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Friday, 13 October 2017

October Jobs in the Garden

Many believe that the cooling weather means it's time to pause gardening efforts for the year. However, if you're hoping to have healthy plants growing when next year rolls around, you'll want to do a bit of planting in the coming weeks, sowing seeds that can survive and grow through the winter to sprout and bloom in the spring!

Specifically, there are a number of delicious vegetables that you can plant during the autumn and early winter so as to harvest in spring. If this is something that interests you, and you like the idea of plotting a vegetable garden before the real cold weather sets in, here are a few tips for cool weather gardening, as well as a few great vegetables to plant.

Tips For Cold Weather Gardening Comfort

  • Purchase Gloves - Generally, some manner of gardening gloves are recommended for your yard work in any season - but particularly with the weather cooling off, it might be a good idea to buy new gloves. Cold, stiff hands make it very difficult to handle equipment and go about gardening, and it's an easily avoided problem!

  • Wear A Winter Hat - This may seem like a very obvious suggestion, and for some it is. However, it's important to emphasize the hat above other cool weather attire. Bulky jackets and overcoats can make gardening tricky, as they make it harder to be flexible bending to plants, getting on the ground, etc. Keeping your head warm warms your body effectively, however, and a winter cap doesn't get in the way of your activity.

  • Address Seasonal Irritation - Allergies are generally more closely associated with the spring season, but different people react differently to cold weather. One example is in eye irritation that can result from spending time outside in your garden in an unfamiliar season. If this is an issue for you, a quick visit to Acuvue can help you to identify potential reasons for irritation, as well as different solutions - eyedrops, contact lenses, etc. - to keep you more comfortable.

Vegetables To Plant This Season

  • Asparagus - This is a long-term project, as Asparagus beds require 2 years to be ready for picking, but it's nonetheless a vegetable that can be planted in cool weather.

  • Onions & Shallots - There are many varieties of onion that can be planted now for harvest in the spring. Telegraph notes several suitable varieties, and even sells them in their garden shop online.

  • Spinach - A common favourite among home vegetables, sowing spinach now can give you a beautiful salad supply come spring. Merlo Nero is one recommended variety.

  • Cabbage - This is a great option because it will be ready in some capacity by early spring, but will continue to grow thicker and heartier after your initial harvest.

  • Peas - Another delicious option, fairly easy to grow and which will be ready by spring or early summer if planted in the next month.
Whatever you opt for I hope they do well for you.

DG

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Conquering Mole Hills And Other Mountains In Your Garden

If you are an avid gardener, you’ll know that it can be difficult keeping your yard beautiful. There are numerous common issues that gardeners deal with everyday they get down on their knees and stain their trousers with green. Thankfully, most of these problems have fairly simple solutions. If you have had any annoying issues when you’ve been gardening, you just might find the solution right here.

Water Water Everywhere
 

Perhaps your biggest issue is that there is just too much darn water flooding your garden. Water is obviously essential for plants to grow but too much, and you’ll essentially drown them. If your soil density is too high, it won’t be permeable. There might also be an issue underneath your soil that means water builds on the surface, turning your grass into a soggy mess. If you have this issue, you can look into permeable solutions. You can get this laid down underneath your garden by a professional landscaper.

Alternatively, you might just want to check how dry your soil is before you try planting new flowers in your garden. Give your soil a squeeze. If water drips out, it might be best waiting for it to dry out a little more.

Chomping Insects
 
All gardeners know that feeling when you wake up, check your plants and veg in the backyard only to find little chunks taken out of leaves, flower petals and even the potato. If that’s the case, snails and slugs are the most likely culprit. They’ve sneaked in, albeit slowly and devoured your plants while you have been sleeping. There is a way to fix this issue too though. You can use copper slug tape to protect your plants and vegetation in your garden. With a trick like this, you should easily be able to make sure that no more damage is done to your plants by hungry insects in your garden.

You can also use slug pellets and insect repellents, but it’s far better to just keep those bugs away from the plants and vegs. That way, you can avoid damaging the soil or even the plants with chemicals.

The Black Spot!
 
It’s not as bad as it sounds, but the black spot on your plants can be a real nuisance. You’ll often find it on the leaves of roses in particular. The black spot is quite simply a fungus that grows in murky environments. You can treat it with fungicide, and as such it doesn’t have to plague your plants forever.

