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This warm, calm weather is perfect for our insects and especially our Butterflies, in Britain there are 59 species of Butterflies that breed here yet they are far less common now than they were 50 years ago one of the main reasons for this is that much of their natural habitat, wildflower meadows, heath land, woodland and peat bogs has been lost to industrial and housing developments and intensive farming. Your garden, however large or small, could be a haven for butterflies, providing food and shelter; even a window box or container garden can help.

Why not have a go at our two new free competitions on the Gardening With Children website, where you can win some great Butterfly products for your garden.

In the SCHOOL ZONE Competition and the FAMILY ZONE Competition simply colour in the butterfly on the blank template that is printed on the entry form for a chance to win a

A Kew Gardens Green Butterfly Habitat

Kew Gardens Green Butterfly Habitat

A Butterfly/Bee Nectar Feeding Station

Butterfly / Bee Nectar Feeding Station

Click here for full details and an entry form for the School Zone Competition or Click here for full details and an entry form for the Family Zone Competition.

Please send in your entries for both competitions by the closing date of Friday 7th July 2017.

 

Congratulations to our May Competition winners

Thank you to everyone that entered the May competitions, the School Zone competitions was won by Terling C of E Primary School and the Family Zone Competition was won by Harriet Volland both win a selection of Gardening books.

Well done to both of you and good luck to you all for our new Butterfly competitions

Gill

 

With Fathers Day fast approaching (Sunday June 1th) now is the time to get your Dad/Grandad that perfect gift to show him how much they mean to you.

At The Gardening Works we have lots of great gardening products that would be ideal and will suit everyone’s budget, here are my suggestions for gifts that are under £15.00:

 
Rosieriste Leather Gauntlet Gardening Gloves
Rostaing Rosieriste Leather Gauntlet Gardening Gloves
(With long cuffs giving extra protection from brambles and thorns)
 
Barnel Palm Fit Curved Blunt Nose Secateur
 
Barnel Palm Fit Curved Blunt Nose Secateur
(Lightweight, strong and comfortable)
 
 
The Quicker Apple, Pear and Plum Picker
The Quicker Apple, Pear and Plum Picker
(Makes picking those hard to reach fruits easier)
 
Mid Handled Trowel
Mid Handled Trowel
(Deeply dished stainless steel trowel)
 
Stewart Potting Tray with removable shelf
(An essential for every gardener)
 
Stewarts Traditional Watering Can - 2L, 5L and 10L
Stewarts Traditional Watering Can
(Availalable in 3 sizes: 2 litre, 5 litre and 10 litre)
 
Nether Wallop Berry Picker
Nether Wallop Berry Picker (Large or Small)
(This clever device seperates the berries from the stem making it faster and easier to pick soft fruit) 
 
Take a look at our website too for lots more great gardening products.

Why not give your Dad/Grandad a hand in the garden, I am sure they would appreciate the extra help and enjoy your company as well, let’s hope that we have a lovely sunny day and that we can all get in the garden.

Gill

Beef Tomatoes

This week it is British Tomato Week 22nd-28th May which is launched by the British Tomato Growers Association to promote our own locally grown tomatoes.

British grown tomatoes are available in shops now, picked when they are perfect for eating and with only a short distance to travel to the shops they are super fresh, tasty, healthy and environmentally friendly.

Although many British growers produce tomatoes on a large scale they care about the environment, millions of bumblebees are used each year to pollinate plants, insects are used as a natural pest control and millions of gallons of water are stored from glasshouse roofs for irrigation.

Tomatoes are delicious fresh or cooked, they are very healthy containing Vitamins A, C and E, and Potassium and Calcium, they are low in calories and contain virtually no fat or cholesterol.

Store your Tomatoes at room temperature, keeping them in the fridge impairs their flavour.

Did you know?

  1. Tomatoes are fruits not vegetables.
  2. In Britain we each eat on average two tomatoes every week.
  3. Tomatoes originate from the Andes in South America, where they grow wild. They were first cultivated by the Aztecs and Incas as early as 700 AD.
  4. Tomato Seeds have been grown in space.
  5. The largest UK tomato glasshouse covers 26.5 acres, but is currently being extended to 44.5 acres, or 18 hectares. That’s the size of 25 international football pitches.

For more information and tomato facts have a look at the British Tomato Growers website and for a large selection of delicious tomato recipes click here.

So support our growers by buying British and local Tomatoes or why not have a go at growing your own it is a lot easier than you think and now is the perfect time to plant them, click here for a Guide to Growing your own Tomatoes.

Gill

At this time of the year many of us will have pots or trays that are overflowing with young vegetables and flowers that are ready to be planted outside, many of these young plants will have been grown in a porch, conservatory, greenhouse or on the windowsill where they will have got accustomed to warm temperatures. Deciding when to plant out can be quite tricky, although day time temperatures on average are rising, cold snaps, strong winds and clear skies with frosts can damage or even kill your prized plants.

