Gardeners Blog

Date: 7th September 2020

Grow Your Own Cauliflower

As we all know, September is harvest time! There will be an abundance of fruit and veg that will need to be picked, cauliflower being one of them. It isn’t the easiest of vegetables to grow, so if you’re up for a challenge next growing season, we thought we’d give you a how to guide, with lots of useful tips, along with some lovely recipes you can use now.

Cauliflower are great as they can be grown all year round. The main sowing period is usually between March and May, although early crops can be sown under class in January and February.

Sowing
Sow thinly, 2cm deep in a seed bed. For smaller cauliflower, final rows should be 15cm apart and larger ones should be 60cm apart, leaving the same amount between each seed, depending on the size. For best results, sow in cell trays, using a good quality multi-purpose potting compost. Cauliflowers tend to mature quickly, so avoid raising too many plants at a time.

Cauliflowers prefer very fertile soil, so it is a good idea to dig in a bucketful of well-rotted manure before planting and raking in 150g per sqm of growmore/general purpose fertiliser as this will encourage growth. It is also essential to firm the soil before planting.

Where to grow
Do not grow them in soil which has grown cabbage, cauliflower, kale, Brussel sprouts, spinach and other members of the brassica family in the last two years.

The soil needs to be firm not loose and it is advisable to prepare the ground a few weeks before planting/sowing.

The soil Ph needs to be correct for cauliflowers, it needs to be neutral, so a pH of 6.5/7. Use a soil testing kit for best results.

Water well in dry weather, watering every 10 days. Once the plants are growing well, add 30g per sqm of a high nitrogen fertiliser such as sulphate of ammonia to boost growth and curd formation.

Cauliflower Care
To get the best formed heads of cauliflower, water and feeding are the most important factors. Cauliflower will stop growing without a good supply of water and nutrients and you won’t be able to revive them once the damage has been done. As soon as the soil starts to dry out, water and scatter some growmore around them once a week.

When the cauliflower heads start to form, a few weeks before harvest, stop feeding with a nitrogen rich fertiliser and swap to a potash feed.

 

around the plants will improve water retention greatly whilst also providing nutrients. Just make sure the mulch does not touch the plants.

When to harvest
Begin to harvest when the heads are about 12cm wide, at this stage, the heads could grow larger but they taste perfect and you will start the harvest early and extend the harvest period too. Continue to harvest as required from then on.

When the heads reach about 15cm wide, tie in some of the outer leaves over the head and hold them there with either some string or a rubber band. This will snap the leaf ribs, causing the plant to stop growing as well as keeping the heads whiter for longer.

Common problems
Club root – Roots can become swollen and distorted. Leaves become pale and yellow and will start to wilt, this may cause plants to die.

Improving drainage will help this problem, as well as adding lime to make the soil more alkaline. It is important to know that you should not grow in affected soil.

Birds – Especially pigeons, can cause many problems. These include, eating seedlings, buds, leaves, fruit and vegetables.

Protect your plants from birds by covering them with either netting or fleece. Scarecrows and bird scaring devices will work short term, but the most effective deterrent is covering your plants.

Caterpillars – Caterpillars will feed on brassicas but the most common are cabbage white butterfly. You can usually see them but if not, you will see the holes they make in the leaves.

If there are only a few, you should be able to pick the caterpillars off. Although, the best prevention method is covering them with am insect meshing to stop them from laying eggs and stop the problem becoming worse.

Recipes
There are so many wonderful things you can do with cauliflower; the list is endless. Here is a lovely, simple recipe from Jamie Oliver, to help give you some inspiration.

Cauliflower cheese Pasta
Serves: 4, Cooking time: 30 minutes

  • 100g stale crusty bread

  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled

  • 400g cauliflower

  • Olive oil

  • 1 onion, peeled

  • 400ml milk

  • 300g dried spaghetti

  • 70g cheddar cheese

1) Tear the bread into the food processor, along with the garlic and any nice leaves from the cauliflower. Add ½ tbsp of olive oil and blitz until you have fairly fine breadcrumbs. Tip into a large frying pan on a medium heat and cook for 15 minutes until golden and crispy. Stirring occasionally.

2) Meanwhile, roughly chop the onion along with the cauliflower. Tip the breadcrumbs in a bowl, returning the pan to the heat. Pour the milk and add the chopped veg, bring to the boil and then reduce to a low heat, cover and simmer.

