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
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
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…
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com 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.
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.
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.
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
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
- 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.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to the boil and add the spaghetti. (Use cooking instructions on packet)
- Pour the wine into the mixture, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer until evaporated. Stir in the cream and simmer until thickened.
- Add the pasta and mix. Grate the parmesan over and add some black pepper. Portion into bowls and serve with salad and garlic bread.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
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 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 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 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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 hedgehog food. Pop into our Evesham showroom or contact our sales team to place your order.
Obviously, we all know bees are vital to our habitat and we need to ensure the decline of bees are slowed down and eventually stopped completely. It is estimated that half of our food is pollinated by bees, se we really do need them to thrive. Limit the amount of pesticides you use and try to stick to natural and organic methods.
Frogs & Toads
If you have a pond, you will no doubt have frogs and toads lurking around your garden. They need water to breed but normally spend their winters out of the water, hiding in undergrowth and under rocks and stones. It is estimated that a single toad will eat around 10,000 insects each summer. Now that is pretty impressive!
So, whilst we do have some pests that are a hinderance in our garden, we also have useful wildlife that can help our garden and plots really flourish, whilst helping our wildlife flourish too.
For more information to encourage wildlife into your garden, the RHS website have lots of useful tips.
Date: 9th April 2019
Step by Step Guide to Growing Beetroot
Beetroot is such a great vegetable, perfect for soups, roasting or to accompany a hearty salad. It is incredibly versatile and can finish off a wide variety of dishes for the whole family to enjoy.
Here is an easy to follow guide to help you get started.
- If you haven’t got a big veg plot then do not worry, you can actually grow plenty of varieties in pots. Choose containers with a diameter and depth of 20cm to ensure the plants have enough room to grow. Fill with compost to just below the top of the container, sow seeds in a row and cover with soil. BHGS stock and supply a wide range of pots, contact us or visit our website to browse our selection.
- It is important to make sure you water your seeds regularly and once seedlings start to appear, begin thinning them out as soon as they are 2cm in height. Ensure you give around 12cm between each seedling so that they have plenty of room to grow.
- If you are wanting to plant your seeds straight into the ground, now is the time to start. Beetroot prefer sunny and open areas in light/medium soil, making sure the soil in fine by removing stones and weeds and raking over. For optimum results, add a granular fertiliser to the soil a few weeks before sowing the seeds.
- Make a trench around 2cm deep and place two seeds at a time at 10cm intervals. To give enough room for growing, make sure there is 30cm between each row. Cover with soil and water thoroughly as this will help the ground settle. BHGS stock a range of watering cans and roses, pop into our showroom or browse our website.
- Water regularly, especially during dry spells, where you’ll need to water every ten days. Once the seedlings have reached around 2cm, remove the weaker of the two in each pair to allow the other to thrive – You will now have one seedling at 10cm intervals.
- The brilliant thing about growing beetroot is that it doesn’t need much maintenance. All that you really need to do is make sure the soil doesn’t dry out as this will stunt growth, and stay on top of weeds. If you do, however, find that your beetroot aren’t growing as they should be, try adding a high nitrogen fertiliser when watering.
- If you want to keep harvests going throughout the year, sow from April until July, once a fortnight and you’ll be able to enjoy your delicious veg for many months!
- When your beetroot are ready to be picked, they will be about the size of a golf ball/tennis ball depending on the variety. It may be an idea to remove every other one slightly earlier so that the others can reach their optimum size.
Top tip – Twist the tops off by hand as this will stop them from bleeding their juice.
Now you have a simple guide, you can get started growing your beetroot! For more information, the RHS website have some useful information and tips. Or for advice or enquiries, contact our sales team and they will be happy to help.
Date: 8th March 2019
Budget Friendly Gardening
Gardening doesn’t need to be a pricey hobby! There are some useful hacks to keep your garden looking brilliant without breaking the bank, as well as being environmentally friendly.
Make your own compost and bin
Rather than using a compost bin, why not make your own? If you can get hold of some pallet wood, create a frame and secure with wire. You can use some insulating material to make it even more insulated for your homemade compost as well as creating a lid to keep the moisture contained. You could also create multiple bins, allowing you to rotate your heap from one area to another. What a great way to help your plot grow and for next to nothing. Here’s a how-to guide to make your compost bin!
