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Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Handy Ways to Restore and Renew Your Tired Garden


You aren’t afraid to say that you take great pride in your garden. When your backyard is looking a little tattered and torn you don’t quite feel complete. Your house can be as messy as you like, but the garden is definitely a place of peace and sanctuary for you, so you want to get it up to scratch again. You want to renew your garden so that it feel fabulous again, even during the cold winter months. There are so many different ways that you have revive your outdoor space right now so take a look at some of the following ideas.



Fabulous Fences

There is nothing more annoying than seeing your fences become tattered, tired and worn during the cold, treacherous months. Panels may have come loose and the colour might have faded due to bad weather. If this is the case for your fences, then you should definitely consider ColourFence. They can not only help you restore your old fences, but they could also install completely new ones for you. Look into their services and see how they can help to revive your sleepy garden, so it can look glorious again.

A New Shade For Your Shed

Every avid gardener knows that there is nothing uglier than an old shed in the corner of the garden. You could have the most beautiful flower arrangements and stunning hedges, but a sad shed can completely ruin the entire vibe. If you’re not quite ready to get rid of your beloved shed just yet, why not paint it a fun colour? It could really become a statement feature outside, instead of a gloomy outcast. Choose a calming pastel hue or a bright and bold red tone to really make it stand out.

Beautiful Blooms

One of your favourite pastimes definitely has to be planting bulbs and seeds so that they can blossom and bloom over the months. Whether you’re dreaming of daffodils or crazy about chrysanthemums, there are so many different options you can choose from. It’s time to get a little creative with your colour schemes, so that you can truly inject some zest into your garden.

Happy Herb Patch

There are many reasons why you should start a herb garden of your own. Imagine stepping out of your back door and picking fresh sprigs of rosemary or mint for your favourite dinner dish. This could all become a reality if you just start up your own herb patch in the back garden. Choose your favourite flavours and smells, tend to them carefully over time and you will end up with a proud patch in your back garden that will serve you well for life.

So find your favourite ideas for your garden and roll with them. You have enough creativity and technique to make something special out of your outdoor space. Whether you’re planting the perfect flowers or creating a happy herb patch, there are so many different options for you to explore. Find your winning idea and your garden will be looking glorious in no time.

Friday, 15 February 2019

Growing Asparagus

Asparagus when bought in the supermarket are usually imported and they usually do not have the same delicious flavour compared to when you grow your own produce. If you are going to grow asparagus at home you can either grow from seed or buy plants. 

Buying asparagus plants is a quick way to get started, typically retailers sell 1 or 2 year old plants. However, as with many crops the choice of varieties is often not as wide as from growing by seed. There is also the risk of failure with bought plants, and a small percentage will not establish well. Personally I prefer to grow from seed but the choice is entirely yours. 

By growing asparagus from seed usually gives the best results, and generally you will end up with more plants than you need. You can sow either in pots first or directly into the ground, if you opt for direct sowing then there is no transplanting or root shock to delay valuable root development. 

Direct Sowing
Asparagus should be sown to the ground in April when the ground is warm enough to initiate germination, as with many seed it is worth soaking the seed first. First rake over the ground where you intend to sow the seeds into a fine tilth, then mark out rows roughly 5cm deep and abut 30-45 cm apart, then sow the seed thinly into the rows. Once sown water in well with a fine spray. Your seeds should germinate and be visible within about 3 weeks, at which point you should thin them out to about 5cm apart. Allow them to grow to 15cm (6inch)or so and thin them out again to 30-45cm apart. Keep the bed weed free and allow them to grow for the first year. 

Indoor sowing
Some varieties are best sown indoors (a good example is the popular variety 'Connovers Colossal') the best time for this is during February and March. As with direct sowing it is worth soaking the seed for a couple of hours first. Plant the seed into individual plugs or cells containing a good quality moist seed compost. Place the pots in a warm room and once germinated, move to to a cooler well lit area such as a windowsill, avoiding direct sunlight.

By May you will need to start hardening them off which can take between 2-3 weeks before planting into your asparagus bed. You can plant them fairly deep, roughly 5cm below the compost level, and water well. 

Although it takes longer to establish an asparagus bed from seed you get a wider choice of varieties but will probably be a year or so longer before you can harvest your produce. Asparagus shoots can be harvested in the late spring when the new tips are about 15 cm tall. Typically you will be able to harvest for a further six to eight weeks into the early summer. Don't be tempted to harvest plants younger than 2 years as this can weaken the plant, let them get well established first.

How to prepare your planting bed
You can prepare your new asparagus bed from the autumn before planting, although time is now of the essence. Asparagus likes well drained soil and can cope in most soil types,however with heavy clay it is worth growing them in raised beds. Dig the area over well and then work in lots of well rotted manure. Asparagus do best in a soil with a pH of between 6.5 and 7.5, so if you are on a particularly acid soil add lime. As with any new planting bed remove all weeds and get the roots out from perennial pests such as dandylions. If you are on a windy site then some protection from the winds should be given to stop the plants getting damaged before they establish. 

In subsequent years you should mulch the area with well rotted manure or home made compost, and you will get years of enjoyment from your crops.
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