Help Mr Fothergill’s fundraise for charity

September 6th, 2017 | News | 0 Comments

At Mr Fothergill’s we like to support as many charities as we can – so far we’ve raised over £150,000. Over the last few years, we’ve supported and fundraised for the Royal Hospital Chelsea Appeal, Greenfingers Charity, and RSPB – among others!

For these charities, in particular, we’ve have been selling sweet peas, seeds or fundraising through events. If you’ve contributed to any of these, then thank you – all of these charities need help and we are grateful to have given them the chance to assist their causes further.

We’ve recently completed a 20 mile walk, that some of our team took part in to raise money for the Greenfingers Charity. You can find out more about our walk here. In addition to this walk, we’ve set up a page for each of the charities that we support – so if you’d like to help with our fundraising efforts, you can find each of the pages below.

 

 

 

If you’re going to donate your hard earned money to a charity, it’s important that you know what your generous donations are going towards. Each of these charities supports very different causes and all of them important.

Greenfingers Charity

Greenfingers Charity is dedicated to supporting the children who use hospices around the UK, along with their families, by creating beautiful, well-designed outdoor spaces for children to enjoy with family, friends and siblings, whether through play and fun, or therapeutic rest and relaxation.  To date, Greenfingers Charity has created 51 inspiring gardens and outdoor spaces in hospices around the country and has a further waiting list of hospices that need our help now.

RSPB

RSPB are the largest nature conservation charity in the country, consistently delivering successful conservation, forging powerful new partnerships with other organisations and inspiring others to stand up and give nature the home it deserves.

Royal Chelsea Appeal Limited

The Chelsea Pensioners are the iconic faces of the UK’s veteran community. They reside at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, their 325-year-old home founded by Charles II, in the heart of London.

Thank you in advance for all the support you’ve given us and these charities over the years, we hope we can continue to help them through the sale of our seeds and fundraising. 

 

 

10 Ways to Boost Yields in Your Vegetable Garden

January 21st, 2019 | News | 0 Comments

10 Ways to Boost Yields in Your Vegetable Garden

Harvesting more from your vegetable garden is a worthy ambition, but just what are the most effective ways to increase productivity? Healthy soil, careful planning, and defending your crops from pests, weeds and weather extremes is the answer, so let’s dig a little deeper.

Read on or watch the video for 10 proven ways to boost productivity in your vegetable garden this growing season.

1. Feed Your Soil

Deep, nutrient-rich soils encourage extensive root systems and strong plants, so nourish your soil with plenty of organic matter such as compost, manure, or leaf mould. Compost and leaf mould can be easily made at home for free, so compost everything you can and put a thriving composting setup at the heart of your garden.

The best time to add most organic matter is in winter, to give enough time for it to become incorporated into the ground before spring. Then, top up with more organic matter during the growing season, laying it 2-5cm (1-2 inches) thick around existing crops. This surface mulch will also help to slow moisture loss and suppress weeds, saving you time watering and weeding.

2. Feed Your Plants

Many plants will benefit from a further boost of organic fertiliser such as liquid seaweed concentrate.

Alternatively, grow a patch of comfrey – next to your compost bin is ideal – and make your own comfrey tea, a potent brew ideal for hungry plants like tomatoes. Cut leaves can also be laid around plants, or added to the compost heap where they will help to speed up decomposition.

 10 Ways to Boost Yields in Your Vegetable Garden

3. Grow in Beds

Convert to a system of permanent beds and minimise wasted space while concentrating your resources. Beds may be accessed from all sides and plants can be grown in blocks which maximises productivity. And because you’ll add organic matter directly to the beds, there’s no wasting it on paths or other unproductive ground.

4. Choose Plants that Thrive

It may seem obvious, but growing what thrives in your soil and climate will result in stronger growth and bigger harvests. For example, warm climates are ideal for growing sweet potatoes and tomatoes. Or in cooler areas, opt for crops like chard and cabbage that can cope with the cold.

Choose varieties that have been bred to thrive in your climate. Early varieties are great for short growing seasons, while heat-tolerant varieties are a must for areas with scorching summer sun.

5. Grow More in the Shade

Increasing productivity means making the most of every space available to you – and that includes shadier areas. They’re great for leafy vegetables such as lettuce or Asian greens, slow growers including leeks and parsnip, plus hardy fruits like blackcurrants and gooseberries. You can use the Mr Fothergill’s Garden Planner to filter crop choices to show only those suitable for growing in the shade.

 10 Ways to Boost Yields in Your Vegetable Garden

6. Collect More Rainwater

Rainwater is the best option for watering vegetables. Rainwater is softer, contains fewer contaminants and is at a pH that is preferred by most plants, encouraging better growth all round. So if you’re still using treated water to irrigate your crops, now’s the time to install additional water barrels and collect as much rainwater as you can. You can use a connector kit to join multiple barrels together.

