Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Winter Onions

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, 26 February 2018

Creating a Successful Allotment

For those who consider themselves to be at least a little green-fingered, the idea of starting an allotment might be a frequently recurring fantasy. And why not - having an allotment has many benefits to it. For a start, who doesn’t love the idea of producing their own produce year after year? This is a cheaper, much more fulfilling way of sourcing fruit and vegetables, and many agree that the taste is even better as a result. What’s more, an allotment affords you a wonderful opportunity to practice your gardening skills, and it is also likely that you will learn a great deal which will be beneficial in the future. But one of the hardest aspects of the whole process is in the beginning; starting an allotment has its own unique challenges which are quite a lot of effort to deal with. As with anything, it is remarkably easier if you break it down into smaller steps - so here are three steps towards starting your own allotment plot.

Plot It Out

One of the quickest ways to ensure failure with your allotment is to fail to plan it out. This is vital, as there is so much that can go wrong if you fail to plan properly. With a decent plot laid out on paper, however, the whole process is going to be remarkably easier. You need to think about where you are going to have not just your plants, but anything else which might be necessary to. For example, have you included space for your compost? Is there room t walk between the beds, so that you don’t tread on your soil? All of this needs to be considered in your plotting, as it all makes a big difference to the final outcome. Allotment planning is a difficult art, but one which is vital to your success.


When you are planning, it is vital to remember rotation. This means that you need to rotate where your different plants go from one year to the next. In the first year, you need to have your brassica in one patch, your root vegetables in another, your salads and leaves in another, and so on. Then, it is important that you rotate where these are the following year, as this ensures that the soil is kept in the best possible way. You need to remember this during planning, so as to make the most of the space you have.

Prepare The Soil

Now it is time to actually get down to work and get your hands dirty. Preparing the soil is one of the most important parts of the whole operation, as it ensures that your plants will actually grow and be as healthy as possible. The first thing to do here is to remove any weeds, ideally by their roots so they don’t grow back. Then you want to turn over the top layer of soil, add some compost and dig it down to whatever depth you need, depending on what you are planting. With well-prepared soil, you are now ready to actually begin your planting - arguably the most exciting stage of all.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Keeping your garden safe from frost

 If you’re lucky enough to be living near the equator, then you don’t have to worry about winter. But the rest of us stress and prepare for winter from as early as August. Don’t just abandon your garden to the elements over winter. There are lots of steps and precautions you can take to save the lives of your plants, and here are a few of the basics:

1. Move less hardy plants indoors or into a greenhouse - heated if possible. If you’re unsure whether or not your plant is less hardy, just search for it on Google – find out where it’s from and if anyone recommends you take it in over winter. If you have a heated Greenhouse, make sure you get ahead of spring and furnish it with a few plants and maybe a sapling fruit tree.

2. Don't allow snow to build up on the roof of your greenhouse or on the netting of fruit cages – they aren't designed to take weight. Move any items that are likely to be damaged by sliding snow away from the roof if possible. This might seem obvious, but many people forget. The crash of a collapsing greenhouse is a dreadful sound, and it’s impossible to clean up in the snow.

3. Wrap terracotta pots in horticultural fleece or bubble wrap to protect from frost. Alternatively, they can be wrapped in straw. If they're empty, put them away in a shed or garage. This isn't technically a plant tip, but it’s very important, and your plants do stand a better chance if their pots are intact. The Daily Mail wrote a great article with tips for wrapping terracotta pots; have a read if you’d like to know more.

4. Any plants that can't be moved can be protected with straw or horticultural fleece. Do not use bubble wrap for this; it will create a cold, damp environment and cause plants to rot. Taller plants should be firmly secured to their supports to minimise wind damage.

5. Make sure you clear footpaths of snow as soon as possible. Remember: hard packed snow is as slippery as ice and you can't tend to your plants from a hospital bed. This is good advice even if you don’t enjoy a spot of winter gardening. Keeping your garden clear will make every other job you do all the easier.

There you have it. These tips should see most of your garden plants through the long winter and into spring. Don’t get too down about the garden this season; remember that the cold gets rid of all of the pests for a few months. Take the good with the bad, eh?

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