Monthly Archives: December 2009

  • Christmas at Haxnicks!

    Happy Christmas from Haxnicks
    Here comes Christmas.  Lets get festive! The offices are festooned with decorations and everyone is starting to get excited!

    For the serious gardener, pretty much any Haxnicks product makes a cracking present, but for those of you who are still struggling to complete that oh so challenging gift list, I thought I'd highlight the best that we have to offer when it comes to getting the perfect present.

    You'll find everything on our website, just tap in the name in the search box.

    Victorian Bell Cloches for GardensHaxnicks Glass Bell Jars are a popular gift item, being aesthetically pleasing AND very practical - whether sitting over a prized plant in the garden, detering pests, cats, frost, children and any number of other hazards, or taking a more domestic role as a cheeseboard cover/cake cover, these bells will always make an original and successful present.

    The Bell Jars are available in 3 different sizes - follow the labels at the end of the article for more information...

    The Haxnicks Jute Naturally range has some brilliant Christmas bits and bobs...

    Jute Sacks from Haxnicks for CompostingJute Insulation roll comes in a very festive green or red, and also in a natural jute colour. Although we designed this for insulating pots, it is also used for wrapping up water pipes against the frost, decorating the Christmas tree pot, and any number of other jobs where a natural look and a bit of colour make all the difference. The rolls are complimented by Jute Naturally Ribbon, also in Red, Green and Natural.

    Designer Easy Fleece Jackets from HaxnicksDesigner Fleece Jackets are as colourful as you can get when it comes to frost protection!!! Available in 3 different designs, Autumn leaf, Green Leaf, and Snowflake, these jackets are designed to slip over your pot plants/hanging baskets/ferns etc, or any other plant that can't be moved in for protection from the frosts. We have produced green fleece jackets very successfully for many years, but now have a more colourful option for those that like a bit more fun in an otherwise drab winter garden.

    I hope some of these ideas help out with the shopping stress - I haven't started shopping yet, but there and again I've got some ideas.

    Happy Christmas from all at Haxnicks, and we look forward to hearing from you in the New Year.

  • Grow at home: Sweet Potatoes

    Sweet_potatoSweet potatoes are a versatile and increasingly popular vegetable and is certainly able to grow outdoors in the milder areas of the UK.   They are grown more often in southern regions because they require at least four months of warm temperatures, though there are varieties that will grow in northern gardens, too. Here you may need to use a greenhouse, glasshouse or Poly Tunnel.

    Sweet potatoes are surprisingly easy to grow and just a few plants can produce a generous harvest.  It is a scrambling, tender perennial closely related to Morning Glories. Grow it as an annual and harvest in the early autumn.

    You can grow them from a sweet potato from the supermarket.

    1. Take a few clean sweet potatoes and place into a container
    2. Cover them with peat and keep damp
    3. Leave in a warm place
    4. When ‘slips’ emerge from the surface to a height of 20cm, trim them off
    5. Pot into Compact Rootrainers and allow to grow on.

    Wait for the frost danger to pass and plant them in their final position.  In late September, carefully dig them up. Leave for one week to mature in a warm place (allows skins to set and flavour to sweeten)

    Alternatively, order cuttings or slips, which will be delivered from late April onwards and pot the cuttings immediately into the Compact Rootrainers

  • Growing Cuttings

    Growing Cuttings with HaxnicksRootrainers – Perfect for Cuttings
    Almost anything can be grown from a cutting. It is also an easy and cheap way to obtain more plants. It is also an excellent way to keep your half-hardy perennials from year to year. Rootrainers excel with cuttings of all types.

    With cuttings, good preparation is essential. In particular the seed tray, compost mix and the moisture are vital.

    In late summer, take a few cuttings from your container plants, hanging basket plants and half-hardy border plants and root them in the greenhouse and then pot them up.

    No Re-Potting with Rootrainers
    Cuttings love a lot of side – that is why most cuttings are initially placed around the side of a large pot, or in very small pots, to be re-potted later. But, re-potting requires skilled timing, and will cause root disturbance.

    Rootrainers are small pots, with a massive amount of side. But, unlike small pots they have depth and don’t become pot-bound, so timing ceases to be critical and there is no re-potting.

    Quick Growth
    Try any nodal, stem, leaf or root cutting for success. The encouragement of quick root growth and natural air pruning achieved by Rootrainers will create a marvellous root plug. Some cuttings can be ready and planted up within a very short space of time, but others can be left in over winter and even longer if you want to grow semi-standards.

    Compost MixUsing Haxnicks Rootrainers to grow Cuttings
    (This mix is sufficient for two trays of the 3”/8cm Rootrainer seed trays - typically an ideal pot size for cuttings)

    Using a 12cm pot, mix:

    • 8 pots of multi-purpose compost;
    • 3 pots of perlite or vermiculite; and
    • ½ pot of grit or sand (for free drainage).

    Mix all the components together well. Fill the trays as you would for seed sowing, making sure the compost comes level with the top of each cell.

    Cell Size
    Most cuttings will prefer the 8cm Rapid (Shrub) size - it is ideal for geraniums, fuchsias, marguerites, chrysanthemums, lavenders and shrubs.

    They can be grown in the longer 12cm Deep (Sherwood) size, but it is generally desirable to get the air-pruning in earlier to encourage new root growth at the first opportunity, and this will occur more quickly in the 8cm size.

    It should also be noted if you are going to place your cutting later in a house pot or a hanging basket, it may not be desirable to have a longer root system.

    The 12cm Deep (Sherwood) size is excellent for hardwood cuttings, soft-fruits, clematis nodal cuttings or oriental poppy root cuttings and similar plants. The longer cell is excellent for retaining semi-standards grown from fuchsia cuttings etc, where they can be held in a Rootrainers for well over a year.

    Many cuttings can be placed in either size according to individual preferences and circumstances, but in all instances success with cuttings will be easier, difficulties fewer, handling will be less, compost and space will be saved, and the plants will be stronger if you use Rootrainers.

    Watering - Preparing your Seed Trays for CuttingsPlanting seeds in Haxnicks Rootrainers
    Before planting your cuttings give the seed trays a good soaking using a watering can.

    Leave the seed trays with their plastic lids on to conserve water while you select your cuttings.

    Hardy cuttings need to be placed in a sheltered position away from full sun – ideally in a cold frame. Put them somewhere handy so that they can be looked at daily. If the leaves of the cuttings look a little wilted then, using a water sprayer, you can give them a light spray.

    On-Going Watering During Propagation
    With Rootrainers, it is easy to check moisture levels and how the roots are doing. Just open the ‘book’, check and re-close. But - a little hint! Don’t open them until the plant is reasonably established and the roots have hit the side; otherwise you may just be pulling the soil away from the roots and weakening the strength of the plug.

    Rootrainers packs come with a clear plastic propagating-lid, which sits on top of the tray and retains the moisture and warmth. This can be easily removed and replaced for watering, and provides the ideal growing environment for most cuttings - but do not use the lid for geraniums and other plants that do not like humidity.

    When plants have developed sufficiently, the lid can be placed under the tray for capillary watering if desired, and for clean handling – ideal if you are keeping or over-wintering plants indoors.

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