Date: 5th October 2018
As the weather starts to get dramatically colder, wildlife will be looking for shelter, food and warmth. Here are some useful tips to make your garden a homely area for autumn and winter wildlife.
Having a bit of an untidy area in your garden is great for hibernating wildlife. Insects will wedge themselves into hollow plant stems and frogs will often hide underneath fallen leaves. Hedgehogs may also find shelter where there are lots of logs and leaves. It might also be an idea to give them a little opening in your fence so that they can find food and warmth, maybe even a little hedgehog house with some food is sure to entice them. BHGS sell hedgehog food, so if you see the four-legged friends around your garden, pop into our showroom.
If you do decide to clean up your messy area and want to make a bonfire, it is really important to make sure there are no wildlife underneath before you light it. If you are gathering lots of bits for your bonfire, ensure you light it straight away so no animals have a chance to sneak inside for shelter.
As winter is fast approaching, it is harder for wildlife to find food. Making sure your bird feeders are kept topped up and there is a good supply of water from ponds or bird baths will keep a good array of birds around your garden as well as giving them food and water. BHGS have a large selection of bird care products, visit our website, email us or visit our Evesham showroom.
You may also be wanting to cut back your ivy, however, it may be an idea to let it grow. As well as providing shelter, the berries are particularly popular in winter.
Providing A Safe Haven for Birds
Autumn is a great time to tidy your bird boxes, this time of year is perfect as nesting season is over! Put on a pair of gloves, remove any old material and give it a good clean with hot water. Perhaps you haven’t got a house for birds to nestle in? why not buy or make one? Read our ‘Benefits of a Bird House’ blog entry or click here to learn how to make one.
Planting & Maintaining Shrubs
Shrubs can provide shelter and warmth for a number of different wildlife. Hedgehogs are a prime example of animals that struggle to find warm areas to hibernate during the winter months. They act as a wind break and a shelter from heavy rain and frosts as the weather starts to get colder from autumn through to winter.
Hopefully, you have found this article useful and has given you lots of tips to encourage wildlife into your garden this season.
Date: 11th September 2018
Pest Control Tips
Pests and diseases can often be a problem in the garden and it can be hard to control it. We have some tips to help reduce pests but rather than getting rid of them harmfully, trying to find natural resolutions instead.
How to beat slugs and snails?
Sometimes using poisons seems like the only route to take when trying to get rid of slugs and snails. However, there are much better ways to go about controlling them.
- One strategy is ensuring you have the correct timings for sowing, this is to enable seedlings to thrive in helpful conditions and are able to grow away from any creatures.
- Sowing seeds in controlled environments e.g. greenhouses are also a factor to take into consideration. This will allow your seeds to grow undisturbed making them strong and sturdy and able to survive an attack from slugs/snails.
- Keeping your garden tidy is also a huge factor. Any overgrown weeds, long grass and overgrown plants are fantastic shelters for pests, who will cause damage especially in damp conditions. So, keeping the area clear is vital as well as getting rid of any dead leaves and putting them on the compost heap.
- Although keeping your garden tidy is necessary, if overgrown areas that have recently been cleared, they may have been home to insects and pests. They suddenly have less to eat than before so may start looking for other means of foods i.e. your plants. To avoid this from happening, in the first year of cropping, avoid growing slug-prone vegetables such as salads and carrots.
- Even if your garden has always been kept tidy, if there are walls in the area, their holes may provide homes and shelters for slugs and snails. It is suggested that growing perennial flowers, fruiting trees and bushes near walls and keeping your vegetable patch away from that area.
- Even in bare soil there are still plenty of slugs about and will often find homes particularly on the outer leaves of lettuce. Therefore, smaller crops that are picked frequently are less likely to be damaged and eaten but still provide tasty produce.
- Animals that eat smaller pests like slugs and snails can be useful in reducing numbers. Although these pests are part of the garden and the eco system, it still would be nice not to have all of your crops eaten and destroyed. When picking crops such as spinach, there are often toads using the leaves as shelter- they like the same damp conditions as the slugs and so are great predators in the garden. However, you will never illuminate them completely because if there were no slugs then there would be no food left for the toads.
- As you may or may not know, slugs like cool, dark and damp places – By laying an old wooden board on the soil will often result in being able to remove any slugs that have attached themselves to the wood overnight.
- If you are running out of options and are struggling to control the pests, BHGS do sell organic slug pellets in various sizes. Visit our Evesham showroom or our website to place your order.
Slug & Snail Resistant
- There are a few flowers that slugs and snails do not like. Plants like; penstemons, foxgloves and lots of other perennials can offer shelter to the plants that they like. They may also provide shelter during damp conditions, so it would be a good idea to clean up the area every so often.
For more tips and advice, visit the RHS website. Providing you with reliable information and solutions to help solve your slug and snail’s problem.