3) Place the pasta in boiling, salted water and cook until al dente (roughly 10 minutes). Just before the pasta is ready, pour the cauliflower mixture in the food processor, grate the cheese, blitz until smooth and season.

4) Return the sauce to the pan, drain the pasta, reserving a mugful of pasta water. Toss the pasta through the sauce and add a spoonful of the pasta water to loosen it up if needed. Serve with a sprinkling of the breadcrumbs.

There are lots of cauliflower recipes on the BBC Good Food website for you to try.

 

So, there we have it, our how to guide on how to grow cauliflower, we hope you found it useful and will give it a go next time!

BHGS stock and supply an extensive range of horticultural products to help you all through the year. You can either visit our website, email us or pop into our showroom. Our sales team are always happy to help.

 

Things To Do In The Garden This Month

We only have this month left of summer and although you’ll be able to sit outside and enjoy your garden, there is still plenty to do to keep everything looking tidy. We have some great tips to help get you started.

Flowers
- It’s important that you keep on top of your hanging baskets, making sure they dead-headed, watered and fed, as this will help them last until autumn.

- Trim your lavender once flowering is over to maintain a compact, bushy shape, avoiding, cutting into old wood.

- Keep an eye out for any clematis wilt, you’ll notice black discolouration on the leaves and stems of your clematis. Cut out any infected plant and dispose of in your household waste.

- Deadhead your dahlias and other perennials to encourage a constant display of blooms

- Cut back your herbs to encourage a new flurry of leaves that you can harvest before any frost appears.

Fruit & Vegetables
 - Look out for signs of tomato and potato blight and remove any affected plant immediately to prevent spread.

- It is important to feed your tomato plants with a

and remove lower leaves to help with air circulation and prevent disease.

- Start harvesting your maincrop potatoes as the leaves yellow and die back.

- It is a good idea to prune both free standing and trained apple trees, to encourage good fruiting in future years.

- Keep squirrels and birds away from your berries by covering them with a netting.

- A number of fruit trees should be ready to harvest now, these include; Cherries, plums, peaches, nectarines and apricots. Early varieties of apple tree should be ready towards the end of the month.

Greenhouse
- Check plants daily and water them if the soil is dry.

- Damp down your greenhouse on hot days to increase humidity and deter red spider mites.

- Open vents and doors on warm days and use blinds or apply shade paint to prevent your greenhouse from overheating on sunny days.

- It may be an idea to hang sticky traps to catch flying pests as this can determine which pest control you may need.

Your Lawn
- Don’t worry if your lawn is looking a little brown. Once we start getting more rain, your grass will come back.

- Lawn growth slows down in late summer so it may be an idea to raise the cutting height of your lawnmower to help the grass cope.

- If you’re planning on laying turf in the autumn, start preparing the area to give it time to settle.

- If your lawn is infested by ants, brush out the nests on dry days and always brush them away before mowing.

- There is an easy solution to tackle problem weeds on your lawn. You can either dig them out or apply a lawn weedkiller.

General Maintenance
- prop up any tall border plants that are starting the flop by using canes and string.

- Clear weeds from cracks in paving and driveways using a path weedkiller before they become established.

- Keep an eye out for white powdery mildew on plants. If possible, remove the affected area and spray with a fungicide to prevent further spread.

- Look for aphids on the underside of leaves, you can either rub them off by hand or spray with an insecticide to stop them from multiplying. Alternatively, you could try using a natural pest control such as, lace wing larvae.

- If any of your plants are wilting, check for vine weevil by tipping your plant out of its pot and looking for ‘C’ shaped creamy maggots amongst the roots. Treat with nematodes if you spot any.

From your sun lounger
- Think about your spring flowering bulbs for next spring as now’s the time to order ready for planting in autumn.

- Now is the time to sit back and enjoy your beautiful garden in all its glory.  Look around and make notes of anything you may want to change in your garden next year.

BHGS Stock and supply a wide range of gardening products to combat any task. From plant protection to compost, we have everything you need. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on our website, feel free to contact us on 01386 444100, email sales@bhgsltd.co.uk or pop into our Evesham showroom.

 

 

Watering Your Garden During A Heatwave

Keeping your garden watered during hot and dry weather can seem difficult and like a mammoth task, where do we start? However, there are plenty of ways to keep your garden well-watered during a heatwave and we have some brilliant tips.

