The September Garden

The kids are going back to school and summer is starting to feel like a distant memory but there are still a fair few jobs to be done in the garden, weather permitting of course. The following tips have been lifted directly from ‘My Garden Journal’ – an any year printable you can grab right now at my Etsy shop…

Monthly tips and an infinite number of journal pages!

My Garden Journal

Suggested September Garden Jobs in a Temperate Climate

Food Crops:
September is traditionally the abundant month for gardeners. And as October can be wet and windy, now is the time to harvest many crops. Leave the hardier plants in until the end of the month, or longer if October turns out nice! Bring in all the summer crops and eat, give away or store for the winter. You could be in the kitchen a bit more this month; freezing, bottling, baking etc; but it will all be worth it. Imagine organic home-grown veggies with Christmas dinner.

Pick all apples and pears and any other fruits still in the garden. While you’re doing that, check over the trees and bushes for any signs of disease or strain. Usually, these plants will need pruning soon so an idea of what you may have to do keeps you one step ahead.

Compost:
Remember to compost any food plants you didn’t get around to cropping as well as any other plants that have to be removed now. All dead leaves, stems and windfallen inedible fruits can be composted. If you haven’t already got a compost heap, now is a good time to start one. Compost all the summer organic debris and then add peelings and leaves to it throughout the winter.

Bonfires:
If you have a ton of leaves and sticks, a fire may be a better option. Too many oak leaves in a compost heap can make the resulting soil quite acidic, so have a bonfire night! Always check that no animals have started nesting where you plan your fire. And also check before you light it if there’s a delay between building and lighting.

Plants:
Now is a good time to plant spring flowering bulbs. Choose carefully and remember to position taller growing plants towards the back of a bed so they don’t block the light from lower growing plants. Check all stakes and supports are firm before the Autumn winds arrive. If a support falls over, it will inevitably take your plant with it.

New fruit trees can be planted towards the end of the month, but check on the producer’s suggestions before buying. Not all species will cope with a hard winter when they’re young. You could start pruning raspberry canes now, as long as they’ve finished fruiting.

Clear summer bedding plants. Prune and check over your herbs. Mulch around the more delicate plants and cut out dead wood from the woody herbs.

Care:
Take care of your tools. You may have been leaving them out during the summer, but now’s the time to put them away at night. Get into the habit now and they’ll last a lot longer than if they get left out in the rain.

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

The April Garden

We’ve had a few chilly days and even chillier nights lately in Cornwall and I worry about my baby plants – so much so that I carried a lot of them indoors on the coldest night.

But the sun’s shining today and it is April after all so wrap up warm if you need to and get out in the garden! These are some tasks you may need to tackle in the April Garden.

Care and Maintenance:
Remove any unwanted weeds or moss trailing close to, or in, your planting areas. Although we are surely in Spring now, there will still be wet days to contend with. When you’re in tune with your garden though, you tend to listen to your intuition a lot more. So nourish the gardener in you!

All mulch should be removed by now to give the plants some fresh air. If the soil is particularly dry, water existing plants if necessary. But only if it’s dry. Don’t waterlog the ground or the roots could perish.

Preparation and Plans:
Finish preparing your beds and layer on any well-rotted manure or compost, if you haven’t already done so. Dig in gently. It MUST be well-rotted or the strong chemicals, although natural, will burn small plants.

Keep notes of when and where you added compost.

Plants:
There isn’t much you can’t plant by now. Although, with climate change comes weather changes so again, use your intuition to help you get the best from your garden.

Asparagus crowns can be planted. Many seeds can be sown and many young plants will be able to go outside. Always check on your seed packet for further growing instructions. Or, if the instructions aren’t available, do a quick search online to make sure your particular variety of seeds or plants can be put outside this month.

April can be a month of pots and dirty fingernails! Make sure you have enough pots and/or seed trays before you start. Sow seeds in an organic seed compost rather than soil straight from the garden. Planting outis easiest if you’ve used degradeble pots. But if not, soak the pot first and ease out the plant. Avoid touching the roots and then pop it into prepared hole. Gently ease the roots out if the plant was pot-bound for some time, then fill in the hole with crumbly soil or potting compost, gently firm in the plant with your hands and water gently.

This is probably the planting month generally. Keep lots of notes and remember to put plant markers in all seed trays, pots and lines of seed in the garden. So easy to forget which brassica is which, especially when they look very similar.