 

7. Extend the Growing Season

Get familiar with your first and last frost dates, then plan to push your growing season further using plant protection. Cold frames, row covers and cloches enable sowing and planting to begin up to two weeks sooner, while harvests can continue a few weeks longer at the end of the season.

The Garden Planner demonstrates this beautifully. Add crop protection such as a cold frame to your plan. Then bring up the accompanying Plant List, which now displays earlier planting and later harvesting dates for the plants grown under protection.

A permanent structure such as a greenhouse opens up more possibilities, making it easy to enjoy an even earlier start to spring while affording just enough protection for winter-long cropping of, for example, hardy salads.

8. Space Plants Correctly

Be careful to leave enough space between plants – plant too close and your crops will fail to grow properly and be prone to disease, but plant too far apart and you won’t make the most of the space you have. The Garden Planner shows you exactly how many plants may be grown in the area available.

Excellent soil can help you to push the boundaries by growing vegetables a little closer than recommended. Square Foot Gardening takes this to the extreme, with plants spaced up to five times closer. Select the SFG option in the Garden Planner to design your own square foot beds. The planner shows you how many of the selected crop will fit into each square foot.

9. Pair Up Plants

10 Ways to Boost Yields in Your Vegetable Garden

Some plants are mutually beneficial. Grown together they can help to increase overall productivity.

Companion planting takes many forms. For example, lofty corn can be used as a support for climbing beans, while lettuce grown in-between rows of carrot or onion helps to smother weeds while these slower growing crops establish. The Garden Planner takes care of companion planting too. Simply highlight a crop then select the Companion Planting option to display suitable partners in the selection bar.

10. Work to Prevent Pests

Take a preventative approach to pests to stop them in their tracks. For example, place barriers over susceptible plants to protect them from flying insect pests, or reduce a nuisance slug population by removing hiding places such as upturned pots or long grass in and around growing areas. Then every few weeks, head out when slugs are feeding in the evening to pick off and dispose of them by torchlight.

Make room for flowers in the vegetable garden too. Flowers like alyssum, calendula and poached egg plant don’t take up much space and will improve productivity by attracting predators such as hoverflies and ladybirds to control pests including aphids, mites and mealybugs.

Try some – preferably all – of these techniques for yourself and enjoy the boost in productivity you deserve! If you have any of your own tips and tricks for boosting yields in the vegetable garden, comment below or head over to our Facebook and Twitter page.

 

Big Garden Bird Watch

January 18th, 2019 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Siskin (Spinus spinus) on the bird table

It will soon be time for the annual RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch, a nationwide count of the birds in our gardens that runs over the weekend of the 26/27/28 January.

One of the most popular of all citizen science projects, the Big Garden Bird Watch began in 1979 and is now the world’s largest garden wildlife survey. Over half a million people take part every year and because the survey has been exactly the same since it started, it’s easy to see how numbers are changing.

Numbers of blue tits, for example, are up 20% since the survey started and wood pigeons are up an extraordinary 800%! On the other hand house sparrows have declined in numbers, by more than half, although they’re now increasing again, and the number of starlings has dropped by about three quarters.

Last year it became clear that siskins (male, above) are becoming much more common in gardens. Like small greenfinches with forked tails, siskins are now number 24 on the list of garden birds when once they were rarely seen. Goldfinches and long tailed tits have also become more common – and a party of long tailed tits has just twittered through the garden in front of me as I write.

Knowing all this helps the RSPB develop conservation strategies – and it all starts with you looking out of your window. It’s easy to take part in this year’s Big Garden Bird Watch. Just go to the Big Garden Bird Watch webpage and sign up. You can ask for a pack to come in the post or do it all online, it’s up to you.

And now, in the middle of winter, you might also want to think about attracting birds to your garden. Think about nest boxes, bird feeders as well as bird food and don’t forget the RSPB range of seeds from which to raise bird and wildlife friendly plants.

In the meantime, get counting. I’ll be counting next weekend, I hope you will be too.

Siskin image by Simon Eugster. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

New and Exclusive Seasol Tops Mr Fothergill’s Best Seller List for 2019

January 15th, 2019 | News | 0 Comments

  New and Exclusive Seasol Tops  Mr Fothergill’s Best Seller List for 2019

It seems that gardeners can’t get enough of Seasol, the new and exclusive seaweed concentrate plant tonic from Mr Fothergill’s. Mail order sales of our new 4L sized bottle have exceeded all expectations and currently sit top of our best sellers for early 2019!

