Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Mr Fothergill’s Helps BBC Children In Need Raise £58 Million for 2018 Appeal

July 16th, 2019 | News | 0 Comments

Mr Fothergill's Sunflower Pudsey and Pumpkin Pudsey seeds raising money for BBC Children In Need

Back in May 2018, at Mr Fothergill’s we announced our new partnership with BBC Children In Need and launched two new seed packets for children – Pumpkin Pudsey and Sunflower Pudsey. For each packet sold, we pledge to donate 30p to help make a real difference to the lives of children all across the UK. Since the launch of these seed packets and thanks to our wonderfully generous customers, we have been able to pledge over £16,000 to support Children In Need. Now, we’re delighted to find out that this contribution has helped BBCCiN raise a whopping total of £58 million in 2018!

Pudsey themed cakes at Mr F HQ fundraising for BBC Children In Needcake saleThe staff at Mr F HQ in Suffolk also joined in with their own fundraising efforts during Children In Need week last year – raising over £400 – which saw them taking part in a cake bake, the Children in Need annual duck race and coming dressed up in their finest yellow or spotty outfits. The office also took part in ‘Ties for Tim’ where Tim Jeffries, Mr Fothergill’s Commercial Director, donated £1 for each person who came to work wearing a tie, an idea which came about as he is normally the only person to wear one in the office.

BBC Children in Need is currently supporting over 3,000 projects across the UK that are helping children and young people facing a range of disadvantages such as living in poverty, being disabled or ill, or experiencing distress, neglect or trauma. In the last year alone, BBC Children in Need has been able to make a real difference to 580,000 young lives in communities the length and breadth of the UK.

 Mr Fothergill’s Helps BBC Children In Need Raise £58 Million for 2018 AppealSimon Antrobus, Chief Executive of BBC Children in Need, said: “Once again our incredible supporters across the UK have done themselves proud.  This is a tremendous result and will allow us to continue our vital work to help make a difference to disadvantaged children and young people across the UK. As a charity we exist to support organisations in communities across the UK which empower children and extend their life choices, and this phenomenal total will go a long way in helping us make a lasting impact. An enormous thank you to everyone who once again went above and beyond!”

 

Mr Fothergill’s is incredibly proud to support this amazing charity. For more information about BBC Children in Need, please visit www.bbc.co.uk/pudsey.

7 Simple Strategies to Prevent Garden Pests

July 15th, 2019 | News | 0 Comments

 7 Simple Strategies to Prevent Garden Pests

Pests are an all too common challenge, but that doesn’t mean they need to gain the upper hand. In fact in most cases there are ways to prevent your crops from getting infested in the first place.

Read on or watch the video for seven simple, savvy strategies to help you prevent garden pests.

1. Grow Resistant Varieties

Our first strategy is to make life easier for yourself by selecting varieties that are known to have some resistance to common pests. Spend a little time researching seed catalogues for suitable varieties to reduce pest problems later on. Look out for carrot-fly-resistant carrots, for example, or seek out potatoes that shake off eelworm attacks.

2. Confuse PestsGrow vegetables with coloured leaves, like purple varieties of cabbage or kale, to confuse garden pests further

Interplant crops with one another. This confuses passing pests because they will find it harder to home in on their preferred crop. You can interplant different vegetables, or mix up vegetables with herbs or flowers to create a more diverse – and confusing – planting scheme. Obfuscate some more by growing vegetables with coloured leaves, like purple varieties of cabbage or kale, that insects won’t expect.

3. Plant Outside of Peak Times

Another deceptively simple strategy is grow vegetables outside of the peak times for their pests. Take the example of flea beetles, which chew tiny holes in the leaves of brassicas. Their activity peaks in midsummer. So grow vegetables such as Asian greens and mustards in the autumn, when fewer beetles are about. You can also plant before a pest arrives. This works well with fast-growing early peas for example, helping them to dodge the destructive attention of pea moths.

4. Grow Out of the Way

Physically move vegetables out of harm’s way. Grow carrots and cabbage family crops in pots at least 18in (45cm) above ground, well out of the way of low-flying carrot flies and cabbage root flies. Raised pots also reduce problems with slugs and other soil-dwelling pests.