Date: 13th August 2018
The Garden in August
August is still an incredibly busy month in terms of gardening and there is a lot to do to keep your garden looking at its best. We have plenty of useful tips to help you on your way and hopefully there will be lots of opportunity to enjoy your garden as we have done during the previous couple of months!
Lilies – As soon as the petals start to fall, remove the flower stalk by cutting the stem just below the flower head using a pair of secateurs. The plants will then produce food, which allows the bulb to build up its reserves so it can flower again next summer. Once the faded flowers have been removed, the plants will benefit from a general purpose liquid plant feed.
Dahlias – It’s important to support your dahlias to ensure the weight of their beautiful flowers doesn’t cause their stem to break.
Deadhead your flowers – Some flowers such as sweet peas, pelargoniums and cosmos will keep blooming if you deadhead them every few days, getting rid of any signs of a midsummer fade.
Drought resistant species – including these into your flower garden will give you easy care plants that cut down on your workload, especially with this month being busy gardening wise. Consider lavender, thyme or sedums for a low maintenance option.
Spring Flowering Bulbs – It’s not too early to start thinking about your spring flowering bulbs. We’ll be taking orders soon so contact us to request a bulb catalogue and order form.
Tomatoes – Keep an eye on your tomatoes by making sure that they are well fed and watch out for any signs of blight and other diseases.
What needs to be harvested? – Check your runner beans regularly and keep picking them before the beans begin to bulge otherwise they will become tough and stringy.
If the weather continues to stay hot, sweetcorn may be ready towards the end of the month. The silky tassels should have turned from yellow to brown. But don’t leave them until the tassels have withered up or the sweetcorn will be past its best and tasteless.
Mulch is incredibly useful during the summer months as it helps you to cut down on watering. The good news is, if you have a lawn, you already have your mulch. All you need to do is collect all grass cuttings, spread them in a sunny place and leave for 24hours, turn and leave for another 24 hours or until the grass has started to brown.
Once the cuttings are ready to be used as mulch, spread around your thirsty plants such as phloxes, asters and aconitums. Much can attract slugs so make sure you don’t use it around their favourite food such as hostas and dahlias.
BHGS supplies an extensive range of products perfect for your garden in August. Contact us on 01386 444100, email email@example.com or visit our website. Our sales team are experienced and will be happy to offer advice.
Date: 13th July 2018
Hanging Basket Strawberries
Strawberries are quintessentially English – their sweet and refreshing taste is one of the things we associate with summer, whether they’re sliced in a glass of Pimms or for a light dessert with indulgent cream, they simply are lovely. There are sometimes issues when home growing them as they can be eaten by pests when grown in the ground or in pots. However, we have the perfect solution to boost your harvest and stop those slugs and snails eating our crops. – hanging basket strawberries.
All you need are: -
- Hanging basket and liner
- Waterproof fabric
- Marker pen, scissors, knife
- Multipurpose compost
- Strawberry plants
- Bracket and drill
- First of all, on the fabric, draw around the edge of the basket liner with a marker pen and cut out the circle then put the fabric in the basket ensuring that it is evenly positioned all the way round.
- Next, use the knife to put some holes in the fabric- this allows water to flow out. Put the liner on top of the fabric and fill two-thirds of the basket with compost.
- Now all that’s left to do is place the plants evening around the edge of the basket, leaving one to go in the centre. You need to make sure that you place the crown at soil level as if they’re in too deep then the plants will rot and too high, they will dry out. Add more compost to fill in around the plants, making sure they’re firmly in the compost, then give them a water. Hang your basket in the sunniest and most sheltered spot in your garden.
- Plant in late summer/early autumn so that the plants have time to get their roots settled ready for winter.
It’s essential to make sure the plants are well watered, especially during a drought. When flowers appear, use a liquid potash feed such as tomato fertiliser and do this every 7-10 days. It’s also a good idea to mulch the plants with straw when the first fruits develop to ensure they are keep clean and dry as well as conserving water.
Once the fruits are ripe, you’ll now- as long as they’re red all over, they’ll be perfect for picking! After fruiting, clear away all old leaves, stems and fruit to expose crowns to the winter cold which will encourage a dormant period, essential for the production of new crowns next year.
BHGS have everything you need to create these hanging basket strawberries. Simply pop into our Evesham showroom, contact us on 01386 444100, email us or visit our website. We are always happy to help!
For more information about everything you need to know about growing strawberries, visit the RHS Website.
Date: 1st June 2018
Easy guide to composting
Compost is useful in all gardens and recycling your growing waste is a fabulous way to create growing recourses for a successful season as well as being kinder to the environment. We have some useful tips to help you create your own compost heap.
Setting up a heap
Starting a compost heap is incredibly easy and can be done at any time of time, however, for faster results, it would be best between summer and early winter. A consideration to take before actually putting together your heap is to think about the right bin for you – there are many different types to choose from. It is also a good idea to consider the best place for your compost pile, a level spot where excess liquid can drain easily as well as an area that isn’t too hot otherwise it will be more likely to smell. A light shaded area would be ideal or if a shady area isn’t possible, make sure your compost bin has a lid so it can keep the heat inside and protect it from excess rainfall.