Lawn:
If the Spring is dry, you may have to make your first lawn mowing expedition of the year. Keep grass clippings to put on the compost heap. Layering lawn clippings in your compost helps keep the heap warm and working.

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

P.S. This text was taken from My Garden Journal – a printable you can ( and should!) use every year. Find it at Gran’s Choice on Etsy.

My Garden Journal

This handy garden journal is printable and usable every year. Although buying expensive journals in bookstores is delicious, printing out just what you need when you need it can be a great help to your pocket and also the resources of the planet. Not all journals you buy are recycled or recyclable after all.

A simple document folder is all you’ll need to keep your pages safe.

Every month has some gardening job suggestions for temperate climate dwellers. Adjust to your region and weather conditions as you need to. Gardening has to be a flexible hobby simply because we can’t control the weather!

There are also a few handy gardening tips and resources you may find helpful. Keep the journal on your desktop or whichever digital space is most easy to access and print out the ‘notes’ pages as and when you need them. In busy months, print out more of the same! My Garden Journal

“Grow Your Own Pharmacy”

Strictly speaking we should be able to get all the vitamins we need from nature, but when you see those irresistible bottles and jars of ‘extra vitamin’ supplements, it’s almost criminal not to give them a try. Though more often than not, they get forgotten about or we didn’t need them in the first place..

Save some cash and go au naturel this year..

There are nine main vitamins we can find in everyday food crops and all of them can be grown at home. Vitamins D and B12 are absorbed through sunlight, and in meat and dairy products, so unless you are keeping your own hens, some vitamins will have to be ‘bought’ in – although that still doesn’t mean hitting the pill bottles… buy organic fresh produce as far as possible and grow the rest of the vitamins you and your family need:

Vitamin C:

Garden produce high in vitamin C includes tomatoes, blackcurrants, peppers and strawberries. Peppers and tomatoes should be planted every year, but strawberries and blackcurrants need a permanent patch and will produce fruit for a number of years with just a little TLC.

And did you know rosehips have more vitamin C (gram for gram) than oranges?

Vitamin A:

One medium carrot can provide all the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, which helps vision, and also acts as an antioxidant in the body to help fight off free radicals. Pumpkin is another good source of vitamin A, as well as winter kale, so remember to plant some before the summer’s out. Fresh green veg in the winter will help ward off colds and flu as well.

Vitamin B1:

Vitamin B1 converts carbs and fats into energy so for a boost of daily energy, keep up with the B1. Foods rich in this vitamin are broad beans ( which can be grown twice a year ), sweet corn, hazelnuts and garlic. Garlic is easy to grow in a small space. Sweetcorn and hazelnuts need a bit more space, but are simple to grow and are popular and nutritious family foods.

Vitamin B2:

Although vitamin B2 can be found in spinach and is easy to grow in the home garden, we could diversify a little here and go for different tastes. Salsify is a vegetable that many of us have forgotten about. It used to be called the oyster vegetable and is a great root crop as long as you have a good depth of soil in the veggie patch. Mushrooms are a good source of B2 and can be grown in kit form indoors. There are some amazing varieties of mushrooms you can grow at home.

Vitamin B6:

Potatoes and onions are a good source of vitamin B6. If you worry about potatoes being a weight gaining food, a fresh potato straight from the ground doesn’t need any additional butter, cheese or other toppings to make it tasty! Buy a specially designed potato barrel to save space – and digging! Onions, if stored well, will last for months.

Vitamin E:

Asparagus and raspberries have often been considered to be ‘luxury’ crops – maybe because they are so expensive to buy? Both crops can be grown at home and will thrive for years with very little attention. Asparagus arrives during the ‘hungry gap’ – after the winter crops have finished and before the spring crops begin. And raspberries turn up in early summer usually.

Folate:

Folate isn’t made by the body so must come from a good source. Luckily it is found in everyday veggies we can grow at home. Beetroot and green beans are good sources of folate. Another source, that we often overlook, is parsley. Chop parsley finely and sprinkle over your food, rather than leave it on the side of the plate as an inedible garnish – it really is packed full of goodness.

Niacin:

Niacin (B3) is one of the most active vitamins in the body and breaks down fats and sugars. It is generally found in protein rich foods such as meat, fish and pulses. Courgettes (zucchini) are a good source of niacin and can crop right through the summer and autumn months. Peas are also high in niacin and can be started off early in the year. Peas are a good vegetable to grow in the home vegetable patch as they can replace nitrogen in the soil.

