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Posts Tagged ‘grow your own’

Cucumbers are often only thought of as an ingredient in a salad but there is a lot more to cucumbers than you think.

A Cucumber is classed as a fruit not a vegetable and consists of 95% water, it also contains potassium and vitamins K, C and B5 which help to restore water to your body whilst removing toxins. Cucumbers are beneficial to your eyes and skin and can help fight against different types of cancer, cucumbers contain 15 calories and no saturated fat or cholesterol making them very healthy indeed.

So why not celebrate National Cucumber Day on 12th May 2013 by sowing some seeds and growing your own:

Sow seeds individually on their edge in small pots 1cm deep in seed compost, place in a propagator and once they have germinated grow them on somewhere cool and light (not in direct sunlight).

Young Cucumber

When the plants are well established plant into good vegetable compost in large pots or grow bags in the greenhouse or outdoors (check the seed packet) and provide canes, wires or strings to train the plants up. Outdoor Cucumbers ideally need a sunny and sheltered position; these plants will need hardening off before planting out after all danger of frost has passed. Keep plants well watered and feed regularly.

I planted my seeds at the end of April and will be planting them in large pots in my greenhouse towards the end of May.

Gill

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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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Why not have a go at our two free Childrens Competitions.

1.  In the Family Zone and Kids Zone

This Easter 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.
 
The closing date for both competitions is 30th April, 2013.
 
Gill

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Before the growing season gets into full swing get organised, make plans and prepare for a busy Easter Weekend and a productive year ahead in your garden.  

Tools   Check, clean, oil and replace any that are damaged or worn, make sure that you have the right tools for all your jobs this year.

Propagators   These will soon be in full use, test yours early to check it is working properly and give it a good clean, hygiene is very important when sowing seeds. Now is an ideal time to buy one, it will be invaluable throughout the year and in years to come.

 Potting Tray in black

Pots, Trays and Compost   Organise your Greenhouse/Potting Shed sort through your pots and trays throw away any broken ones, give the rest a good clean as well as your potting tray, order new Seed Compost and Vegetable Compost, last year’s opened bags may not be suitable for starting off your new seeds and plants.

Watering Cans & Water Butts   Drain and clean out, check the rose on your watering can and replace if necessary, don’t be caught out by the weather invest in a Water Butt, remember the drought we had in Spring 2012.

Steel Seed Tin 'Dig For Victory'

Store your seeds in a Seed Tin

Seeds   Take stock of your seeds, discard any that are opened and out of date and order more while stocks are still available, store in a suitable Seed Tin to protect them from Mice, Pests and moisture.

Plan   Sit down with a nice cup of tea and draw a plan of your garden/vegetable patch make notes on crops that did/did not do well and where your crops where grown last year, make a new planting plan for this year rotating your crops to get the best results and to avoid problems.

Growing Vegetables by Pauline Pears 

Read   Gardening books are invaluable for reference, ideals, hints and tips for your garden/vegetable plots.

Order Early   If you need any gardening products order early whilst products are available to make sure that you have everything you need.

Make your plans and preparations now, Easter is early and it’s the busiest gardening weekend of the year, let’s hope it’s warm and dry.

Gill

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We have got just the thing…

hot out of our warehouse this Spring is our new range of

Thrifty Raised Beds

Budget Raised FSC Wooden Beds

At the Recycleworks we have been thinking about how to Grow your Own vegetables and fruit as easily and economically as possible whilst still getting the maximum yield from a wide range of crops, so we have developed a range of budget Raised Beds which will appeal to everyone:

  • Families – the family budget is being pinched, now is the time to Grow your Own and reap the benefits
  • The first time gardener – perfect starter beds and entry into Grow Your Own
  • The accomplished gardener – a great product to extend your growing area
  • Schools – affordable and well within the budget
  • Community Groups – great for getting people involved in gardening, socialising and working together.