It’s important to stick to a rough ratio of materials when creating the perfect compost. It’s advisable that 25-50% should be made of green materials like weeds, vegetable waste, grass clippings and green manure. The rest should be made up of brown materials such as prunings of fruit trees, straw, paper, dead leaves and wood chippings.
You’ll need to make a pile with your chosen organic waste on naked earth to allow worms and organisms to penetrate it. This is an important process as it will ventilate the compost allowing it to decompose. Another good tip is to feed the compost in layers, changing between moist and dry materials.
A big no-no when it comes to composting is adding dairy or meat products, as well as pet waste and nappies. This is really important to avoid this as they can cause pathogens which can potentially harm your crops.
Your compost heap needs to be able to keep the heat and retain as much moisture possible. To allow this to happen, cover the pile with anything that will retain the heat such as wood or carpet scraps. Adding water will also keep it moist, however, only add occasionally to avoid drowning it.
Although keeping the compost moist is great, you need to be careful that there isn’t too much moisture or subjected to extreme temperatures as it can change the consistency of the compost. Making sure air is incorporated is essential to allow the bacteria to eat away at the waste, you can do this by using a fork. This should be done regularly, particularly if materials are added to the pile frequently.
Putting your compost to good use
Compost can be incorporated into soil to feed in vital nutrients to your crops. You can also leave it on the surface to act as a mulch to lock in moisture and suppress weeds. But remember to avoid letting your compost touch the main stem of your crops as this can lead to rotting.
If you would like more advice on composting, visit the RHS website, some useful tips to help along with lots of other tips for all things gardening.
Date: 26th April 2018
Creating the perfect lawn
Do you ever look at your neighbour’s lawn with envy? We have the solution, here are some great tips, advice and products to help you create a lawn to be proud of, not forgetting those perfect stripes!
Seed or turf?
It’s always a good start, if you currently have a mud patch, to create a lawn. You can either use seed or turf, seed should be sown round about now once the weather starts to warm up but it’s not too hot and turf can be laid any time of the year, as long as it’s not too wet or cold. This time of year is perfect!
It’s always a good start to make sure the ground is prepared – it needs to be forked over, raked level and flattened so that it’s firm and then raked again. BHGS stock a range of gardening tools perfect for ground preparation. The soil also needs to be good quality, so a layer of top soil would work nicely, also making sure you have dug up any weeds.
Watering your lawn
If the weather is dry, it is really important to make sure you frequently water your lawn/seed. A sprinkler will come in handy. Particularly with turf, it is crucial that the turf does not dry out in the first few weeks it is laid or will it with shrink and turn brown.
Caring for your lawn
Once your lawn is established you can really start to make it look luscious. Here are some top tips;
- Prevent weeds before they start to grow – use a pre-emergent weedkiller. This will control crabgrass and other hard wearing weeds. Spring is the perfect time to do this.
- Eliminate broad leaf weeds once they have sprouted. These are large weeds such as dandelions and are easy to spot. Apply granular weed control products.
- Mow high and frequently – Keeping lawns a bit taller, results in healthier grass.
- Make sure the mower blade is kept sharp as dull blades will tear the grass rather than giving it a clean cut.
- If the weather has been warm and dry, it would be a good idea to water the grass. Watering in the morning is best, as the sun will help dry the grass whereas watering at night may result in prolonged moisture, which can lead to more diseases. It is also advisable to water less often but for longer periods of time.
- Feed your lawn – Nitrogen is the most important nutrient for lawns. Using a mixture of fast and slow releasing fertilisers, will green up your lawn quickly.
- Re-seed sparse lawns – If your lawn is a bit thin in areas, planting grass seed will help make your lawn thicker.
For more advice on creating the perfect lawn, visit the RHS website.
Date: 6th April 2018
If you like the idea of gardening but when it comes to it you never actually get round to doing it, then you’ve come to the right place! We have lots of useful tips to make gardening enjoyable without having to spend days on end in the garden.
Companion planting provides benefits to one another, whether that may be protecting them from harsh winds or providing shade, this is a really useful way to allow plants to look after themselves (within reason of course). This also means healthier plants and preventing any problems that may have otherwise occurred. The only thing that may take up a bit of time is researching which plants work together but apart from that, in the long run, you’ll find you spend less time tending your plants and dealing with problems that would normally arise.
Consider Plant Positions
It is important to ensure your plants are in the right location, you’ll need to research which plants should go where. Do they need to be in the shade or do they need lots of sunlight? By placing your plants in the best location they will thrive and flourish and will be less work for you in the long run as less intervention will be needed to ensure plants are healthy.