Mole Mess
 
Finally, you might have a problem with moles in your garden, leaving little hills that really can seem like mountains, messing up your lovely garden. You can fix that by tackling the food source of these beasties. Moles eat worms so if you kill the worms with pesticide the moles will soon disperse. People often get expert exterminators in to deal with moles, but there is really no need. Once the worms are gone so is their food source, and things will quickly be back to normal in your beautiful garden.


DG


Thursday, 5 October 2017

Onion Soup, fresh from the allotment



Following on from our post the other day about how to grow onions, we thought it would be a good time to think about what to do with some of them! Onion based soups have been popular at least as far back as Roman times. They were then usually seen as food for poor people, as onions were plentiful and easy to grow. The modern version of this soup originates in France in the 18th century, made from beef broth, and caramelized onions. It is often finished by being placed under a grill in a ramekin traditionally with croutons and gruyère melted on top. The croutons on top is reminiscent of ancient soups
INGREDIENTS
  • 6 large red or yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced.
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups of beef stock
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dry thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 slices of toasted French bread
  • 1 1/2 cups of grated Swiss Gruyere with a little grated Parmesan cheese
METHOD
1 Cut each onion in half lengthwise, then slice into half-moons. Slice these half-moons in half again. Place them into a large saucepan, sauté the onions in the olive oil on medium high heat until well browned, but not burned, about 30-40 minutes (or longer). You can let them cook even longer — an hour and a half will give you deeply caramelized onions! Just let them cook, stirring at times, as you see dark colour emerge. After 45 minutes they will look pale mahogany in colour. You can let them get even darker if you like — just don't let them burn or get black. Adjust the heat as necessary.

2 Add the sugar about 10 minutes into the process to help them to carmelise. The rich flavour of the base is not due just to the broth, but to the caramelized onions (typically, the pot is full of sliced onions, which will shrink down to less than half the volume on cooking).

3 Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the stock,  wine, bay leaf, and thyme. Cover partially and simmer until the flavours are well blended, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaf.

4 To serve you can either use individual oven-proof soup bowls or one large casserole dish. Ladle the soup into the bowls or casserole dish. Cover with the toast and sprinkle with cheese. Put into the broiler for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until the cheese bubbles and is slightly browned. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Backyard Buildings: Your Guide To Garden Construction

agriculture, architecture, building


The outdoor space that comes with most properties is severely under used. Most people will let this area fall out of shape, making it hard to use them for hosting guests or entertaining the family. Of course, though, there’s an excellent way to get more out of this part of your home without having to do regular work; building. To help you out with this, this post will be going through some of the best construction projects you can undertake in the backyard.


  • Sheds


A lot of people like to use their outdoor space for storage for large items which can’t fit within the home, like patio furniture and bikes. This sort of option won’t set you back very much, but you might need to get some help to put it up, as they need solid foundations to be safe. Most shed retailers will offer a building service for a minimal fee. So, it’s worth seeing what you can get when you weigh up your options.


  • Stables


Of course, you don’t have to think about a conventional approach when you’re adding to your outdoor spaces. Instead, you can take a walk on the wild side. A company like Vale Stables can help you to find a great stable for your garden, enabling you to keep large animals like horses, sheep, or pigs. You just have to make sure you have enough space for them. Not a lot of people consider this sort of idea, but it can have a huge impact on your garden, even if you only use it as storage or shelter.


  • Summer Houses


When you’re spending time, money, and effort on building something in your garden, you’ll want to make sure that you can get the most out of it. One of the best options to achieve this is a summer house. Being similar to a shed, but designed to be comfortable on a summer or spring day, this sort of option can give you a great resource in your backyard. It will enable you to stay out of the sun, while also enjoying the wonder of the outdoors.


  • Gazebos


A gazebo is fairly similar to a summer house, but it lacks a very distinct feature; walls. Providing shade and shelter, but still leaving you in the elements, this sort of option is great in most gardens. They are cheaper than summer houses while offering most of the same benefits, giving you the chance to save a little bit of money. Of course, though, you’ll have to do some research to find the right style.


  • For The Kids


If you have children, your garden is a great tool which you’re probably under using. Most kids will be happy to spend hours at a time playing in the backyard. But, you’ll need to make sure they have the resources they need to do it. Summer houses for little people can be found fairly inexpensively, and items like swingsets are also cheap. Adding these elements will take some work. But, for the joy it gives, it will be well worth it.


Most people ignore the space they have behind their home. A lot of gardens fall to ruin, their space wasted and going unused. This is a shame, though, as it doesn’t have to be hard to make good use out of this sort of space. You just have to do the right work.


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