When
It is important that your plants don’t get scorched during hot weather and so it’s best to water them early in the morning or in the evening when it starts to cool down. If you water during the day, when the sun is at its hottest, plants will absorb the water quicker.

You also need to ensure your soil doesn’t dry out, some plants will need to be watered more than others, but as long as the soil is kept moist, your plants should resist drought. It can be easy to overwater, so as a general rule of thumb, if your plants are wilting, they’ve more than likely had enough water supply. There are exemptions to this rule, some may wilt during the day, but look healthier in the evening, so just keep an eye out and get to know your plants!

Dry Borders
Are your borders looking dry? Why not try using a porous pipe, also knows as a leaky pipe. That way, you get a constant trickle of water for as long as required, seeping all the way through the soil. How long you water your borders, will depend on the type of soil you have and the size of the area. If you have a larger area, you might be better off using a sprinkler. BHGS sell porous pipe as well as a range of sprinklers, to suit your needs.

Watering your lawn
If there has been a spell of dry and warm weather, your lawn may be looking a bit brown and discoloured. Keeping it well-watered is an important part of reviving your grass. Again, like plants, it’s better to water in the evening or early morning, before it starts to heat up, to avoid scorching. Another tip, if there are any patches of brown grass, avoid walking on it, as it will pull away form the soil, leaving patches. If this does happen, you may need to re-seed areas. Leave this until around September time, when it has cooled down slightly but shouldn’t get frosts.

Drought resistant plants
Watering plays a big part during a heatwave, but it may also be an idea, to think about other things you can do to keep your garden healthy and protected during a hot spell.

You might want to consider having some drought resistant plants alongside more heat sensitive plants. Herbs such as, lavender and rosemary love the heat and give of a more intense scent during hot weather. It may also be an idea to consider putting your more heat sensitive plants in a shadier area of your garden, to stop them wilting and therefore they shouldn’t require as much watering.

Keep your plants well fed
Providing your plants with long lasting moisture and rich nutrients is the best way to keep your plants healthy during a heatwave. Mulching is a great way to achieve this. Put a thick layer of mulch over the top of the soil as this will keep the roots moist and cool, which will help your plants to grow and reduce the amount of watering required.

BHGS stock and supply a wide range of irrigation to help you during hot and dry spells. Our Evesham store has an irrigation specialist on hand for any advice. Contact us on 01386 444100 or visit our showroom. We also have some of our products on our website or you can request our irrigation catalogue.

 During Covid-19, we are currently open 8am-4pm, Monday to Friday and closed on Saturday, but our normal opening hours, will resume hopefully in the near future.

Date: 3rd February 2020

What to Sow & Grow in February 

February is usually a rather cold month, but we may well get some nicer days towards the end of the month as we start approaching spring. Here are a few tips on what you can start sowing and growing this month. 

Flowers 
Greenhouse  
Plant begonia tubers, hollow side up, in pots of moist compost and then cover with another layer of compost. Keep in a bright and frost-free condition. 

Start dahlia tubers into growth by planting them in post of compost. You need to ensure that you are maintaining a minimum temperature of 10˚C. 

Sow sweet peas in a greenhouse, cold frame or a cool place indoors. To speed up the germination process, Soak the sweet pea seeds in tepid water overnight before planting them. 

Grow your own chrysanthemum plants from seed. Start them off in the greenhouse now for the earliest blooms. 

Outdoors 
Plant lily and allium bulbs, although best done in Autumn, you can still plant these until spring. 

Plant bare root roses in a sunny position for beautiful summer colours. 

Vegetables & Herbs 
Greenhouse 

Start chitting early potatoes on a windowsill indoors. If you have ordering your potatoes, when you get them, they will need to be stored in a cool but frost-free place, where there is some light but they are not in direct sunlight. The potatoes will then grow short, stubby shoots to get them off to a fast start when planted out. For a detailed guide to growing potatoes, visit the RHS website. BHGS also stock and supply a wide range of potato seeds, here are the varieties and how to order. 

Start sowing tomato and cucumber seeds in your greenhouse, in warm conditions. 

Sow peas – if you have any unused guttering lying around, it may be an idea to sow the peas in them, adding draining holes in the bottom. 

Grow your own basil on windowsills to add flavour to a variety of dishes, it also adds a lovely aroma in your home. 