The beds are available in 3 sizes:

  1. The Thrifty Classic – 80cm x 80cm
  2. The Thrifty Long – 80cm x 105cm
  3. The Thrifty Big Square – 105cm x 105cm

with a choice of three heights for each size: 14cm, 28cm, and 42cm and a choice of two colours : Chestnut or Green.

Assembly instructions are supplied with each Raised Bed.

To help you grow the maximum yield and to remove the guesswork if you are new to Grow Your Own each raised bed also comes with a growing/planting guide including ideas and tips on suggested crops, planting, positioning, watering and feeding.

To warm up the soil before planting why not add a Compost Duvet or a Raised Bed Watering Kit to make watering easier and more economical in the long summer months.

Prices start from £15.55 making them very affordable to everyone.

You will surprised at how much you can grow in such a small space – you can’t beat the taste, texture and smell of freshly picked produce.

Gill

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Delicious New Potatoes

Nothing beats the taste of freshly picked fruit and vegetables and the potato has got to be at the top of the list for taste in home grown versus supermarket vegetables, especially the new potato. I hate to mention Christmas in August, but why not spoil friends and family by serving up your own freshly harvested, home grown, new potatoes with your Christmas Dinner, they will be very impressed, and they make a great and healthier alternative to the traditional roast potato.

August Planting Potatoes

Carlingford Seed Potatoes

It might sound impossible ‘growing new potatoes in winter’ but it is very easy to do and they need very little attention, one of the easiest and most popular varieties to grow is Carlingford. To be able to harvest your potatoes at Christmas they need to be planted before the end of August, which doesn’t give you much time.

Potato Growing Bags (Pack of 2) - 69 Litre

Potato Growing Bags

The best way to grow them is to plant them in potato bags or large containers in good vegetable compost. Once planted give them a good water, and place in a warm position outside where they will get off to a good start, make sure that they don’t dry out. As the weather turns colder protect the tops from any light frosts with fleece and then bring the bags/containers inside (greenhouse, polytunnel, porch, cold frame) before any damaging hard frosts and when the weather turns bad. The potato plants should have finished flowering after 12 weeks when they can either be harvested or you can cut the tops off and leave the potatoes in the compost until you need them. The benefits of growing them in bags or containers are that they can easily be moved indoors when the weather turns bad, it gives them extra protection from slugs and the harvested potatoes should be unmarked and look attractive.

Make sure that you grow enough, you don’t want to be short on Christmas Day, if you have a good crop they can be made into potato salad for your Boxing Day or New Year buffet.

Simply delicious

Gill

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This year, in less than a week, London will host the 2012 Olympic Games and what better reason to celebrate and have a party. In keeping with the colours of the Olympic Rings why not make some delicious fruity kebabs and serve them with a honey and yoghurt dip. This is a great healthy dessert which may tempt children (and adults) to eat more fruit, and will also count towards their 5 a day.

Fresh fruit is at its best at the moment, if you can why not use some that you have grown yourself.

Fruity Olympic Kebabs

What you will need

  • Wooden Skewers
  • Fresh fruit in the colours of the Olympic Rings:
  • Blue – Blueberries
  • Yellow – Pineapple, Melon, Banana
  • Black – Grapes, Blackberries, Plums
  • Green – Grapes, Kiwi, Apple
  • Red – Strawberries, Raspberries, Watermelon, Plums
  • Wooden Skewers

For the Yoghurt Dip

  • Greek or natural yoghurt
  • Runny Honey

Method

  1. Wash and cut up the fruit into bite sized pieces.
  2. Carefully thread the fruit onto the skewers in the colour order of the Olympic Rings (as above).
  3. Put the Yogurt into a shallow bowl and drizzle over the honey.

To eat

Simply dip the skewered fruit into the yoghurt or spoon it over the fruit.

Enjoy

GillUnion Flag Kneelo Garden Kneeler

P.S. Why not look the part at your party with an attractive Union Jack Kneeler their luxurious layer of memory foam makes them extremely comfortable to sit on as well as protecting your knees with their shock absorbing EVA foam when you are gardening.

They make a great gift too!

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