Exclusive to Mr Fothergill’s, Seasol seaweed concentrate is an all-natural plant tonic offering a complete treatment for all areas of the garden and promoting healthy growth of plants, flowers, vegetables and even lawns. It contains useful micro-nutrients and is rich in trace elements. Used regularly, the concentrate has been proven to provide excellent chemical-free plant nourishment.

“Gardeners have really taken to Seasol and the new 4ltr size is proving a real hit” says Paul Pates, Head of Mail Order for Mr Fothergill’s Seeds, “It’s a fantastic product that really does work and the new size is very cost effective, making up to 1,200 litres of tonic for only £19.99 – enough to cover over 500 square metres!”

As well as being watered directly into the soil for uptake at the roots, Seasol can also be applied as a foliar spray for fast absorption of nutrients. What’s more, it’s chemical free and completely organic!

The new 4L size is available from www.mr-fothergills.co.uk and is priced at £19.99, with a 1L offering priced at £7.99. It also features in the new Mr Fothergill’s seed catalogue, available online or by telephone on 0845 371 0518.

Colourful sweet potatoes

January 11th, 2019 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Ipomoea 'Sweet Caroline Purple' and 'Sweet Caroline Green'

There are two kinds of Ipomoea. There’s the familiar ‘Heavenly Blue’, one of the loveliest of all climbers – of all flowering plants, in fact – but there’s also another type: the sweet potato.

Sweet potatoes have always been on the margins here in Britain, they need hotter summers than we’ve had here until recently but we can now grow them and they can crop well. But we can also grow ornamental sweet potatoes, varieties with a dramatically coloured foliage. Two of these are available this year.

These are not vigorous climbers, these are bushy semi-trailing or ground cover varieties that are superb in large hanging baskets, in large tubs or tumbling over the edges of raised beds. And it’s not for their flowers that we grow them but for their coloured foliage.

There are two varieties: ‘Sweet Caroline Purple’ and ‘Sweet Caroline Green’. The foliage of ‘Sweet Caroline Purple’ is, indeed, rich bronze-purple and it looks good in a large basket with red ivy-leaved geraniums or petunias. The leaves of ‘Sweet Caroline Green’ are more of a lime or chartreuse shade than simply green and are superb with petunias in fierier shades. Both also look good planted together or with coleus.

Both make dense growth, very effective ground cover in sunny sites – and they do like sun, whether grown in beds or containers. They like regular watering too and, when happy, ‘Sweet Caroline Purple’ may well produce a few pink-eyed white flowers though they’re usually hidden by the leaves.

Whether sweet potatoes as summer foliage plants is a new idea to you or not – they’re well worth a try.

Mr Fothergill’s Names its New Sweet Pea Capel Manor After Well-Known College and Partner

January 8th, 2019 | News | 0 Comments

Leading sweet pea seed supplier Mr Fothergill’s has introduced a new and exclusive large flowered variety for the forthcoming season which has been named after Capel Manor, as it was to Dr Robert Uvedale, a schoolmaster at the college, to whom Franciscus Cupani sent the first sweet pea seeds to arrive in England, back in 1699.

Sweet Pea Capel Manor has large, frilly two-tone, deep purple-blue blooms that are lightly scented. This classic Spencer type sweet pea will add colour and create perfect displays when planted over trellis or fences. A packet of 20 seeds of Capel Manor is priced at £2.35.

Sweet Pea Capel Manor

Capel Manor College educates new generations of horticulturists offering a range of courses for those who are interested in plants, trees and environment. Mr Fothergill’s has a long-established relationship with the College working together to produce spring and summer display gardens and providing an award for exceptional students every year.

Among other new Sweet Peas introduced in the 2018-2019 season is the gorgeous dwarf and compact Teresa Maureen, with RRP at £2.35 for 20 seeds. This highly scented variety stands out from other Lathyrus odoratus with a mass of small flowers in pink, white and lavender shades.

Sweet Pea Balcony Mixed is a stunning blend of large white frilly blooms with coloured markings in red, orange, pink, blue, purple and magenta. This versatile, scented variety is perfect for large patio pots. A packet of 20 seeds of Balcony Mixed is priced at £2.35.

Sweet Pea Terry Wogan distinguishes itself with an incredible warm salmon rose colour which is more intense on the petal edges. It produces large fragrant blooms that makes it one of the nation’s favourite cultivars.

Sweet Pea Teresa MaureenSweet Pea Balcony MixSweet Pea Terry Wogan

All sweet peas are available from Mr Fothergill’s retail stockists throughout the UK and from the company’s latest Seed Catalogue or online. Visit your local garden centre for the full range or head over to www.mr-fothergills.co.uk.