Cold Frames/ Cloches 

Sow broad beans, carrots, parsnips, lettuce, radishes and spinach to name a few, outside under clothes, only if you have light, sandy soil and live in a mild part of the UK. Otherwise, wait until the soil has began to warm up in March/April. 

Outdoors 

You can now direct sow hardy broad beans such as ‘Aquadulce Claudia’, if the soil isn’t frozen. 

Plant garlic and shallots in light soil only. Heavy soil will still need longer to warm up. 

Fruit 

Plant bare-root strawberry plants outside now. Replace any plants that are three years or older, as they will have lost much of their vigour.  

Plant stone fruit trees, such as peaches. If you are in a sheltered area, you may want to protect them with fleece, as we may still get a few more days of frost. 

Plant rhubarb crowns in a sunny position in well-drained soil. 

For more tips and advice, visit the RHS website. 

BHGS supply and stock a range of horticultural products, from compost to plant protection. Visit our website, email our sales team or pop into our Evesham showroom to enquire. 

Date:14th January 2020

Planning your plot for 2020

January is a fresh start and a great time to plan your plots ready for the growing season.

We have been really lucky so far, that we haven’t had much frost, although it has been rather wet! It is important to take care with your soil, try to keep off the wet ground as this can compact the soil.

Whilst it is too cold and wet to venture outside too much, you can start thinking about your seed potatoes. It might be a good idea to lay out your choices in a suitable order in tray ready to chit. First earlies should be ready for planting in mid-march in warmer areas, leave until later in cooler areas. BHGS have a variety of seed potatoes in stock. Pop into to our Evesham showroom to have a browse.

It is also a good idea to order your seeds to avoid missing out on different varieties. You may even be able to start off hardier seeds in a propagator.

There tends to be a gap in January where not many crops are ready. Although there will be some that will still be good, such as kale and chards. Cauliflower should soon be ready and sprout broccoli with start coming this month.

You can prune apple and pear trees on warmer days but leave stone fruit such as plums until the summer.

The no-digging method – This is a relatively new idea but as we have entered 2020, now may be a good time to start. For more information on the no-digging method, browse this brilliant gardening website.

Now is the perfect time for doing your annual mulching. If beds are vacant or there is space to mulch between plants, you can cover with an inch of good quality compost. This will be enough for a year of planting. It is also essential to mulch your paths as they are an important part of your growing space. If there are weeds, lay cardboard and then small wood, to keep the cardboard down and improve the soil.

There are still plenty of crops in the ground and so it is important to keep an eye on pests. It may be an idea to place nets over any crops that are outdoors.  BHGS stock and supply an extensive range of plant protection.

On dry days, run a rake lightly through the surface compost to break up any lumps

Raised beds – inspect your beds to see if there are any repairs that need doing. The soil in raised beds tend to get wet and heavy during winter and the added weight can exert pressure on the corners of the bed, bowing the wood. Also screws/nails joining the wood together may have come lose. If this is the case, you’ll most likely have to dig the soil back a few inches and put the corners back together.

If beds are made from untreated wood, apply a non-toxic treatment to protect against sun, water and fugal decay. A single application will last a lifetime, saving time and money in the future.

Pull out any invasive weeds, making sure they are removed completely to avoid coming back.

It may also be a good idea to put your stakes/trellises in ready for any tall plants. If you are planning on growing tomatoes or peas for example, now is the perfect time to prepare the plant support. If you wait until the plants are in, you risk disturbing the young spreading roots of your vegetables.

It is essential to wait until the weather is slightly warmer before planting. If you work the soil when it’s too wet, you will risk losing its air pockets and your seeds with suffocate and rot.

 

If you have any enquiries regarding products or plants, our experienced sales team will be happy to help. Feel free to contact them.

 

Date: 26th November 2019

Growing Orchids

Orchids seem to continuously be a problem in households. Often sent as gifts for a special occasion, they start off looking beautiful and impressive, but fast forward to a couple of months, the flowers are nowhere to be seen and they usually end up in the bin.

Well, fear not! We have some helpful tips to help you succeed at growing orchids and leave people impressed when they see the magnificent plant in full bloom.

Orchids like a variety of temperatures, so choose the best position in your house to suit your particular species of orchid. (The label will give you all the information you need)

Orchids that prefer cooler temperatures such as; Brassia, Dendrobium and Cymbidium need a minimum winter night temperature of 10˚C. A porch, heated conservatory or an unheated room would be a perfect place for those varieties. If grown in warmer temperatures, this tends to reduce their flowering. They can be placed outdoors, in a shady area, during the summer.