Plastic is wasted far too much! Perhaps consider re-using plastic pots and planting trays. If they are slightly damaged, they can easily be repaired using duct tape. You could also use empty yoghurt pots and cartons, which are perfect for germinating seedlings. Why not use plastic bottles as cloches? Simply cut the bottle in half, removing the lid and place over the seedling, as well as protecting them, you’re also providing ventilation too. These can all be used again next year if cleaned and stored away.
Don’t throw away your rubbish
You may be having a clear out in your home and want to throw away any unwanted items. However, think before your get rid of them as they are more than likely useful in some way or another. Using things like old car tyres as raised beds or seats or making a pond out of an old washing up bowl. You could get even more creative and create a fire pit using an old washing machine drum.
Grow your own
If you grow a nice selection of fruit and vegetables in an area in your garden, you will see the cost of your shopping go down massively. It is also a fun way to get your kids outside and getting involved.
Collecting rain water
Rather than using a hose pipe, you can collect your own water. All you need is a water butt and the rest will happen on its own.
Rather than buying fully grown plants, which might seem like the easier option, buy seeds instead. They will take longer to grow but you’ll save money. BHGS stock and supply an extensive range of seeds and bulbs. Pop into our Evesham showroom or contact us for more information.
Date: 11th February 2019
BHGS’ Guide To Growing Broad Beans
Broad beans are an easy and low maintenance crop to grow, perfect for anyone that is new to growing and February is the perfect month to sow your seeds. BHGS has a useful guide to help you along the way.
Having the perfect soil
Broad beans love a fertile, well drained soil in a sunny and sheltered position in your plot or garden. Less fertile soils will need an addition of pelleted chicken manure. Once your beans have been cropped, cut the tops for compost but leave the nitrogen fixing roots behind to benefit the next crop.
Broad beans enjoy the cool weather and can tolerate frost. You can sow the hardier varieties as early as November but February is the perfect month for sowing under unheated glass. Outdoor sowings during March and April when the soil has dried and the weather has warmed up often produce the strongest plants. However, be aware of mice!
Sowing Your Beans
Fill 38cm x 23cm seed trays with multi-purpose compost and put the beans in a grid fashion, six across and four down so that they are 6-7cm apart. Water and cover with a propagator lid to keep mice away. For direct sowing, a double row 38cm apart makes it easy for staking. Put the soil back over and pat lightly.
Moving Your Beans Outside
When the beans are about 8-10cm high and the weather is warmer and dryer, you can now put the plants outside to harden off before planting. Gently remove the plants from the trays and place along marked rows 20cm apart. The soil should be loose enough to dig holes easily and avoid folding roots. Press firmly and water.
Watch Out For Pests
Mice – They can steal seeds before or just after germination. Use traps if required.
Pea & Bean Weevil – These cause notches on leaves. They can particularly affect small plants, so protect them with fleece to allow them to outgrow this pest as larger plants are able to withstand any damage.
Black fly – Although this will not be a problem at the moment, it is something to be aware of. Appearing during late spring/early summer, this aphid will start in the growing tips above the developing pods (which are beast nipped out anyway). They do tend to peak quite quickly and so you may need to use an oil-based plant product. However, you may find that natural predators will help keep your problem at bay and you will not need to use any pest control. Ladybirds, parasitic wasps and flower bugs are some of the predators that if allowed to prosper, will look after your veg plot during the summer.
We sell an extensive range of composts, fertilisers, pest control and plant protection. For advice or to enquiry about a particular product, email our sales team, contact your local area representative or pop into our Evesham showroom.
Date: 10th January 2019
Maintaining your allotment in January
January and February are perfect months for preparing for the growing season when you will be extremely busy. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Top Jobs for January
January is usually one of the coldest and darkest months of the year and your time spent outside may be limited. Now is the time to start ordering your seeds and starting to plan where everything will be placed in your plot.
BHGS now have seed potatoes in stock! Contact us or visit our Evesham showroom.
Harvest hardy winter varieties of cabbages, cauliflower, leeks and root vegetables such as parsnips and swede.
Spread well-rotted manure or compost over empty beds.
Warm up and protect any seedbeds by covering them with sheets.
Winter prune any established apple and pear trees.
Check fruit cages and any other plant protection and repair if needed.
