Posts Tagged ‘garden planning’

December Gardening Advice

December 3rd, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

start-planning-your-2019-garden-now-its-never-too-early-to-plan-ahead

The smell of pine, the taste of mulled wine, and the promise of a large gentleman in a red suit bearing gifts, means the festive season is once again upon us. Hard to think that we’re about to wave goodbye to another year. But what a year! The sun shined, the flowers bloomed and the crops flourished.

So, while we make merry with friends and family, it’s also the ideal time to find a quiet little nook, away from the usual television repeats, to reflect on this year in the garden and on the allotment. Think about your successes and failures, and how to improve things next year.

Browse through the seed catalogues, write your ‘wish lists’, and draw your blueprint for 2019. It’s never too early to plan ahead. Before you know it, the sun will be shining and the flowers blossoming.

In the flower garden

Plant up

Why not greet the festive season with an array of outdoor colour? Pansies, cyclamen and winter heathers can be bought in most nurseries, or ordered online. Plant up in containers, pots or hanging baskets, then place them around your front door and path to make a warm welcome for any guest or carol singer this season.

Prune

This is the time to prune wisteria. Cut back any growing side shoots to two or three buds, and tie-in. You might also need to improve the support structure of the plant for next spring. You should also prune and tie-in climbing roses. Any established stems shouldn’t be cutback to more than two thirds. Remove fallen leaves from site, as they could be harbouring blackspot, and that will only spread come spring.

Greenhouse

If you have plants in the greenhouse, then a heater might make all the difference on a cold night. If there is a snowfall, ensure all snow is removed from the greenhouse exterior, as plants growing inside will need all the warmth and light they can get. However, a warm greenhouse does increase the risk of pests and diseases, so regularly check all plants, pots and trays.

Root cuttings

Consider taking root cuttings from herbaceous perennials. This will increase your flower border supplies, and save you the expense of having to buy new plants next season.

Wreath

You can also save the pennies by making your own festive wreath. A homemade wreath looks great on a front door, all you need is a little patience and imagination. With secateurs, scissors, wire and string as your tools, take a foamed floral-ring as your foundation and soak it in a bucket of water for a few minutes before plugging it with cuttings. There’s plenty of stunning foliage and plants to use at this time of year, including holly, mistletoe, ivy, rosehips and pine cones. Any leftover cuttings can decorate a mantle or make a table display.

Structure

Now’s a great time to make repairs or build new garden structures. Whether it’s fences panels, pergolas, sheds or trellises, with plants pruned or tied back, you can see clearly where to install new structures, or make good on damaged ones. Once you’ve completed the structure, treat it with a wood preservative or give it a coat of paint.

Think about how you want your garden to look next year, and make the changes now. Lift, divide, and re-plant perennials and hedging. Inspect any established hedging for damage or disease, and remove.

Add new structure by introducing bare-root roses and hedging. But remember, plant in well, and give roses a thick mulch to protect them from winter weather.

Indoor sowing

If there isn’t a heat supply in your greenhouse or polytunnel, a warm conservatory or a well-lit window ledge might be the solution. Using a seed tray, seed compost and horticulture grit, you may want to think about sowing cyclamen or geranium. Ensure the seed is sparingly spread. Cover over lightly with a thin layer of compost or vermiculite and place in a tray semi-filled with water. This allows the water to seep into the soil from the bottom up, without disturbing the seeds.

On the veg patch

Leeks, carrots and parsnips

If you’ve been growing leeks, carrots or parsnips and hoping to enjoy them alongside your turkey on the big day, try to harvest them when the ground is not frozen, ideally in the afternoon. Once lifted they can be heeled in gently, and left until Christmas morning, or when you’re ready to use them.

Brussels sprouts

By now, your brussels sprouts should be swelling up nicely. To keep the plants at their best, remove the yellowing lower leaves. As the top of the plant is now a lot heavier, ensure they are staked in well, otherwise they make suffer wind rock, which could harm or kill the plant.

Structure

With most crops now lifted, the exposed view will reveal the structure of your allotment or kitchen garden. If you’re thinking of adding plots, paths or borders, now’s the time to carry out these tasks.

Christmas potatoes

After months of growing and topping up the soil, the big day is nearly here, and so are your spuds. Whether they’re in grow bags or sacks, tip them out into an empty wheelbarrow, and search through the soil for your golden treasure. With all potatoes removed, the leftover soil can be tipped into veg beds, and worked in.