Intermediate temperature orchids such as Paphiopedilum, prefer a minimum temperature of 13-15˚C. Warm growing species, such as Phalaenopsis, which are usually the most popular, enjoy indoor conditions all year round, with a minimum temperature of 18˚C. They often thrive in warmer areas like the bathroom. All types of orchids shouldn’t be in direct sunlight.

Orchids favour high air humidity, but their roots will rot easily in wet compost. Ideally, water them about once a week, using tepid rainwater if possible. Always water from above and tip out any water that collects in the saucer under the pot. Alternatively, plunge the container into a bucket of water and allow to drain thoroughly. Mist the foliage and aerial roots daily.

Reduce humidity in winter if temperatures are lower – this applies to orchids grown in porches or conservatives rather than indoors, where temperatures are constant or may even rise higher in winter due to the heating being on.

Orchids have different feeding requirements but are not really heavy feeders. As a rule, feed with a liquid orchid fertiliser every third watering during its growing season.

Many orchids need a rest period, usually during the winter, when watering and feeding should be reduced.

Repotting – repot every two years, regardless of whether the orchid has outgrown its pot. This needs to be done, otherwise, as the older compost breaks down, it prevents air reaching the roots, which lead to disease. It is really important to use the correct compost, always use a bark based orchid compost and never a multipurpose compost as other types of compost will kill the orchid. BHGS stock and supply the correct compost you will need.

If the orchid will still fit in the original pot then it can be reused, making sure the compost has been replaced. Using a bigger pot will cause root rot due to it taking longer for the compost to dry out after watering.

Pruning your orchid is easy! Pruning consists of removing any spent flowering stems. The different types of orchids will have slightly different information regarding pruning, which will usually be on the label. Stems carrying flowers are often heavier and therefore weaker, so may need to be staked to keep them upright. BHGS supply a wide range of plant support, pop into our Evesham showroom or contact us on 01386 444100.

Most people buy orchids already grown and in flower and although you can propagate from seed at home, it is quite specialised and is easier being done somewhere with specialist equipment.

There are many problems that can arise and here are a few for you to keep your eye on.
Overwatering – Roots become soft and soggy causing root death, this in turn causes the plant to collapse.
Overfeeding – This causes root damage and in some cases, roots and compost are covering with fertiliser crystals. If this happens, plunge the pot in water to dissolve the excess fertiliser. Do not exceed recommended application rates and do not feed during resting period
Sun scorch – This results in bleached, scorched leaves so it is important to provide shade for your plant.
Failure to flower – This may suggest that the need for a resting period or a period of lower temperature to initiate flowering.

For more information about orchids and how to grow them and look after them, the RHS website give lots of useful tips.
 

Date: 30th October 2019

November Gardening

As we’re nearing the end of October, we will start to notice a change in weather – it will start to get colder and wetter! Although you’ll be spending less time in the garden, there is still plenty to do. Here are a few tips to help get you started…

 

Flower Garden
Continue to lift dahlia tubers, begonias and gladiolus corms to store over winter ensuring you remove any dead foliage before storing.

Cut back any yellowing foliage of herbaceous perennials and lift and divide overcrowded clumps to maintain their strength and health.

It may be an idea to start thinking about cutting a few holly stems with berries ready for Christmas wreaths and garlands. It may seem a little early, but it is better doing it sooner rather than later or the birds will eat the berries. Stand them in a bucket of water in a sheltered spot where the birds can’t get them.

 

Vegetable Garden
Lift parsnips after the first frost, when they have a sweeter flavour.

Spread fresh manure across the surface of your vegetable beds to rot down over winter.

Stake top heavy brassicas and draw up some soil around the base of the stems to prevent any damage caused by wind.

Check stored potatoes and remove any that are rotting. Store them in hessian sacks to allow them to breath.

 

Fruit Garden
Divide mature clumps of rhubarb once they are dormant

Apply grease bands to the trunks of fruit trees to prevent wingless, female winter moths from climbing the trunks and laying eggs in the branches.

Check any fruit you have in storage and remove any showing signs of disease and rotting.

