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WOW it’s hot, summer has finally arrived, the temperatures are soaring and the plants need watering again! Watering your garden can be time consuming and even expensive if you have a water meter, here are our top tips for looking after your garden in hot weather.

Collecting and storing water

Water butts are ideal for storing rainwater from greenhouses, sheds and house roofs; they are invaluable on allotments and situations where there may not be an outside tap. Guttering can be easily added to collect rainwater from sloping roofs and rainwater diverters attached to down pipes to collect valuable rainwater that would normally disappear down the drain.

Rainsaver Rainwater Collector

When and how to water

The best time to water your garden is in the morning or in the evening when temperatures are cooler; the advantages of watering in the morning are that the drier conditions overnight will discourage slugs, snails and fungal diseases. Hand watering will ensure the right amount is given to each plant/crop but this can be time consuming, an irrigation system around the garden, greenhouse and throughout your containers may seem an expensive option but you can water your whole garden just by turning on the tap, why not make it even be easier by fitting a water timer to your water butt or outside tap, watering can be done whilst you are not there and is the ideal solution for the holidays.

Haws Deluxe 5L Watering Can

Mulching

Spreading a layer of organic mulch around plants retains moisture as well as suppressing weeds, this is best done in the spring when the soil is wet and plants are small, ideally use compost from your compost bin you could also use bark chippings, dried grass cuttings or gravel, containers will benefit with mulch too.

Classic Triple Wooden Compost Bin

Containers

Containers, Patio Tubs, Growing Bags, Hanging Baskets, window boxes and Standing Raised Beds all require extra watering to prevent them from drying out, the addition of Rain Gel Water Storage Granules to your compost/soil will substantially reduce the need for watering as the granules absorb large amounts of water which is then slowly released to the plant roots just where it is needed, some window boxes/containers have a water reservoir at the bottom which is drawn up by the compost to the roots. During hot weather or your holidays move your containers out of the sun to a shady corner where they will not dry out as quickly.

Free Standing Wooden Plant or Vegetable Manger Trough Crib Planter

Greenhouses, Polytunnels, Conservatories and Cold Frames

Glass magnifies the sun’s rays, plants are vulnerable to being scorched and will dry out much faster. Open doors, vents and windows in hot weather, automatic greenhouse window/vent openers are very useful especially during holidays, net shading or a glass shade paint can be used to protect plants from the direct glare of sunlight. On hot days pour water on the greenhouse floor first thing in the morning this will slowly evaporate and add moisture to the air to prevent your plants from suffering heat stress.

Standard Mini Wooden Cold Frame

Wildlife

Birds, insects and animals all need water to survive, keep bird baths and water bowls topped up with fresh water daily, you may be surprised who arrives for a welcome drink.

Ceramic Hanging Bird Bath Water Dish

Most importantly if you can get outdoors and enjoy this glorious weather!

Gill

Spring and early Summer is a very busy time in the garden, I wouldn’t like you to miss out entering our two free competitions before next weeks closing date of 30th June, so here is a quick reminder:

Have a look at the Gardening With Children website, in the School Zone and the Family Zone you have the chance to win a fabulous

 

Kids Wooden Raised Bed Growing Table (one supplied)

Kids Wooden Standing Raised Bed Growing Table

It is the perfect size and height for younger children to have the experience of their very own real vegetable and flower garden.

Crops can be easily tended, watered and picked, they are ideal for growing Strawberries, Herbs,  Lettuce, Spring Onion, Radish and baby vegetables including Beetroot, Turnip and Round Carrots, why not plant a few of your favourite flowers between the crops for a wonderful display.

What you have to do

In the School Zone

Create a new vegetable or fruit by combining two vegetables or fruits together then send in

  1. Its name
  2. Which fruits/vegetables it is made from?
  3. A picture/drawing of it

For full details and an entry form click here.

 

In the Family Zone

Look at the pictures of the insides of various fruits and vegetables and work out, using the following list, what they are.

Tomato, Orange, Apple, Banana, Sweet Pepper, Carrot, Cucumber

To view the pictures and for full details of how to enter click here.

 

Both competitions are free to enter, the closing dates are Tuesday 30th June 2015.

Good Luck

Gill

This week it’s National Picnic Week, why not go for a picnic this Sunday on Fathers Day and treat the whole family, especially Dad. Finger foods are perfect for picnics and can be eaten as you explore, my favourites are Sausage Rolls, homemade are definitely best and can be made with the children the day before.