Sowing and Planting in January
Broad beans – If the ground has not frozen, you can sow your broad beans. However, if it has frozen, you will need to sow in pots and keep under cover until spring.
Fruit trees and bushes – Plant new bare root trees and bushes during winter months when they are dormant.
Garlic – Plant only when it is mild and if the soil has not frozen and isn’t waterlogged. If this isn’t possible and the weather is not on your side, wait until the following month once the weather starts to get a bit milder.
Onions and leeks – These ideally need a long growing season. Sow seeds in modules and keep indoors until the outside temperature increases to at least 10˚C, putting them outdoors in March/April.
Peas – For an early crop, seeds can be sown in January in greenhouses until they can be planted outside in March/April.
Rhubarb – Plant new sets or divide and replant old crowns. Rhubarb will tolerate the cold weather but do not like being waterlogged.
It is important to protect overwintering vegetables by covering them with cloches or fleece. Making sure they are ventilated during milder days as they can get extremely hot undercover.
Make sure your greenhouses are well ventilated, opening vents and doors when possible (during milder days) to prevent mould, ensuring they are closed on colder days to stop the plants from freezing.
This month is always a good opportunity to get everything cleaned and tidied, ensuring that greenhouses are cleaned, tools and other equipment are cleaned and polished if needed ready for spring.
Hopefully our tips have been useful to you and now feel ready to prepare your allotment for spring.
If you haven’t yet got your own allotment but are thinking about it, the RHS website have some useful tips.
To enquire about products or simply for advice, contact our sales team on 01386 444100 or email email@example.com.
Date: 11th December 2018
Gardening in December
Although it’s tempting to stay in the warm during December, there is still plenty to be done in the garden, and in fact, certain plants actually thrive in cold conditions!
It’s your last chance to plant fruit trees. But make sure they are protected by using tree guards and rabbit guards to stop them from getting damaged. They may also need to be protected from wind and frosts – this will be dependent on the variety.
In the Greenhouse
As there are more frosts and the weather is getting much colder, it’s important to insulate your greenhouse with bubble wrap if you’ve not already done so.
Greenhouse heaters will also come in handy! Ensure that the temperature is accurate at all times. During milder conditions, open vents for an hour or so to allow air circulation and to keep the greenhouse well ventilated.
Protect your Flowers
After storms and frosts, check on tender plants to make sure they have not been damaged and protection is still in place.
Raise patio containers on bricks, so they are not directly on the ground and are not sitting in rain water. Large tubs are also a risk of cracking, so wrap them in any form of protection, such as bubble wrap or fleece. You will more than likely have some leftover after using elsewhere in your garden. If you have run out, BHGS stock them. Pop into our Evesham showroom on email us.
Tender plants can also be brought indoors if they are exposed to extreme weather conditions.
Wildlife, especially birds, needs extra care during the winter months. It’s important to keep your bird feeders topped up so that they have a good supply of food, when it is harder for them to find this time of year. BHGS supply a large range of bird food and feeders, browse our website or visit our showroom!
If you have a pond, make sure it doesn’t freeze over, as this can be fatal to fish and other pond life. There are precautions you can take, however, to ensure that this doesn’t happen. If you have a pond heater or can purchase one then that would be ideal, or if you don’t have one, there are other solutions. For example, if your pond does freeze over, you can make a hole by holding a saucepan of hot water on the surface until melted through. Don’t crack the ice as it is harmful to fish.
Gardening Tools & Equipment
when putting your lawn mowers and other equipment away for the winter, make sure that they are clean and dry before storing. It is also a good idea to drain out any fuel, as unleaded petrol will go off and may cause problems next year when you try and start it up again.
Clean and sharpen your tools so that they are kept in good conditions and don’t get damaged and rust. Wash them thoroughly and allow to dry completely before sharpening the necessary tools. A lot of your tools will most likely have wooden handles, and special care needs to be taken to prevent them from splitting and breaking! They should be sanded and then rubbed in linseed oil to create a protective barrier. They need to be dried before storage and stored indoors.
Date: 20th November 2018
Grow your own parsnips
Roast Parsnips are a must on your Christmas dinner and on any Sunday roast for that matter! They are also delicious in a soup or coated in honey and mustard. So as the festive period is looming, we thought it would only be right for our next blog entry to be about growing parsnips.