 

Greenhouse
It is essential to clean and maintain your greenhouse – replace damaged glass and clean thoroughly. Wash the glass, floors and shelves with disinfectant to kill any over wintering pests and diseases.

Protect any plants kept in your greenhouse by insulating with sheets of bubble wrap attached to the inside of the frame. This will help reduce heat loss. Remember to ventilate, particularly after watering.

It may also be a good idea to install solar lights in the greenhouse so you can still get out in the dark, winter evenings.

General jobs & tips
Insulate your outdoor containers from frosts, using hessian or bubble wrap, help in place with garden twine.

Start preparing a bonfire with twigs and any suitable garden cuttings. Cover over with plastic so them remain dry, especially during wetter days. This allows for better burning. Before lighting, make sure you check for wildlife.

Net ponds to prevent leaves from falling in. If you need to clear any pond weed, lay it next to the pond for a day after it’s been removed, to allow any wildlife to escape back into the water.

Clean out water butts and let the rain refill them.

Give evergreen hedges a final trim before the bad weather starts, this will ensure they look neat and tidy during the winter.

 

BHGS sell everything you need to help you through the cold seasons. From tools, to compost and plant protection, we have all you need to follow these handy tips. Just contact us on 01386 444100, email sales@bhgsltd.co.uk or simply pop into our Evesham showroom.

Want more gardening tips? Why not visit the RHS website, so brilliant and handy advice, to help to stay prepared and on top of all of your gardening jobs.

Date: 20th September 2019

Autumn Onion & Garlic Sets

Now is the time to start planting your autumn onion and garlic bulbs! Here are some useful tips and advice to help get your started, they’re pretty easy to plant and will produce a good supply to keep you going.

Onions
Onion bulbs are great because they are low maintenance! All you really need to do is place them in a sunny, sheltered location, preferably in fertile soil. It may be a good idea to mix some manure or compost into the soil ahead of planting your bulbs.

Place in the ground with the tip showing and allow about 10cm between bulbs and 30cm between rows. It is recommended that you protect them from birds using netting as a barrier, otherwise your bulbs may be removed from the soil as the tips are easy for the birds to grab.

Other problems that you may need to look out for are; white rot, downy mildew and rust. These are fungal diseases so plot hygiene needs to be kept to a high standard. Allow plants space to breath as this improves airflow and keep the area free of debris. Remove and discard any infected and damaged leaves.


Garlic
Like onions, garlic is low maintenance, versatile and doesn’t need too much room to grow. They can be cultivated in containers and on windowsills, but for ease, people tend to plant sets straight into the ground.

Cloves should be planted 15cm apart in rows 30cm apart. They are best grown in a sunny spot with good drainage and nutritious soil. Like onions, fungal infections occur as well as birds who could ruin your crops, so take the same precautions as onions.

When it comes to harvest, your garlic won’t be ready until the following summer. You will know they are ready once the foliage starts to die back. Leave on a drying rack in the sun until they have dried up enough to store.

Recipes
Onion and garlic are a great addition to any dish. Whether added to pasta sauce or mixed with a variety of meat, they create fantastic flavour to really finish off a recipe.

Here is a simple but delicious recipe, that takes hardly any time and can be enjoyed by all the family.

Creamy onion & Garlic Spaghetti – Serves 4-6

Ingredients
6 tbsp butter, 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 3 white onions, 8 garlic cloves, 1tsp sugar, 175ml white wine, 200ml double cream, 2 tbsp parmesan, 500g of spaghetti, salt & pepper to season

  1. Melt the butter with the oil and stir in the chopped onions & garlic, sugar and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook until onions are soft, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to the boil and add the spaghetti. (Use cooking instructions on packet)
  3. Pour the wine into the mixture, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer until evaporated. Stir in the cream and simmer until thickened.
  4. Add the pasta and mix. Grate the parmesan over and add some black pepper. Portion into bowls and serve with salad and garlic bread.

Varieties
There are a variety of onion and garlic available. To find out more, visit the RHS website.

BHGS also stock a range of onion, shallots & garlic sets. Contact us on 01386 444100, email sales@bhgsltd.co.uk or pop into our Evesham showroom and browse our selection.

Date: 19th August 2019

Increasing Your 5 a Day

As we all know, it is incredibly important to eat your ‘5 a day’ and we have some great tips and ideas to help you increase the amount of fruit and vegetables you consume, by getting your hands dirty in the garden!

