Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Mr Fothergill’s Staff ‘Smarten Up’ to Raise Money for BBC Children in Need

November 20th, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

Staff at Mr Fothergill’s Seeds dressed up for the occasion last week to help raise money for BBC Children in Need. 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!

Tim said “I thought it would be a great challenge for my colleagues to take a leaf out of my book and come to work wearing a tie! I am delighted with how many people took part and that we could do our bit to help raise money for such a great cause.”

‘Ties for Tim’ was part of a week of fundraising activity at the Suffolk seed specialist, with staff also taking part in a cake bake, the Children in Need annual duck race and coming dressed up in their finest yellow or spotty outfits, with all proceeds going to BBC Children in Need.

The money raised during the week totalled over £400 and has been boosted by a further £15,800 from sales to date of Mr Fothergill’s Sunflower Pudsey and Pumpkin Pudsey seed packets into retailers.

The two packets for children were launched earlier this year as part of Mr. Fothergill’s partnership with BBC Children in Need, with 30p from each packet going to the charity. David Carey, Mr Fothergill’s joint Managing Director commented “We are so pleased with the positive reaction we have had from our trade customers about our Children in Need seed packets. We are already receiving top up orders from our initial sell in, so are looking forward to being able to add to an already tremendous donation total over the coming season.”

Sunflower Pudsey and Pumpkin Pudsey have an RRP £1.99 and are available now from selected garden retailers, online at www.mr-fothergills.co.uk and in selected Homebase stores.

Make a difference with Mr Fothergill’s and BBC Children in Need

November 13th, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

Together, let’s make a difference and grow seed! 30p from each packet of Sunflower Pudsey and Pumpkin Pudsey will go to BBC Children in Need.

We are delighted to announce our new partnership with BBC Children in Need, launching two new seed packets for children – Sunflower Pudsey and Pumpkin Pudsey. 30p from each packet sold will benefit BBC Children in Need, to help make a real difference to the lives of children all across the UK. Let’s join together and have some fun growing the tallest sunflower and scariest pumpkin and help make a difference.

BBC Children in Need believe that every child in the UK should have a childhood which is safe, happy and secure and allows them the chance to reach their potential. To help achieve their vision, they provide grants to projects in the UK which focus on children and young people who are disadvantaged. They currently support 2,400 of these projects. Since 1980, over £800 million has been raised in aid of BBC Children in Need.

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Sunflower Pudsey flowers the same year as sown. Easy, fast-growing with huge heads on giant stems. 75 seeds for only £1.99!

Pumpkin Pudsey is perfect for carving at Halloween – with sweet tasting orange flesh it’s perfect for pies, too. 100 seeds only £1.99!

For more information on BBC Children in Need and all the great work they do, head to www.bbc.co.uk/childreninneed.

8 Ways to Garden in Harmony with Nature

November 9th, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

Gardens are special places where, as gardeners, we’re privileged to get up close to the natural world. But working with nature also makes you realise how precious it is. Our impact on the planet is well documented and it’s up to us to adopt more environmentally conscious ways of living. Growing your own food is a great start, but how you grow it makes all the difference.

Read on or watch the video as we share eight great ideas to help you garden more sustainably, in step with nature.

1. Use Human Power

Let’s start by replacing electric or gasoline-powered equipment such as lawnmowers, tillers and leaf-blowers with more sustainable human-powered alternatives whenever we can. It’ll save natural resources, and by breaking big jobs down into regular smaller blocks, it’s a great way to stay active and keep fit.

2. Work with Nature

Artificial fertilisers and pesticides are energy intensive to manufacture and carry many undesirable side effects, from polluting rivers to harming beneficial insects and soil life.

A natural approach – adding organic materials to the soil to build long-term soil fertility, and planting flowers to attract pest predators – avoids these negative impacts while creating a livelier, healthier garden.

3. Plant Trees

Trees lock up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, helping mitigate the effects of our changing climate. Let’s plant more of them! Trees range from tiny to massive to suit every space, and can be planted into otherwise wasted or underused parts of the garden. Most are easy to grow and many trees are productive too – just think of a handsome apple tree, for example.

Trees offer birds somewhere to nest, feed and shelter. In return they will keep many plant pests in check while contributing their melodious song.

4. The Best Plant Food

Much of our waste can be composted. Composting is a natural process and a far more environmentally friendly alternative to burying it in landfill. Garden-made compost is often richer in valuable nutrients than bought-in sources of compost.

