Archives for September 2012

Look After Your Grounds and Your Grounds Will Look After You

A well-kept garden can completely transform a home and can become a major feature of your property. But creating a garden is one thing – maintaining it is quite another. For many, the upkeep of a garden can become overwhelming, which can ruin the hard work you’ve put in to making it your own. Once the seasons change and you’re met with a constant stream of rain showers and falling leaves, it can seem a vast undertaking. But there are some measurements you can take to keep your garden in order.

Look after wooden structures such as fences or sheds with waterproofing roofing or with a weather-resistant preserve that will protect them for longer. The same goes for maintaining wooden decking; when you install such flooring, make sure that you take the correct precautions against the damage of the seasons, so that you maintenance and repairs later on are kept to a minimum.

Lawns, whether you are growing from scratch or laying turf, require more care and attention than simply mowing every few weeks. With unreliable weather causing grass to either become dry and sallow or water-logged. Naturally, there is little you can do to control the seasons, but you can make an effort to nurture your lawn with an specific feed to help it grow, and keep it leaf-free so that it looks tidy and well-kept.

Patios and pathways are a relatively easy area of your outdoor grounds to maintain, which can be kept looking their best simply by sweeping leaves and mud away regularly and hosing down to keep them in good condition. Be sure not to overlook weeding as well, which can quickly grow into an unsightly mess if not tended to frequently. If you’re looking to maintain larger areas than a home garden such as business or industrial grounds, you may want to look into more heavy duty floor mats to protect your grounds, particularly if you plan on hosting large- scale events. A good idea is to opt for a heavy duty road mat for driveways, which is a durable flooring which will survive the unpredictable weather without degrading like many wooden flooring options.

 

A great cause of time when it comes to garden maintenance are swimming pools, which require an extensive amount of care and attention. Be sure to remove leaves and debris regularly to keep the pool, and in turn your garden, looking tidy, and make sure that filters are kept clear. Keep an eye on the pH levels of the water, and in winter remember to add antifreeze to the water and use a protective cover to maintain the pool’s condition.

By following these simple tips, you can ensure that the grounds surrounding your home are protected accordingly and are kept tidy, which can make a big difference to the overall look of your home. What initially seems like a overwhelming task is easily manageable with a small commitment to regular upkeep.

Kirsty works as a landscape gardener, working closely with client to ensure all desired needs are met.






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Sowing, Growing and Gathering Vegetables

Whatever vegetables you plan to grow, you are bound to choose some of those key crops that are to be found in most vegetable gardens. These include seasonal favourites such as runner beans for summer, leeks for winter and purple sprouting broccoli for spring. Most gardeners with a vegetable plot will grow a few potatoes and some salad crops also. The most important thing to remember is that there is always more than one way to achieve a successful crop, but it is useful to have some guidelines to get you started.

This article will give you some basic ground rules to follow in order to sow, grow and gather your favourite vegetables; and it helps you to decide which varieties to choose.

Beans, Broad

There are many different varieties of broad bean on offer but they are not nearly as widely grown as French and runner beans. Broad beans are highly nutritious and are packed with protein.

Sow

The seed of some varieties such as ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ and ‘The Sutton’ can be sown in the open ground I autumn. Sow seeds 20cm apart and 5cm deep. The seeds will germinate and the plants should overwinter, although occasionally young plants can be wiped out by extremely severe weather, particularly if the soil is heavy and wet.

Sow in November and stand them in a protected spot outdoors in late January or February. Plant out when the soil starts to dry out and warm up in early March.

Grow

Broad beans success in most soils provided they are well drained and not too acidic. If necessary, add lime in autumn every couple of years as a precaution.

Gather

Early sowings usually produce a worthwhile crop of beans in early summer. Pick them when young. The beans should just be showing through the pods.

Carrots

Although readily available and cheap to buy, carrots are worth growing for the wonderful flavour of young roots pulled fresh from the garden. They are not difficult to grow, but they are quite choosy about soil. If you cannot grow carrots in the open ground, you can certainly achieve beautifully tender roots in a container, box or raised bed.

Sow

Carrots can be sown directly into the open ground at any time from early spring through to early summer, according to variety. If you are growing carrots in rows, the seed should be in 2cm deep and the rows 15-20cm apart. The seedlings need to be thinned about 5cm apart for the roots to develop fully.