Sausage Roll

Sausage Rolls

Ingredients

  • 500g puff pastry
  • 400g good quality sausages
  • 1 eating apple
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Flour for rolling

What you need to do

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.
  2. Roll the pastry out on a floured surface to make a rectangle about 26cm x 40cm, cut the pastry in half lengthways so that you have two long thin pieces.
  3. Slit the sausages with a knife to remove the sausage meat and place it in a bowl.
  4. Peel, core and finely dice the apple, add to the sausage meat with the wholegrain mustard and the salt and pepper, mix together well and divide the mixture into two.
  5. Lightly flour your hands and roll out each half of the sausage meat into a long sausage the same length as the pastry.
  6. Lay the sausages onto each piece of pastry lengthways and brush the egg along the longer edges, fold one edge of the pastry over the sausage and then roll the whole thing slightly so that the join is underneath, press lightly to seal the pastry.
  7. Cut each roll into 12 small rolls and place them on a baking tray, lined with baking paper, so that the join is underneath, make two small cuts on the top of each roll and brush with the beaten egg.
  8. Bake in the oven for approx. 20 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden and the meat has cooked through.

These sausage rolls can be made up to a month in advance and frozen, freeze them uncooked before brushing with the egg, to cook from frozen add 10 minutes on to the cooking time.

They are ideal for school lunchboxes and delicious served warm on a buffet.

Buddleia and Small Tortoiseshell

To keep the children entertained on your picnic why not set them an I Spy Nature Quiz, print off a list of things that you might see on your picnic, and ask them to tick them off as they see them, they could do this individually or in teams don’t forget the prize for the winners, here are some suggestions of what to include:

  • Ladybird
  • Butterfly
  • Bee
  • Beetle
  • Spider
  • Daisy
  • Buttercup
  • Blackbird
  • Robin
  • Oak Tree
  • Holly Tree
  • Rabbit
  • Squirrel

Have a lovely weekend, hopefully with plenty of warm, sunny picnic weather.

Have fun

Gill

HEDGEHOG

In Spring and Summer we are surrounded by new life in the natural world, we can often find young birds and animals on their own in strange or unsafe places, if this is the case here are some guidelines from the RSPCA to help you.

Usually the youngsters have not been abandoned and ‘rescuing’ them may do more harm than good, their mother is close by and looking out for them, human interference can reduce their chances of survival.

Baby Birds

Leave ‘abandoned’ baby birds alone, if you find a young bird out of its nest it is probably a fledgling, they usually leave the nest about two weeks after hatching – just before they can fly, they will have grown all or most of their feathers, are very mobile and can walk, run and hop onto low branches. Fledglings are fed by their parents who are usually nearby collecting food, however, they will not return to the fledglings until you have gone, never try to return fledglings to their nest.

Young Deer

If you go for a walk in the countryside you may come across an ‘abandoned’ young deer, the chances are that it is waiting for its mother to return, deer hide their young in undergrowth or long grass whilst they are foraging. Leave the deer where it is and move well away without touching it, an unfamiliar scent may cause the mother to abandon them, if you have a dog keep them on a lead.

Young Fox Cubs

Fox cubs start taking their first steps outside the earth (den) at four weeks old, and it is quite normal for them to wander in or around patches of cover above ground this is how they develop their survival and hunting skills. Please don’t be tempted to ‘rescue’ them the cubs’ parents or relatives are usually nearby keeping a close eye on them.

Young Hedgehogs

If you see a young or adult hedgehog out during the daytime it can mean that it is unwell or in trouble if you are concerned call the RSPCA or the Hedgehog Preservation Society for advice.

No matter how hard we may try we cannot look after young birds or animals as well as their parents, if you really want to help leave them alone, if they are in immediate danger from a predator or traffic place them out of harm a short distance away so that the parents can find, then if you are worried go back later and check all is well.

Useful contact telephone numbers:

If you are concerned about an animal   RSPCA 0300 1234 999

http://www.rspca.org.uk/home

Hedgehog Preservation Society    01584 890801

http://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/found-a-hedgehog.php

It is really hard to walk away and not do anything but often it is the right thing to do.

Love your environment

Gill

If you are an enthusiastic gardener, enjoy being outdoors or simply love getting hands on with the children…

Why not join our Club?