Beans

If you want a bumper harvest of beans next year, select your plot and dig a trench. Over a period of time, fill the area with festive kitchen food waste (not meat or dairy). Once filled, mark the area, and backfill with soil. This will rot down, providing a rich growing bed for your young legume plants next season.

Fruits trees

Gooseberries, raspberries and currants will make a welcome addition to your garden or veg plot. Before planting bare-root plants, soak the roots in a bucket of water for half an hour. Dig the hole, adding compost (and grit if the soil is heavy) and plant in well. Water and mulch. If you’ve planted large plants, or plants that will take on vigorous growth in the spring, consider adding a support structure to the growing area.

Blueberries are another great plant to grow. When planting, remember these will need to be grown in ericaceous soil (which is acidic), and only water with rainwater.

If you have a fig tree, then wrap it in horticultural fleece. The colder weather could potentially damage the end branches of the tree, and hamper next season’s growth.

For apple and pear trees, prune now whilst they are dormant, removing any dead, damaged or diseased branches.

Other Jobs

Christmas is not just about the tree – hyacinths, indoor cyclamen and poinsettias can all join the party. If you haven’t had the opportunity to grow them from bulbs, they can easily be bought from nurseries or online.

As the weather becomes bitter, move indoor plants from draughty and open door areas. Keep away from radiators and sun spots. Check foliage regularly for mildew, yellowing or disease.

Continue to look after the garden wildlife. Ensure there is a fresh water supply for birds, and break up frozen water. Keep bird feeders and tables topped up.

Install a compost bin in your garden or allotment, or remember to turn over the contents of any established bins.

Choosing the Right Layout for Your Vegetable Garden Design [video]

April 25th, 2017 | The flower garden, The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

Vegetable Garden Design - Nation of Gardeners SaladNew or old gardens can always be improved using dedicated vegetable beds that can help with productivity. A simple vegetable bed system will help you to plan, tend and harvest your crops with ease. This will leave you with a vegetable garden to be proud of. This post and the video below shares advice on vegetable garden design and how to make the most of the space that you have. 

  • Growing vegetables in allocated beds has many advantages. Narrow beds ensure growing areas can be tended from surrounding paths, this eliminates the needs to step on beds and crops. This creates a healthier soil for your plants, in turn providing you with plenty of crops.
  • Soil manures can be planted in specific areas when using beds preventing the need to spread manure across entire plots.
  • A bed system provides order for crops but also makes crop protection easier, as you only need to cover particular beds with their specific protection.
  • Using vegetable beds also provide an accessible garden by collating similar vegetables into the same bed making the gardening easier to manage.
  • Beds can be laid out in two ways, soil-level or raised.
    • Soil level beds are easy to work out, simply define bed edges with string and peg down. Then you can prepare the ground within the string.
    • Edging around beds to create raised beds offers a more permanent solution and a physical feature in your garden. Raised beds physically defines the vegetable beds and separates the various vegetables. Edging for beds does however cost more and more effort is required to build them and then fill them with compost and top soil.
  • You must try to make it possible for the centre of beds to be reached easily from the paths that surround them. Aim for a bed width of 3 – 4 feet or 90 – 120cm, this will give ample space for reaching to the centre of the bed.

These are just a few tips and tricks on vegetable garden design. Let us know if you have any further tips in the comments below.  You can also find the Mr Fothergills range of bed kits and covers here.

Vegetable Garden Design: Choosing the Right Layout for Your Garden

Vegetable Garden Design – Choosing the Right Layout for Your Garden

How to Plan a Bigger, Better Garden

March 28th, 2017 | The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

Garden Planning for a Better GardenPlanning at the start of the growing season is important – you must consider what you’re going to grow, where you are going to grow it and when you’re going to sow or plant it. This post is going to help you plan for your most successful growing season yet!