Introducing wildlife into your garden will help plants stay healthy and reduce the amount of pests. Obviously this won’t happen overnight, but the more wildlife in your garden the healthier your garden will be, so eventually you will no longer need to use pesticides etc.
It will also be beneficial for your garden by attracting predators that will attack pests. For example, ladybirds will get rid of aphids and of course, bees will pollinate your plants.
Watering your plants everyday can take quite a lot of time up, why not think about irrigation systems that will water plants for you. We supply an extensive range of irrigation products so contact us or pop into our Evesham showroom and chat to our irrigation specialist.
Spending hours gardening can really have an effect on your joints, making it less enjoyable and more likely to avoid it! By making raised beds, you eliminate the need to garden on your knees, therefore you are less likely to have aches and pains due to your plants being at a more manageable height.
So now you have some tips to make gardening less of a chore, it might be a good idea to make sure you have all the tools and equipment to ensure successful gardening! Pop into our showroom at Vale Park or email firstname.lastname@example.org for advice.
Date: 6th March 2018
Grow your own tomatoes
The cold spell of weather may have halted the beginning of the growing season, however, now is a perfect time to think about kick - starting your planting by sowing indoors. Tomatoes are perfect for getting a head start in your greenhouse and we have a useful guide to ensure it all goes to plan.
Growing tomatoes in a greenhouse enables you to have an earlier crop. Sow the seeds with a seed tray full of compost that has been flattened down gently, place the seeds on top and then put a thin layer of compost over the top. It is important to water the compost so that it’s damp but not soaking.
If you are using a propagator, put the seed tray in with the lid on, in a warm place away from direct sunlight. Temperature needs to be a minimum of 18°C. Seedling should about by day 17, however, some varieties may take up to 28 days to germinate. If you look at the seed packet, it will give you all of the information you will need.
By around day 50, you should be able to transfer the young plants into pots. Fill 3 inch pots with compost and make a hole large enough for the seedling. Make sure the compost is firmly around the plant, keeping the roots covered and in place, adding more compost so that it fills the pot. Water the compost but don’t overwater!
Transfer to a final pot once the young plants once they are about 15-20cm tall and the flowers of the first truss are beginning to open. The tomato planters need to be 15-30cm’s in diameter.
Production during the night
It’s important to make sure that your tomatoes are protected during the night – your greenhouse should be no cooler than 10°C. If temperatures are below, use a greenhouse heater for added protection during cold nights.
Although tomatoes can be sown indoors earlier, once the weather becomes warmer and the chance of frost has disappeared, they can be brought outside. Ideally, they should really be kept indoors until daylight temperatures reach 17°C.
Caring for your tomato plants
When growing tomatoes, take care not to overwater but it is equally important to not let them dry our either. The rule of thumb is to water little and often as the plants to not like irregular watering – this may cause blossom end rot or may even cause the fruit to split. The best time to water them is in the morning or early afternoon, when the sun isn’t too intense. Try to avoid watering in the evening because they use little water during the night.
We would also suggest feeding your plants with a general liquid fertiliser until they are established and then use a high potash fertiliser to encourage the tomato plants to flower and fruit. We have Tomorite available in store and online which is used specifically for tomatoes.
We hope you found our guide useful and for more information the RHS website also have a detailed guide to set you on the right track.
BHGS stock and supply a wide variety of compost fertilisers and pots – everything you need to grow your tomatoes. Contact us on 01386 444100, email email@example.com or pop into our Evesham showroom.
Date: 8th February 2018
Preparing for spring!
Although February is one of those months where there isn’t much planting to be done, it is vital that you spend it preparing for spring. There are a number of ways to do this, so we thought we’d give you some useful tips to help you along the way.
Clean & sharpen blades – Make sure you wash of any dirt and soil then apply oil. Sharpening blades requires a little more hard work but can be achieved by either using a hand file or for certain tools such as pruning shears and knives you will need to use a honing stone.
Catch weeds early – Perennial weeds may start to appear so spend a bit of time removing the roots by turning with a fork or trowel. Tearing or pulling the weeds may cause them to spread and be more problematic during the growing season. Loosen compacted soil with a fork as perennial weeds thrive in compacted soil.
Fruit & vegetable garden – This month is all about getting your plot ready and there is still things to do to keep you prepared. Digging is something that can be done, leave the soil in chunks and it will be broken down by the weather in time for sowing. You can also get a head start on some vegetables by sowing crops such as broad beans or tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers which can be sown indoors until the weather warms up. Pop into our Evesham showroom for a large variety of seeds.
Removing garden pests – This will save you time and effort in the long run when they are worse during spring and summer. If you still haven’t cleared last year’s pots with summer bedding make sure you do this now! Look out for vine weevil larvae as they will live in the compost and feed on plant roots. Destroy any that you find and be prepared that you will most likely need to treat vine weevils this year using parasitic nematodes or chemical drenches. It also is a good idea to look at the crowns of perennial plants for slugs, snails and aphid colonies that may be sheltering during winter.
