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We are a friendly, enthusiastic company that have been designing, manufacturing and distributing garden care and plant protection products for many years. Professional, experienced and amateur gardeners all love to grow using our innovative, easy to use products.
We've put together a collection of Videos from our archives that demonstrate the great things our gardening products can do.
Have you got a specific gardening question? Just ask Pippa!
Click here for personalised advice from gardening specialist Pippa Greenwood.
5th July 2020
One of the most often asked questions is "what size pot do you need for growing tomatoes?"
So we looked at lots of sources and this is what we concluded. Perceived wisdom is that the ideal pot size is 18-inch (45cm) diameter for determinate tomatoes and 24-inches (60cm) diameter for indeterminate tomatoes. That is 30L to 60L of compost. If you want to grow tomatoes like this then hop over to this blog post Grow at Home Tomatoes which will tell you all you need to know.
But what if you could do it with a lot less compost - maybe 5L?
We have been running an experiment to prove this is possible. We have concluded that it is not only possible but actually quite easy. Our plants have been producing vines of lovely rosy tomatoes for a couple of weeks now so its time to share the secrets.
The first thing you need is a Vigoroot 5L planter. This special fabric allows the roots to Air Prune. If you haven't heard of this before then it is a way to get a super efficient root system. The roots grow out from the centre and through the porous Vigoroot fabric. When they hit the air the root end dies off. This causes the plant to send more roots out from the centre. As you will see from the diagram below this means that you get lots of small effective roots rather than long pot bound roots.
Container grown tomato plants need more watering than garden tomatoes. The soil in planters heats up faster which leads to more water evaporation.
For plants grown in regular pots or planters a good rule is to water until water runs freely from the bottom. Water in the morning and check the soil moisture levels again in the afternoon. If soil feels dry about 1 inch below the surface, it’s time to water again.
A lack of water can stunt growth and inconsistent watering will cause splits in the fruit which allow diseases in. The watering is even more important with Vigoroot as it is porous so will require slightly more than regular pots. So we used Water Saucers
Water Saucers are simple but effective - a water container and a super absorbent capillary wick deliver water straight to the plant as and when it needs it. They are perfect for Vigoroot but can be used with any pot. The wicks can even be retro fitted to a plant already potted.
They are quite thirsty plants. We are refilling our Saucer once every 3 days, adding liquid tomato Food direct into the water.
So here are our tomatoes. As you can see they grew quite tall!
We got the seeds from our friends at Jungle Seeds. They are an indeterminate tomato so should need around 60L of compost to grow this well. They are Rapunzel Hybrid-i, and are characterised by these amazing long, cascading trusses, each with up to 40 tasty sweet, bright red shiny cherry tomatoes that keep coming all summer long. These are picked individually as they ripen and have a superb flavour that rivals Sungold.
And as for those roots - the ones meeting the sides of the pots have air pruned. And the ones near to the wick have used it to seek out the water. This gives a partially hydroponic set up. With a full hydroponic set up the water needs to be oxygenated but this is not needed here. With this set up, the advantage is there is an air gap between the bottom of the pot and the water which allows the roots to access vital oxygen.
So if you are asking the question "what size pot do you need for growing tomatoes?" then the answer that Google gives you is definitely not the whole story.
3rd July 2020
It is important to clear long grass and weeds from around the base of young trees. Otherwise they can sap nutrients from the plant and make it hard for the tree to get established. However strimming back grass and weed growth frequently results in accidental damage to the bark. If the bark is damaged then this compromises the flow of water and nutrients to the upper part of the sapling. It can also leave open wounds which make the plant vulnerable to infection and mould.
Use it around the trunk of any young trees. Simply wrap it around the foot of the tree and secure by clipping the ends together to provide vital protection against nylon strimmer wires, mice and other nibblers! It comes in a pack of three and can be left in place on the trunk all season. If you have a lot of trees though you could alwasy move it between trees when mowing.
Existing tree guards are not tough enough to withstand strimmer attacks! This is specifically designed so you can strim with abandon to within an inch of the tree.
See it in action: To see it in action head over to our YouTube channel StrimGuard
Related Blogs: Read about it in use Grow at Home:Nuts! Whole Hazelnuts
Buy it Now: See the full range here StrimGuard
28th June 2020
There are two sorts of fennel: one is classed as a herb and the other a vegetable.
The vegetable - Foeniculum dulce - swells at the base to produce a vegetable with a strong aniseed flavour. This is the one you can slice into your salad or smother in cheese sauce and bake into a delicious gratin. This is the one we are talking about today.
Florence Fennel is a tricky customer. It thrives on warm, moist, fertile, sandy soils. However, it is prone to bolting and sensitive to day length. You need to be on the ball with watering and make sure fennel is first in the queue so that it never dries out. Otherwise, it will decide it needs to flower and bolt with lightening speed the moment your back is turned. Always look for bolt resistant varieties to give yourself the best chance of success.
Because of its sensitive to day length the best time to sow is in mid June for an autumn crop. You can try sowing earlier (April-May) but because of the shorter days and higher risk of a sudden temperature drop it is more likely to bolt.
So, choose an open, sunny site and pray for a long, hot summer. If you are organised prepare the bed by adding plenty of well-rotted organic matter the winter before you plant.
The plants dislike root disturbance and don't transplant well from standrd pots. However, sowing single seeds into Rootrainers will allow you to transplant without this root damage. When your seedlings are established simply open the Rootrainer a little to take a peek at their roots. Plant out when you see a good set of striaght roots.
Or you can plant seeds direct into the ground. To do this water the soil really well first. Then plant 15mm (½in) deep in rows 30cm (12in) apart. You can either, set three seeds together at intervals in a row and thin the seedlings to leave the strongest one. Or, you can sow seed thinly along a drill and thin after. Whichever you choose, thin to 30cm (12in) apart in the rows when the soil is warm from May to July.
Water well throughout the growing season, keep weed free and mulch to conserve moisture. Feed with high potassium fertiliser every two weeks once established.
As the bulbs begin to swell from mid summer, you will need to earth them up (as you would with potatoes). This will protect from early frost and leave you with blanched, tender white bulbs.
Fennel will tollerate light frost, but will not survive outside through any but the mildest winter.
If you plant in late June then you sould be able to harvest your bulbs in mid to late October. They will be ready for harvesting when the bulb is about 7-10cm (3-4in across). Cut them 2.5cm (1") above the ground. If you are lucky, they may sprout feathery shoots from the cut bulb. You can use these as you would use herb fennel to flavour fish dishes etc.
Bolting: Try and head it off at the pass by using only bolt-resistant varieties. Sow or plant at the correct time and keep the soil or compost moist at all times. Don't let them go thirsty!
Slugs and snails: These mini predators love fennel seedlings. Use the usual Slug Buster beer traps or stage a midnight intervention and pick off any heading toward your plants.