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  • unwanted guests?

    Weeds in a polytunnel

    Weeds are probably every gardener’s worst nightmare… they can easy overgrow the main crop starving it from its nutrients in the soil. Not only this but will also battle the plant for light meaning that it probably won’t stand a chance at surviving. Weeds needs to be dealt with as soon as possible to prevent them from ruining other plants… plus they will take over in no time at all. Using polytunnels lowers the risks of weeds as it gives plants a protective layer from outside, meaning its harder for seeds to spread. This doesn’t mean its impossible though… seeds can stick to clothing and be brought in that way, also when your ventilating your tunnel seeds can be brought in by the wind.

    Weeding straight after watering is far better and easier than pulling it out of dry soil, light and moist soil significantly enables weeds to be lifted with ease. Removing weeds before they mature is very important, this is because it will impede production of the next generation. A matured plant will develop roots in the soil and will begin to sow its own seeds… creating an army. Remember weeds grow at an alarming rate, meaning that regular checks in the polytunnel are needed. There are parts of a polytunnel weeds can hide… in corners, underneath tables, behind objects etc, its important that everywhere gets checked if you want a weed free tunnel.

    Growing crops fairly close together can also get rid of weed problems, this is because it gives weeds less space to sprout. Although to plant crops too close as you run the risk of them competing for light and nutrients. Make sure any weeds collected are burnt as you run the risk of seeds getting out again. The worst thing to do with weeds is add them to the compost as this will cause them to return.

    types of weed
  • bugs bugs bugs

    Build a bug hotel

     

    An insect hotel or bug house is something manmade, it encourages insects of all kinds to nest and hibernate over the winter periods. You can build different types of bug hotels to attract various insects. Many insect hotels are used as nest sites by insects including solitary bees and solitary wasps. These insects drag prey to the nest where an egg is deposited. Other insects hotels are specifically designed to allow the insects to hibernate, notable examples include ladybirds and butterflies. Continue reading

  • garlic spray

    Garlic spray keeps the pests away!

     

    There are many insects in the garden that aren’t pests, these insects fight away the pests almost like little tiny guards for plants. When pesticides are used, they not only wipe out pests but also the beneficial insects. Once all the good insects are gone it can throw the garden off balance, meaning it has no natural defence systems. The obvious answer is not to resort to harmful toxins, as there is a much simpler and natural way of dealing with these pests, plus the friendly insects aren’t harmed in the crossfire. Being exposed to pesticides can be harmful, so you probably don’t want to introduce it into the garden, especially if there are pets and children. The answer…homemade garlic spray. Continue reading

  • fight germs the natural way

    Growing your own germ fighting herb garden

     

    Kitchen gardens are great… need to spice up the cooking? Or just want something to keep busy, look no further. Herb gardens are simple to grow, plus can easily be grown from most kitchen windowsills. When growing herbs unless using them often and plentiful, there will most likely be unused left-over herbs… yes drying or freezing them would eliminate this, but why not try something new. Turning herbs into household cleaners is a great way of saving money on pricey alternatives. Lots of herbs have great antimicrobial properties that are great for fighting germs.

    Thyme!

    Thyme has excellent antibacterial, antiseptic and antifungal properties. The oil found inside thyme has been proven effective against certain anti-biotic resistant strains of bacteria. Thyme works great in an all-purpose cleaner or even combine it with other herbs on the list. As I previously mentioned, thyme oil is an effective natural agent against nasty bacterial strains. A study presented at the Society for General Microbiology's spring conference in Edinburgh pointed out that essential oils may be efficient and affordable alternatives to antibiotics in the battle against resistant bacteria.

    Rosemary!

    Recipes for DIY rosemary and lemon cleaners are plentiful… but why wouldn’t they be? Its smell is fragrant, strong and woody, unlike most other household herbs can actually mask the smell of vinegar. It has also been shown to kill certain strains of bacteria and fungi in a lab environment.

    Basil!

    Basil is another great herb that will abolish most common germs… plus its smells fantastic. Basil has shown to be very successful in killing germs, especially E. coli, salmonella, and listeria. Interesting fact… there are actually 35 different types of basil? Basil plants come in a range of variety and sizes, but holy basil is the most researched type of basil thus farHoly basil is the species of basil most known for its powerful healing qualities.

    Peppermint!

    perhaps you don’t want your house to perpetually smell like an Italian restaurant. A good herb to grow to avoid unwanted odours would be mint, with the added bonus that it will also work as a great cleaning agent.

    The simplest and cheapest way to turn fresh herbs into a cleaning sensation is to fill a jar with the herb or herbaceous blend of your choice, pour warm white vinegar over the plants, and top with a lid. Its recommended to let it sit for a couple of weeks… once its ready, pour through a civ to discard the herbs, as the vinegar has already absorbed the germ destroying properties.

     

     

  • Earlier harvest... sweeter fruits

    Forcing rhubarb

     

    Rhubarb is a delicious sweet fruit, perfect for crumbles, pies, cordials or just to eat on their own. Rhubarb is a strange plant because its ripe all through spring and summer. To cause no harm to the plant the best time to harvest is once the stalks are about 10 inches long. You harvest by simply pulling the stalks gently and leaning it to one side until it breaks off. Continue reading

  • Which one is it?

    Fruit or vegetable?

     

    Many people assume something is a vegetable just because it doesn’t resemble a fruit… however I can tell you many things thought to be veg is actually a fruit. The following are actually fruits and not vegetables. Continue reading

  • What to grow?

    Veggies for beginners

     

    The worst thing a new vegetable gardener can do is start big, starting small allows you to manage your time much easier, for a new gardener this is something I can’t stress enough. Believe me… I know how tempting it can be when flicking through the seed catalogue, seeing fruits and vegetables that aren’t well known in the UK and instantly wanting to try them. Choosing out what you want to grow can be hard but starting small is definitely the key. The main things to look for in your first year of gardening is, vegetables that are considered easy to grow and what gives the best yields… most importantly though, grow something tasty and enjoyable. We have devised a list of 10 vegetables, fruits and herbs that a first-time grower should try out. Continue reading

  • maximise your heat

    Chillies… the hotter the better

     

    There are lots of varieties of chillies, coming in many different sizes, colours and of course heat intensity. Some people set out to grow the hottest chillies they can, there are a few steps you can take to ensure your chillies pack a punch! The heat of chillies is measured in “Scoville heat units” (SHU). Continue reading

  • composting

    A Million & One things to compost

     

    We all know how important composting is… many of us don’t know exactly what is safe to compost, so here is a million and one things to compost! Continue reading

  • Sundrop farm

    End of Food Crisis… Sundrop Farms

     

    Growing your own food could essentially be saving the world… the world’s population is rising and keeps rising, Eventually the world will become so overpopulated that food will become scarce even in places with wealth. By 2050 the world’s population will reach 9 billion where as in 2010 it was around 7 billion the world and food production cannot accommodate for such a number. Things will have to change, people will need to grow their own food to not go hungry. Continue reading

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