Pantothenic Acid (B5):

Another of the B vitamins, this one is needed to produce B12 which helps maintain cell structure in the blood. Broccoli and parsnips are a good source of B5. Parsnips are best left in the ground until after the first frost so are a great early winter vegetable. They also store well. Try growing different types of broccoli; dwarf varieties are ideal for container growing.

Don’t forget that all of these crops mentioned have other vitamins and minerals apart from the ones listed above, and the best way to feed yourself and your family is to grow an assortment of fruit and vegetables, and remember to eat them!

Linda x

PS. Garden Vitamins’ has plenty of tips and advice should you want to try your hand at growing some vitamins at home. It’s available at most major online bookstores but you can grab a free copy here for a limited time. Enjoy!

Garden Vitamins

This handy digital copy of Garden Vitamins highlights 28 different fruits and vegetables you can grow at home and collect 9 valuable vitamins to keep your family healthy and well-fed.

All these popular fruits and vegetables have brief but concise growing instructions and are categorized by vitamin so you know exactly what you’re getting from your new hobby.

Garden Vitamins

Strawberry Growing Tips

Your strawberry plants should be starting to grow again around now.

Keep plants well watered. Because they are shallow rooting plants, strawberries can dry out very quickly in hot weather, and your crop will be affected.

When the fruits start to appear, cover the ground around your plants with a fairly thick layer of straw. Try and get ‘weed free’ straw. Barley is the best. If no straw can be found, use black plastic.

Covering the ground in this way keeps the weeds down, and stops the fruits being in contact with the soil, where they will rot very quickly or get eaten by the slugs. If you use black plastic, the slugs will still find your fruits. So keep an eye on them or use any trick in the book you can to keep them away.

We’ve found a good slug proof material this year. The pure wool found in food packaging. It’s organic and the slugs hate the fibres. Anything dry and fibrous should repel slugs and snails.

Birds

Growing strawberries in your garden will encourage just about every garden bird you can imagine. The trouble is, they will ALL eat your strawberries …… if you let them!

Make a small wooden frame to stand over your strawberry bed, and cover in fine netting. Don’t use heavy materials, as you will want to move the cover every day during cropping season. Use light wood, and perhaps tent pegs or the equivalent to secure it against being blown over by the wind or knocked over by cats and dogs.

NB:Always use wildlife friendly fine netting so birds don’t get their wings tangled.

Remove the ‘runners’ – little plants coming off the main plant, before they root. This will encourage your ‘mother’ plant to produce more fruit. Re-pot or re-plant these ‘baby’ plants in a new bed.

Pick your strawberries every day in season.

With good weather and a fairly long growing season, strawberries can produce up to 3 crops a year.

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

P.S. This handy download will help you get the most from your strawberry plants and it’s super cheap!

How to Grow Strawberries

Whether as a perfect accompaniment to champagne or a summer afternoon treat with cream, strawberries are a popular garden fruit and can be grown in containers, specially designed planters or in a regular strawberry bed. You may even be able to start your strawberry bed with free plants.

How to Grow Strawberries is a mini guide to growing these luxurious vitamin packed fruits at home. Treat yourself and your family to the freshest, tastiest fruits that keep the family healthy and coming back for more.

Choose from your favourite online book store.

Amazon (US) , Amazon (UK) , Apple Books , Kobo , Payhip , Barnes & Noble , Etsy

Gardening in March

March feels like it’s starting to get warmer – sometimes! And on the warmer days, get the whole family, and neighbourhood, involved if you can. Even if you have to wear a coat, it’s good to be out in the fresh air and it’s a great time to get the kids involved.

And the oldies can do a little pottering around or sit for ten minutes watching the action.

Gardening in March -Preparation:

If it’s been a very wet or very cold winter, there will probably still be a few winter jobs hanging around. Get them done and dusted this month. Prepare flower and vegetable beds and your herb garden. Many herbs are perennial but may need a little growth encouragement. Pruning off obvious dead wood gives them a chance to grow stronger, and remove any mulch if the soil is warming up.

Flower and vegetable patches can be dug over and raked ready for planting. Don’t dig if the ground is waterlogged. Digging waterlogged soil will destroy it. It tends to dry out in clumps like stone and turns to powder. The voice of experience talking – ahem!

Gardening in March -Planting:

Go through your seeds and sort them in order of planting. If you plant a whole packet in one go, a handy tip is not to use the packet as a row marker – use a wooden stick or something else – because water will wash away the directions that you may want to refer to later. Keep the packet in a separate part of your seed box.

