Help Mr Fothergill’s fundraise

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 £90,000. 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. 

 

 

Double choice of double sunflowers

September 22nd, 2017 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Sunflower 'Sun King' and 'Teddy Bear' (inset)

I’ve always been a little dubious about fully double sunflowers but in 2015 and 2016 I grew ‘Goldy’ and was delighted with its large, densely double, golden flowers.

This year ‘Goldy’ disappeared from catalogues and seed racks but for the coming season a replacement has arrived, a replacement that’s better than the original.

‘Sun King’ (above, main picture) has 20-23cm (8-9in) fully double, very tightly packed flowers in rich golden yellow with a few longer and broader petals around the edge. Reaching 1.8-2.2m (6-7ft), the first flower at the top of the stem is followed by three or four slightly smaller flowers on 90cm (3ft) stems.

These side shoots are ideal for cutting and longer than those of ‘Goldy’, whose side shoots could be quite short and unsuitable for arranging. I was very impressed with ‘Sun King’ on the Mr F trials this summer. And it’s only available from Mr F.

Farther along in the trial of forty seven sunflowers, ‘Teddy Bear’ (above, inset) also stood out. This is a much shorter, fully double variety which had deteriorated in recent years, with single flowers appearing amongst the doubles. But on this year’s evidence, it’s back to its original quality. It’s also the proud recipient of an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.

The plants reached 60-90cm (2-3ft), the tight heads of green-eyed, golden orange flowers were surrounded by smaller flowers in the same style.

Next season I’m going to grow ‘Sun King’ with ‘Teddy Bear’ in front. Finding the space will be the tricky part.

Complete Garden Health Treatment in a Bottle

September 19th, 2017 | News | 0 Comments

New seaweed concentrate set to transform plant performance for British gardeners.

Mr Fothergill’s is pleased to announce the UK retail launch of one of Australia’s most popular garden products. British gardeners can now utilise the plant boosting powers of Seasol, an organically produced seaweed concentrate, popular with Australian gardeners since its launch there in the mid 1990s.

The all-natural plant tonic offers a complete treatment for all areas of the garden, promoting healthy growth of plants, flowers, vegetables and even lawns. Seasol Seaweed Concentrate contains useful micro-nutrients and is rich in trace elements. Used regularly, the concentrate has been proven to provide excellent chemical-free plant nourishment. The processing plant used to extract Seasol liquid concentrate is the only type in the world. The unique manufacturing process maximises the extraction of the seaweed’s essential compounds.

Field observations at our trial grounds, support laboratory findings and other growing trials that highlight Seasol’s ability to also improve resistance to insect and fungal attack while reducing the symptoms of stress from excessive heat, frost damage and transplanting.

Ian Cross, Mr Fothergill’s retail marketing manager said:

“More and more of our customers are seeking to move away from garden chemicals. Bringing Seasol to the UK market offers the opportunity to garden in a much more environmentally friendly manner, and also the chance of bigger, better results in all areas of the garden. Whether you grow flowers or vegetables, or a mix of both, Seasol will bring benefits where ever it is used.”

As well as being applied directly to soils for uptake at the roots, Seasol can also be applied as a foliar spray for fast absorption of nutrients. Mr Fothergill’s has also seen improved germination and increased initial root growth from seeds soaked in Seasol before sowing.

Seasol can be applied at any time of year on all garden plants and will be available in garden centres from January 2018 with a RRP of £7.99.

How to Tell When Your Fruits and Vegetables are Ready to Harvest

September 19th, 2017 | The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

Harvest can often be a gardeners favourite time of year! It’s the moment of truth, the moment when all that hard work earlier on in the season pays off – with harvests coming thick and fast. But when is the perfect time to harvest your crops? We are here to help you out!

Ready to pick?

For some crops, deciding when to pick is simply a matter of personal preference. Chard, for example, is ready whenever the leaves have reached a usable size. Radishes can be harvested once they’re big enough to slice up into salads. Other fruits and veg require a little more observation.

Root vegetables

When harvesting root vegetables – size matters.

  • Beets and turnips can be pulled at any point from golf-ball-sized up. Smaller roots proving to be especially tender. Don’t let roots grow any larger than a tennis ball as they’ll become tough and woody.
  • Dig up carrots and they reach a usable size.
  • You can leave maincrop varieties in the ground until you’re ready to use them.
  • Enjoy parsnips any time after the leaves have died back, though for the sweetest, melt-in-the-mouth roots, wait until after the first frosts, which improves the flavour.

