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Grow Your Own

  1. Growing fruit in the garden

    When it comes to growing a beautiful garden full of organic foods, many assume that you need a large space to grow a variety of fruits or vegetables. However, the fact of the matter is that even the most limited spaces offer plenty of options for those who possess a green thumb. If you fancy having your own selection of delectable strawberries, juicy watermelons, fresh squash, or even a few apple trees, there’s something to suit any size garden.

    Depending on what time of the year you are planning to start growing fruit in your garden, there will be different varieties available that produce fruit during certain times of the year. Below you will find some of the easiest fruit to get started with in your garden.

    Getting started with growing fruit

    Before choosing the types of fruit to grow in your garden, consider how to best utilise the space you have available. For example, if you are planning on planting trees, be aware of the potential size they will

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  2. The definitive guide to herb planting in winter

    Who can honestly say they don't enjoy traces of herbs to enhance the taste of their favourite food, summer or winter? Yes, most of us do. In harsh winter climates we need to understand how to ensure we do have our favourite herb ready for use during those lovely summer months. What follows here is a guide with suggestions helping us choose some of the herbs we like best, and where to plant and care for them.

    A good suggestion is to grow your winter herbs indoors, on the kitchen windowsill, for instance. There will be sunlight there and your herbs won't perish outside in the bitter cold. If you have a porch or good-sized balcony you can use bigger pots. A barn that gets enough sunlight, or even a small greenhouse area, are obvious choices too. Important is to protect your little (or not so little) garden from cold winds and snow. Some people even grow their winter herbs outside but they cover the plants with straw in very cold temperatures.

    Care for your plants and en

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  3. Green little fingers: Top tools for gardening with children

    Whilst it is great to teach children about the joys of gardening from a very young age, it must never be done at the expense of safety, which should always be regarded as paramount. Accidents happen fast and it's the adult's responsibility to prevent them. It is important that your child understands from a very young age that there are rules to be adhered to and that he/she knows certain garden tools and materials are not to be handled without supervision. Children should be taught that safety comes first - be meticulous and strict; leave nothing to chance.

    Growing with different ages

    2-5 year olds

    In this age group special care has to be taken so that children don't hurt themselves as they start helping mum and dad in the garden. This should be seen as an introductory phase above all else. A good idea is to get your youngster his/her own set of plastic/play tools just to get used to the idea of touching the soil and getting to know the implements. Small

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  4. Autumn gardening guide

    The crisp, cool mornings are starting to be a more common as we move through the second half of September, clearly Autumn is well-and-truly on the way.

    If you haven't already planted more hardy crops ready for harvest during Autumn, don't worry. If you have a greenhouse you will still be able to grow food during winter, with a bit of effort. If you're good you may even be able to grow peppers in your greenhouse up to December.

    In the garden dead head and clear up. Compost what you can and chip hard wood to use as mulch later in the year. Winter Pansies are such good performers. Now is the time to plant bulbs ready for next year.

    What can be grown in the greenhouse?

    September

    Sowing:

    September

    Harvesting:

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  5. Top tips for growing bulbs for next spring

    Planting bulbs is one of the easiest gardening tasks, yet it can result in some of the most effective displays in spring. All you need to do is select the right bulbs for you and there are many to choose from. These include favourites likeTulips and Daffodils as well as Hyacinths, Fritillarias and Crocus.

    When should you begin to plant your bulbs?

    • Spring flowering bulbs (Daffodils, Crocus, Hyacinths) – plant ideally late September, but you can plant between October to December before frost starts to form.
    • Summer flowering bulbs (Lillies, Gladioli) – Plant in March to early April.
    • Autumn flowering bulbs (Dahlia, Begonia) – Plant late-July into September.

    Best locations to plant your spring bulbs

    Generally, spring bulbs like a warm and sunny area in your garden, but your soil must have really good drainage to ensure roots aren't crushed during winter. If you have clay soil you may need to dig out

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  6. Tips for growing brassica (Including broccoli & cabbage)

    When thinking about growing food at home you need to decide what you'd like to eat what are the best all year round options. A good group of plants to consider are the Brassica (Brassicaceae) which include great staples like kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts.

    So what are the health benefits?

    All Brassica are naturally high in vitamin C and soluble dietary fibre, but each type is nutrient packed. This is the main reason why these plants are excellent ideal all year round vegetables.

    Broccoli, in particular, contains high levels of diindolylmethane which is a immunostimulant that also exhibits antiviral, antibacterial and anticancer activity. There are also good amounts of glucoraphanin, which is a precursor to sulforaphane. This is potentially an anticancer compound, currently in clinical and phase II trials. Unfortunately, boiling reduces the levels of these compounds. However, steaming or frying doesn't degrade sulforaphane levels to

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  7. How to start a community garden with minimal space

    Reach out from the cosy confines of your own garden paradise and help to create a community garden. You'll be amazed at who it will attract.

    Community gardens are fantastic places to meet new people, to pass on skills, and improve your local area. Easy to set up, a community garden will benefit everyone in the local area.

    How to start a community garden

    You've got a plan, you're bursting with energy – and you have just seen a plot of land that is long neglected and perfect for your community garden project. Find out who owns it. With budget cuts, many councils are struggling to keep all areas up to scratch and a quick delve into the council directory may unearth a potential for you to help them out! Private land may require a bit more investigation but do it, the Internet makes it all easy, and get permission before embarking on your big adventure.

    Quick tips

    • Get permission before starting anything – land is owned by som
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  8. How to get started with a balcony garden

    There’s a certain satisfaction that comes being surrounded by plants you have nurtured and helped thrive. But what if you live in an apartment without a garden? Balcony gardening allows you to still experience the rewards of growing your own plants and even your own food. Balcony gardening is a popular pastime for those who love to garden but have limited space.

    Where do you start?

    Firstly, it’s important to check out the practicalities. Are there any restrictions in your building about how you use your balcony? You don’t want to be annoying landlords or neighbours. Do you know how much weight your balcony can bear? Pots of soil can become heavy.

    Then it’s time to assess the micro-climate of your balcony. How much sun does it get each day? Is there an overhang from the balcony above which will affect light or access to rain? Wind is also important to consider. Details like these and which way your balcony faces will all affect which

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  9. Growing with a mini greenhouse

    If you don't have room for a greenhouse, but want to grow under glass, a mini greenhouse is the ideal way to extend the growing season. There's a variety of sizes, prices and styles, so you're sure to find one that suits your space and wallet.

    So what is a mini greenhouse?

    There's several categories, each with their pros and cons:

    A tomato house (mini growhouse or growhouse) is cheap, made from push-together steel framework covered by a uPVC zipped cover. However, they're light and can blow away. Shelves can also bow under weight, so these are best for growing a small number of tomatoes in sheltered areas.

    An aluminium or wooden-framed mini greenhouse is more expensive, usually catering for one growbag. Despite their small size, they are strong, can be fixed to walls and are adaptable, with shelving and a top glazed lid.

    A cold frame is excellent for hardening off crops. Lighter versions are great for warming soil in spring. Heavier wooden t

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