Posts Tagged ‘gardening tips’

Bird Feeders: Encourage Birds into Your Garden This Winter

January 31st, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

Bird-feeder-winter-gardening-tips

Did you know how important birds are for your garden? They make a substantial impact on pests. So it makes sense, to make our gardens as bird friendly as possible, especially when food is scarce. Here are some tips on how to help our feathered friends during the Winter:

Feed Garden Birds

  • Feeding birds, will encourage then to return repeatedly, so they’ll be on hand in Spring to keep pests away.
  • Leave areas of your garden undisturbed, this will provide shelter for insects, which in turn offers a ready supply of protein for insect-eating birds.
  • Don’t forget t include plenty of berries and seed berry plants in your garden. Shrubs like hawthorn will hold its berries well into winter. Offer birds some additional foods
  • Winter digging can also help exposing slug eggs.

Additional Feeding

  • Offer birds an additional selection of foods to keep them healthy, like bird seed mixtures or unsalted peanuts. Leftovers like cooked rice and potatoes, cooked or raw pastry, unsalted bacon or even hard mild cheeses.
  • Hang feeders where birds have a good view of their surroundings so they can fly away when they feel threatened. Don’t put too much food out at once and make sure there is a continuous supply.
  • Don’t forget tree fruits such as apples and pears.
  • You can also make bird cakes. They are really easy to make. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Melt some animal fat to bind the ingredients together. You can now use that mixture to fill pots or pine cones. Watch our video to see how to make your own bird feeder.

Offer Fresh Water

Water is essential for both cleaning and washing. In really cold regions, you could use a bird bath heater, to stop the water from freezing solid. Or just put out fresh water first thing every morning.

 

 

These are just a few tips and ideas to help you feed birds in your garden. 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 page

Soil Health: How to Improve Your Soil

January 25th, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

Soil-Health-How-to-Improve-Your-Soil-gardening-tips

Healthy soil is the secret behind good harvests. Good soil provides moisture, nutrition and support for crops. Understand your soil type and you can work to improve it. Ensuring more robust plants and even better harvests. First of all, identify your soil type: Soil can be split in four distinctive categories: sandy, silt, clay or loam. Each soil type has its own characteristics:

Sandy soils

Are made of very large particles, which gives a gritty texture. They drain quickly, so seem to be dryer than other types. They also don’t hold on to nutrient very well, which can be challenging for hungry crops. However, they are easy to work with and warm up quickly in Spring. Root crops grow well in sandy soils.

Silt soils

Have smaller particles, giving them a slippery feel. This type of soil holds on to moisture and nutrients for longer.

Clay soils

They consist of very fine particles. Clay soil holds it shape when moulded into a ball and is smooth to the touch. It is slow to both absorb moisture and drain. This means that this type of soil can be hard in the summer and waterlogged in the winter, making them difficult to dig. However well cultivated clay soils are very fertile and are preferred by cabbage, beans, peas and salad leaves.

Loam soil

Loam soil is the ideal soil that gardeners dream off. It’s fertile, drains well but not too fast and is easy to work. It supports any fruit or vegetable.

 

Improving your soil

All soil types can be improved by adding organic matter. Organic matter can take many forms such as: leaf mold or garden made compost. When incorporating your organic matter to the soil, make sure to check for roots of weed to avoid future problems. Organic matter improves soil structure and nutriment content.

You can add organic matter at any time of the year. But the end of growing season is an especially good time. Spread your organic mater over your soil, it is not necessary to dig it in. Just leave it on the surface over winter. By Spring the worms in the soil will have done  a great job of incorporating most of that organic matter into the soil. Organic matter can also be laid around established fruit trees and around perennial vegetables.

You can also test your soil’s PH. Knowing your soil’s PH will help you to decide what to grow in it.

For example, particularly acidic soils is great for acid lovers like blueberry. While soil with an alkaline PH is preferred by cabbage and cauliflower. You can test your soil using a PH test kit.

 

 

These are just a few tips and ideas to help you get started with recycling and repurposing old items into new ones in your garden. 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 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