Starting seedlings off under cover in pots is a reliable way to avoid early setbacks from the likes of pigeons and slugs. By the time they’re transplanted your plants will be bigger, sturdier and more capable of withstanding minor attacks.

5. Use Physical Barriers

Make good use of barriers like horticultural fleece to physically separate pests from plantsMake good use of barriers to physically separate pests from plants. Insect mesh, floating row covers or horticultural fleece will stop just about any pest from getting near your hard-won crops. Leave covers to rest on the plants or support them on hoops. Secure them around the edges so pests can’t gain access by just walking in at soil level. Covers are a great solution for caterpillar-prone brassicas and for barring entry to the likes of carrot fly, aphids and squash bugs.

6. Attract Beneficial Bugs

Ladybirds, hoverflies, parasitic wasps, lacewings – just a few of the beneficial bugs that help control pests by either eating them or hatching their young inside them. Tempt more beneficial bugs into your garden by growing lots of the flowers they love like cosmos, sweet alyssum, dill, yarrow and many more besides. Grow them among or immediately next to your vegetables for maximum impact.

7. Keep Plants Healthy

Finally, make sure plants are as healthy as they can be, because strong, healthy plants are less susceptible to pests. Stress-free plants have their own pest defences which more often than not allow them to see off pests without help from us. So grow plants in the right conditions, keep them well fed and water well in dry weather. Don’t forget to feed the soil too with plenty of well-rotted organic matter such as compost, to promote a thriving root system that supports healthy growth above ground.

Those pesky pests keep us on our toes don’t they! But arm yourself with the right strategies and you can keep them well away from your crops. Share your own pest prevention techniques with us – how do you take care of common pests and how successful are you? Comment below or head over to our Facebook and Twitter page.

Seasol, A Seaweed Product for All Seasons

July 9th, 2019 | News | 0 Comments

Mr Fothergill’s Seasol Seaweed Concentrate offers a wide window of sales, almost the whole of the gardening season.

This long sales product improves seed germination and root growth. Studies confirmed that soaking seeds in Seasol prior to sowing, or watering with Seasol immediately after sowing, gives seeds the best possible start in life and leads to vigorous, uniform plants.

Soaking seeds in Seasol prior to sowing will give them the best start in life Water seeds with Seasol immediately after sowing for vigorous, uniform plants.

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, throughout the life of plants. What’s more it’s chemical free, it’s even been shown to provide improved frost resistance.

Marketing Manager Ian Cross said: “The great thing about Seasol is that because it is a natural plant tonic, you can use it regularly throughout all stages of growth, from seed to mature plant, unlike general fertilisers.’’

Seasol is an all-natural plant tonic

Seasol is an all-natural plant tonic, offering a complete treatment for all areas of the garden, promoting healthy growth of plants, flowers, vegetables and even lawns. It contains useful micro-nutrients and is rich in trace elements, all of which plants need to support strong healthy growth. Regular use has proven to help plants cope with stresses such as heat, drought and frost as well as increases resistance to garden pests and diseases.

A 1L bottle has a RRP of £7.99 and the 4L offering is priced at £19.99. To find out more about the Mr Fothergill’s range, log on at www.mr-fothergills-trade.com or telephone 01638 554111.

Hand Pollinating Squash for Higher Yields and Seed Saving

July 4th, 2019 | News | 0 Comments

Hand Pollinating Squash for Higher Yields and Seed Saving

Squashes are notoriously prolific, but sometimes they need a bit of help to get started. If your plants are flowering like mad but not producing fruits, it’s time to start hand-pollinating them to speed things along.

Read on or watch the video and we’ll show you how to do it.

Why Hand Pollinate?

Hand pollination is a useful technique when there aren’t many natural pollinators such as bees around – either because it’s cold or rainy, or because crops are growing under cover in a greenhouse or tunnel. Hand pollinating is also a simple and effective way to boost your yields, ensuring good fruit set for a reliable harvest.

All types of squashes can be hand pollinated including pumpkins, melons and courgette.

Male vs Female Squash Flowers

Squashes have separate male and female flowers. Before we hand pollinate we need to know exactly which is which.

Male squash flowers have a straight stem behind the bloom with no swelling. Peer inside the flower and you can see the stamen, which carry the pollen. This is where you’ll take the pollen from to fertilise the female bloom.

