What is a Compost Heap?

Jorafrom insulated compost binsWhat is a compost heap?

A compost heap is a mound of decaying organic matter used by gardeners to re-cycle garden waste into a free organic soil improver and plant feed. A compost heap may be a simple pile in the open but may also be enclosed in a brick or wooden structure to keep the heap tidy and to help conserve heat which helps in the composting process.

Smaller plastic static or rotating compost bins can be used urban gardens where insufficient waste is produced to fill a large compost bin.

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Garden Pests

blackfly garden pestVegetable Garden Pests

Seeing your vegetable crops decimated by pests can be a very disheartening sight and it can happen seemingly overnight if proper preventative methods aren’t applied. Once the garden pest or pests have been identified you can go about controlling them. Most insects and wildlife found in the vegetable garden are not pests, around 95% are beneficial or harmless. The best gardens are teeming with life, and maintaining the right balance of beneficial pests and wildlife while reducing or eliminating the populations of damage causing insects and pests is what pest control is all about. The easiest and most cost effective method of controlling pests is to use natural and preventative means and there are a few that work for every pest. Here is a run down of the most common and devastating veg garden pests. Continue reading

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Irrigation in the Vegetable Garden

Vegetable garden irrigation

Regular watering and sensible irrigation is essential to the development of any plant, it is crucial for healthy growth and successful fruiting. Water is drawn from the root of the plant and transported through its capillary system, transferring valuable nutrients collected from the soil and eventually released through the plant foliage by evaporation and transpiration. This water needs to be replaced in order to sustain steady growth. The moisture content of the soil or compost must be maintained for this to happen, taking into account losses due to surface run-off, drainage and evaporation. Continue reading

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What is Compost?

Garden compost

What is compost? In gardening terms the word compost can be confusing as it can refer to garden compost you make yourself or for bags of peat compost you would purchase from a garden centre. In their essence they are indeed the same thing as both are made from broken down organic matter but there are a number of important differences: Continue reading

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The Health Benefits of Garlic

Garlic nutrition benefits

You have to hand it to garlic for it’s sheer audacity, showboating through the kitchen, loving the attention it gets as its aroma permeates everything whether being cooked or chopped. It may be the creamy sweetness it exudes upon roasting and popping out of it’s paper coat or the earthy tones it adds to ginger and chili in a simple stir fry but either way it’s versatility cannot be underestimated. Garlic sits comfortably with so many things, as long as it’s getting a bit of the spotlight it’s quite happy. The pungency of garlic is more acutely observed by the non eaters so if you find yourself overwhelmed by the whiff from your friends, the only answer may be to indulge in it yourself. If you can’t beat them, you may as well join them. Continue reading

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How to Water Your Vegetable Garden

watering vegetables, grow your own, irrigation

Water is necessary to sustain all living life forms, we are made up of about 60% water while herbaceous plants like the vegetables growing in your garden contain between 80 and 95%. Plants use water to move nutrients around, to produce energy and in the case of non woody plants to create structure by packing cells with water to hold the plant up. In short if we don’t have a good water supply, we don’t have healthy plants. Continue reading

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Diseases in the Vegetable Garden

Lee rust disease

Perfectly healthy plants can be affected by air, water or soil borne diseases at any time. Understanding the causes, identifying them early and taking effective action will help you establish and maintain a healthy vegetable garden.

Anthracnose diseaseAnthracnose. This is a fungal disease present in Europe since the 1990s affecting tomatoes, beans and cucumbers and many other plants. It causes lesions on plant stems, leaves and fruit which develop into spore groups during warm, wet weather. Affected plants should be destroyed. Continue reading

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Recognising Common Garden Weeds – Perennial Weeds

Willow herb

Perennial Weeds
Perennial weeds come up every year from the same plant and are difficult to get rid of but not as hard as they are often made our to be. Most have deep tap roots which need to be removed but once this has been done smaller regrowth can be dealt with relatively easily. Other perennials with different growth habits are daisy, plantain, sliverweed and creeping buttercup which all need vigilance to remove tenacious shallow roots but are still relatively easy to eradicate. Continue reading

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Recognising Common Garden Weeds – Annual Weeds

Speedwell annual weed header

Of course weeds are a large part of our gardens and are plants we have to keep an eye out for especially before they manage to sow seed and multiply. If you do keep a strict and thorough weeding regime and keep the spread of seed to a minimum this particular chore will get much easier as the years go by. You will also find by using a ‘do dig’ method and adding compost and manure to the surface of your garden rather than digging it in you will reduce them amount of dormant weed seeds brought to the surface to germinate. Continue reading

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Raised Garden Ponds

Timber raised garden ponds

Timber raised ponds can create a beautiful water feature centrepiece for your outdoor garden. With these kits you can have an instant garden pond in your garden, patio, or deck without the need for landscaping. They are great for complementing a raised vegetable garden or for use as a stand alone koi and other fish pond, water plant garden or as a timber water structure for the garden. These ponds are raised above the ground to both eliminate the need for digging a hole and make it safer for children and animals. Raised ponds are essentially a thick timber frame with a strong pond liner to prevent any leakage; they can be placed on any surface from concrete and tarmacadam to paving, earth, and landscaping stones. Continue reading

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