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Archive for March, 2010

Nesting places are limited in many gardens, and to maximise the number and variety of birds you have in your local area, consider putting up some nest boxes.  …And the nesting season is starting to get into full swing so get them installed as soon as you can!

 

Which Nest Box to Choose

The robin and wren prefers to nest in an open fronted box, and our Robin and Wren Nest Box has been specifically designed with this in mind. 

 

Equally suitable is the Open Birch Log Nest Box and is perfect if you prefer a more natural look. 

These nest boxes should be located low to the ground, no more than 1m or so high, and will need to be well hidden by vegetation to keep predators away. 

House Sparrow were once one of our commonest birds but populations have sharply declined in recent years, partly due to a lack of natural nesting sites. 

House sparrows are very communal birds, typically nesting in colonies, so the  Timber House Sparrow Terrace is perfect for them. 

Inside the box is split into chambers to fit three pairs of birds – all very cosy!  House sparrows are happy to use a nest box positioned high under the eaves, but when locating it remember to keep away from areas where house martins or swifts usually nest.

The Birch Log Hole Nest Box  is suitable for tits and sparrows, and should be fixed at a height of between 2 and 4 metres.

Siting Your Nestbox

Birds like to have a clear flight path to the nest box so avoid too many obstacles that can make access difficult.  It’s also a good idea to tilt the bird box downwards a little bit, then when it rains, the rain is more likely to hit the roof and not enter the nest box itself.

The nest box is best located away from strong, direct sunlight and strong winds, so unless it is in a sheltered corner position it so it is facing a north-easterly direction where possible.

Cleaning Your Nestboxes

Nestboxes should be cleaned well before the nesting season begins.  Old nests can harbour disease and parasites so should be removed.  Boiling water can be used to kill any remaining bugs and the box should then be left to dry out thoroughly before putting up in the garden.

The RSBP recommend that nestboxes should not inspected whilst birds are nesting, how ever tempting this might be.  But you can keep an eye on everything that’s going on inside with the Nestbox with Infra Red Camera.  Live footage taken during the day and night can then be viewed from your television! 

…And to give birds a helping hand during the busy nesting season, don’t forget to provide water in a Bird Bath and some supplementary Bird Food on a Garden Bird Table.

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Mushroom Growing Kit arrived on my desk a couple of weeks ago, with a little note from Sylvia to give it a whirl.  I was full of excited expectation as I have very clear memories of having a similar kit as a child. 

 

My mum helped me to set it up and then each day I would check it to see if the mushrooms had started to grow.  After a week or so little white specks began to appear on the soil and I still remember my complete amazement as these perfectly white wonders seemed to literally grow before my very eyes.  …And once they started there was no stopping them – a fantastic childhood memory!

So equiped with my kit I set off home and over the last week or so the children and I have had a fun new indoor growing project to do.  We’ve been taking photos along the way and the results look like they are going to be every bit as good as I’d hoped.  Check back next week for the full story with pictures, and some tasty mushroom recipe ideas.

In the meantime check out the Mushroom Growing Kits we have available to buy.  We have sourced these kits very carefully for freshness and for the high quality of the growing medium and the spores.  They are excellent quality and by following the simple instructions you will get some great results.  ….And unlike in my childhood there are White Shiitake or Brown Button Mushrooms to choose from!

Delicious Shiitake Mushrooms available from http://www.recycleworks.co.uk

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Following an enquiry from a day nursery in Weymouth, we have put together some advice for setting up a sensory garden.  We have ideas to cater for all five senses from the visual beauty of some easy to grow flowers, to heavanly fragance and yummy food to eat straight from the garden.  All the information you need is at How to Create Your Own Sensory Garden 

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Spring begins this month, and as mother nature begins to stir from her winter slumber there is already a little sniff of it in the air.

The birds are singing that little bit louder, the daylight is lasting that little bit longer, and the spring lambs are skipping around the field behind our house, much to the delight of the children.

There are lots of gardening jobs to do this month.  With plenty of preparations to be made for the growing season and lots of early planting in propagators and on windowsills to be getting on with.  …And by getting organised now things will be nicely set up for the future months when everything in the garden gets incredibly busy.

So for ideas and a little inspiration do take a look at our Gardening Jobs for March, and love your environment a little along the way!

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March is here and we are in celebratory mood, with spring just around the corner.  Our competitions this month have a spring time feel too, and we hope you have lots of fun entering. 

As usual we have a Family Competition and a School CompetitionThere are some great prizes up for grabs – all perfect for gardening in the spring.  Here is how to enter…

Schools

March is special because on 21st of the month it is the first day of spring!  Can you describe 4 signs of spring that you might be able to spot at this time of year?

The winning school will receive 3 fabulous Spring Garden in a Box Groboxes plus one of our beautiful and informative Vegetable Planning Charts and a Gardener’s Apprentice Digging Spade.  Specially designed for kids the lightweight spade is beautifully crafted in solid wood and stainless steel.  The closing date is 31st March 2010, so send your entry today.

Email your entry to competitions@gardeningwithchildren.co.uk  by 31st March 2010. 

Or if you prefer, complete the entry form available here and send it by post to:

School Competition, Gardening With Children, Unit 1, Bee Mill, Ribchester, Preston. PR3 3XJ

Families

The 21st March is the first day of spring.  This date is also known as the spring equinox but what does it mean?
If you know you could win a Spring Garden in a Box Grobox  plus a Kids Garden Toolkit.  Including a spade, long handled brush, hand trowel, hand fork and gloves, the toolkit has everything to get a young gardener off to a great start in spring!  The closing date is on 31st March 2010 so enter today!

Email your entry to competitions@gardeningwithchildren by  31st March 2010

Or if you prefer, fill out the form available here and send it by post to:

Family Competition, Gardening With Children, Unit 1, Bee Mill, Ribchester, Preston. PR3 3XJ

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