Many seeds you plant now will need to be sown inside, so a bright spot in the house, conservatory or greenhouse is essential. Some can be sown directly outside but always double check on the packet as different varieties vary a lot.

If you’ve been saving cardboard tubes from toilet and kitchen rolls for pots, now’s the time to use them. Try and use degradable pots as much as you can. Not only for the environment but so that you can plant the whole pot and not disturb the roots of your baby plants.

If you’re buying in plants from a local market or garden centre, get them acclimatized before you plunge them into cold ground. Leave outside during the day and bring in at night for a few days or until you feel the weather has warmed up enough. Ready-grown plants have often been grown in greenhouses or polytunnels and need a little TLC for a few days, at least.

Gardening in March -Maintenance:

Make sure any ties that are helping to support small trees and shrubs are not broken or too tight on the stem of the plant. Fix any broken edges. If you have wooden edging round a bed, check it hasn’t rotted anywhere.

Check over lawn areas, but try not to walk on the grass too much if it’s very wet. Remove weeds if necessary, although a few wildflowers scattered around look beautiful on a lawn.

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

P.S. This article appears in the must-have Garden Journal available on Etsy now 🙂

My Garden Journal

This handy garden journal is printable and usable every year. Although buying expensive journals in bookstores is delicious, printing out just what you need when you need it can be a great help to your pocket and also the resources of the planet. Not all journals you buy are recycled or recyclable after all.

A simple document folder is all you’ll need to keep your pages safe.

Every month has some gardening job suggestions for temperate climate dwellers.

Adjust to your region and weather conditions as you need to. Gardening has to be a flexible hobby simply because we can’t control the weather!

There are also a few handy gardening tips and resources you may find helpful. Keep the journal on your desktop or whichever digital space is most easy to access and print out the ‘notes’ pages as and when you need them. In busy months, print out more of the same!

Gardening in March with My Garden Journal

Starting a Garden

If you’re thinking about starting a garden, the most important thing is not to get overwhelmed by the idea. As soon as you start talking about a new interest, experts on the subject come at you from every angle with mostly some great advice, although not all of it will be. Gardening is no exception!

It doesn’t matter what month it is, or whether you think you are too late to start your garden this year… you’re not!

The first and probably the most important question to ask yourself is…

“What do I want from my garden/outdoor space?”

One way to uncover your wants that are appropriate to the size of your garden, is to take a while to contemplate… Sit outside, weather permitting of course, and allow the environment to take over your thoughts. Ideas will turn up unexpectedly, especially if you really are serious about starting a garden.

If it’s really not warm enough to sit outside, grab a coat and wander around for a few minutes or even try for a good view from an upstairs window and consider the layout.

There are many garden ideas you can use to brainstorm to come up with the right ideas for your space, and what would suit you and your family.

Starting a garden should be fun 🙂

Veggie patch: Are you longing to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs to ensure the best possible diet for everyone?

Containers: Are you facing a concrete yard and can’t face the building work involved? Containers may be the answer.

Flowers: Are you a rose enthusiast? Or how about edible flowers to jazz up the family dinners?

Themes: Your whole outside space could be a theme to enhance your home, an attractive outdoor art form, or even a wildlife sanctuary.

If you have the space to explore a few different ideas, go for it! While you’re in the process of starting a garden, the sky’s the limit. The next best thing to do, while still relaxing in your garden of course, is grab a notepad and roughly draw out a plan of the garden and start playing with design. It doesn’t have to be to scale, although it has to be realistic. When you start getting down to work, the plans, no doubt, will be adjusted!

NB:Allow space for fun and relaxation – especially relaxation. Sitting in your garden will encourage more ideas and will also melt away stress.

Before starting a garden, there will be a few tools to acquire. Not necessarily that many, but you will need a few bits and pieces. Get the tools first; it’s so frustrating when you are on a roll and you have to stop because you haven’t the right tool for the job. Scroll down for more about tools and the ideas you can get started with straight away…

** When you’re starting a garden there are a few essentials, especially seeds, to buy. Amazon is a great place to start looking. Even if you’d rather buy locally or elsewhere online, you can get some inspiring ideas by browsing the garden products available from Amazon . This link takes you to their garden department. Type vegetable seeds or flower seeds etc; into the search box or just go with the flow.**

Starting a Garden… let’s get going!