Make your own and enjoy a free source of natural fertiliser to feed your soil and the plants growing in it. Setting up a simple compost bin or heap doesn’t take long. It’s easy to add to and, don’t worry, it won’t smell!

5. Reconsider Your Lawn

Lawns demand a lot of effort and watering to stay green, especially in hotter climates. How much lawn do you really need? Can any of it be repurposed? For example, a native wildflower meadow only needs cutting once or twice a year.

Make the lawn that remains more sustainable by simply leaving the grass to grow a little longer between cuts. Then leave the clippings where they fall at least once a month to return their nutrients to the soil.

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6. Upcycle and Reuse

Don’t be in a haste to throw away old pots and seed containers. Reuse them as often as you can by washing them after each season so they’re ready and clean for the next. Look after your tools by storing them somewhere dry so they last longer. Keep moving parts oiled, and sharpen blades regularly so they work like new.

Opt for lower energy, natural materials in the garden – from biodegradable pots made of coir, cardboard or even old newspaper, to

a greenhouse built from sustainable wood in place of aluminium.

Many gardeners are only too happy to repurpose old items into new ones for the garden. And there’s all sorts of fun to be had in getting creative!

7. Free Resources, Naturally

Nature gives us lots for free. Set up barrels to collect rainfall and cut your consumption of treated water – and your water bill! Rake up fallen leaves to make leaf mould – the perfect material for improving soil structure or creating your own, packaging-free potting mix.

Create more spaces for wildlife. Flowers rich in nectar feed pollinators, as well as drawing in other insects to feed on the bugs you don’t want. Include a pond for frogs and toads – the ultimate slug controllers!

Extra room for wildlife doesn’t mean sacrificing valuable ground space. For example, install a green roof on your shed or put together a simple bug hotel. Projects like this are great fun for adults and kids alike. Many projects are easily completed in a weekend to bring benefits lasting long into the future.

8. Grow What Thrives

Growing plants that naturally thrive in your location means you’ll enjoy more success and less heartache. Pick the right plant for the right place: for example, vegetables like tomatoes and beans for sunny areas or leafy salads in the shade.

Not sure? Then use the fully searchable GrowVeg Garden Plans Gallery to see what others are growing in your area and seek some inspiration. Or step in and explore the GrowVeg Garden Planner for yourself. It’s easy to narrow down the selection of plants to, for example, those that will happily grow in partial shade or are frost tolerant. And because the software knows your location, you can even filter the list to show only those plants suitable for sowing, planting or harvesting during a specific month in your location. Simple!

Don’t be in too much of a hurry at the start of the growing season. Work back from the last frost date so tender crops like squashes aren’t sown too early and are ready to plant when the time’s right. This will also minimise the need for costly heating. The Garden Planner includes a handy Plant List to help with this too!

Of course, growing any fruits, vegetables or herbs is a big step towards a more Earth-friendly lifestyle, so grow as much as you can: plan ahead, re-sow throughout the growing season and set aside some of your homegrown bounty for the leaner times of the year. You’ll be doing yourself and the planet a world of good.

If you have any tips of tricks for gardening more naturally, comment below or head over to our Facebook and Twitter page.

Help Mr Fothergill’s Commemorate Armistice Day with Poppy Victoria Cross

November 9th, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

This Remembrance weekend, all proceeds from each packet of Mr Fothergill’s Poppy Victoria Cross sold will be donated to the Chelsea Pensioners of the Royal Chelsea Hospital Appeal.

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Over the last four years we’ve been donating 25p from the sale of every packet of Poppy Victoria Cross to the Royal Hospital Chelsea. You’ve helped us to raise over £75,000 so far – that’s more than 300,000 packets and 75 million poppy seeds!

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With the anniversary of the end of the Great War approaching, we thought it would be fitting to commemorate this special Armistice Day by donating the entire £2.10 packet price of Poppy Victoria Cross to the Chelsea Pensioners. This offer applies to all packets sold from now until midnight on Armistice Day, Sunday 11th November 2018.

The Royal Hospital Chelsea was established in 1682 by Charles II to provide a safe home for military veterans ‘broken by age or war’. The Christopher Wren-designed Royal Hospital admitted its first pensioners in 1692. Rachael Ferguson, corporate partnerships officer at the Royal Hospital Chelsea said “We are delighted at Mr Fothergill’s continued support, which is well known among and appreciated by the Chelsea Pensioners. The backing from the company and its thousands of customers, for which we are grateful, is quite remarkable”.