Clean your greenhouse – It’s important to wash and clean your greenhouse before it is filled with lots of seedlings and cuttings. Sweep out any debris and thoroughly disinfect including glass and any corner or areas that are easily missed as overwintering pests and diseases can survive in small nooks. Jeyes fluid is an ideal disinfectant.
Fix any broken structures – Although it is still chilly it might be an idea to fix any fences, gates or trellis when you have a dry day. This will give you more time to focus on other things in the garden during spring onwards.
Hopefully, now you will feel fully prepared for spring and will have everything in order. For more gardening advice and jobs, have a look on our website or alternatively visit the RHS website for some great tips to help keep your garden tidy before the mad rush that will soon be here!
If you would like an advice or simply enquire about a particular product then wither email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring our sales team on 01386 444100 and they will be happy to help.
Date: 17th January 2018
New Year Gardening Resolutions – Jobs & Tips for the Garden
The New Year is now well and truly in full swing. There is still lots to do in the garden to make sure everything is in order before spring! We have some advice and tips to help see you through January.
- Undercover – If snow has fallen and it settles on your greenhouse roof ensure that you clear it off so that the plants inside are not shaded.
- Start digging a trench & put compost down where you will grow your runner beans. Remember to place a layer of soil on top before doing so!
- Digging Techniques – ‘Digging In’ compost is beneficial to the soil as the organic matter improves the soil structure as well as aeration and drainage and allows for better uptake of nutrients.
- Chit (producing sprouts) seed potatoes ready for planting in spring – to chit, set the potatoes ‘rose’ end up (with the most eyes or growing points) and place them into empty egg boxes. Keep them in a light, cool and frost free area.
- Don’t be tempted to sow too soon – Even if you’re growing plants that need to be started early like chilli peppers or tomatoes. They will germinate in a heated propagator but as the days are short, the seedlings are starved of light and will grow week and lanky. Wait at least another month when there is a little more daylight to enable them to grow strong and sturdy.
- Something to consider later on in the season – Avoid overcrowding! After you have sown seeds it can be tempting to want to raise every single seedling so that you can harvest a large amount of produce. However, these conditions are not desirable and could mean less yields will be produced than if you had grown fewer individuals. Growing in containers is a great way to make the most of available space in the garden – the pot does need to be the correct size otherwise growth is restricted.
- Problems in January: Damping Off disease – overwatering is the most common cause as fungal spores are more likely to spread in damp conditions. If the soil remains saturated for long periods of time then the seedlings are likely to collapse and die. To prevent this from happening, water every 2-3 days and check that the young plants have absorbed all of the water before adding more.
We hope that you have found our tips useful, we also have a gardening calendar on our website with some useful tips to help you throughout the rest of the year.
For advice or simply to enquire about a product please email email@example.com or ring our sales team on 01386 444100.
Date: 15th December 2017
Wreath making demonstration
The festive season is well and truly in full swing and we thought it would only be right to do our FIRST EVER YouTube video showing you all how to make a simple holly wreath.
It took a few trial and errors to find what worked (and what didn’t), the camera work and the right software that needed to be used, but we finally got to a finished product and a fairly good one at that! And not forgetting our florist, who did a great job of explaining each step clearly.
So, here it is…
We hope you enjoyed the demonstration and keep your eyes peeled for our next one! All of the products minus the fresh holly and leylandii you can purchase at our Evesham showroom. Simply call us on 01386 444109, email firstname.lastname@example.org or browse our website.
Date: 10th November 2017
As the cold weather starts to kick in and there is less daylight hours, it’s a great opportunity to move your gardening indoors! Here are some great ideas to keep you busy throughout the winter months.
If you have a warm room and a sunny windowsill then it’s easy to grow a variety of micro herbs and leaves from seed to keep them going throughout winter. Sow the seeds thickly in a seed tray and cover with glass or some clear plastic to help with initial germination. Rocket, sorrel, pea shoots, chives, mint and parsley are all great additions to a dish and are easy to grow.
Keep Plants Growing
If you’ve grown chillies this year then make sure you bring them indoors and give them a nice sunny spot to ensure they are protecting during the colder weather. The same goes for rosemary, thyme and sage! Making sure there is good sunlight and warmth enables the herbs to stay healthy throughout all seasons.
You can buy modern cultivated varieties of oyster mushrooms in kits and they will feed on pretty much anything, including spent coffee grounds. It might be an idea to keep adding the coffee grounds to a container in the freezer until you have enough to fill a quarter of a large container. Once you have enough coffee grounds, get a plastic container with a lid, sterilise it with hot water and make a hole in the centre of the lid. Layer the coffee and bits of mycelium at the bottom, adding more coffee bit by bit until you reach the top. Make sure you keep it moist by spraying with water.
Top Tips- Successful indoor gardening
There are a few things to consider if you are thinking about indoor gardening.
