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Posts Tagged ‘raised beds’

Aubergine Plant

Aubergines are bright purple fruits that are used in many Greek, Italian, Turkish and Middle Eastern dishes, they have been grown for more than 5,000 years and belong to the Solanaceae family which include tomatoes, potatoes, sweet peppers and chilli peppers. The purple Aubergine that we see today was evolved from a spiny plant from India which bore small white egg-shaped fruit, this is why the Aubergine is also known as the eggplant. Aubergine plants have large green leaves with purple veins and purple stems (see picture above).

Many gardeners think that they are difficult to grow but this is not the case, they do need warm temperatures ideally grow them on a sunny windowsill or in a greenhouse/polytunnel, they can be put outdoors in a warm, sunny sheltered position but they will take longer to ripen and be smaller. If you want Aubergines in late Summer sow your seeds now before the end of April (seeds can be sown earlier from January onwards indoors), as well the medium, oval purple varieties there are many others available from seed; large, small, round, long and thin, red, green, yellow, white or even striped.

Sowing and Growing

  1. Sow seeds about 6mm deep in trays of compost or individually in small pots and water well.
  2. Place in a warm position approx. 20-25C/68-77F (see the back of your seed packet) either on a light windowsill or in a heated propagator, they will germinate in about 14 days.
  3. Transplant the seedlings that have been grown in trays individually into small pots when they have their second set of leaves.
  4. After a few weeks when roots show at the bottom of the pots, plant the Aubergines into their final growing positions either in large pots, growbags or in the greenhouse border.
  5. Water little and often, when their purple flowers appear gently spray them with tepid water to encourage the fruit to set.
  6. Feed regularly once the fruits have set and support the plant with a cane, for large fruit varieties after 5 fruits have formed cut off the growingtip/side shoots and any flowers so that the plants energy goes into producing 5 delicious dark purple fruits for smaller fruit varieties more fruits can be left to grow – see growing instructions on the back of the seed packet.

There are many different ways to cook Aubergines one of the simplest is sliced on the BBQ, serve as a side dish with meat and fish and a Tzatziki dip (click here for the recipe for Tzatziki), sow your seeds now and impress your friends this Summer with home grown and freshly picked Aubergine on your BBQ.

Lovely!

Gill

Dont forget to enter the FREE Gardening With Children competition in the Family Zone for a chance to win a fantastic Kids Wooden Standing Raised Bed Growing Table simply identify the 5 Wildflowers shown in the pictures hurry the closing date is this Saturday 30th April 2016 click here for more details and to enter.

Enter today for a chance to win one of these:

childrens_standing_raised_bed2

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When I was a little girl my dad gave me a small vegetable patch in the garden, I remember growing lettuce, beans, radish and carrots, it was my very own garden where I sowed, planted, weeded, watered and picked my precious vegetables and flowers, I can still picture it now although the garden has changed quite a lot.

This was the start of my love of gardening; my dad was my inspiration and my mentor, as I got older I outgrew my vegetable patch and was then able to help in the ‘big’ garden to grow the vegetables that we regularly picked, cooked and ate and to tend the flower beds.

 MyReal Potting Tabe/Raised Bed Combo

If you are looking for a Christmas gift that is just that little bit different that will last for many, years instead of just a few months like so many of this years ‘must have’ Christmas presents why not treat that special person to a Raised Bed, whether it’s for a child or an adult gardening is a hobby that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities, when they unwrap their present they may not get excited at the sight of wooden posts and boards but once assembled and filled with rich compost when those first few shoots start to appear I can guarantee they will be hooked, as their interest in gardening flourishes and grows, one raised bed can become two, three, four or more by simply adding extra modules, don’t forget those all-important garden accessories, quality raised bed tools, a good pair of gloves, a watering can, seeds, labels, a gardeners note book to record the gardening year and cloche hoops to support fleece, film or netting to protect plants from bad weather and unwanted pests. Wooden Raised beds are available in different designs, sizes and depths if you want to grow a variety of different crops I would recommend a depth of 45cm.

The Economy Plot Wooden Raised Bed

Children love being outdoors and getting hands on, gardening helps them connect with nature and teaches them where food comes from and how it grows, nothing beats the taste of freshly picked produce, as well as the health benefits of fresh food gardening can help keep you fit both physically and mentally.