Close up of a female courgette flower on the vegetable patchThe female flowers have a very obvious swelling behind them. This is the immature fruit, which will begin growing once it has been pollinated. Peek inside a female flower and you can clearly make out the stigma, which is where the pollen needs to be in order to fertilise the bloom.

When you compare male and female flowers side by side it’s easy to see the differences.

How to Hand Pollinate

A soft-bristled artist’s paintbrush is ideal for pollinating squash blossoms. Use it to tickle pollen from the stamen of a male flower onto the brush. You should be able to see the yellow pollen on the brush end. Once you’ve done this, transfer it onto the stigma of a female flower by gently stroking the brush over it. And that’s it!

If you don’t have a paintbrush, you can simply detach the male flower from the plant then peel back the petals to expose the stamen and its pollen. Now, carefully dab the pollen onto the stigma of an open female flower to pollinate it.

Saving Seed

Hand pollination is also useful when you want to save seeds of your favourite varieties. Squashes readily cross-pollinate with each other, so the only way to guarantee that seeds will produce plants that are the same variety as their parents is to prevent pollination by insects. You can then hand-pollinate to ensure that only pollen from plants of the same variety reaches the female flower.

You don’t need to isolate the whole plant, just one or two female blooms that will carry your seed. Cover the flower with a light, breathable fabric such as muslin. Tie the fabric around the stem at the back so the flower is completely enclosed. Then, when it opens, remove the fabric and hand pollinate. Return the cover once you’re done and keep it in place until the flower drops off and there’s no further risk of cross-pollination. Mark the stem of the developing fruit with a ribbon so you know from which fruits to collect your seeds.

In situations where squashes are reluctant to produce fruits, hand pollination is a very useful techinque to know. How are your squashes getting on this summer? Are they romping away, or in need of a little encouragement? Comment below or head over to our Facebook and Twitter page.

July Gardening Advice

July 1st, 2019 | News | 0 Comments

July Gardening Advice

Whether it’s a tasty barbeque, a quiet read under a shady tree or forty winks in your favourite deckchair – now’s the time to be outside enjoying our green spaces. Your months of digging, sowing and planting have paid off. Flowers are blooming and crops are growing.

But before you ease into summer’s lazy days and balmy nights, there’s still jobs to be done if you want your garden to remain at its best for the rest of the season. So, apply the sun cream, don the hat and get out into the garden. Afterall, those long days won’t be here forever.

In the flower garden

Deadheading

With balmy days ahead, and water in short supply, both perennials and bedding plants will be keen to set seed. Therefore, to keep them at their best, ensure you prune regularly. This will encourage new growth, and promote wonderful blooms throughout the rest of summer.

BloomsNutrients in pots, containers and hanging baskets will quickly deplete, so give plants a weekly feed

Now’s the time to introduce a plant feed. Nutrients in pots, containers and hanging baskets will quickly deplete, so give them a weekly feed.

Perennials, such as lupins, penstemons and delphiniums, will have already bloomed. Cut their flowered stems back to the base of the plant, and you could be rewarded with a second flourish later in the season.

Roses

By now, a lot of rose varieties will have spent their first blooms. Deadhead and feed to encourage a second bloom in the coming weeks. For the one-time season bloomers, you may want to refrain from deadheading. Allow their hips to develop, as this will make a welcome attraction in the autumn months.

Bearded Iris

Bearded Irises can now be lifted and divided. When re-planting, ensure the rhizome is sat on the soil, half exposed. The warm sun will quickly help to establish them, and ensure they flower next season. You should cut all foliage down by two thirds to ensure the energy is going into the rhizome and is not wasted.

Watering

Install water butts to save water in JulyWith water at a premium, if you haven’t done so already, install water butts. They come in array of shapes and sizes, so no matter how small the space there’s always an opportunity to save water. At this time of year, crops and plants are crying out for a good drink. However, try to carry out this task either first thing in the morning, or at dusk. With less sun, water evaporation isn’t an issue, keeping your beds and borders hydrated for longer. Also, try to water at the base of plants as water droplets on the foliage could potentially burn your plant, or encourage mildew and other diseases. Also, ensure all pots, containers and hanging baskets are watered regularly, due to rising temperatures they made need watering twice a day.