- Pick the right vegetables – Some are easier to grow than others so make sure you research. Things like tomatoes, salad leaves and chilli are good options.
- Make sure there is constant sunlight – plants need lots of sunlight for healthy growth. Seedlings are able to soak up any light so placing them on a windowsill is perfect.
- Keep pests away – Fruit flies are really difficult to get rid of so ensure your plants are protected or if you do see one, remove it as quickly as possible.
- Constant temperature – This is really important as the slight change in temperature can slow down the germination process. Seedlings usually prefer slightly warmer temperatures so try to keep it no lower than 20°C.
- Don’t overwater – Vegetables do require a good amount of water however it is very easy to over water them. An inch of water every week should be more than enough as you don’t want the soil to be drowning in water.
Click here if you want more information about all different types of indoor gardening and what other things are suitable to be grown inside.
BHGS also supply a vast range of pots, compost, feeds and fertilisers to keep you growing successfully throughout the year. Visit our website, email or call us on 01386 444100 to enquire about a particular product or simply for some advice from our knowledgeable staff.
Date: 25th October 2017
Preparing For Frosts
Autumn is here and it will start to feel much colder as we get closer to winter. We have a few tips to help you prepare for the inevitable frost that will soon be appearing.
If you are growing vegetables and plants outside then harsh weather conditions, especially frost, can damage your crops. It is really important to ensure your plants are protected before the first frost.
Depending where you are located in the country can affect your plot differently. In areas that are likely to have more frequent frosts and rain, you should be prepared and have everything in place to keep your crops protected from the harsh weather conditions. Hardy plants are suitable to grow outside during the colder months but will need protection if you live in a colder area. If you live in a warmer area however, you can grow less resistant plants outside but you will need to take extra care. Covering them with frost protection such as fleece is ideal.
When establishing veg, it is important to consider the conditions they need to grow to give them the best chance of survival during the colder months. It is an idea to not place them in areas that are more vulnerable to cold temperatures such as dips in the land. This is especially vital for fruit trees, particularly early blossom varieties. Most crops prefer sunny areas that are sheltered so make sure you consider this when planting your vegetables outside. Younger plants/crops will be more vulnerable to harsh weather conditions than those more established. You may also want to consider using fertiliser that is not nitrogen rich as it will encourage leafy growth which is more likely to be damaged by frosts. Email our sales team or ring them on 01386 444100 for advice on the most appropriate fertilisers.
It is important to move your plants to a warmer area during colder months, especially for those that are container grown and not hardy. You can place them against a fence or wall as this will provide some protection, however, if your plants are sensitive to harsh conditions they should ideally be put in a greenhouse. You may need to use a greenhouse heater to keep the plants at the correct temperature or add bubble wrap around the inside of the greenhouse.
When considering ways to protect your crops it is critical that you have thought about any problems that may arise. Plants still need to be able to access important elements such as light and ventilation in order to survive. Make sure your crops aren’t sacrificing their other needs when frost protection is put in place.
Signs of Frost Damage
Frost damage can appear immediately or may show up over time causing foliage to change to a brown colour or appear scorched especially on leaf tips and margins. This occurs because the freezing temperature and winds reduce foliage moisture. Make sure you consider the correct measures to avoid frost damage as it may be sudden and unexpected.
What to do if there is frost damage?
It may seem that your plants are unlikely to recover after being damaged but it is possible that they will. This will take time though and you won’t know if they’ve recovered fully until the summer months. If the frost was unexpected, consider moving the plant to a more suitable area that is sheltered from the harsh weather conditions. You may want to be aware that warm sunshine after frosts can also damage your crops so choose carefully about where they are going to be moved. Once frosts have passed, the damaged foliage can be pruned to allow new growth to develop.
Click here for more tips to ensure you have everything in place before the first lot of frosts appear.
Hopefully you will feel more prepared and ready for the colder weather. Have a look on our website for a range our range of products or if you can’t find what you’re looking for contact us on 01386 444100 or email email@example.com and our sales team will be happy to help.
Date: 6th October 2017
Harvesting & storing pumpkins
The days are getting shorter, the weather is getting colder and Halloween will soon be here. Now is the time to start harvesting and storing your pumpkins ready for winter. It is really important that you take the time to properly dry them and they will last through winter, even as late as February.
Here is a step by step guide to make sure everything is done correctly.
1)It is essential to leave fruits on the plant for as long as possible. It might be an idea to raise them using bricks as this will increase air circulation. If they’re not too big, turn them every few days and remove any leaves which are shading the skins.
2)Pumpkin plants will die down naturally at the end of the summer. When the leaves start to turn yellow, tap the fruit and if they sound hollow, they’re ripe. Ensure that there is a good seal at the top of the fruit; this can be done by leaving the neck intact and cutting them away with 10cm of the stem attached.
3)Curing the skins hardens them to protect the flesh beneath. This process takes about three weeks. To cure them simply lay your pumpkins out in a single layer on the floor of your greenhouse or on a sunny windowsill and turn them every couple of days so that they cure evenly.