Carrots

When I visit my dad he is often in the garden, we always talk ‘gardening’ discussing plant pests/problems/diseases, which crops have done well, are tasty and worth growing, gardening ideas and new gardening products that we have seen, there is always something new to learn, discover and grow – gardening is a wonderful hobby.

Why not inspire someone you know this Christmas, click here to have a look at the full range of Raised Beds.

Gill

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Slugs must be at the top of the list of garden pests, they happily munch their way through our treasured crops often eating as much as we do, annoyingly leaving behind their calling card – a tell tale silver trail.

Slug

Last year we had a very wet April and May (which is when slugs breed) this resulted in a large increase in their population and although we had a cold spring this year many will have survived due to their large numbers, if they all breed successfully there could be a slug explosion in June and July.

There are many environmentally friendly ways to control slugs in the garden:

1  Place a slug deterrent such as Slug Gone around your plants, composed of sheep’s wool, sand, grit and potassium salts it acts as a barrier which irritates the slugs foot and absorbs its slime. Slug Gone wool pellets can be used anywhere in the garden, they are natural, organic and safe to children, pets and wildlife, the pellets hold twice their own weight in water and will act as an excellent mulch, weed suppressant, soil conditioner and slow release fertiliser too.

Slug Gone 3.5 Litre

2  Install Copper Tapes around the outside of Pots, Troughs, Raised Beds or the legs of Mangers/Growing Tables the tiny electrical charge they give out will send the slugs away.

3  Apply Nemaslug, which is a biological control, every 6 weeks to the soil by simply watering it in, it contains millions of microscopic slug hunting worms called nematodes which invade and kill the slugs.

Nemaslug® Slug Killer

4  Build a pond in your garden; it will soon become a home to frogs, toads and newts whose favourite food are slugs, as well as benefiting and encouraging masses of wildlife.

5  Create permanent log piles in your garden to encourage Ground Beetles they can eat a surprising number of slugs for their size, the logs provide a summer nesting site and a perfect place to overwinter.

6  Attract birds to your garden by providing bird feeders, bird food, and a bird bath, Thrushes especially love slugs.

7  Encourage Hedgehogs to your garden by putting out hedgehog food (don’t overfeed them as they will stop foraging for the slugs), clean water and a place to nest or hibernate such as a Hogitat or a Hogilo they love a tasty snack of slugs.

 Hedgehog at snack bowl

8  Mulch the garden with bark chips, well rotted compost or manure all of which are inedible to slugs.

9  Patrol the garden when it has gone dark with a torch collecting them in a bag/bucket and disposing of them as you think fit!

I would not recommend using harmful slug pellets that contain metaldehyde, although they kill the slugs they will also kill their natural predators (insects, birds, mammals, amphibians) who unwittingly eat the slugs, as well as being harmful to pets, children and grown-ups.

Although slugs are often not wanted in our gardens they do have a place there and are a vital part of  our wildlifes food chain, it is all about creating a natural and harmonious balance.

Love your environment.

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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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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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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This week we had a question from Johanna which we thought we would share – along with our advice…

Dear Gardening With Children,

Each of our classrooms has a large flower bed which has just been tidied up.  What should we plant next or should we wait till next year?  Are we too late to plant winter salad or rocket.  How about bulbs?

Here is our reply –

Hello there Johanna
Thanks for your question.  With all the cold and frosty weather it is probably a little bit late to sow winter salads unless you have a polytunnel.

You could plant bulbs now and they will give a lovely display of early spring colour. For our favourite varieties click here

It is worth bearing in mind that some varieties of bulb will not flower until later in the spring though, so if you are planning to sow early vegetables it may be best not to sow bulbs in every bed. There is something magical about bulbs though – the children plant them, forget them and then weeks or months later a beautiful display of flowers appear.

Viola and wallflower plants can also be planted now. They are available at local garden centres and will flower right through the winter months.

If you would like to sow a vegetable at this time of year broad beans can be planted now and will be ready to harvest earlier than spring sown varieties. You will need to buy an autumn sowing variety though.

…And its worth remembering, if you want to give seedlings a headstart in the new year, begin germinating seeds in propagators on the classroom windowsills. 

I hope this helps – happy gardening!

Charlotte

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