May 192019
 
finding and choosing an allotment key things you need to know

The garden is looking much better this week after all my hard work. At this time of year many people sit back and wait, but its more important than ever to keep working. Sign up to our newsletter and get regular updates on outdoor gardening, digging and allotments, or compare prices of Hozelock hoses and other garden things using the price comparison tool.

The thing to remember while choosing an allotment is to start small. A small plant bed, about 25 or 30 feet square is perfect, is just enough room for about 30 plants. This will give you a chance to try out your green thumb and if you find that you enjoy your garden you can always expand and increase your plantings.

The next thing you will want to do is choose a site. Gardening must be done in an area that gets at least six hours of sunlight. Try and stay away from large trees that will take your plants water and nutrients, and at least three feet from any fences or buildings. In hot climates it is a good idea to choose a place that will have shade from a part of the intense afternoon sun. It is possible to have a healthy garden with even ten to twelve hours of sunlight, but the type of plants must be adaptable. While soil can always be improved, a site with good soil is a plus. Avoid areas that have rocky soil, steep slopes, or areas where water stands.

Now comes the fun part: start digging. Gardening is not a clean hobby; you’re going to have to get some dirt under your nails. First remove the rocks, debris, and any grass and weeds then dig the spot up about one foot deep. Level up the dirt and add compost or minerals if the needed. If your soil is too acidic, add lime; if it is too sandy, add peat moss. Plants will thrive in neutral to acidic soil with a little added fertilizer.

If you buy seeds then plant them according to the directions. If picking plants, choose ones with green, healthy looking leaves and stems and healthy roots. Put the smaller plants towards the front of the bed and larger ones in the back. The key to a successful beginning in gardening is planting at the right time. Make sure and wait until the frosts are over before planting. If you are planting seeds the package will usually tell you exactly when you can plant them to achieve maximum growth.

Once you have started and gotten into gardening, making sure your plants receive enough water is essential to their growth. Hand watering works well if you only have a few plants. Other options include sprinklers or sprinkler hoses. Watering is more effective during the cooler parts of the day. The type of plant will depend on how much water is needed, but most require about an inch per week. During the hottest periods plants will be need watering about three times per week.

One of the most helpful things to add to an allotment is mulch or compost. Just a few inches of organic mulch will improve fertility and help the soil hold moisture. Wood chips, grass clippings, leaves, manure, and pine needles are all things that can be used as mulch.

I hope that was useful. I’ll be back later in the week to tell you about gardening tips. To compare prices and buy, click to compare prices of garden tables and chairs or read reviews on Amazon.

May 162019
 
pruning for beginners how to look after your trees and bushes

Since buying our new house the garden has started to really take shape. Today I reflect a little on maintenance, healthy growth and pruning and what you need to know.

If you have just entered the tree growing world, you have no doubt heard the term “pruning” tossed around by the more veteran growers. Well, I have something to admit. For several years, I did not even know what pruning was. I heard the term a lot, but I never felt comfortable asking someone what exactly it was. Even though it would have benefited my gardening and tree growing, I was too prideful to ask. I’ve found that pride is the reason for the failure of many great endeavours; if I had just asked someone what pruning was, I wouldn’t have undergone a few of the disasters that occurred during my first years of gardening.

Pruning is the removal of dead or unneeded branches to encourage the growth of flowers. Usually a tree will end up devoting energy to branches that don’t need it, while neglecting branches which are bearing more fruit. If you remove the branches that are taking all the nutrients, you will begin to see a flourish in the other ones. Pruning also keeps the tree in shape by keeping the branches even. This prevents it from becoming weighed down on one side. Having too many branches on one side could cause the tree to become permanently crooked.

Many gardeners don’t even think about pruning their trees until they start to bear fruit. This is a big mistake, and you should never neglect to care for a tree just because it hasn’t yet begun to produce. During the entire process of growth, you should prune the tree in a way that it is even and uniform. Then, when it does start to produce fruit, the results will be significantly greater. It is very easy to tell the difference between a tree that has been pruned regularly during its growth, and one that has been neglected. Generally the shape of the tree is much more natural looking if it has been pruned.

The first thing to look for when you start pruning is any branches which are dead or diseased. These are quite easy to recognize. Usually they don’t bear any fruit, and might be misshapen or discoloured. Don’t hesitate at all in chopping these guys off, as they are nothing but detrimental to the health of your tree. Sometimes a branch can be dead or diseased without making it too obvious. If this is the case, simply wait until the tree is flowering and it will become obvious by not growing anything.

