Gardeners Blog

                  

Date: 3rd March 2021

Top gardening tool

They are all the same, right? You don’t want to end up buying 10 almost identical looking hand trowels or spades.  We have prepared for you a guide with 6 the most popular gardening tools

1. Hand trowel

Everyone can agree that hand trowel is a must have tool. It is mainly use for planting seedlings, transplanting, weeding, and digging small holes which are too small or delicate for spade. The different types of garden trowel blade are determined by their shape. What type of hand trowel should you choose? It comes down to the job you need to do and the material it is made from.

2. Secateurs

Secateurs are essential tool for tidying around your garden. The most common types of secateurs are Bypass and Anvil.

Bypass works much the same as scissors. When using a Bypass secateurs to prune you can make your cut near the bud without stress and the risk of damaging the stem that you would encounter with anvil secateurs.

Anvil secateurs Anvil pruners work similar to a knife where a blade is pushed through the plant material onto a cutting board, i.e., the anvil. This is great for hardier branches, woody stems or dead wood

3. Rake

The word ‘rake’ comes from the Old English word ‘raca’ from the root meaning of ‘heap up’ or ‘to scrape together’. Rake can be used for various cleaning and gardening tasks such as removing weeds, gathering leaves and garden debris, spreading soil covering, tamping soil, removing pond weeds.  Choosing the right rake can make your jobs done quicker and easier.

4. Gardening gloves

It is important  to protect your hands. Gardening gloves can not only keep your hands and fingernails clean but also prevent cuts and scrapes and avoid blisters and calluses. They are typically categorised as either light, medium, or heavy duty. A range of materials are on offer including leather, bamboo, latex and nylon. If you intend to use gardening gloves all year round, investing in water-resistance gloves is essential. 

 5. Spade

A garden spade is best for cutting into sod, edging, or digging trenches. There are many types of spades: digging, pointed, border, transplanting. What kind of jobs will I be using it for – this is the question you should be asking when it comes to choosing the right spade. Also, you need to consider the weight, length, shaft and the material the spade is made from.

6. Shovel 

Is it a shovel or is it a spade? Don’t be fooled - these two may look the same but they’re not. A spade is shorter and has a flat blade, while a shovel is longer, angled and its blade is curved into more of a scoop.

A shovel is used to dig as well as to move loose, granular material – dirt, gravel, or snow.

 

There are lots of different types of shovels for example: digging shovel, edging shovel or flat shovel. To identify the right one for you, take into consideration same factors as you would when choosing a spade. 

BHGS also stock and supply an extensive range of gardening tools. You can visit our website or alternatively, if you can’t find what you’re looking for contact us on 01386444100email us or visit our showroom and we will be happy to help.

 

Date:5th February 2021

Preparing your garden and greenhouse in February

 

This month there are signs of the approaching spring. There is plenty to do indoors and outdoors to prepare for the season ahead.

We have asked one of our local gardeners to share how he prepares his garden and greenhouse for the main sowing season. Pete is a local garden enthusiast and a chairman of Bishampton & District Gardening Club.

Go and visit their website to find more about the club and some other useful gardening tips.

 

February is the month that I start gardening in the greenhouse. I always start sowing my peppers and chilies – they need a long season of growth.

I use a propagator and sow a few seeds of each variety in leaving F2 in small pots. I grow about 4 plants of six varieties of chillies and two of peppers. This should give me a good selection for my hobby of showing.

I start heating my greenhouse in February as the onion seedlings that I have on a south facing window wall in the house are getting big now and need more space and light.

The heated beds in the greenhouse will be filled with trays of my exhibition dahlias. The tubers I lifted in November have stored well in my barn and now I start them into growth.

I leave them in the trays and put some potting compost round them and water them with warm water. After two to three weeks, I will be able to take cuttings.

I bought my potato tubers and have put them in the barn in trays ready to chit before planting in late March.

I have put some mousetraps in the greenhouse as they will graze off seedlings as soon as they come up.

When it rained, I spent some time checking my gladioli corms. Fortunately, I only found two soft ones so put them to be burnt. I keep thinking I grow too many, but they make a great cut flower and if they come too soon to be exhibited in local shows, my friends like them.

If it stays dry for a few days I will spread some fertilizer on the ground. I don’t need any lime as I checked the PH in the autumn, but I like to put some growmore or similar on the ground before the main sowing season starts.

Nature has a tough time in winter so putting up nesting boxes for birds will them a safe dry place to roost and hopefully nest in.

I do like to watch the birds through my kitchen window. I have peanut feeders as well as sunflower hearts. I live in hope that they will repay me by eating aphids and caterpillars.

I will put some cabbage seed in a tray to give me some greens for May and June. The pointed sweetheart type is my favourite. The variety Duncan does well for me. Once they have a few leaves I pot them into 9cm pots and grow them on until big enough to put in the ground.

 

Along with Pete’s great tips, there are some other jobs that can be done during February in your garden and greenhouse:

1. Cut back deciduous grasses left uncut over the winter

2. Prepare seed beds for the new season

3. Protect fruit blossom on top fruit trees like apricots, nectarines & peaches

4. Prune winter flowering shrubs that have finished flowering

5. Check that greenhouse insulation if securely attached

The RHS website have some brilliant advices for each month of the year!

BHGS stock and supply an extensive range of gardening products from compost to pots. You can visit our website or alternatively, if you can’t find what you’re looking for contact us on 01386 444100, email us or visit our showroom and we will be happy to help.