4)Pumpkins need to be stored somewhere dry and well ventilated and placed on a rack for good air circulation. Lay them down with the stalk downwards and padded with newspaper. They will keep like that for around four to six months.
- Frost - It’s important to ensure that the fruit is stored before the first signs of frost start to appear. If your pumpkins are frost damaged, they should be consumed as soon as possible.
- Mould - If the fruit are not cured properly, they are more likely to go mouldy.
Pumpkin Varieties - Here are a few varieties that will be on show this month.
- ‘Jack Be Little - These are mini pumpkins and great if you have limited space.
- ‘Atlantic Giant’ - A large pumpkin with a red-orange skin.
- ‘Invincible’ - The skin on this is a lovely sliver-blue colour with an orange flesh.
- ‘Becky’ - This pumpkin is perfect for carving your jack-o-lanterns. They are medium sized, prolific and high yielding.
Recipe of the month- pumpkin and goat’s cheese lasagne.
We have a fabulous new recipe just in time for your pumpkin harvest. Super easy and delicious.
Serves: 6 Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Ingredients: 700g pumpkin, 150g soft goats cheese (sliced) , 2 tins of chopped tomatoes, tbsp. tomato puree, 8 lasagne sheets (preferably fresh but you can use dry and soak them in boiling water so they’re soft) , 2 onions (chopped) , 4 cloves of garlic (chopped), 50g parmesan and a few sage leaves for garnish.
- Firstly, preheat the oven to 180°C. Cut the pumpkin into chunks, place on a baking tray, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes or until soft.
- For the tomato sauce, melt some butter and add the onions and garlic. Fry for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and tomato puree and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
- Now it’s time to layer! Place the butternut squash in the bottom of a square oven dish, place the lasagne sheets over the top and then pour the sauce over. Add the slices of goat’s cheese.
- Finish off with the grated parmesan and sage leaves.
- Cook in the oven for 45-50 minutes. Serve with a lovely green salad.
Fancy something sweet instead? Why not try this gorgeous pumpkin pie courtesy of BBC Good Food.
Date: 21st September 2017
This is the time of year when the majority of vegetables are being harvested. You may have an endless supply of potatoes, runner beans, onions and leeks but running out of different ways to cook them. We have some fantastic and simple recipes to help get your taste buds tingling.
They are creamy, crispy, moorish and a great accompaniment to any dish. Our recipe has a slight twist to make it even more luxurious.
Serves: 6 Prep: 10 minutes Cook time: 40 minutes - 1 hour
Ingredients: 1kg floury potatoes (e.g. Maris Piper), 400ml double cream, 2 garlic cloves, 1 onion, 5 rashers of smoked bacon, salt & pepper to season, grated parmesan
- Preheat your oven to 180°C
- Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan and cook the bacon rashers so that they are crispy. (If you’d rather not include the bacon then miss this step)
- Thinly slice your potatoes and onions. Finely chop the garlic cloves and place them in an oven proof dish. Once the bacon is cooked scatter over the potatoes
- Season the cream with salt and pepper and pour over the potatoes, top with grated parmesan and cook in the oven for around 40 minutes or until golden brown and slightly crispy on top
- Serve as a side with a roast dinner.
What’s more perfect? If you want to add some extras, broccoli and a scattering of basil leaves would go really well.
French Onion Soup
This has such a unique flavour and will help use up all those onions.
Serves: 4 Prep time: less than 30minutes Cook time: 30 - 40 minutes
Ingredients: 5 onions, 3 garlic cloves, knob of butter, 2 glasses of red wine, 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 750ml beef stock (or you can use vegetable stock but the soup won’t be as rich)
- Peel and thinly slice the onions and garlic adding them to a frying pan along with the butter and cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes or until browned
- Add the wine, vinegar, stock and sugar and stir well. Leave this for another 10-20 minutes and the soup becomes lovely and thick with the onions caramelised. If you need to add more liquid to make the soup thinner then add a few drops of boiling water or add some double cream.
- Serve with toasted crusty bread with either gruyere cheese or parmesan.
What about a beautiful side dish of creamy leeks? Click here for a fabulous recipe by the wonderful Jamie Oliver. So full of flavour and incredibly easy.
If our delicious recipes have given you something to get hungry about with the night’s drawing in and weather cooling it is not too late to think about planting more onions or shallots
We have a range of autumn planting sets at our impressive Evesham showroom on Vale Park. Why not come and have a browse? We also have broad beans and pea seeds available. Contact us on 01386 444100, email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to order online.
Date: 6th September 2017
Potatoes are ready to harvest.
Potatoes are extremely versatile and a great staple to any meal. Whether they’re boiled, mashed or roasted the list is endless to the amount of ways you can cook a potato.
When to harvest?