Tools

If you’ve decided to grow fruit, flowers, herbs or vegetables in open ground, the main tools you will need are a spade, fork, rake and probably a Dutch hoe. Buy good quality tools that feel comfortable and not too heavy to use. Smaller tools, such as a trowel and watering can are also important and are needed if you are container growing. For wildlife gardens, you may simply need a sharp pair of shears to cut down any invasive plants from time to time. Check out this article for Garden Supplies

Wear heavy shoes or boots in the garden when you are digging or using any larger tools. And protect your hands with decent gardening gloves. If you’re facing a bramble patch before starting a garden, make sure the gloves are bionic!

Products

Seed trays, pots and a few pot markers are the basics if you’re intending to sow seeds or start off young plants. This is a good moment to recycle and get some free pots!

Collect cardboard tubes from toilet rolls or wash, dry and save yoghurt pots with a few drainage holes punched in the bottom. Cardboard tubes are ideal as they only last for a while and can be planted in the garden without having to disturb the roots of small plants.

Larger containers should also be bought, or acquired, for container gardening ideas. Remember you can buy specially designed potato barrels and strawberry planters nowadays and you can grow many herbs, fruit and veg in large pots and containers. Starting a garden can be as decorative and artistic as you like.

Veggie Patch

In an ideal world, a veggie patch should be divided into four or more sections to allow for crop rotation. In a smaller garden, the vegetable patch should be replenished every year with well-rotted manure or compost, or other food for your soil. Every plant that grows takes nutrients from the soil – a good reason to get rid of weeds!

Consider raised beds and containers to increase the growing area for fruit and veg. And if you are growing food, keep some notes. I put together a printable Garden Journal you may find useful or just grab any old notebook to start! My Garden Journal

Containers

Containers can be very useful as well as practical. Grow herbs in containers on the patio so they are available to add directly to your ‘al fresco’ summer meals. Pots of herbs can be grown on windowsills and other bright spots indoors. Many vegetables can be grown in large containers so there’s no excuse if you have a couple of pots lying around!

Look for old and interesting containers in markets or car boot sales. If they don’t have drainage, put a well-drained pot inside and plant into this pot. All plants need good drainage. Water-logging will rot the roots very quickly.

NB: Put pots and containers on a stand to avoid bugs making a nest underneath and to ensure good drainage. The stand doesn’t have to be fancy. A couple of bricks should do it.

Flowers

There are so many incredible flowers that can be grown at home that you can get lost for days in a seed catalogue! Go for the ones you like, or if you have no idea, consider a few points before you start:

*height and space required

*colours and scent

*annual/perennial

*support structure needed? i.e. for climbing plants

*ground cover plants

If you are simply crazy about roses for example, experiment and grow as many different varieties as you dare. Flowers can also be designed with colour in mind. Grow flowers to match the decor in the lounge perhaps? 🙂

Themes

Again flowers and colour could be themes to stick with, or there are other possibilities. How about a butterfly garden? Or maybe encourage ladybirds to your garden to deal with the greenfly on your roses?

A herb garden can take over the whole space if you so wish and many herbs will grow well in containers.

Starting a garden from scratch or even with a residue of someone else’s past efforts, is probably one of the most creative experiences to enjoy, with many practical bonuses – fresh organic food, sweet smelling flowers in the house, a little physical exercise and a general feeling of well-being. And it’s never too late to start. Many plants will survive and stay green right through the winter as well as the summer months.

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

PS. Just in case you’re longing for a herb garden this year, this handy download will help you get started.

The Herb Garden

Learn how to grow herbs indoors or in the garden, in pots and containers, from seed and other propagating methods!

Find the best ways to design a herb garden, whether you’re growing a few herbs on the windowsill or have enough outdoor space to create an outside herb garden.

The Herb garden is packed full of tips on growing herbs indoors, in pots and containers, ideas on herbal displays, different propagating methods, and pests and diseases to watch out for.

This is a comprehensive guide to general growing requirements for many herbs. Choose from your favourite online book store:

Amazon (US) , Amazon (UK) , Apple Books , Kobo , Payhip , Barnes and Noble , Etsy

Free Gardening Products

“These 10 free gardening products will get you moving in the garden without dipping into your wallet”

Finding alternative ways of coming up with the same, if not better, end result is so satisfying and will also help keep your volume of recycling stuff down. Always a good thing!

1.Cardboard Tubes

Toilet rolls and kitchen towel rolls can be cut width-ways to make tiny bottomless pots for your seeds to germinate. Squash ‘pots’ into a tray and fill with seed compost. Although watering will slowly ruin the cardboard, it doesn’t matter! And when the seedlings are ready to plant out or pot on, the cardboard easily peels away from the soil. If you can guarantee the cardboard hasn’t been treated with any chemicals, the whole pot can be planted and the cardboard will eventually rot away on its own.