Are you a garden enthusiast just like Pete and would like to share your ideas and knowledge on our blog? Please get in touch via email or dm us on social media

 

 

        

Date:12th January 2021

Recycling your Christmas tree

 

The festive period is over, so it is time to take all the decorations down. Are you wondering how to recycle your Christmas tree?

According to the government, between six to eight million Christmas trees are sold each year in the UK. If not reused or recycled, trees can end up in landfill. The cost of landfilling eight million trees can cost up to £22milli

There are some ideas how to recycle your old Christmas tree:

1. Recycle your Christmas tree

Check with the local authorities if they offer a Christmas tree collection service. Some councils often arrange a drop off points. Details for each local authority can be found on Recycling Locator Tool.

A lot of charities run a Christmas tree collection campaign. The service is supported by volunteers who are giving up their time and resources to help collect and recycle trees for a donation of your choice.

Unfortunately, artificial trees are made from a combination of materials and therefore cannot be recycled. Unwanted trees in good condition may be accepted by charity shops for re-sale and re-use.

2. Replant your tree

If you've got a potted Christmas tree, you could plant it out in the garden or re-pot it into a larger pot until next year. It is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and help to plant more trees.

3. Use the needles as mulch

Mulch can be used around the base of your garden trees or shrubs. Mulching has several benefits-helps prevent soil erosion and prevent the ground from becoming frozen in cold spells. You can also use mulch for acid-loving plants such as blueberries.

4. Create woodchip mulch

Chipped or shredded materials from your Christmas tree make a great mulch. These materials decompose slowly making them long-lived, reducing the need for re-application. They also make an excellent protective layer, moderating soil conditions by absorbing moisture and slowly releasing it back.

5. Create a wildfire shelter

Chopped wood is a fantastic garden habitat, providing food and shelter for a wealth of wildfire. Some types of beetles use wood to feed and breed. They in turn will attract hedgehogs, toads, mice and birds

6. Turn into potpourri

Do you want to enjoy the festive scent throughout January?

The beautiful scent of pine needles combined with other popular winter spices will fill your home. Fill the bowl with dried stems from your Christmas tree. Scatter the other bits and pieces – cinnamon sticks, cloves, cranberries, nutmeg, lemon and orange rind and enjoy the wooden scent in your house for up to 4 weeks.

 

We hope you found it useful. Let us know how you recycled your Christmas tree.

Also don't forget, BHGS have all gardening supplies from compost to pots. Visit our website or email our sales team and we will be able to help

Date: 22nd December 2020

BHGS’ Guide to Growing Brussels Sprouts

 

Brussels Sprouts are best known as the least popular part of the Christmas lunch. They are delicious if cooked properly and are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants

The ‘Brigitte F1 is the most popular variety of Brussel sprout but all the other varieties are as tasty and easy to grow as Brigitte F1.

 

When to grow

Timing is everything when it comes to growing brussels sprouts. They can be harvested for a long period from September to February. Sow in modular trays in mid-March, early April and early May and plant out 4 weeks later.

Before you begin

Brussels sprouts prefer firm and nutritious soil so make sure you improve native soil by mixing in several inches of compost before planting the seeds

Choose the right spot so they get at least 6 hours of sun daily.

Sow & Grow

Plant the seeds at just under an inch deep in the tray and the seeds should germinate within 7 to 12 days. When the young plants are 10-15cm high and have true leaves, transplant their growing position leaving 60cm between plants and 75cm between rows. Don’t forget, Brussels sprout needs room to spread out so make sure you space them apart.

Water your plant every 10-14 days.

Common problems

Club roots- Roots can become swollen and distorted, and leaves become pale and yellow and wilt easily.

improve drainage and add lime to make soil more alkaline. Do not grow in affected soil.
 

For other common problems and remedies and more detailed guide, please visit rhs.org.uk website
 

There are so many wonderful recipes with the brussels sprout. Here is one from BBC food that only takes 15 mins to prep and 15 mins to cook and serves 8.

Brussels sprouts with bacon & chestnuts:

-1 ¼ kg brussels sprouts, trimmed (or if buying pre-trimmed, buy 1kg)

-6 rashers smoked streaky bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces

-200g vacuum-packed chestnuts

-50g butter

Method:

  • Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, then tip 1 ¼ kg trimmed Brussels sprouts. One back to the boil, cook for 5mins. Drain, run under the cold tap until cold, then train again.

  • Heat a large frying pan, add 6 rashers smoked streaky bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces, and gently fry for 10 mins until crisp and golden

  • Tip out of the pan, leaving the fat behind, then add 200g chestnuts and fry over a high heat for about 5 mins until tinged, Tip out of the pan

  • Add the Brussels sprouts to the pan with a splash of water, then cover and finish cooking over a medium heat for about 5 mins, stirring now and again, until just tender

  • Uncover, turn up the heat, then add most of the 50g butter and sauté the sprouts for 2 mins more

  • Tip in the bacon and chestnuts, season generously with salt and pepper, then serve with the last knob of butter on top

Recipe tip: Two days ahead, par-boil the sprouts, drain and cool, then chill in the fridge. You can also fry the bacon and chestnuts two days ahead, then chill. On the day, just finish cooking the sprouts and assemble the dish.

Also check out other exciting recipes and leftover ideas from olivemagazine.com/brussels-sprouts

 

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