Words of Wisdom from the Gardening Guru

Sow What?

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Varieties of Peppers – Seeds to Sow 0

Posted on February 20, 2013 by Samantha Ford

Pepper Seeds - Tondo Piccante Cherry

February and March are the months of the year when we start to sow seeds in earnest, particularly those that require a long growing season to ripen.  Of course, this is easier if you have a greenhouse or can start seeds under cover, such as on a sunny windowsill.  If you can start to sow seeds now in batches, then you still have time to sow a few more again later if you have any problems with germination.

Peppers have to be one of my favourite crops to grow as there are so many different colours and varieties to suit all tastes, such as the standard bell pepper as well as ornamental, cayenne and chili peppers.  They are versatile in cooking and can be stored in many ways once harvested.  Here are a few different varieties to try. Read the rest of this entry →

Planning Your Plot – Crop Rotation 0

Posted on February 05, 2013 by Samantha Ford

Garden Crop RotationLast time, I started my discussion on how to plan your garden so that it is most productive all year round by giving advice on companion planting.  Companion planting, or the practice of growing vegetables with herbs and flowers, is useful for deterring pests and keeping the soil in balance as different crops need different nutrients as they grow.  However, whilst some crops return nutrients to the soil that can be used by others, if members of the same crop family are grown together in the same place year after year, nutrients can be depleted and pests will be encouraged to return.  Most farmers and many seasoned gardeners follow the practice of crop rotation to improve yield, moving crop families around the plot each year in a particular order.

Even in a small garden, crops can be rotated to take advantage of the many benefits.  In fact, I recently designed a system of rotated raised beds for a family to grow food on their garden patio.  The children really enjoyed growing the tomatoes and courgettes in particular.  Hopefully, the following advice will encourage you to try it for yourself – no excuse!

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The north wind doth blow …. 1

Posted on January 16, 2013 by Samantha Ford

The Winter GardenThe north wind doth blow … but don’t despair about the snow!
The recent autumn and winter climate has been relatively mild but, as expected, we are now experiencing freezing temperatures and snow.  There are still many tasks that you can get on with over winter to protect and prepare your garden for the spring.

Listen to weather forecasts and remember to protect delicate crops.  Outdoor containers should be brought inside or wrapped in bubble wrap and placed off the freezing ground, perhaps on a polystyrene tray similar to those you find in pizza packaging.  There are always things lying around the house that can be recycled.

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Sow What? – November 2012 0

Posted on November 15, 2012 by Gardening Guru

November already?  This month always seems so cold especially after a mild October, so don’t forget that the change in temperature will also be a shock to some of your outdoor plants.  Wrap outdoor terracotta pots with bubble wrap and lift them from the ground to keep them free draining and away from ground frost.  Even if not ready, many late crops will need to be brought in now for ripening indoors on a sunny windowsill, such as squash and tomatoes to protect them from frost.  However, frost can improve the taste of parsnips and Brussels sprouts outdoors. Read the rest of this entry →

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