2.Food Waste

All food waste must be composted. Composting is becoming quite an art form, and special composting bins can be bought, or very simply made.

There are many different theories and each gardener will find his or her preferred way. Keeping the compost fairly warm is the overall key to a good result. Or, if you’re in no hurry, simply keep adding to a heap, and dig out the bottom when required. Sieve before using and the compost will be ready for planting small plants and even seeds. A nutritous gardening product!

3.Old carpets, large damaged cardboard boxes

and similar materials can be laid over the vegetable plot in autumn to help prevent those early spring weeds appearing. Spread over a whole patch and weigh down with stones or logs. Lift off on a sunny day in early spring a few days before digging.

4.Paint trays

Keep old roller painting trays and similar containers for seed trays. Punch a few holes in the bottom for drainage. Add a little fine gravel before filling with seed compost. Seed trays shouldn’t be deeper than 15cm. NB: Make sure all traces of paint have been washed from the trays before using.

5.Yoghurt pots

All plastic yoghurt or dessert pots can be washed and saved for re-potting seedlings. Make a hole in the bottom of each and add a little fine gravel before filling with compost or soil.. pots can be expensive and recycled yoghurt pots are perfect free gardening products. Some manufacturers these days are on the ball and may be using biodegradeable pots instead of plastic – which is ideal because you can then re-plant the whole pot.

6.Glass jars

Glass jars with sealable lids are excellent for storing seeds, beans and peas for planting next season. (Safe from mice as well) After washing the jars, dry in the oven to remove all traces of moisture before storing your seeds. Collect dark glass jars, or wrap paper round clear jars to prevent seeds being damaged by light.

7.Lolly sticks and twigs

Lolly sticks make perfect row markers in your seed trays or greenhouse beds. The wooden ones won’t last for ever but you can at least write on them with pen, pencil or crayons. ( Free gardening products the kids can help recycle!)

Collect a few fallen twigs on a woodland walk if you can. They don’t need to be longer than 30cm but should be fairly straight. Then when you get home, give them a quick wash if needed. Make some flags by simply folding a small piece of paper and tying, sellotaping or sticking in anyway you can to one end of the twigs. Write your seeds name when you come to sow them!

8.Wire coat hangers

Make mini-cloches with discarded or broken wire coat hangers. Pull into a square shape. Please be careful when bending wire hangers – they can hurt! Place the hook in the soil and push down gently until the natural bend in the wire rests on top of the soil. Place another a short distance away in your seed bed to create two ends of a cloche. Now throw over a sheet of plastic and hold down with logs or stones.

Note: this will work only when creating very small cloches, but it’s still a free gardening product you can make from your wardrobe.

9.Clear plastic

Although we’re all trying to reduce our plastic consumption, sometimes you find yourself with plastic packaging that can, perhaps, be used again. Keep any clear plastic containers that could be placed upside down over a plant. Cut a mineral water bottle in half to make two handy individual cloches. Large sheets of clear plastic from packaged household items are fine for throwing over mini coat hanger cloches. When using plastic in the garden, make sure it doesn’t start decomposing or shredding any bits of plastic in your soil.

10.Aluminium bottle tops and DVDs

Keep aluminium tops from milk or juice bottles, and also coloured foil around beer or wine bottles. Thread together to make a bird scarer. Simply thread with thick cotton and hang on your fruit bushes before the birds find the new fruits.

Old CDs and DVDs also make good bird scarers, threaded together on a rope. A large enough knot needs to be tied on either side of each disc to keep them in place.

Look out for other free gardening products from kitchen throwaways such as…

-Old kitchen spoons and forks for transplanting tiny plants in the greenhouse.

-Leaky buckets for harvesting small quantities of potatoes, carrots etc;

-Light wooden boxes for harvesting salads through the summer, and transporting pots etc;

Keep an eye on that rubbish bag and turn today’s throwaways into tomorrow’s free gardening products!

Happy Gardening

Linda x

P.S. This handy download will be invaluable if you’re just starting out on your gardening journey. Feeding family and friends on organic fresh veggies is sublime!

Growing Everyday Vegetables

Growing Everyday Vegetables takes you step-by-step through the process of growing, harvesting and storing ten everyday vegetables:

Beans, Broccoli, Carrots, Garlic, Lettuce, Onions, Peppers, Potatoes, Tomatoes and Zucchini.