  • It’s important to get to know your garden – observing where the shade falls, this way you can plant in the appropriate area. Tender crops like tomatoes, peppers and squash will thrive in the sunny area of the garden. Leafy greens, herbs and salads prefer a part-shaded area.
  • Knowing the windy areas of your garden is also handy – climbing beans can get damaged in a windy area of the garden. Corn, on the other hand is preferable in the wind.
  • Keep track of what you plan to grow where, this will make crop rotation a lot simpler. Rotating crops from the same family to a new bed each year reduces the chances for pests and disease to build up in the soil. As a bonus it keeps the soil in great condition!
  • Varying crops place different demands on the soil. Cabbage is a very hungry plant so it’s a good idea to grow it after beans or peas – this will also help to enrich the soil by fixing nitrogen. Once you’ve harvested cabbages the soil will be less rich so you could replant with root crops such as carrots which don’t need high fertility to thrive.
  • Once you’ve chosen what you’d like to grow it will help to know when everything can be sown, planted and harvested – a good garden plan will include key dates of these activities. This plan will ensure that nothing is missed out or forgotten as the season gets busier.
  • Planning your garden means you can buy just the right number of seed containers, seeds, potting soil and plant supports.
  • Proper planning means you can keep your plot as productive as possible, for as long as possible, so as one crops finished, another is waiting in the wings to replace it.

Planning your garden can save you time, money and unnecessary disappointment. We hope these tips have helped you plan your garden! If you have any top tips for garden planning then please let us know in the comments or on our social media.

How to Plan a Bigger, Better Garden – Easy Vegetable Garden Planning

5 Golden Rules of Garden Planning [video]

January 9th, 2017 | The flower garden, The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

garden planning

 

When the growing season begins, it’s exciting to be able to get a new start in your plot. It’s important to take some time to  plan what you are going to grow before you begin.  Spending some time with pen and paper and plotting out your plans will make it easier in the garden as you progress through the growing year. So here are some garden planning tips useful for people new to vegetable gardening and allotmenteering, and old horti pros alike.

  • Choosing the perfect location to start growing a veg plot is important. Most vegetables prefer full sun, but if you have no sunny spots available in your garden then research the crops you could grow that prefer shade, or that at least will thrive in the shade.
  • Good soil is the key to better growth. Ideally your ground should be fertile and moisture retentive, but also well drained.  We aren’t all blessed with perfect growing conditions though, and so watch the video for some methods for improving your soil for crop growing.
  • Always grow vegetables and fruit that you like!  It is no use growing lots and lots of a particular crop just because they are easy to grow. Concentrate on the fruit and vegetables you enjoy eating the most; this will motivate you to grow more and see you through the season.
  • Make the most of any space you have, use pots and containers to use space effectively in smaller areas.
  • Stagger your harvests with succession sowing.  Sowing a little and often will allow you to have a range of crops throughout much of the year rather than gluts all at one time.

These are just a few tips for garden planning. The video below shares with you the five golden rules of garden planning.

 5 Golden Rules of Garden Planning

Be sure to check out our garden equipment here, choosing just a few bits of extra garden kit will help you with make the most of the garden space you have.

How to plan your vegetable garden

January 13th, 2014 | The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

A newly emerged Broad Bean Aguadulce in the vegetable garden.A well planned vegetable garden is a productive vegetable garden.  Although the rains pour and the winds blow just recently – seemingly without let up – there’s always time to stick on the kettle and get planning for the upcoming season in the vegetable garden.

In this video discover the heart of good garden planning and how to draw up the plans you require. We also introduce you to our online Garden Planner to show you how it can help ease the vegetable plot planning process.

If you are new to the Grow Your Own revolution, you might be wondering what to grow in your first year in the vegetable plot.  Mr Fothergill’s have put together a number of ‘collections’ to help guide you through this.

  • This Early Sowing Vegetables Collection brings you fresh veg for sowing earlier in the growing year so that you can get growing straight away!
  • This Vegetables Collection Box contains all you need to get started with a selection of 6 crops.  A great gift idea for someone you know who might have taken on an allotment for the first time too!
  • Although it seems early to think about autumn and next winter’s crops, it’s time to think about sowing brassicas.  This Brassica Collection gathers together 4 popular varieties for later in the season.
  • No vegetable garden is complete without onions and so try this Heat Treated Onion Collection for red and white onions that will store through the winter and can be eaten fresh too.
  • There is no doubt that home-grown salads have more taste and are washed in less chemicals than the expensive bags of lettuce you can buy in the supermarkets.  This Salad Leaves Collection includes 6 easy to grow lettuce varieties that will supply your kitchen for a whole season.
  • Soft fruit is by far the best value crop to grow in your kitchen garden.  Planting this Strawberry Collection will give you fresh, sweet strawberries that taste like strawberries throughout the season with 3 varieties chosen for their early, mid and late season cropping.
  • And for a more permanent planting of soft fruit bushes, try this Currant Collection to plant Redcurrants, Blackcurrants and Whitecurrants in your plot.