Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

Gimme Five! Metal potting stations

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

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selection of metal potting stations

Can’t you tell summer’s coming?! All the veg & salad seeds we sowed are sprouting. We’re running out of outdoor work space to prick out and pot on as seedlings outgrow their starter homes.

We’re after another potting station; one that can withstand living outside in damp northern climes. Aluminium or zinc will be best – with a lower shelf. You can never have too much storage space for seed trays!

We like #4 best, the one from B&Q. It has that all-important shelf, along with uprights along three sides which can be used as hanging space, acts as a windbreak for delicate seedlings and also prevents plants & tools from slipping off the edge from a height!

  1. Aluminium potting table: £36.50, Amazon
  2. Halls silver aluminium greenhouse potting bench: £55, Waltons
  3. Aluminium potting station: £69.99, Taylors Garden Buildings
  4. Potting bench: £30, B&Q
  5. Palram steel work bench: £44.99, Garden Street

Spring bulbs

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

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daffodil

Last autumn, we did some forward planning.

packs of spring bulbs

It was November to be precise – and we went to our local garden centre and chose a selection of spring bulbs.

dolly tub to be planted with spring bulbs

We had two of these lovely old galvanised dolly tubs originally used for washing clothes. They make such great planters in terms of looks and the fact that they don’t shatter after a frost.

spring bulbs being planted into a dolly tub at the beginning of November

Their large size & depth also provides the necessary space to have layers of bulbs which allows a succession of flowering and gives continued interest over many months.

shoots from snowdrops coming through the soil in early January

The first green shoots appeared in January when the snowdrops popped their noses above soil level.

snowdrops in the snow in late January

Snow drops in the snow – an exquisite sight!

Multi-coloured crocuses flowering at the beginning of March

They were followed in late February by the crocuses – a wonderful shot of colour after a long, drab winter.

Daffodils flowering in mid-April

April saw the daffodils in their prime…

Spring bulbs flowering continuously from January to May and beyond

…and the tulips arrived in May.

Tulips with daffodils flowering at the beginning of May

It’s been a real success – starting with the simple beauty of snowdrops and ending with a gorgeous mix of colour, scent and forms. Here’s a list of the bulbs we planted if you’d like to try it yourself. After each layer, add a little extra compost to cover the bulbs before adding the next layer:

Bottom layer (planted first) – Tulips Triumph Mistress of Darkness

Layer 2 – Narcissus Spring Fragrance Mixed

Layer 3 – Crocus Vernus Mixed Colours

Top layer (planted last): Snowdrops Single

Gimme Five! Metal planters

Friday, May 8th, 2015

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selection of galvanised metal planters

Lots of the plants in our garden are in need of potting on. In the past couple of years, some of the plants have become pot-bound, crying out for a bit of leg room. We used to have lots of lovely terracotta pots but after a couple of harsh, cold winters most of them have cracked and shattered.

Little by little, we’ve been replacing the terracotta with more hardy galvanised versions. We’re in the market for quite a few more metal planters. We love vintage dolly tubs but they can be quite dear – some fetching about the £50 mark.

Galvanised metal planters looks great in groups of different sizes and shapes and some have lovely corrugated patterns. Here are some of the best ones we’ve found.

  1. Fallen Fruits balcony zinc rectangular planter: £13.99, Wayfair
  2. Two aged zinc troughs – £45, Cox & Cox
  3. Single galvanised pot: from £2.99, Crocus
  4. SOCKER plant pot: £6.50, IKEA
  5. Galvanised iron planter: £7.95, by Ella James on Notonthehighstreet

Gimme Five: Tumbling tomatoes

Friday, April 10th, 2015

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Selection of 5 types of tumbling tomatoes | H is for Home

Our potatoes have been chitted & planted out, the first of our veg seedlings have sprouted, it’s time to start thinking about getting some tomatoes started.

Our garden (and allotment for that matter) is really shady, a definite no-no for sun-worshipping toms. The sun only hits our back garden from around 1pm, and only at a height of 4 foot and above. We have a tall south-facing fence so we’ve decided to try growing tumbling tomatoes along it. We have a couple of hanging baskets and just bought some hanging grow bags.

Mark Ridsdill Smith aka the Vertical Veg Man recommends ‘Cherry Cascade’ for hanging baskets. In a Telegraph gardening trial ‘Hundreds and Thousands’ came out tops. After some research, we’ve come up with this short-list of tumbling tomato contenders.

  1. Tomato ‘Tumbling Tom Yellow’ (10 seeds): £2.25, Marshalls
  2. Tomato ‘Gartenperle’ (25 seeds): £1.49, Crocus
  3. Tomato ‘Cherry Falls’ (15 seeds): £3.19, Mr Fothergill’s
  4. Tomato ‘Romello’ F1 hybrid (6 seeds): £3.99, Thompson & Morgan
  5. Tomato ‘Hundreds and Thousands’ (8 seeds): £3.99, Suttons

Gimme Five! Shade loving vegetables

Friday, March 20th, 2015

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selection of 5 shade loving vegetables | H is for Home | #gardening #allotment #seeds

We’ve been working down to our allotment a couple of times in the past few weeks, mainly raking up mounds and mounds of leaves that fell last autumn.

In the summer, much of the plot is in dappled shade thanks to lots of big, tall beech trees. Because of this, a lot of what we planted last year such as tomatoes and peas didn’t produce bumper harvests. This year we’ve been looking into shade loving vegetables.

Vegetables and herbs with lots of dark green leaves are an indicator to shade tolerance. Spinach, kale, lettuce, parsley, coriander will all do well. There’s a saying I’ve come across which is a general rule of thumb for growing fruit & veg: “If you grow it for the fruit, you need full sun. If you grow it for the leaves, stems or sprouts, partial shade is all you need.”

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