The key to the transition from a warm, cosy environment to the big outdoors is ‘Hardening off’, Hardening off is the process of preparing your tender plants to cope with harsher outdoor conditions including lower temperatures, lower humidity and winds, it can take two to three weeks before they are ready to be planted outdoors. Hardening off will thicken and alter the plant’s leaf structure and increase its waxiness, further new growth will be sturdy and slower than if they are grown in the greenhouse, hardening off frost-sensitive plants will unfortunately not make them hardy.

cold_frame3-01

How to harden off your plants

A cold frame is perfect for hardening off your plants, the clear hinged lid lets in adequate light and can be propped open slightly wider every few days to slowly introduce your plants to outside temperatures, closing it again at night, leave the lid fully open for the last few days prior to planting out. Position your cold frame where it will receive some sun but not all of the day, the best time to begin hardening off is when it is cloudy thus avoiding high afternoon temperatures and frosty nights, the insulating wooden frame will help maintain temperatures overnight.

Clear Panel Wooden Cold Frame With 2cm Thick Boards - Easily Extendable

Protect your plants from pests

If you have grown some tasty crops you can be sure that if not protected the slugs and snails will get to them first, apply copper slug and snail tape around the top of the cold frame to stop them from coming in, if you have any small gaps around the cold frame base sit your plants on a layer of slug gone this irritates the slugs/snails foot and they will look for food elsewhere. Place enviromesh netting over the cold frame to protect your crops from insects whilst they are at their most vulnerable.

Slug

Use your Cold Frame all year round

Cold frames are very useful, they can be used to extend the growing season, crops can be started off earlier in a cold frame than if they were sown/planted directly in the ground, frost tender crops grown in containers can be protected in a cold frame from Autumn frosts to extend cropping. Tender plants can be overwintered in a cold frame. Fruits and Vegetables that benefit from higher temperatures i.e. Melons, Chillies will produce a better crop if grown in a Cold Frame.

Red Chillies

Happy Gardening

Gill

 

Why not have a go at our two new free competitions on the Gardening With Children website, there are some great gardening books for you to win:

In the School Zone

Simply tell us:  What you are growing in your School garden and which is your favourite?

For a chance to win books for your School which include gardening projects, recipes and how to recycle successfully.

Click here for full details and an entry form.

In the Family Zone

Simply tell us:  What is your favourite fruit or vegetable that you have grown and why?

For a chance to win family gardening and cook books.

Click here for full details and an entry form.

Hurry the closing date for both competitions is Wednesday 31st May 2017.

Good Luck

Congratulations to our School Competition winner

We had lots of entries for our January-March School Competition, who all correctly answered the Who am I? fruits and vegetable questions.

The winning entry was from Cranborne First School Allotment Club who win a Stewart Essential Heated Propagator, well done to them.

Gill

 

If you are lucky enough to be harvesting your own crop of rhubarb why not try making these delicious rhubarb muffins – easy to make and popular with the whole family!

Ingredients

  • 400g rhubarb, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 200ml milk
  • 100g butter , melted and cooled

Method

  1. Mix rhubarb with 4 tbsp of golden caster sugar
  2. Bake the rhubarb for about 10 minutes until soft, then drain well
  3. Mix plain flour with baking powder, sugar and cinnamon
  4. Beat eggs with milk and melted butter.
  5. Heat the oven to 180C
  6. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases
  7. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ones along with the rhubarb
  8. Divide between the muffin cases, sprinkle the tops with a little sugar and bake for 25-30 minutes until risen and golden

We all love Easter and especially Chocolate Easter Eggs but do you know when and where they were invented and by who?

The first chocolate eggs were made in France and Germany in the early nineteenth century, as the chocolate used couldn’t be moulded these eggs were solid.

In 1873 J.S. Fry & Sons, a Bristol chocolatier made the first hollow chocolate Easter egg.

In 1875 Cadbury entered the market producing hollow Easter eggs in dark chocolate with a smooth surface which were decorated with chocolate piping and marzipan flowers, they were filled with dragees (small hard sweets).

In 1893 Cadbury was producing 19 different types of Easter egg it wasn’t until 1905 when they introduced Cadbury Dairy Milk that Easter eggs sales really took off.

The first crème eggs were launched by Cadbury in 1923 this was replaced in 1971 by the crème egg that we enjoy today.

Over 500 million Cadbury Crème eggs are made each year, in 1973 2 million exploded in a giant fridge because someone had put too much yeast in the yolks.

Each year over 80 million Easter eggs are sold, more than half of all the eggs are bought in the four days before Easter.

We spend £150 million on Easter Eggs and £70 million on crème filled eggs.

If you get too many Easter Eggs why not get creative in the kitchen and make them into delicious treats to share click here for the recipes.

Have a delicious Easter

Gill