Getting Creative in the Kitchen
To reach your 5 a day target, you need to be eating five lots of 80g fruit and veg. This may sound a lot but there are interesting and creative ways to include a variety into your meals. If you have your own veg plot, this is a great way of using up those crops! How about courgette spaghetti or cauliflower rice? Sounds crazy, but you can even make pizza bases out of cauliflower- as well as consuming more veg, it is also a healthier alternative, especially if you are thinking about slimming down. Instead of having your usual bacon and egg sandwich for breakfast, why not change to egg, avocado and tomatoes on a bagel or perhaps add some vegetables in an omelette. If you start incorporating more into each meal, you are on the way to hitting that 5 a day target.

Providing an Even Harvest Throughout the Year
The good, old British weather, doesn’t always allow us to harvest an abundance of crops. By maximising your yield throughout the warmer months, whatever you aren’t going to use straight away, can be stored for use during the cooler months. Either preparing and freezing or even making them into sauces for use another time is a brilliant way of sneakily upping your quota of fruit and veg, especially for those fussy eaters!

Late Croppers
Although crops will start to decrease, there are some that you can still sow later in the year. Here are some great options:
Turnips – Plant turnips now and they will be ready to harvest as the cold season starts. Some varieties can be sown as late as September and will be ready in 35 days. Add these to your usual roasted veg or mash them up, they are a great addition to a Sunday roast.
Salads – The Atlanta variety of spinach can be planted form now until September for regular harvesting in winter through to next spring. Here’s a guide to growing spinach.
Overwintering Crops – Sowing crops now to overwinter is also another way to get the most out of your crops. Overwintering allows an earlier harvest next year, allowing more space for other crops in spring.

Storing your Crops – You may be inundated with a variety of homegrown fruit and veg around this time of year. However, you don’t need to eat them fresh for them to count as part of your 5 a day! Tinned, frozen, pickled and dried all count.

Carrots, squashes and onions can be stored in a cool, dark and dry place and will keep for months. Fruits like, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries are brilliant at being frozen and the same goes for herbs. Chop them first before placing them in an airtight bag or container.

So now you have a few tips, perhaps it won’t be such a chore to add more of your 5 a day into your meals.  BHGS have a wide variety of seeds, so if you would like to have a look at our selection, please pop into our Evesham showroom.

Date: 22nd July 2019

Grow your Own Herbs

Herbs are such wonderful crops to grow in your garden! They are extremely versatile and can be grown indoors or outside! Here is some useful information about the most popular herbs, how to grow them and recipes.

Basil
Basil has got to be one of my favourite herbs!  It has such a lovely flavour that can be added to summer salads and pasta.

Seeds can still be sown at this time of year, however, if you are wanting to pick them from now until the end of summer, I would suggest sowing from February onwards. Start off indoors by putting some compost in a small pot, press down and sow the seeds on top. Cover with a thin layer of vermiculite, water gently & place in a propagator. If you don’t have one, cover the pot with a freezer bag and tie with an elastic band. After germination, remove from propagator or alternative and keep watered, so the soil is moist. Once the seedlings have grown leaves and are secure enough to remove, separate each seedling into its own pot.

If growing this time of year, you will not need to worry about planting outside, as the chance of a frost is very unlikely. Place in a sunny, sheltered spot and as the plant grows, move to bigger pots.

Coriander

Coriander has such an aromatic flavour, brilliant in curries or to finish off a rice dish. Seeds can be sown from June onwards, so now is a great time to start!

Sow straight outside, either in well-prepared soil or in pots filled with multi-purpose compost. Sow seeds thinly and cover lightly – germination usually takes from 7 to 20 days.

The soil should be damp, but be careful not to overwater! Dry soil also has a negative effect on the plant, as it can cause premature flowering.

It is also important to keep the area free of weeds as this can cause stunted growth.

Mint

Mint is a great addition to any mojito, salad, lamb or added to hot water to make a refreshing herbal tea.

Mint is best grown in spring and it is not advisable to leave until summer. Rather than sowing the seeds, it is better to grow from young plants. Plant in a well-drained fertile soil and keep moist, place in a shady position so the soil won’t dry out so quickly.

To keep the flavour of mint, keep cutting to encourage leaf growth. Flowering should be over by the end of summer, cut back just above the soil level and feed with a high-nitrogen fertiliser to encourage growth for picking in Autumn.