Please note that there is a £1.95 P&P charge for all seed orders, including single packets. However, this is a fixed charge no matter how many packets of seed you buy. Head to mr-fothergills.co.uk for more.

 

How to Prepare Your Garden Against Frost

November 5th, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

Temperatures have noticeably dropped over the past few weeks. The garden has gotten close to freezing on a number of occasions, so it’s safe to say the first frosts of winter will be with us any minute. Preparing the garden for the colder months ahead is a wise move to keep overwintering plants and your hard-working soil happy.

Read on or watch the video to discover simple, cost-effective ways to do just that.

Mulch Bare Soil

Leaving soil exposed risks depleting the beneficial life contained within it. Keep the likes of worms, bugs and fungi happy by laying organic matter over the surface before it gets too cold. A layer of  material such as well-rotted compost or manure, spread 1-2in (3-5cm) deep is thick enough to keep soil life fed while nourishing the soil itself, yet thin enough to enable hard frosts to penetrate the soil below, thereby helping to control overwintering pests.

Row Covers at the Ready

Keep row covers or horticultural fleece at the ready.

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Store it somewhere dry, ideally neatly rolled up and off the ground out of the way of vermin such as mice.

Dirty polythene covers should be washed down then dried so they’re ready to deploy.

When frost threatens, or if you simply want to extend your cropping period, the row covers can quickly be put into position, held down at the sides with stones, bricks or staples.

Homemade Protection

Don’t forget the many homemade options for cold weather protection. Clear plastic bottles, cut in half, are great for slipping over individual small plants, either outside or as an added layer of warmth inside the greenhouse.

Cold frames can be costly but it’s very easy to make your own. For example, one can be made by securing a rigid piece of polycarbonate onto a simple wooden frame, with hinges at the back to allow for the lid to be opened and closed – very simple, but very effective.

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Temporary Hoop Houses

Row covers may also be secured onto homemade hoops, making a handy hoop house. A way of achieving this is by using lengths of PVC water pipe secured onto lengths of rebar hammered into the ground and connected at the top by a central ridge of piping. It’s an effective way to keep winter hardy salads and vegetables safe from harsh weather.

 

Protecting Root Crops

Many root crops such as carrots and beetroot can be left in the ground until they’re needed. Some, like parsnips, actively improve with frost, becoming more tender and sweeter.

Lay a mulch of compost, straw, dried leaves or leaf mould about 6 inches (15cm) thick to help keep frosts at bay, but if the ground is likely to freeze solid for weeks on end, dig up your root crops to store them somewhere cool, dry and frost-free.

Protect Containers

In winter the biggest threat to containerised plants like herbs is wet. Persistently wet potting soil can freeze, turning lethal in cold weather. Make sure excess moisture can drain away by lifting up containers onto pot feet. You can use elegant purpose-sold pot feet, or just improvise with stones, for example.

Delicate containers can also crack if potting soil freezes solid and expands. You can stop this happening by wrapping pots up in bubble wrap, burlap or hessian, or look for pots sold as frost-resistant. Sensitive plants and pots can also be moved somewhere more sheltered – against the house for instance, or into a greenhouse.

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Warmer Greenhouse

Inside a greenhouse it makes more sense to protect individual plants rather than trying to heat up the entire structure. Wrap frost-sensitive plants up in row covers or fleece, or section off an area of the greenhouse and heat this smaller space instead.

Old polystyrene fish boxes are great for insulating smaller plants like winter salad leaves against the worst of the cold. Most already include drainage slots at the corners, so you can fill them with potting soil and plant directly – or just drop trays and pots into the boxes for a snug fit. Cover with fabric or plastic overnight for extra temporary protection on extra-cold nights.

Know Your Frost Date

Knowing when to expect your first frost is important for planning your frost protection. The GrowVeg Garden Planner uses your precise location to anticipate the date when this is likely to occur, so you’re pre-warned and can take action to winter-proof your plot. Check the calender to find your expected first frost date, but don’t forget to keep an eye on the weather forecast too.

Help your plants stay warmer or use the frosts to your advantage. Either way, being prepared will help you to successfully work with winter.

If you have any tips or tricks for getting your garden winter-ready, comment below or head over to our Facebook and Twitter page.