Long-rooted parsnips need good, deeply cultivated and stone free soils, however, there are also shorter varieties that will grow in most soil.
Prepare the ground in autumn by digging the compost and removing any stones and then when spring comes, just rake over the soil surface. It is not advisable to use manure as this may rot the roots!
Sowing freshly bought seeds is a must as the seeds do not remain viable for very long and only sow them when the weather has become warmer. February is still too early for sowing as the ground will still be cold. The earliest you should do it is March and even then, it may be a good idea to warm the soil with a cloche for a week or so beforehand and keep it there until the seedlings have a few leaves.
Sow the seeds 2cm deep, 15cm apart in rows 30cm apart. Sow two or three seeds at a time and thin the seedlings to leave the strongest plant. Water after thinning to settle the soil back in.
Thin seedlings to 10cm apart for long rooted parsnips and 7cm apart for smaller roots making sure that the area is weed free, doing any weed removal by hand if they are close to the plant to avoid damage. If there is a period of dry weather, water accordingly to prevent the soil from drying out as this can cause the roots to split in the ground.
Carrot fly can also be a problem so perhaps consider growing under a mesh or using clear polythene around your plants to keep the flies out.
Parsnips will take around 16 weeks to mature and when they are ready, the foliage will start to die down. This will be in autumn. It is advisable, however, to leave them until we have had a couple of frosts for best results as the flavour of the parsnips are actually improved by frost. You can leave the vegetables in the ground during winter and lift when needed.
To harvest, lift the roots carefully with a fork, trying not to spear them as damaged roots will not store well and will need to be used straight away. You should also consider pulling a few extra out in November so that you don’t run out if the ground freezes. All parsnips should be lifted and stored by February.
Now you know all there is about growing your own parsnips, why not give it a go next year?
If you would like to know about the different varieties of parsnips, visit the RHS website.
Need some ideas on how to cook your parsnips? We have the perfect recipe.
We hope you found this useful and if you would like to enquire about a particular product, contact us on 01386 444100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Date: 31st October 2018
Getting Ready for Winter
Winter is almost here; the weather is getting colder and the nights are getting darker. Although it might be nicer to stay inside in the warm, there is still plenty to do in the garden to ensure it survives through the winter months.
Keep on top of weeds – Those determined weeds will carry on growing where the soil is still warm. Uproot as many as you can or use lots of mulch to stop them growing.
Compost – It might be tempting to leave your compost heap until spring. However, you still need to keep an eye on it by turning full heaps over every month so that all of it at some stage is in the middle of the heap where it gets the hottest. This allows full and even decomposition.
Tidy your edges – Grassy paths will make its way onto bare beds and start to look untidy. Why not do this now whilst you aren’t as busy in the garden as you will be during spring. An edging knife will do the trick.
Cover bare soil – Use a weed control fabric or any material that’s suitable in order to stop weeds from taking over.
Straw up root crops – Cold winters seem to be more frequent in the last couple of years, therefore the ground freezes. Maincrop carrots, parsnips and Jerusalem artichokes are impossible to life from frozen soil. Using mulch will insulate them as well as popping a tunnel cloche or any other suitable frost protection over the row and pack with straw.
Protecting your leeks – They aren’t so easy to insulate and will perish if you try to lift them from the soil and store them. The best way to keep them protected is to ‘heel them in’ which means to lift them and replant them in a more sheltered area of your garden or in a big bucket of compost indoors if keeping them outside isn’t an option.
Rake up leaves – This is not just to keep your garden tidy but are actually so you can make leaf mould, which is great for potting composts and to use as a low-nutrient mulch. Raise your mower to the highest setting and mow the leaves up, this will collect grass clipping too which is useful as it speeds up rotting. Put the whole lot in binbags and pierce a few holes. The leaf mould will be ready for use this time next year.
Bamboo Canes – Clean and store them in the shed or any dry place to ensure that they’re still in good condition to be used next year. It’s the little things that helps the environment.
Garlic cloves – Plant in modules inside a cold frame or outdoors in mild areas in its final position. They need to be in free-draining soils and low rainfall areas only!
Plant debris – Remove all remaining plant debris from your veg plot. This keeps the area tidy as well as making sure that you don’t put any diseases material into your compost.
Now you have a few jobs this month you can start to prepare for winter.
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 t