And, as an added bonus, there are recipe ideas for every vegetable, so if you have a glut, you can serve deliciously different recipes that the whole family will enjoy, without getting bored!

Choose from your favourite online bookstore:

Amazon (US) , Amazon (UK) , Apple Books , Kobo , Payhip , Barnes & Noble , Etsy

Growing Horseradish

(from 20 Everyday Herbs – see below)

Horseradish is a prolific plant and should be positioned carefully in the garden. It will tolerate partial shade but prefers a sunny spot if possible. Choose a permanent place as horseradish will last many years.

Dig the ground deep and clear out any weeds, large stones and non-organic debris. The cleaner the soil, the bigger the roots will grow. More preparation will guarantee better crops.

The horseradish root likes a rich well-manured soil and not too heavy. All root crops struggle in heavy soils.

To inhibit rapid spreading, containers work well as they literally contain the plant.
Fill containers with organic compost and position in a sunny spot. Make sure the container is well-drained, and kept watered and weed-free.


Not easy to find horse radish roots for sale online although Ebay might be worth a shot. Not even Amazon seemed to have any when I looked. They sell a lot of wasabi which is a close relative but I’m not sure if there are any different growing requirements.

Vsorce4u 100 x Wasabi Viable Bonsai Seeds

Package Included: 100 x Wasabi Seeds
Wasabi has numerous health benefits and a distinctive fresh, hot, sweet flavor that can’t be matched. This is the true wasabi.

These cold-stored seeds must be planted in potting soil. Germination of this summer or fall planted seed is in the very early spring. By March the seedlings will have formed 2 sets of true leaves and its time to pot them up.

Wasabi Seeds Here (UK)

Horseradish is usually grown from root cuttings which you can buy from good garden suppliers. Plant the root in early spring or autumn. Check on the supplier’s growing recommendations, as size of root, variety and regions will have varying needs.

A neighbour or local gardener may be happy to donate a root or two to start you off. Plant as soon as possible after the roots have been lifted from the soil.

Plant the roots according to how big they are. The smaller the root the shallower it should be planted.

Try taking your own root cuttings in the autumn. Dig the roots up gently and use the largest one in the kitchen, then re-plant one or more of the side shoots.

Also, sections of root can be planted in the spring to produce new roots in the autumn. Horseradish does spread quickly though and care should be taken not to let it take over the whole garden. For container growing, choose a large well-drained container and fill with fresh compost before planting.

From seed:

Horseradish can be grown from seed sown in spring. The seeds should be sown in a sunny patch and the ground must be cleaned of large stones and perennial weeds, and dug deeply before sowing to allow for root growth.

Again, the cleaner and richer the soil, the better chance you have of harvesting a good crop.

Thin out the plants when they are a couple of inches (5cm) high to allow space to grow. Keep weed-free and watered especially during dry periods.

Alternatively, sow seed in a large well-drained container. Always use fresh compost when planting containers. Old compost may have been drained of nutrients from previous plantings.

Once established, and with very little attention, the bed will become a permanent horseradish patch and will produce healthy roots for many years.

Dig up all the roots every autumn. Use the largest roots in the kitchen and re-plant the others. This method of cultivation keeps your horseradish patch producing roots regularly and also helps to control the rapid growth.

The young leaves can be used in salads and sandwiches. Take a few from each plant and allow to grow again before using more. The root is cleaned, grated and eaten raw, often mixed with vinegar and cream and served with a Sunday roast.

Horseradish root is said to be stronger tasting after the first frost, so if you can leave them in until then, you will get a better result.

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

P.S. This text is an extract from 20 Everyday Herbs

20 Everyday Herbs

A potted history of twenty everyday herbs, step by step growing instructions, storing ideas and even medicinal uses.

Basil … Bay … Celery … Chives … Coriander … Dill … Fennel … Garlic … Horseradish … Lavender … Lemon Balm … Lovage … Marigold … Mint … Nasturtium … Oregano … Parsley … Rosemary … Sage … Thyme.

’20 Everyday Herbs’ is packed full of everything you need to know about how to grow herbs for everyday use. A must-have!

Choose from your favourite online book store

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October Gardening

Needing some more dry days in Cornwall this autumn. But, between the showers, it’s possible to get some tidying or clearing up done before it gets too cold. Preparing the garden now will give you a head start in the Spring.

