Archive for May, 2011

If you are growing standard tomato plants keep an eye out for side shoots this month. 

Side shoots will take nutrients from the main plant and will reduce your crop of tomatoes.Pinch them out when they are around an inch or so long. 

For everything you need to grow your own tomatoes – from grobags to tomato grow houses, click here.

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If you still have some spare growing space in your garden, May is the perfect time to grow a runner bean wigwam.   It makes an exciting space for imaginative play and is also cool and shady.

If you fancy giving it a go, take 8 garden canes, each around 2 m long and put into the ground in a semi circle.  Adjust the position of the canes to allow for a play space inside and a gap for the doorway.

Angle the canes inwards, and tie securly to form a tepee shape. 

Take some runner bean or sweet pea plants and sow two or three next to each cane.

Water regularly, and as the plants grow gently train them around the canes.

One tepee is big enough for two children to play in, so if you have the space and lots of children why not grow several.  And as the summer progresses the play den will produce lots of lovely flowers or beans as the plants grow!

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We had some recent feedback from a customer about our FSC wooden raised beds… read on to find out how they found them to use.  To view the full range click here.  

….We thought we would share with you some photographs – we purchased several of your Standard Raised Beds recently and they look really great in our garden!

We live on a modern estate and didn’t want to start digging up the grass to create a conventional vegetable patch, so we searched for some alternatives.

These photos go to show that you don’t need to have acres of land in order to start having your own home grown fresh produce. We even have three chickens as well.

Thank you very much for all your help and for recommending the Raised Beds – as you can see, our Lettuces and Strawberries are doing really well!

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Congratulations to pupils at Escrick Primary School, who won one of our gardening competitions earlier in the year.  Here they are pictured with their prizes – a bundle of wildlife goodies!  Well done.

To have a chance to win one of our competitions in May find out how to enter here for the Schools Competition and here for the Family CompetitionThe closing date is 31st May 2011.  …And if you need gardening equipment for your summer growing take a look at www.recycleworks.co.uk where you can buy everything all in one place!

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Comfrey has to be one of the most useful plants to grow in the garden, and not least because it is a fantastic natural fertilister. 

Russian comfrey (Symphytum x uplandicum) and in particular the variety ‘Bocking 14’, is suitable for growing your own fertiliser.  It reaches over several feet high but as it doesn’t set seed it won’t take over the garden!

Plant in a sunny position, ideally in a permanent location as it can regenerate from pieces of root left in the soil. Space plants 3ft apart.

Do not cut in the first year. Once established, harvest the foliage four times a season. When the leaves reach to around 2 ft high you can cut it back.

A fantastic source of nitrogen, phosphorus and potash, put the leaves on the compost heap, and mix them with other compostable material. Use as mulch around fruit and vegetables or make a liquid feed. 
To make the liquid feed, fill a large plastic container with cut leaves and put a lid on it.
Drill a hole in the bottom of the container and raise the container above ground level. Position a collecting bottle underneath the hole . After two to three weeks, dark liquid should start to drip into the collecting bottle.

Store the liquid in a cool, dark place. To use as a liquid feed dilute one part concentrate to 10 parts water.

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Walk your way to a healthier, happier you this May by getting involved with National Walking Month. 

Living Streets is urging people across the UK to leave their cars at home and take to the streets.

…And from 9-13 May 2011 it is National Walk to Work Week.  This is the ideal time to give walking a go. An easy form of exercise requiring no special equipment, walking can be fitted in on your way to or from work, at lunchtime or throughout the day.

During the Week you’ll be able keep track of your walking online, see your miles walked and calories burned mount up, and earn online rewards for your achievements. You can even compete with colleagues to see who can be “top walker”.  To get more details click here.

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Now is a great time to be getting started with your summer supply of tasty salad leaves.  There is nothing better than having a a nice selection all ready to eat when you need them. 

So for a continuous supply of salads all summer long here is how to get started.

  • Get a Container

Take a look at the Salubrious Salad Bed, the Willow Salad Planter  or the Raised Bed Single Starter Kit as these are perfect for the job. 

These containers can be located on grass, flags or tarmac and are ideal for putting just outside the kitchen door.  

  • Choose Some Seeds

Take a look at these lovely, Tasty Salad Seed Selections.  The seeds can be sown every couple of weeks over the spring and summer months to give a continuous supply of fresh, tasty salads whenever you want them.

  • Get some Good Quality Peat-Free Compost

To give your salad crops the best possible start take a look at the Vital Earth Vegetable Compost.  Found to be the BEST by WHICH, a panel of experts proved this to be the best peat-free growing media and better than all composting media (including peat-based types) in the UK. 

  • Sowing

Fill your container three quarters full with compost.  Sow your seed selection and water well. 

  • Harvesting

As the seeds begin to grow and the plants establish thin out and harvest the larger leaves.  As the weather warms there should be enough salads to harvest every few days.  Re-sow every two or three weeks for a continuous supply through the summer.

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We always like to see what you are up to in the garden, so take a picture, send it in and you have a chance to win one of this months photo competitions!  We are running two in total – one for schools and one for families, but the closing date is 31st May 2011 so send your entry today.

There are some great prizes up for grabs.  

The winning school will receive a Bees and Butterflies Bumper Kit including a Solar Insect Theatre, a Butterfly and Bee Feeding Station, a packet of Instant Meadow Flower Seeds, a Laminated Field Guide to British Butterflies and a Guide to Solitary Bees in the Garden.

The winning family will receive a lovely Grobox Children’s Flower Garden, and Raised Bed Single Starter Kit, which is ideal to plant it in.

For all the details of how to enter click here for schools and here for families.  Remember – the competition closes on 31st May 2011.  Good Luck!

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