Posts Tagged ‘garden advice’

Help Your Garden Survive a Summer Drought

August 17th, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

gardening-during-a-summer-drought-can-be-a-struggle

Struggling with a summer drought is no fun, and keeping your plants quenched and happy can feel like a non-stop battle.

Don’t be a slave to the watering can!

Read on or watch the video for top tips on how to keep your garden healthy in drought conditions. They’ll save you time – and a lot of water too!

Watering

top-tips-for-saving-water-and-time-in-a-drought

Prioritise watering

When water is precious it pays to be prudent. Concentrate your watering where it is needed; young seedlings to help them establish, leafy salads to stop them wilting, fruit and vegetables like tomatoes, and anything growing in a pot.

Balance and speed

Using a watering can? Try two! One for each hand. It will help you balance and you’ll be able to water twice as quickly. If your water source is some distance from your beds, it also means less walking back and forth.

Another option is to use a portable tank, to cart water to where it will be dispensed.

Don’t blast your plants

A strong spray from a hose can knock plants about, or blast potting soil out of containers. Get around this problem simply by placing the end of the hose in a watering can so that it fills as you pour. This means you can water carefully and precisely, enjoying the convenience of a hose without wasting a drop.

Water from the bottom

Watering pots from the bottom, rather than the top, can save a lot of time and water in hot weather. Fill up a suitable sized reservoir, adding any liquid feed you’d like to apply at the recommended rate. Sink your pots into the water and leave them to soak up the liquid for at least an hour.

You can speed things along by adding a splash of water to the top of the pot before it’s left to soak. This technique helps ensure a thorough watering that makes very efficient use of your water.

Automate watering

An automatic irrigation system connected to a timer will take the strain out of watering. Set it to come on very early in the morning, before things heat up. The best set up to use drip irrigation or soaker hoses to deliver water is right at the base of your plants, near the roots.

Some can even be fitted to water barrels, so you can make the most of any rain water you’ve managed to collect.

Keep their Cool

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Drought can play havoc with seedlings, hampering germination and causing young plants to struggle. Here are a few ideas to help:

Success with seedlings

In hot dry conditions getting seeds to germinate can be tricky, particularly those of cool season crops such at lettuce. The solution is to wet the seed drill before sowing to give them the cool, moist surroundings they crave. Water along marked out drills, allow the water to completely drain away, then fill and drain once again before you sow.

Once you’re done sowing cover the seeds back over, but don’t water again until after germination. The moisture in the drill will drain through, encouraging the seedlings’ roots to follow.

Add some shade

Young seedlings, and cool season crops in general, perform better under the protection of some shading in hot summers. Prioritise shady areas for crops that prefer cool conditions, such as salad leaves. You can use taller crops to shade shorter ones, but in scorching weather drastic action may be needed.

Shade cloth can cast just enough shade to keep your plants happy in severe heat and can be easily removed when the weather turns cooler. Suspend it over plants to help them keep their cool.

Soothe the Soil

mulching-shades-soil-to-keep-it-cooler-and-helps-retain-moisture

Mulch around plants

Mulches are a must in any summer drought, and a mulch of organic material such as compost, leafmould or even dried grass clippings is best.

This extra layer serves two purposes; it shades the soil from the sun helping to keep it cooler, and it acts as a barrier to the sun, dramatically slowing evaporation.

How to apply a mulch

Thoroughly soak the ground before adding your mulch. If it’s exceptionally dry, water again a few hours later to recharge all that valuable soil moisture. Lay the mulch so it’s at least an inch (2 cm) thick and feed it right around all your plants.

Fruit trees, canes and bushes can be mulched with chunkier materials such as bark chippings, or fibrous materials like straw. Mulches may not be very high-tech, but they are incredibly effective in a hot summer.

 

If you have any tips for gardening in a hot, dry climate, comment below or head over to our Facebook and Twitter page.

The Big Bug Hunt: How to Prevent Common Garden Pests Damaging Your Crops [video]

June 27th, 2017 | The flower garden, The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

Prevent Common Garden PestsPests are an inevitable garden presence, they’re frustrating but it’s important to not get too irritated. It’s just another gardening challenge to overcome. This post looks into how to prevent common garden pests.

  • Slugs and snails are the bane of many gardens, they demolish leaves.
  • Prevent them by putting up barriers. Copper rings around the base of plants will deter them from nibbling at leaves by giving them a small electric shock.
  • Eggshells are also a great way to prevent slugs and snails from attacking your leaves.
  • Beer traps are another effective method, slugs will be attracted to the yeasty scent and will drown attempting to get to the scent.
  • Installing a pond in your garden can attract frogs; they are great at eating pests in the garden and steering them clear of your plants.
  • Cabbage white butterflies (cabbage worms) carry an appetite for the cabbage family.
  • Stop them laying eggs by laying butterfly netting over your plants. This can be draped over a simple wooden frame. Ensure it’s well secured.
  • Planting decoy plants at the end of a row can protect your important plants from the cabbage butterflies.
  • Aphids can attack your vegetables.
  • Spray colonies of aphids with soapy water, this offers some control.
  • Many bugs feast on these like ladybugs and hover flies. You’ll need to attract beneficial bugs, which can be done with particular plants and bug hotels.

These are just a few tips and tricks that you can put into practice, keeping your garden pest free. The video below discusses further advice and introduces the Big Bug Hunt. Find out more on the Big Bug Hunt site. If you have any pest prevention techniques you would like to share, please let us know in the comments below. 

