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Archive for April, 2013

On the Gardening With Children website we currently have two free Childrens Competitions with some great Childrens Gardening Goodies to win so why not have a go before next weeks closing date on 30th April 2013.

1.  In the Family Zone and Kids Zone

This Month grab your wellies put on a warm coat, get outside, and spot 3 signs of spring for a chance to win

a fantastic Yeominis Childrens Wheelbarrow

Yeominis Children's Wheelbarrow

and a pair of Childrens Embroidered Gardening Gloves

Children's Emroidered Gardening Gloves

both are perfect for budding young gardeners.

For full details and how to enter take a look here.

2.  In the School Zone

All you need to do is to find 10 hidden words in our Gardening Wordsearch for a chance to win

a Kids Raised Bed Growing Table

Kids Standing Raised Bed Growing Table

Designed for children they are a perfect height for kids to stand at and around, to sow, grow and harvest their very own vegetables.
 
For full details and how to enter take a look here in the School Zone.
 
Have a look today and get your entries to us as soon as you can before the closing date on 30th April, 2013.
 
Gill

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This year I decided to treat myself to some new Strawberry plants, the ones on my allotment are over 3 years old and their stems have become old, woody and they will now produce less fruits, it is recommended that you replace your Strawberry plants after 3 years each time replanting in a new position or new compost if they are grown in containers.

Strawberry plants are available now in garden centres, supermarkets, on the high street and via mail order. There are so many different varieties to choose from, cropping at different times in various shapes and sizes but all of them equally delicious, why not plant a few different varieties to give a continuous crop over the Summer months and into Autumn.

Bare root runners

Bare root runners

Yesterday a white padded envelope came through the front door, it was from one of the large seed companies, inside there were growing instructions and a small white bag containing my new Strawberry runners they didn’t look very inspiring but with a little care and attention they should produce some delicious Strawberries this Summer.

 Strawberry table

Strawberry Table

The variety I chose is ‘Buddy’ it is new this year and is ‘ever bearing’ or ‘perpetual’ which means that it will produce Strawberries over a long growing period from Spring into Autumn. After their arrival I put my bare root runners in water straightaway and then planted them individually in pots in the greenhouse in good compost to become established before planting outside. Strawberries can be grown practically anywhere – in the ground, raised beds, strawberry tables, pots, hanging baskets, troughs, window boxes and in Strawberry bags/tubs and are ideal for children to grow.

Patio Strawberry & Herb Planter Bag

Strawberry Planter Bag

Click here for a full guide to growing your own Strawberries.

Gill

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National Gardening Week was launched by the RHS to get the Nation Growing.

The benefits of gardening are felt by people of all ages and abilities and from all backgrounds, gardens promote a sense of purpose, and an escape from daily routine as well as providing valuable habitat and food for our wildlife and insects and of course good, home-grown, healthy fruit and vegetables for our table.

Rosy Apples

Throughout next week there are lots of Gardening events across the country organised by communities and groups as well as the RHS have a look at the RHS website for events near where you live.

Onions

It has been said that Britain is a nation of gardeners and I couldn’t agree more so what better way to celebrate gardening by getting involved with community groups, young peoples organisations e.g. Cubs, Brownies and with Schools and share your passion, experience and knowledge of this truly amazing pastime.

Lavender Flowers

Dust off your trowel, put on your warm wellies and a good pair of gardening gloves and get gardening.

Gill

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I have had an ‘Ask the expert enquiry ‘from Ceri Sawyer in Cumbria and one of the questions that she has asked is

What time of the year should you plant a seed potato?

I thought that I would share my reply with you –

There are three types of seed potatoes

First Earlies

Plant in late March to early April – you can expect to harvest these approx. 10 weeks after planting.

Second Earlies

Plant early to mid April – you can expect to harvest these approx. 13 weeks after planting.  

Maincrop

Plant in mid to late April – you can expect to harvest these approx. 15-20 weeks after planting.

These planting dates are a guide, if you live in the south you may be able to plant a week or two earlier or if you live in the north a couple of weeks later it also depends on our unpredictable weather which at the moment is predictably very cold, even if the ground is not frozen it is still very cold and crops simply will not grow.

Seed potatoes can be planted now in potato growing bags filled with vegetable compost and placed in a greenhouse or polytunnel where they will be protected from the weather otherwise cover your vegetable beds with black plastic or cloches to warm the soil up until there is an improvement in the weather.

When you get your ‘seed’ potatoes put them into egg boxes/seed trays with the ‘rose’ end upwards this is where you might see tiny shoots or the ‘belly button’ end facing downwards and place them in a cool, frost-free and light (not sunny) position. This is called chitting and helps the potato to produce strong buds which speeds up growing once they are planted, all seed potatoes especially first and second earlies benefit from chitting. When the shoots are about 2-3cm they are ready to plant, don’t leave it too late to buy your seed potatoes, once the weather warms up the demand will be high and your choice may be limited.

Chitting potatoes

My seed potatoes are sat patiently in their egg boxes.

Gill

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