Grow

Do not add manure or garden compost to the soil in the autumn before planting, as lumps of organic matter often cause the roots to fork or become distorted. Simply apply a general purpose fertiliser about a month before sowing the seed and fork thoroughly into the ground.

Gather

Carrots are usually ready to harvest between 12 and 16 weeks after sowing; however, on light soils they can often be left in the ground for much longer.

Potatoes

The potato is our most popular vegetable, a staple of our diet, despite its relatively recent introduction from South America, in the 16th century. It owes its success largely to its versatility: chips, roast, mashed, boiled or salad potatoes – something to suit every taste.

Sow

Seed potatoes are actually small tubers that have been certified as virus-free. They are normally produced in colder parts of the UK such as Scotland, where there are far fewer virus spreading aphids.


Seed potatoes are available from January; this is the best time to buy them because you have the widest choice and you can control their storage conditions until it is time to plant them. Buying early allows plenty of time to chit, or sprout, the potatoes before planting in mid to late march. They usually take around six weeks to sprout.

As soon as you have bought your seed potatoes unpack them, lay them out in trays and store them in a cool place. When you are ready to chit them in late winter, place the tubers in egg boxes, or trays filled with crumpled newspaper, with the ‘rose’ end facing upwards. This is the end with the most eyes or growth buds. Do not worry if both ends of the tuber look the same; varieties vary and some produce more shoots than others, stand the potatoes in a cool light place to allow the shoots to develop.

 Grow

Potatoes are heavy feeders and they need a good supply of nitrogen in the soil to produce a worthwhile crop, mainly because the tubers are actually swollen stems rather than roots.

Dig the ground it autumn and add plenty of well-rotted manure. Plant out in mid to late March and be prepared to protect the emerging shoots with fleece.

When the shoots are 10-15cm high they should be earthed up. This can be done with a draw hoe, the back of a rake or with a border spade.

Potatoes need lots of water as they grow. If the soil is too dry the tubers will fail to develop.

Gather

Potatoes are usually ready to harvest once the flowers have faded or the flower buds have developed and dropped.

This article was written by gardening lover Yasmin Holloway. For more great gardening advice visit http://www.gardenhealth.com/

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How to Grow Rosemary

The rosemary plant is blue-green with needle-like foliage as well as a compelling fragrance which contribute to make this tender and perennial plant a favorite with gardeners. Rosemary seeds germinate erratically and slowly hence the common practice of propagating them through cuttings. Although a glass of water is sufficient for rooting the Rosemary plant, additional effort offers more favorable results.

The chosen site should be capable of getting full direct sunlight as well as a light afternoon shade and excellent drainage.

  • Raised beds are ideal for rosemary which prefers average to poor soil with a 6.5 to 7.0 pH.
  • Set the transplants aground at a similar depth to the one at the nursery pots.
  • A minimum of 2 feet should be spared around the plant to guarantee favorable air circulation.
  • Clip sprigs or leaves anytime they are required.

Growth of Rosemary in Cold Climates

  • Buy started plants from nurseries for planting during early spring.
  • Clay pots should be used and the required proportions are at least a depth of 12 inches and a width of 12 inches as well as many drainage holes.
  • The clay pots should then be filled it with coarse and light potting mix, for example cactus soil and an addition of perlite. Set the plants into new quarters while ensuring the depth is similar to the primary one at the nursery pots.
  • After the frost danger passes, harden off the plants and moved outdoors
  • Ensure regular watering is done while making sure the soil is vaguely moist but not wet. During early summer and spring, compost tea should be fed to the plants on a monthly basis.
  • The plants should be brought back indoors way before the foremost frost and put in a sunlit area west-or-south facing window. If there is scarcity of winter sunlight in the house, the supply should be augmented the supply using fluorescent lights.
  • Keep the soil moist by watering tepid water to the plants twice in one week.
  • Clip sprigs or leaves anytime they are needed.

Rosemary repels bean beetles and cabbage moths and is a plant that should be planted where it is intended to stay because it resents being transplanted. For the ideal selection of orchid plants, it is recommendable to purchase rosemary plants from herb specialists. When winter temperatures drop below thirty degrees Fahrenheit, it is generally advisable to plant the plant containers preferably terracotta all year to avoid transplanting.

Author bio:

This article is presented to you by www.growguides.net , a website offering free tips and advices on gardening to people all over the world.

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