Lawns

This time of year, your lawn will be seeing a lot of action. If there’s a drought, your lawn will be looking worse for wear. Fear not though, the first rainfall will soon return it to its luscious green state. But, if there’s not a drought, mow the lawn, keeping blades higher, as this will retain moisture. Also, consider giving your grass a regular feed.

Greenhouse

Temperatures in greenhouses this time of year will be high. Introduce shading to your glass roof maybe the solution to preventing young plants from being scorched. Ensure there’s a steady airflow, by keeping all doors and vents open. Water the floor daily, not only to reduce temperature but deter red spider mite.

Pick courgettes regularly and the plant will continue to grow new produce

On the veg patch

Harvesting

Beetroot, chard, salad leaves, courgettes, beans and peas are ready to be harvested. By picking legumes and courgettes regularly, the plant will continue to grow new produce. Letting these crops grow past their best can encourage pests, or send a signal to the plant to stop growing altogether.

Tomatoes

Once your plants have four or five trusses, pinch out the top of the plant. This will send the plant’s energy into the fruit, and not the foliage. Feed regularly, and continue to pinch-out all side shoots. Don’t let plants dry-out, or water irregularly, as this can encourage blossom end rot. Finally, remove any leaves beneath the first truss of tomatoes, as this will help circulation and prevent the build-up of pests and diseases.

Potatoes

Second earlies should now be ready for the dinner plate. If you’re not sure, wait until the plants have flowered, then have a little dig around in the soil to find your spuds. If they’re ready, it won’t take long for you to uncover them.

Dig up what you need, and leave the rest of the tubers to grow on, ensuring your continue to water weekly. Or if you’re hoping to use the potato plot to grow a new crop, dig them all up. Try to do it on a sunny day, and place your freshly dug potatoes on the plot surface for a few hours to dry a little. Store them in hessian sacks and keep in a cool, dark room. Check them every so often to make sure they haven’t spoilt.

If you’re dreaming of eating freshly-grown spuds on Christmas day, now is the time to plant them. If you’re not using potato grow bags, consider large containers. As the cold weather returns and the temperatures drop, you’ll need to move them somewhere where the frost can’t get to them.

Choose a sunny day to pull garlic and onions and lay them out on the topsoil to dryGarlic and onions

Both crops should now be ready to be pulled. Ideally, choose a sunny day, and lay them out on the topsoil to dry. Failing that, dry them in your greenhouse or polytunnel. Once dried, they can be stored and used when you’re ready.

Pests and diseases

Powdery mildew can affect pumpkins, squashes and courgettes. First sign of this on your plants, remove infected leaves. Do not place on your compost heap, as this will encourage the bacteria. Either burn, or remove from site completely.

Weevils, blackfly, greenfly, aphids, slugs and snails will be thriving at this time of year. If chemicals aren’t an option for you, try hosing them off your plants, or spray with soapy water. Another option is to crush a clove or two of garlic and add it to the water in your spritzer bottle, as garlic deters pests. A morning or evening stroll around your plot is the perfect time for picking off slugs and snails.

Winter veg

If you’re hoping for a harvest of winter veg, then you should be thinking about planting out your autumn veg. Vegetables to consider are brassicas, leeks and swede.

Fruit

Hungry birds will make light work of strawberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants or blackberries, so net your fruit.

July is for pruning fruit trees, such as plum and cherryStrawberry plants will be producing runners, so if you want new plants for next year, pin the runners to the soil. Once they establish a root system, cut the runner from the main plant. Alternatively, if you want to maximise this year’s crop, remove the runners to divert the energy to the existing fruit.

This is also the month for pruning fruit trees, such as plum and cherry. The warmer weather reduces the risk of bacteria harming an open wound on a cherry tree, and setting off silver leaf disease. Summer pruning can also be carried out on trained apple and pear trees.

Other jobs

  • If you have a pond with fish, ensure water levels don’t drop. Remove any blanket weed as this can suffocate ponds.
  • Turn your compost bins as the aeration will open air pockets and drain away excess water, speeding up the decomposition process.
  • Check plants daily for the onset of pests. Ensure plants haven’t dried out, and if need be, move to a cooler spot.
  • Taking time to sit and enjoy your plants may also be the ideal opportunity to order autumn flower and seed catalogues.