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Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Getting your Winter Onions In


Following on from our post earlier this month about how to grow onions its worth reminding ourselves that there are actually quite a number of different varieties of onions from sets that can planted in your vegetable plot or allotment now. Sets are the simplest way to grow onions yourself much easier than from seed. They have the bonus that they can be harvested earlier on in the year as well.

Electric is a good red set, Radar a good yellow and Shakespeare is a highly reliable white.

You can also sow some spring onions now: White Lisbon Winter Hardy is a good one that we like to use. Check your local garden centre as quite a lot of them will have shallots available now for plantin. Jermor is already available in my local garden centre. These are good to be planted about now or though until just into the New Year.

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.

 

 
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