The second type of branch to look for is the branch that is too close in range to all the other ones. If it grows at such a length and angle that the end is right next to all the other branches, they might end up crowding each other out. Take off the smaller of the two branches to allow the larger one to have the breathing room that it needs. This same rule applies to the weight balance of your tree. Sometimes, for reasons we will never understand, a tree will grow several branches on one side and weigh itself into being lopsided.

So hopefully I have provided you with a basic knowledge of pruning. There are more situations and types of branches that require pruning, but what I’ve outlined is the very basic parts. These can alter depending on how old your tree is. For example, for the first 3 years of a tree’s growth it requires pruning that follows more “formative” guidelines. After the tree is well established, you will need to use “regulatory” pruning to keep it where you would like it to be. There are entire books written on how to prune trees depending on how old they are. There are far too many techniques for me to go over, so if you want to use these advanced techniques then you should go to your local library and check out a book.

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May 132019
 
how to create a japanese garden

Another great day in the garden. I’m finally ready to dig the borders. But first, today, I share my expertise with you on the subject of Japanese gardening and How to create a Japanese Garden. Read on for more, or if you are just looking to buy plants, garden tables and chairs, or check prices and features then click here to compare prices.

Japanese gardening is a cultural form of gardening that is meant to produce a scene that mimics nature as much as possible by using trees, shrubs, rocks, sand, artificial hills, ponds, and flowing water as art-forms. The Zen and Shinto traditions are both a large part of Japanese gardening and, because of this; the gardens have a contemplative and reflective state of mind. Japanese gardening is much different than the Western style and most would say it is far more meditational and soul soothing.

In Japanese gardening there are three basic methods for scenery. The first of these is reduced scale. Reduced scale is the art of taking an actual scene from nature, mountains, rivers, trees, and all, and reproducing it on a smaller scale. Symbolization involves generalization and abstraction. An example of this would be using white sand to suggest the ocean. Borrowed views refers to artists that would use something like an ocean a forest as a background, but it would end up becoming an important part of the scene.

There are essentially two types of Japanese gardening: tsukiyami, which is a hill garden and mainly composed of hills and ponds. The other is hiraniwa, which is basically the exact opposite of tsukiyami: a flat garden without any hills or ponds.

The basic elements used in Japanese gardening include rocks, gravel, water, moss, stones, fences, and hedges. Rocks are most often used as centrepieces and bring a presence of spirituality to the garden. According to the Shinto tradition rocks embody the spirits of nature. Gravel is used as a sort of defining surface and is used to imitate the flow of water when arranged properly. Stones are used to create a boundary and are sculpted into the form of lanterns. Water, whether it be in the form of a pond, stream, or waterfall, is an essential part of a Japanese garden. It can be in the actual form of water or portrayed by gravel, but no matter what form water is in, it is crucial to a Japanese gardens balance.

There are several forms and types of plants that are signature of Japanese gardening, the main one being Bonsai. Bonsai is the art of training everyday, average plants, such as Pine, Cypress, Holly, Cedar, Cherry, Maple, and Beech, to look like large, old trees just in miniature form. These trees range from five centimetres to one meter and are kept small by pruning, re-potting, pinching of growth, and wiring the branches.

Japanese gardening is a tradition that has crossed the Muso Soseki, poet, said “Gardens are a root of transformation”. A Japanese garden is sure to bring about many different feelings and is definitely a transforming experience.

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May 092019
 
how to grow herbs top tips

With the current weather its even more important to look after the garden. Todays garden tips article revolves around growing fresh herbs. Please remember to leave a comment if you have any thoughts or questions on growing fresh herbs or on garden table and chairs.

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If you’re not the type of person that wants to spend their time managing
an elaborate fruit or vegetable garden, you might consider planting and
maintaining an herb garden. While the product might not seem as
significant, you’ll still enjoy the constant availability of fresh,
delicious herbs to flavour your meals with.

First you’ll want to choose the herbs that you’ll plant. You might have a
hard time doing this because of the huge scope of herbs available. But the
best way to choose is to do what I did; just look at what you have in your
kitchen. By planting your own collection of these fresh herbs, you can save
money on buying them from the shop while having the added benefit
of freshness. Some of the herbs you might start with include rosemary,
sage, basil, dill, mint, chives, and parsley among others.

When choosing an area to put your herb garden, you should remember that
the soil should have extremely good drainage. If the dirt gets watered and
stays completely saturated, you have no chance of ever growing a healthy
plant. One of the best ways to fix the drainage problem is to dig a foot
deep in the soil, and put a layer of crushed rocks down before replacing
all the soil. This will allow all that water to escape, thus saving your
plants.