I am sure you are familiar with our Gardening With Children Club which was launched with the Gardening With Children website in 2009, the Club was originally open to Schools and Community Associations that support children, now we have extended it to families (including grandparents, aunts and uncles), carers and child minders so that everyone in the family can enjoy all of the benefits that it has to offer.

Join the GWC Club

How can I join?

The Gardening With Children Club is FREE, simply click on the ‘Join the Gardening with Children Club’ icon that is shown above or on the pages on the Gardening With Children Website, fill in and submit your details on the application form.

You will receive a welcome email and an email with your special membership number that you should quote when entering competitions or taking advantage of our discounts or offers.

Why not join today?

Members will benefit from regular Special offers and discounts as well as the opportunity to enter exclusive member competitions with the chance to win wildlife and gardening prizes.

You will receive weekly/fortnightly blogs with help and information to keep you busy indoors and outdoors as well as a seasonal newsletters with lots of fun activities to make, cook and do during the school holidays.

Carrots

Enter our Family competition

For our first competition we would like you to show us what you have been growing in the garden with the children it could be fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers, the winning entry will receive some fantastic wildlife prizes. This competition is only open to members, full details will be sent out via email when you join the Club.

What are you waiting for, join today and join in the fun!

Gill

Have you seen our two competitions on the Gardening With Children website, in the School Zone and the Family Zone you have the chance to win a fabulous

 

Kids Wooden Raised Bed Growing Table (one supplied)

Kids Wooden Standing Raised Bed Growing Table

It is the perfect size and height for younger children to have the experience of their very own real vegetable and flower garden.

Crops can be easily tended, watered and picked, they are ideal for growing Strawberries, Herbs,  Lettuce, Spring Onion, Radish and baby vegetables including Beetroot, Turnip and Round Carrots, why not plant a few of your favourite flowers between the crops for a wonderful display.

What you have to do

In the School Zone

Create a new vegetable or fruit by combining two vegetables or fruits together then send in

  1. Its name
  2. Which fruits/vegetables it is made from?
  3. A picture/drawing of it

For full details and an entry form click here.

 

In the Family Zone

Look at the pictures of the insides of various fruits and vegetables and work out, using the following list, what they are.

Tomato, Orange, Apple, Banana, Sweet Pepper, Carrot, Cucumber

For full details, an entry form and to view the pictures click here.

 

Both competitions are free to enter, the closing dates are 30th June 2015.

Good Luck

Gill

Dinosaur garden

Children have a great imagination and love being outdoors so… this half term holiday why not take the toys outside and make a miniature garden, there are lots of themes that you could choose, here are a few suggestions:

A Farm complete with tractors and farm animals

A Railway with trains, tracks, bridges, people and stations

Wild West with Cowboys, Indians, horses with Sand, Cacti and Succulents

Construction Site with Diggers, Trucks, sand and gravel, why not use your sand pit

An Enchanted garden with Fairies, wooden toadstools, small animals

Prehistoric Garden with dinosaurs, volcanos

Jungle with lions, tigers, monkeys,

Creepy Crawly World with bugs, spiders and minibeasts

A traditional mini garden complete with paths, flower and vegetable beds and a scarecrow

Choosing your container

You can make your garden any size you like why not use an ice cream container, seed tray, large pot, window box, old sink, plastic storage box, or make it on the lawn, in the sandpit or in a corner of your garden.

Materials

As well as your toys have a look around your garden/kitchen/play room for props and accessories.

Lollipop sticks and twigs can be made into fences, gravel and pebbles into paths, shallow containers, lids, tin foil or mirrors can be used to make a pond, use sand to create a desert or beach, Small rocks, old branches and pieces of bark to create a jungle/woodland feel. Girls may wish to use Coloured aquarium gravel, glass pebbles or sand with shells and beads why not sprinkle glitter for frost or as fairy dust, you can also use modelling clay to make any extras.

Plants

You can use freshly picked flowers from your garden these need to be put in water and sadly will not last very long, it is better to use plants that are growing that way the children will see their garden mature and develop and be encouraged to look after it, if you are using plants in a container check that there are adequate drainage holes at the base. Ferns and grasses are good structural plants, moss can be used as a lawn, low, small and slow growing plants such as Alpines and Thymes are ideal, Cress can be used to fill any gaps, dried Seed heads, tree seeds and cases (an acorn shell makes a nice cup) can be used, plant ivy at the edges to trail over the sides and hide your container.

There are so many variations let your imagination go wild.

Have lots fun and enjoy your holiday

Gill

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