Price Points: Windowsill propagators

Windowsill propagators | H is for Home

We’re on summer time – the nights are getting shorter, the days are getting longer. The earth is warming up, it’s time to get some seeds sprouting. Some seeds can go straight out into open ground or outdoor pots & planters. Many other seeds are a little more delicate and need a helping hand. Windowsill propagators are the perfect tools for the job.

This week, I’m finding it hard to choose the best of the three, each has its own plus points. The cheap Jiffy comes with biodegradable ‘pot strips’, so there’s no need to disturb the fragile little roots when planting out. The mid-range Marshalls offering comes with trays that can hold up to 48 cells, so pricking out won’t be necessary. The Super 7 has a heated tray which means that seeds will germinate earlier, more quickly and more successfully. Quite an asset if your windowsills are as cold as ours!

  1. Jiffy 20 strip windowsill propagator: £6.00, Suttons
  2. Windowsill propagator kit: £14.95, Marshalls
  3. Garland Super 7 windowsill propagator: £25.99, Keen Gardener

5 Tips for getting your garden ready for summer

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During the winter months, many British gardens can find themselves neglected and look a tad melancholy. Most plants have died back, there have been months of long, dark, cold days where few people feel like venturing out into the garden. There are lots of things you could do in the coming weeks to help get your garden ready for summer.

Raking up leaves in a gardencredit

1. Have a spring clean

Spring is the best time to tackle a bit of garden maintenance. Sweep up, take a bucket of soapy water to garden furniture, check that gates and fences are upright and secure. Does anything need a lick of paint or wood preservative? Is the guttering full of autumn leaves? Is the barbecue rusty?

Garden with wild flower meadowcredit

2. Sow annuals and bulbs

Nothing makes a garden more attractive than colourful, scented, flowering plants. For a quick and easy fix, you can sow annual native wild flower seeds; corncockles and corn marigolds, poppies and buttercups. Bulbs are the gift that keep on giving; they’re low maintenance and the flowers come back year after year. We planted some dolly tubs with mixed bulbs about 18 months ago and they’ve been providing colour and beauty to our garden once again since January this year. We can’t recommend them highly enough.

Collection of colourful garden plant potscredit

3. Re-pot plants that have outgrown their containers

Most plants are dormant in early spring, the ideal time to divide and re-pot plants that have become crowded and pot-bound. Whether you’re after a few new terracotta, metal or plastic containers, you can find a large range of pots, planters and window boxes online. Not only will you get more plants, you’ll be rewarded with stronger, healthier ones that will flower more profusely.

Patio garden with brazier and strings of lights and buntingcredit

4. Decorate

Decorating isn’t just for indoors. There are often large expanses of shabby wall or fence that could be livened up with paint or trellis. Perhaps you’ve got room for a shed, summer house or shepherd’s hut – somewhere to decamp on long hot days. Create a designated al fresco dining space. Put up strings of bunting and fairy lights. Consider sculptures and water features that can bring added interest and focal points to an outside space. Install a couple of gnomes if that’s more to your taste! 🙂

Butterflies on flowers in a gardencredit

5. Don’t forget the wildlife!

Visiting wildlife brings interest to a garden. It’s easy to entice them in – birds, insects, frogs and toads… even the odd hedgehog or two if you’re lucky! Make your garden a welcoming haven; provide food and water stations and places to shelter, nest and spawn. Nectar-rich flowers are loved by all sorts of critters. You’ll soon be rewarded with the buzz of bees, the song of blackbirds and robins, colourful finches and butterflies flitting about – and perhaps some fledglings to watch grow up.

Etsy List: Plant a tree

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'Plant a tree' Etsy List curated by H is for Home

It’s the 30th annual National Tree Week between 28th November and 6th December 2015. The Tree Council (yes, there is such an organisation) launched a campaign in the response to the Dutch Elm Disease crisis of the 60s which destroyed millions of trees. Tree Week grew out of this – and here we are in the 21st century rising to the challenge of Ash Dieback.

Get involved in a community event near you, or simply by gifting a tree or planting one of your own!

Plant a tree
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Etsy List: Autumn planting

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'Autumn planting' Etsy List curated by H is for Home

The successes of the summer crops on our allotment have been inconsistent. It started well with bountiful berries & currants. From there it went gradually downhill with indifferent potato yields and then absolutely abysmal with just a handful of tomatoes saved from a blanket of blight.

We’re now planning our autumn planting scheme and want to grow some garlic, onions and shallots. Perhaps even try our hand at some container-grown asparagus.

Hopefully our next harvest will be better than the last!

Autumn planting
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Gordon Rigg anniversary allotment

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Gordon Rigg installation with vintage photos and delivery bicycle

Our local garden centre, Gordon Rigg, is celebrating its 70th year in business.

Cardboard cut-out photo of Gordon Rigg, part of the garden centre's 70th anniversary allotment installation

It started as a small market stall and has grown over the decades into a huge garden centre – in fact they now have more than one outlet.

Cream coloured vintage car with Gordon Rigg livery

We popped in on Sunday to pick up tomato feed and chain saw oil ( it’s one of those places where you can buy almost anything!).

Vintage Gordon Rigg delivery bicycle

They had installations marking the anniversary, so we took a few snaps.

part of the Gordon Rigg garden centre's 70th anniversary allotment installation

We were quite taken by the vintage allotment – weathered greenhouse, galvanised metal containers, old tools – and a cosy shed to rest, listen to the radio and drink tea.

Garden shed, part of the garden centre's 70th anniversary allotment installation

It’s just our kind of thing – allotment chic!!

Lemon fresh!

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growing lemon seedlings in a vintage oversized tea cup | H is for Home

I first got the idea of growing my own lemon plants from a pin I came across on Pinterest.

Vintage oversized tea cup, lemon seeds, gravel and compost

It looked really easy so I collected all the pips from lemons we used in cooking for a few weeks.

Planting lemon seeds in a vintage oversized tea cup

When I had a handful, I was ready to go. I opted for this lovely oversize cup as a container – you can choose anything you fancy – cups, old tins, boxes etc. Some gravel in the bottom to prevent water-logging and multi-purpose compost to cover. Done!

Germinating lemon seeds in a vintage oversized tea cup

The pips were planted in February and small shoots appeared in June, so it took quite a while for them to start germinating – I have to admit that I nearly gave up on them! They got a day in the sunshine as encouragement & reward when I saw those first shoots appear.

Lemon seedlings growing in a vintage oversized tea cup

Look at them now! The bold, brightly coloured pattern of the cup contrasts with the glossy green foliage of the young lemon plants. It looks fabulous on our kitchen window sill… and they smell gorgeous when you rub a leaf between your fingers – fresh and citrusy.

Lemon seedlings growing in a vintage oversized tea cup

I can leave them in the cup as they are now and have lots of these pretty dwarf plants – or perhaps pot these on to get larger lemon trees and start again with the pips. A fully fledged lemon business maybe!