Clearing:
All garden debris should be cleared this month. Harvest remaining summer crops and have a general clear up before it gets too cold and wet to plan gardening days. Clean as much as you can now and you’ll have fewer pressing jobs later on.

Rake up all leaves.

Compost what you can. Burn some if you need to. Leaves can be hung in sacks with a few drainage holes if you have a lot of them. They will turn into leaf mould that can be used as a nutritious mulch.

Pests:
Slugs will probably re-appear in the wetter weather so check all your winter veg carefully and get rid of slugs and snails quickly.

Plants:
Bring in or protect vulnerable plants. If you’ve left a lemon tree out all summer, bring it in before it gets too cold. Plant over-wintering vegetables now if you haven’t already done so. Spinach, broad (fava) beans and even fruit bushes.

Fruit trees and bushes planted now have time to establish their root systems before the spring. But always check that your variety is able to cope with winter weather before you plant.

Spring flowering bulbs should definitely be planted by now.

Prune all dead wood from fruit bushes and woody shrubs now. Think air-flow when pruning fruit bushes. Any tangled branches should be pruned back and any diseased or dead parts removed.

Split your perennials. Rhubarb crowns ad chive plants can be carefully dug up, divided and re-planted now.

Crops:
Lift all root crops and potatoes before it gets too wet and/or cold. Dry in the sun for a few hours if possible, then store in a dry cool place. Storing vegetables needs a little care. Don’t just throw them all in a box and hope for the best! They should be stored separately and in trays out of direct light in a dry area and away from rodents. Some gardeners like to store in barrels of sand – although these can be vulnerable to mice attacks.

Harvest all summer crops, including fruits and store.

There are four usual ways of storing crops. Laying them in trays, as above, bottling/preserving, drying and freezing. Each food crop will be best stored in a different fashion, although some will cope with more than one way.

For example, strawberries make great jam, but you can also freeze them. Frozen fruits tend to lose their texture and some taste when frozen but it’s still possible. Check on storing instructions online for each of your crops.

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

P.S. This article comes from a printable Garden Journal with monthly tips that you can use every year. Grab it from Etsy now while it’s at a seasonal low price!

Handy Gardening Tips

Here are a few general growing tips that may come in handy.

**Always make sure plants are in well-drained soil or compost. Check your soil outside for drainage and make sure containers and pots have good drainage. Very few plants will survive in waterlogged soil.

**Check your plants every day. Get someone else to do this if you are away for a few days. They must be watered in dry weather and sometimes need shelter from a hot midday sun. We don’t tend to have that problem very much in the UK, but you never know.

**Grow what you like to eat. Doesn’t matter how great the beetroot harvest is, if no-one wants to eat it, it’s a waste of your time and energy.

**Local growers may have valuable tips that will save you from a crop failure, especially if you are intending to grow fruit or vegetables which are not acclimatized to your region. Chat over the fence with your gardening neighbour and get them to talk about their crops. Guaranteed they will love to share their tips!

**Don’t rush into the garden and dig over the ground in one go, especially if you aren’t used to daily physical (hard) work-outs. Back ache isn’t comfortable, and could keep you from pottering in the garden for weeks. Take it slowly – even half a square metre a day will soon give you enough prepared soil for seeds or small plants.

**Always use good potting or seed compost in pots and containers to give your plants all the nutrients they need.

** Use bio-degradable pots so that you don’t disturb the roots when planting out.
Save cardboard tubes from the inside of toilet rolls, kitchen towels etc; Cut them in half so you have 2 tubes and then cram them into a seed tray. Fill with compost and sow your seeds as usual. The cardboard should survive just long enough to plant out and then will decompose safely.

You can also buy a ‘pot-maker’ tool these days from most garden suppliers. Or simply roll newspaper a few times round a rolling pin or something similar. These home-made pots only need to last a few weeks so they don’t have to be perfectly symmetrical or garden works of art. 🙂

Happy Gardening!

Linda x
P.S. This text was lifted straight out of ‘Growing Everyday Vegetables’ available as a download in lots of online bookstores.

Growing Everyday vegetables

Growing Everyday Vegetables takes you step-by-step through the process of growing, harvesting and storing ten everyday vegetables:

Beans, Broccoli, Carrots, Garlic, Lettuce, Onions, Peppers, Potatoes, Tomatoes and Zucchini.

And, as an added bonus, there are recipe ideas for every vegetable, so if you have a glut, you can serve deliciously different recipes that the whole family will enjoy, without getting bored!

Choose from your favourite online book store

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