants all the nutrients they need to grow strong. Spread mulch over the soil straight after planting your latest purchases to help prevent weeds from growing. Mulch also helps cool down the soil in the summer months and keeps it warm in the winter.

Mowing
The best way to maintain a healthy lawn is to make sure you keep it mowed regularly. Mow as high as you can, because the lower you mow, the more you leave the grass vulnerable to weeds or other problems. When you are mowing use an even pattern across the lawn, moving up and down until you have covered the entire space. This will ensure that you cut all areas evenly. For those of you with cordless mowers ensuring that you use quality Lawnmower Batteries is essential. If you have moved into a new property with a large lawn, do not be intimidated by the area to be cared for. With the proper mowing equipment it will simply be a weekly task to maintain the quality of your lawn. A specialist garden tool supplier is a great place to find all the gardening equipment you will need.


Irrigation system
It is important to maintain a constant supply of water to your garden, no matter what the time of year. In the rainy season, you obviously get a pass here, but during the summer or dry months, you might like to set up an irrigation or sprinkler system to ensure all your plants stay nourished. Clean out your irrigation several times per year to make sure the system does not become blocked.



.DG
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