The Big Bug Hunt: How to Prevent Common Garden Pests Damaging Your Crops

Succession Planting: How to Harvest More From Your Vegetable Garden [video]

June 25th, 2017 | The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

Succession Planting - Nation of Gardeners SaladSuccession planting allows you to make the most of your garden, by enjoying multiple harvests from a single patch of ground in any growing season. It takes careful planning and this post will guide you through the process of succession planting.

  • Succession cropping is the sowing/planting of one crop, immediately following an early crop has finished. This particular method of growing increases productivity.
  • Succession planting maintains soil cover from the constant sowing of crops, provides less opportunity for weeds to appear.
  • Many vegetables need only half the growing season to reach harvest. This leaves plenty of fine weather to start a new crop.
  • Vegetables that may finish early enough for a succession crop are; french beans, salads, early potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic and beetroot.
  • After clearing the first crop, clean the ground of any weeds and use a rake to break any clumps.
  • As your previous crop should have been covered with organic matter, your second crop shouldn’t require anymore. But if it does, add compost before sowing or planting.
  • Aim to have your young plants and seeds for second crop in immediately following the removal of first crop seeds.
  • Some crops may be need to be planted from young plants if the growing season in your area is relatively short. You can find our range of vegetable plants here.
  • If you feel the ground is too warm and dry before sowing, you can water the seed drills before sowing. This will cool the ground.

These are just a few tips and tricks on succession planting, the video below offers further detail and a list of plants that are suitable for this method of planting. If you have any tips yourself, do let us know in the comments below or on our social media. 

Succession Planting: How to Harvest More From Your Vegetable Garden

 

Garden Trellis – How to Make the Best Supports for Climbing Vegetables [video]

June 22nd, 2017 | The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

Garden Trellis Support for Climbing VegetablesClimbing vegetables need plenty of support to ensure they offer up fruitful harvests. Garden trellis is a effective and attractive method of keeping climbing vegetables well supported. This post discusses how to make the best supports for climbing vegetables.

  • Simple supports include bamboo canes, poles and stakes. If they have been securely pushed into the ground, they offer an immediate support for vining plants.
  • Some young plants may at first need tying into supports, this will ensure they grow up in the correct direction.
  • Canes and poles can be arranged in rows, with a cane along the top to provide structure.
  • Tie in the canes where they cross with string.
  • You can also create a wigwam or teepee. Space 4 – 8 canes at equal distance in a circle then tie these together about a foot from the top. These are perfect for climbing vegetables.
  • Trellis panels can also be used to support climbing vegetables. They can be screwed to walls and fences or alternatively be left to hang freely.

You can create the perfect bamboo frame with the instructions below:

To make your own bamboo frame you’ll need:

  • Two short lengths of 2×2 inch timber at 32 inches long
  • Two medium lengths of 1×2 inch timber at 5 foot
  • Two longer length of 2×2 inch timber at 7 foot 4 inches
  • Two 4 inch screws
  • Four, 2.5 inch screws
  • 12 bamboo canes at least 7 foot in length
  • Garden wire
  • Screwdriver, drill, sandpaper, pencil, measuring tape

To create the frame

1. Sand down any rough edges on the timber.

2. Put together the top of the frame, using the short and medium length sections

3. Prevent the wood from splitting by drilling pilot holes, 1 inch in from both ends of the two medium length sections.

4. Screw these to the end of the short lengths with the 2.5 inch screws.

5. Measure and mark halfway along the two shortest sides of the top section. Drill pilot holes through these two points.

6. Screw the top section of your frame to the longer lengths of timber, using the 4 inch screws.

7. Dig two holes to accommodate the frame, holes should be at least a foot deep. Lift into position and back fill the holes, firm the soil so the frame stays in place.

8.Set the bamboo canes in position with the frame. Evenly place them in soil along the frame and tie them securely to the top bar.

9. Now plant the beans, one to each bamboo cane.

10. The stems will then latch onto the frames and grow upwards.

This is just a quick tutorial on creating your bamboo frame, the video below offers further detail and a visual representation of building the frame. Be sure to let us know any tips you have for supporting your climbing vegetables. 

GrowVeg – Garden Trellis – How to Make the Best Supports for Climbing Vegetables

 

 

Watering Your Vegetable Garden: How to Water Plants for Healthier Growth [video]

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

Salad - Watering Your Vegetable GardenSummer brings rapid growth to the vegetable garden, but warmer days mean plants need to be kept hydrated. Here are some tips on keeping the vegetable garden moist and content. This post goes into detail on watering your vegetable garden. 

  • Many gardeners will water more often than necessary. In time, this can create shallow roots for plants. This means they depend on your for more water.
  • A way to prevent this is to water less often. Allowing the roots to grow deeper and then be less dependent on your watering.
  • In drier weather, prioritise seedlings over established plants. These need more water until they develop their root systems.
  • Some crops need more water than others; leafy salads and celery. Others appreciate extra water in certain development stages; peas, beans, tomatoes, squashes and cucumbers.
  • Tall plants such as climbing beans with draw a lot of moisture from the soil so will need significantly more watering than other crops.
  • Parsnips and carrots are drought resistant due to the length of their roots.
  • The technique you use when watering your vegetable garden is important. Apply water as close to the roots as possible. Also avoid wetting the foliage as this can promote disease.
  • A watering can, can help you to get in between the plants foliage.
  • Never water in the middle of the day, when the moisture will quickly evapourate.
  • Drip irrigation is the most effective method of emitting water close to the roots. Adding a timer to this can ensure that plants get watered in the morning and in the evening.

These are just a few tips on watering your vegetable garden, the video below offers further advice and detailed techniques to keeping the vegetable garden thriving. 

 

GrowVeg – Watering Your Vegetable Garden: How to Water Plants for Healthier Growth