Thyme

Thyme has such an aromatic flavour, great added to chicken, pork and soups to name a few.

This time of year, is perfect for planting thyme. It is easy to grow from seeds; however, this needs to be done earlier on in the year. Plant in a warm, sunny area of your garden, making sure the soil is well-drained, alternatively, you can also grow in pots.

Thyme is a brilliant herb as it can be picked throughout the year, although for the best flavour, it is better to pick from June to September.

BHGS stock an extensive range of seeds, so if you are interested in adding a herb garden or simply growing herbs in pots, pop into our Evesham showroom and pick up a selection of herb seeds.

Want some new recipes to try with the added flavour of fresh herbs? Why not try this lovely summer pie or this gorgeous pork dish.

Interested in growing some different herbs? Check out the RHS website for information on a variety of herbs.

Date: 11th June 2019

A Guide to Growing Radishes

Radishes are a great addition to any salad and believe it or not, they come in an array of colours when homegrown. They have a unique flavour and are completely different to any other vegetable around.

This time of year is perfect for planting them in the ground or in pots, so here is a simple guide to help you along the way.

1) Most varieties of radishes can be grown in pots. Just make sure that you use a container that is 15cm deep, as this will give the roots space to grow. Fill the pot with compost to just below the surface of the container and space the seeds about 2.5cm apart with a depth of 1cm. Top with a fine layer of soil and press down. BHGS have an extensive range of pots and containers. Visit our website, contact us on pop into our Evesham showroom!

2) Radishes prefer sunlight so your pot needs to be in an area that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. Make sure the radishes are well watered and you’ll start to see seedlings appear within 5 to 7 days. They need to always be 5cm apart, so if it starts to get crowded, they will need to be thinned out.

3) Sowing outside – prepare the ground where your radishes are going beforehand. They prefer to be grown in rich, moist and free draining soil, in full sunlight. Use a hand trowel to remove any weeds and large stones that may interfere with growth. BHGS stock and supply a variety of compost. Need advice? Contact us on 01386 444100 and speak to our experienced sales team!

4) Now is a great time to sow your radishes straight into the ground. Make the holes 1cm deep and 2.5cm apart – plant one seed per hole. Ensure the rows are 15cm apart so that the seeds can get enough resources for them to grow.

5) Continue watering regularly to allow quick growth, tender roots and to also prevent the crops from splitting. Radishes planted in July and august are at a greater risk of splitting due to warmer and dryer weather so June is the best time to sow. Be careful not to overwater as this can lead to leaf growth and stunt root development.

6) Sow your seeds in small amounts, fortnightly. This ensures that you have a continuous supply throughout the summer.

7) Radishes are a great addition to your plot because they are quick to grow. Plant them between slower germinating vegetables such as parsnips and carrots to act as markers.

8) Harvest four to eight weeks after sowing as picking these roots young keeps the peppery taste and leaves them crisp. Leaving them in the ground for longer will result in a woody and tough taste and texture.

Visit the RHS website for more useful tips about growing radishes.

Date: 10th May 2019

Wonderful wildlife

Although, we seem to spend a large amount of time removing pests from our gardens, it is important to be aware that there are also wildlife that are beneficial if not vital to our gardens and allows our outdoor space to thrive. Not only do they help us maintain our gardens but we also provide them with food and shelter.

Ground Beetle
These insects are brilliant in helping to keep slugs, snails, cutworm and aphids at bay. They take shelter under stones and wood, so if you have any of those around your garden, these beetles will come in handy and help protect your crops from pesky pests.

Ladybirds
The larvae of ladybirds have an appetite for aphids – during their lifespan, a ladybird has the ability to eat up to 5,000 aphids. Not only have they bright and colourful, they are also an extremely useful addition to your garden.

Birds
If you have bird feeders and houses, you will be getting plenty of birds visiting your garden. Not only are they a great addition, they are also extremely useful as they will eat plenty of your inconvenient pests, such as, caterpillars, weevils and slugs. BHGS supply a wide range of bird food and feeder, to ensure you have plenty of birds. Contact us or visit our showroom to have a browse.

Hedgehogs
These brilliant creatures are useful to have in your garden. They usually come out at night and will eat a variety of pests. Try and encourage them into your garden by providing food and even shelter. It may also be an idea to provide space under fences/gates so that they can move freely from garden to garden. BHGS also stock hedge