When you are ready to begin planting herbs, you might be tempted to buy
the more expensive plants from the store. However, with herbs it is much
easier to grow them from seed than it is with other plants. Therefore you
can save a bundle of money by sticking with seed packets. Some herbs grow
at a dangerously fast rate. For example, if you plant a mint plant in an
open space then it will take over your entire garden in a matter of days.
The best way to prevent this problem is to plant the more aggressive
plants in pots (with holes in the bottom to allow drainage, of course).

When it comes time to harvest the herbs you have laboured so hard over, it
can be fatal to your plant to take off too much. If your plant isn’t well
established, it isn’t healthy to take any leaves at all, even if it looks
like its not using them. You should wait until your plant has been well
established for at least several months before taking off any leaves. This
wait will definitely be worth it, because by growing unabated your plant
will produce healthily for years to come.

Once you’ve harvested your delicious home grown herbs, you’ll want to use
them in cooking. Why else would you have grown them? Well first the
process begins with drying them out. This is easily achieved by placing
them on a cookie sheet and baking them 170 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 to 4
hours. After they’re sufficiently dried to be used in cooking, you can
consult the nearest cookbook for instructions on using them to effectively
flavour a dish.

If you want to store your herbs for later use, you should keep them in a
plastic or glass container. Paper or cardboard will not work, because it
will absorb the taste of the herbs. During the first few days of storage,
you should regularly check the container and see if any moisture has
accumulated. If it has, you must remove all the herbs and re-dry them. If
moisture is left from the first drying process, it will encourage mildew
while you store your herbs. Nobody likes mildew.

So if you enjoy herbs or gardening, or both, then you should probably
consider setting up an herb garden. It might require a little bit of work
at first to set it up for optimal drainage, and pick what herbs you want
to grow. But after the initial hassle, it’s just a matter of harvesting
and drying all your favourite herbs.

For more on How to grow herbs – Top Tips, gardening gifts and advice on when to plant please come back soon, and bookmark this article using one of the nice icons below.

May 062019
 
herb gardening advice how to grow herbs easily

I’m back with my thought on chives, dill, basil and growing herbs. I’m here to help so if you have any questions or thoughts on anything, from gardening gifts to gardening tips then please leave a comment on the article below and I’ll reply just as soon as I can. Enjoy your day. Now, Herb Gardening advice – How to grow herbs easily.

Herb gardening is becoming more and more popular every day, and for a good reason. Herbs have practical value, serve a purpose, and with herb gardening you can actually use your plants. When most people think of herb gardening they automatically think of cooking, but herbs are also grown for their pleasant aroma and their beauty.

One important part of herb gardening is drying the herbs for use during the winter months, especially if you plan on cooking with them. First the tops of leafy herbs have to be cut, washed, and hung up for the water to evaporate. Then, tie stems together and hang up in a paper bag to dry. After two to three weeks they must be removed; crumble the leaves, dry them out in the oven, and store in a glass jar.

One of the most common herbs gown in herb gardening is basil. “Dark Opal” and regular green basil are beautiful additions to any garden and often used as decoration. Dark Opal has light pink flowers and dark red leaves. Basil isn’t just used for its looks; it is used for extra flavour in tomato juices and pastes.

Chives are very petite looking and resemble a blade of grass. They are much stronger than they look, however, and will grow well through a drought and a drought. Their toughness and sturdiness makes Chives a perfect plant for herb gardening, especially if the gardener doesn’t want plants that require a lot of hassle. Chives are good used in salads, egg dishes, and many different sauces.

Mint is also very simple to grow and is good to use in mint jelly, mint juleps, lemonade, and any other kind of fruity drink. Mint is also good in herb gardening for its unique minty smell. Two herbs that appear in nearly everyone’s herb garden are thyme and sage. Both of these herb gardening favourites are used for flavouring soups, chicken, turkey, pork, and other sausages. Sage is also grown sometimes for its beautiful blue spiked flowers.

Lavender is probably the best smelling herb in all of herb gardening and is often used in candles, as a perfume scent, and to improve the smell in linen chests. The light purple flowers smell absolutely lovely.

Other types of herbs often grown in herb gardening include borage (used in salads), chervil (used in egg dishes), sweet marjoram (flavours lamb, fish, salad, and soup), sesame (flavours crackers, cookies, and bread), and dill (flavours meats and used in pickles). Herb gardening allows gardeners to use herbs from their own garden for cooking, looks, and smell. Herb gardening will produce much fresher herbs with more flavour than store-bought herbs, and are a lot cheaper.

New expert gardening advice on garden table and chairs next week, when I write my post.  Please join the mailing list to stay informed of updates.