Gardening Tips

On this page are some tips and ideas to make gardening easier. There are also some items of equipment which are tried and tested and merit a mention. On other pages there is information about what Frost Hardy means, which is essential for ensuring you pick the right plant for the right place. 

A much asked question is when to plant out bedding plants, the Sunday Gardener has best tips on bedding plants and when to plant out bedding plants.

Check out also The Chelsea Chop, how to sow vegetable and flower seeds, great lawn care tips and a guide to pruning.

Finally, the plants and shrubs on this website are colour coded to help you select plants for your garden; check out what colour coded means. Some favourite questions are answered in the tips below- and on the Q & A pages.

slug

Beat the Slugs

Gardening enemy No 1 : slugs and snails. 

Tricky creatures who can decimate a bedding plant or lettuce overnight.  As soon a spring arrives so do the slugs, nasty slimy creatures which can shred a Hosta overnight or devastate a tender Delphinium.

There are many effective ways to beat the slugs such as beer traps, nematodes, picking and dispatching. The Sunday Gardener has detailed advice on how to beat the slugs.   

Advice also on what to do about bedding plants a key target for slugs.  It is very disheartening after planting rows of attractive summer bedding plants to find that the slugs have had the best of them. Sometimes bedding plants can be rescued; and here is how to rescue a chewed up bedding plant.     

garden membrane

Beat the weeds

  Weeding is not the favourite task in the garden so here's a tip on how to reduce it.

Three great tips on how to reduce weeding here's how to Beat the Weeds

sow in straight lines

Tips for the Veg plot

 How to tell emerging seedlings from weeds?  Tip: sow seeds in straight lines because weeds don't grow in straight lines. 

When the tiny seedlings germinate the seedlings can be hard to recognise. It's tricky to tell the seeds from the weeds. If you sow in a straight line you will know which are the fledgling plants. Tips on Growing vegetables

plant ties

Check ties regularly

This is an easy mistake to make when you tie in a young plant, in this case a tomato. This tie was fine when first placed on the plant. But, remember the plant will grow, the tie gets tighter and can cut into the plant read more about growing tomatoes.

raffia

Raffia makes really good garden ties. It is inexpensive and ideal in the garden. If it falls off the plant it will degrade down, and not leave pieces of wire in the borders. It is strong but will not cut into plants.  Its soft, but strong and biodegradable. And it looks attractive.

heavy duty stakes

Plant supports for free

 Many plants need support and they can be expensive to purchase. Commercial plant supports of metal and steel are expensive and can sometimes look intrusive. A good alternative is natural supports; whenever I am cutting down plants, whether it is removing saplings as in this image, or cutting down the Cornus I keep the off cuts and they make ideal plant supports and pea sticks. I also think they look more attractive in the border than metal supports. More information on free plant supports.

ice damage to water butt

Winter gardening tips

It is a good idea to drain the water butt before the worst of the winter frost and cold. The image left shows what can happen if frost gets a hold.

Naturally when the water freezes and it expands inside the water butt it can cause it to fracture, a costly mistake. 

More hints on winter gardening tips. 

effective watering

Effective watering

To help get plants established it is the roots which need watering, and regularly. One way to direct water to the roots, especially if you have planted on a slope where the water may just run off, is to sink a water bottle alongside the plant. When you water put extra water into the bottle and it will run down deeper towards the roots.

This is also good for plants such tomatoes, as illustrated, where it is important to keep the water off the leaves to reduce disease. More about growing tomatoes.

pink pelagonian

Going on Holiday?

If you are going on holiday you will need to find a way to keep your plants, containers and hanging baskets happy and watered whilst you are away. Happy Holiday tips.

Later in the year, as the colder weather approaches, you need to bring tender non frost hardy plants under cover. It is expensive to buy new bedding plants each year. Many Pelargoniums, common name Geraniums and Fuchsias can be overwintered and planted out again next year. Plants for free.

hoeing weeds

Sow with space to Hoe

One of the best ways to keep on top of weeds especially in the veg plot is by hoeing. Running a hoe over weeds helps to keep them at bay. To make this easier when planting into the veg plot plant a Hoe's width apart and then you can easily hoe in between rows to beat the weeds.