As maincrop potatoes are in the ground for longer than first and second earlies, from now until October they should be ready to lift. Not sure if they’re ready? For winter storage the easiest way to tell if the potatoes are ready to harvest is to wait until the top of the vines have died. The temperature of the soil and air is also a factor to consider before lifting your potatoes. Potatoes can tolerate light frost, however, when a frost is expected it’s time to dig! In areas that are slightly warmer, the temperature of the soil needs to be above 45 F. That’s when it’s time to pick your potatoes. Not sure on the temperature? We have soil thermometers in store so why not browse our impressive showroom with an array of feeds, fertilisers, composts and pots to name a few. Or simply visit our website.
How to harvest?
Knowing when to harvest is fairly simple so now all you need to know is how. There’s no trick and it requires little skill, all you need is a shovel or spading fork. If you’re having your home grown potatoes for dinner, drive your fork into the soil around the outside of the plant. Lift the plant and take what you need then put the plant back in place ensuring it is set back into the soil, water thoroughly.
You will need to decide when to dig up your potatoes for winter storage, ensuring they have matured and have thick and firmly attached skins. If the skins are thin and easily removed then they need to be in the ground for a little longer. Once they are ready, be careful not to scrape, bruise or cut the tubers. If the tubers are damaged, they will rot during storage. Potatoes must then be cured after harvesting and left in temperatures of 45-60°F to give the skins time to harden and seal any minor cuts. Once your potatoes are cured, they need to be stored at about 40°F in a dark place as too much light will turn them green.
Want to know more about potatoes? Click here. This will tell you all about first and second earlies which are dug out earlier in the year, usually from June through to August.
Our potato list and information will help you choose the perfect varieties as you will need to start thinking about ordering your seed potatoes ready for planting in mid-march. To enquire email us or ring 01386 444100 and we will be happy to help or let you know when our seed potatoes will be arriving in store.
Date: 10 August 2017
The BHGS Guide to Planting Spring Flowering Bulbs
Planting bulbs really help to add colour and brighten up your garden during spring. Spring flowering bulbs require very little care and are easy to grow. We’ve put together a handy guide to help you get the most out of your garden next spring:
Spring flowering bulbs should be planted during autumn so start thinking about your colour scheme and the plants you want to display now. We have a wide selection in store and we are always happy to offer our advice.
Choose a warm and sunny environment with good drainage to get the best possible results.
Containers - Planting in containers allows you to extend your flowering space particularly when space is minimal. When you are planting in containers it is important to try and plant them at a depth that is 3 times the height of the bulb. Ensure there are good drainage holes and place broken crocks or polystyrene randomly within the container, making sure no drainage holes are blocked. Half fill with compost, place the bulbs on top, cover with more compost and water well.
Open soil/borders - Bulbs prefer free draining soil. Digging a week before planting the bulbs and adding some course grit will help with drainage if the soil is compacted or heavy. For best results rake some fish, blood and bone or pelleted chicken manure into the surface of the soil.
Make sure the bulbs have plenty of room and loosen the soil at the base of the hole. If it is heavy clay add a layer of grit or course sand and place the bulb on top. Mix the rest of the soil with compost and cover the bulb, patting down gently to ensure there are no air pockets.
We stock a complete range of competitively products in store and online and we’re always happy to advise what’s best for your soil type.
Preparing your garden for a glorious spring display should be straightforward and enjoyable. There aren’t too many problems to worry about. Just make sure the bulbs are healthy from the start and discard any that are soft or shows signs of rot. Look out for slugs, snails and squirrels particularly with tulips and crocus. We sell and can advise you on the appropriate pest control to keep unwanted creatures away from your bulbs/plants.
Advice and ordering
Getting advice or placing an order is simple and our expert team area always on hand to offer advice. Why not visit our impressive Evesham show room and enjoy a hot drink while browsing our extensive range of products and chat with our experts
Call us on 01386 444100
Order via our website https://www.bhgsltd.co.uk/. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to help.
If you are interested in our spring flowering bulbs and would like to place an order, click here to complete our order form. Remember to order early to avoid disappointment.
Date: 12 July 2017
As I was looking through the Grow your own magazine, I came across a very useful step by step guide to make a bird house and it got me thinking. What are the benefits if any to encouraging wildlife to visit your garden?
Birds visiting your garden are sure to brighten up your day but there are many reasons why this is a good thing.
- They control pests- Birds eat insects so they will get rid of any pests that are unwelcome in your garden. And therefore there is no need to use harmful pesticides
- Birds are great at weed control- They love eating weed seeds and so eliminate the need to remove thousands of weeds that appear to have grown overnight.
- Flower pollination- With the bee population diminishing, there are many birds that like sipping nectar from flowers which in turn helps them to pollinate.
- Wildlife conservation- More habitats are becoming threatened through development, so it is critical to attract bird to your garden to help with conservation.
Once you’ve decided you want to attract more birds to your garden, you’ll need a bird house; there are lots of different