Tips on Gardening

On this page are some tips and ideas to make gardening easier. There are also some items of equipment which are tried and tested and merit a mention.

Beat the Slugs

Gardening enemy No 1 : slugs and snails. 

Tricky creatures who can decimate a bedding plant or lettuce overnight.  As soon a spring arrives so do the slugs, nasty slimy creatures who can shred a Hosta overnight or devastate a tender Delphinium.

There are some good ways to beat the slugs, beer traps, nematodes, picking and dispatching. Lots of information on how to beat the slugs.     It is very disheartening after planting rows of attractive summer bedding plants to find that the slugs have had the best of them. Sometimes bedding plants can be rescued; and how to rescue a chewed up bedding plant.     

Beat the Weeds

  Weeding is not the favourite task in the garden so here's a tip on how to reduce it.

The easiest way is to lay a weed suppressing membrane. This is sold by the roll in garden centers and an ideal time to lay a membrane is in a new garden or new border. Once it is in place cover with bark, so that you cannot see it, and weeding is reduced to a minimum. More information on how to Beat the Weeds

Tips for the Veg plot

  How to tell emerging seedlings from weeds?  Tip: sow seeds in straight lines because weeds don't grow in straight lines. 

When the tiny seedlings germinate the seedlings can be hard to recognise. It's tricky to tell the seeds from the weeds. If you sow in a straight line you will know which are the fledgling plants . Tips on Growing vegetables

  

Check ties regularly 

This is an easy mistake to make when you tie in a young plant, in this case a tomato. This tie was fine when first placed on the plant. But, remember the plant will grow, the tie gets tighter and can cut into the plant read more about growing tomatoes.

This raffia makes really good garden ties. It is inexpensive and ideal in the garden. If it falls off the plant it will rot down, and not leave pieces of wire in the borders. It is strong but will not cut into plants.  Its soft, but strong and biodegradable. And it looks attractive.

Plant supports for free

Also  looking attractive are natural plant supports . Many plants need supports and they can be expensive to purchase. Whenever I am cutting down plants, whether it is removing saplings as in this image, or cutting down the Cornus I keep the off cuts and they  make ideal plant supports and pea sticks. I also think they look more attractive in the border than metal supports. More information on free plant supports.

Winter gardening tips

It is a good idea to drain the water butt before the worst of the winter frost and cold. The image left shows what can happen if frost gets a hold.

Naturally when the water freezes and it expands inside the water butt it can cause it to fracture, a costly mistake. 

More hints on winter gardening tips. 

Effective Watering

To help get plants established it is the roots which need watering, and regularly. One way to direct water to the roots, especially if you have planted on a slope where the water may just run off is to sink a water bottle along side the plant. When you water put extra water into the bottle and it will run down deeper towards the roots.

This is also good for plants such tomatoes, as illustrated, where it is important to keep the water off the leaves to reduce disease. More about growing tomatoes.

Going on Holiday?

If you are going on holiday you need to find a away to keep your plants, containers and hanging baskets happy and watered whilst you are away. Happy Holiday tips.

And after the holiday, as the colder weather approaches you need to bring tender non frost hardy plants under cover. It is expensive to buy new bedding plants each year. Many Pelargoniums, common name Geraniums and  Fuchsias can be overwintered and planted out again next year. Plants for free.

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Sow with space to Hoe

One of the best ways to keep on top of weeds especially in the veg plot is by hoeing. Running a hoe over weeds helps to keep them at bay. To make this easier when planting into the veg plot plant a Hoe's width apart and then you can easily hoe in between rows to beat the weeds.