Potatoes

The earliest new potatoes are usually harvested about 10 – 12 weeks after planting when the plants come into flower. You can judge how big the tubers are by carefully pulling back the soil to expose a few at the sides. Maincrop varieties for storing should be lifted only after the foliage has died back, around 20 weeks after planting. Check they are ready by rubbing the skin with your thumb – if the skin doesn’t rub off, they’re ready to lift.

Peas and beans

Check whether peas and beans are good to go by literally getting to grips with their pods.

  • Feel the pods to judge the size of the developing peas, then shell a few to double-check.
  • The same goes for fava or broad beans.
  • The pods of climbing beans are the opposite, they should be long and smooth without beans bulging inside. Don’t let them get too long or the pods will become stringy and the plants less productive.

These are just a few tips and tricks for harvesting fruits and vegetables, there are plenty more in the video below. If you have any top tips that you can offer us let us know in the comments below or head over to our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Helps Kids Grow – Plant a School Garden!

September 19th, 2017 | The flower garden, The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

Many of today’s health problems can be traced to a poor diet. A school garden is a great way to get kids involved in growing their own food from an early age, so they gain a real appreciation of where fresh food comes from and how delicious it can be! This post will show you how to make a school garden.

School gardens offer children the chance to get involved in growing food, a skill that they can improve on throughout their lives. They are also a handy teaching resource, with plenty of opportunities to link into the school curriculum.

Starting small 

  • It’s great to have a vision for your garden but be sure to start small.
  • Containers and larger planters are very manageable and you can grow just about anything in them. Containers allow you to create an almost immediate impact, anywhere at a minimal cost.
  • Raised beds are excellent because they clearly delineate the growing areas, making it less likely that precious seedlings will be accidentally trampled. Place them directly onto soil or first lay down a membrane if you’re growing on contaminated soil or a hard surface such as a concrete yard. Fill the beds with nutrient-rich potting soil and compost. Beds shouldn’t be any wider than 3 foot so that children can easily reach the middle from the sides.
  • Woodchips are a good choice for the paths in between as they’re relatively clean and soft.

Designing your garden

  • If your garden is going to be more than a few raised beds then get the kids involved in the design process!
  • Ask them to make sketches or put together a mood board of what they’d like to see.

What to grow?

  • Children are far more likely to grow fruits and veggies they’ve grown themselves – a great reason to get them involved!
  • Choose crops that are robust, easy to grow and ready to harvest during term time.
  • Try peas and beans – children love sowing the fat seeds, setting up supports and then picking the pods.
  • Potatoes are fun to sprout before planting into potato sacks or beds. They’ll love the hands-on growing process of unearthing the potatoes.
  • Winter squash and pumpkins can be planted out at the end of spring and will be nearing maturity when the children return from their summer break.
  •  You could even have a pumpkin carving competition!

These are just a few tips and tricks for starting a new school garden. If you’ve created your own school garden and have any top tips that you can offer us let us know in the comments below or head over to our Facebook and Twitter pages.

 

Cover Crops To Recharge Your Soil This Winter!

September 19th, 2017 | The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

By using cover crops or green manures, you can protect your soil over winter – they’ll also help to build up your soils organic content. Late summer is the perfect time to sow a cover crop for winter. Let us show you how!

  • Why grow cover crops? Covering crops over winter protects it from erosion and helps to support all the beneficial life associated. It also gives weeds less opportunity to take over your plot!
  • Good for heavy soils! It adds valuable organic matter this will help to feed the plants that follow cover crops with deep or fibrous roots such as cereal rye. Cereal rye helps to improve soil structure by breaking it up. Mustard grows very fast, producing masses of lush foliage that can be incorporated into the soil after just a few months, to boost its organic content.
  • Good for enriching soils – Some cover crops directly add nutrients to the soil by fixing nitrogen at their roots. Winter field beans and peas, clover and vetch are all types of legumes that are great for sowing before nitrogen hungry brass occurs.
  • Good for suppressing weeds – Cabbage phacelia can be sown in late summer as it’s great for suppressing weeds and will improve your soil structure. You have an extra bonus with their stunning flowers too!
  • Sowing a cover crop – Start by roughly digging the ground over, removing all weeds especially perennials. Tamp down the soil with the back of a rake, then scatter or broadcast your seeds evenly. Break these seeds into the soil and tamp down again.

We’ve listed just a few facts and tips about cover crops for recharging your winter soil – the video below offers more advice, so be sure to give it a watch. Plus, let us know if you have any top tips for recharging your winter soil. Let us know in the comments below or head over to our Facebook and Twitter pages.