Monthly Archives: March 2010

  • Gutter Planting Success

    Planting Vegetables with Haxnicks

    Sarah Raven in her article "The Veg Patch, Part III: How to Sow Seeds" which appeared in The Daily Telegraph, shows how by a series of experimentation she has achieved nearly a 100% germination success rate by using lengths of guttering to sow her seeds in. She advocates sowing "at least half the vegetable crop into gutter lengths filled with a non-peat-based potting compost.

    The Haxnicks Rowplanter offers exactly the same benefits which Sarah outlines in her article, and is much more convenient than the unwieldy method of traditional gutter planting.

    The Rowplanter comes in manageable lengths that can be placed in a small protected space. They have their own tray to hold them, so they will not fall over, and there is a propagating lid to assist the germination period.

    The rows (gutters) do not need a large amount of soil preparation and sowing into the rows takes no longer than if you were sowing directly into the ground, but there is no need to bend and stoop, it can be done at a table or on your greenhouse bench.

    Sowing can be done with care and spacing can be evened out and when germination takes place thinning out can be done in the rows without any kneeling or bending. This means this method conserves seed as well.

    Sarah Raven says this method, traditionally suited to peas, is also ideal for serial sowing of salad crops, leafy greens (mizuna, rocket, chard, spinach, chervil) and herbs (coriander, parsley and basil).

    Radishes can be left in the rows and eaten straight from the rows without being planted out and the rows are also ideal for parsnips provided they are transplanted before they are 2,5cm high. Even carrots can be grown in the Rowplanter lengths and if left till the seedlings reach 4cm in height you will be sure of a "baby carrot crop right through to Christmas."

  • The Birds!

    Haxnicks' Birdscare Humming Line

    Spring has sprung, and all that sort of thing, and I'm sure you're all getting pretty busy in the garden. I wanted to write a little article about a very underestimated product, which has been doing some pretty amazing things.

    We have had reports from Spain telling that it has been the best thing for keeping wild boar off the crops - Tales from St. Tropez claiming that nothing keeps a yacht more free from seagulls and their droppings - and also praise from the gardens of England - One of which I've pasted below for you to see - And the name of this 'many-beast-repelling' and magical product? Birdscare!

    Here's a letter i received from Warwickshire: 

    Hi, I must let you know about this item. Do you realise you can make a fortune with this stuff. We have had a heron problem for over 3 years and lost a lot of fish/frogs and tried EVERYTHING to no avail, the thing keeps coming back for the restocked stuff.

    I love wildlife so would never hurt it BUT really was a real pain. We put netting, old tyres supporting canes, fruit netting, poles suspending even more netting. It looked like a rubbish tip on speed. What a sight - AND we couldn't see what we had left. He still got in - under - through and even on.

    We put on this line (with some scepticism!) and were stunned. Not only did it WORK but it WORKED immediately. Down he came, cocked head on one side, took a look/listen/see and WENT without even coming close. We have watched for nearly 3 weeks now - he came back twice but we have not seen him since! Only snag is we are scared it will break in really high winds we have sometimes. But nevertheless we are DELIGHTED. You should tell ALL. Tx

    So if you're being hunted by wild boar, (or even if you just want to keep your plants unpecked),  take a look at the Birdscare Humming Line.

  • Growing Brassicas From Seeds

    Growing Brassicas From Seeds using Haxnicks RootrainersCabbages, kale, kohlrabi, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussel Sprouts are all varieties of the same species of Brassica oleracea which is native to the Mediterranean. Brassicas thrive on transplanting and some gardeners even swear by transplanting them twice.

    • For Brussel Sprouts sow the seeds in March early April
    • For 'Spring Cabbage' make two sowings 4 weeks apart in February
    • For Summer Cabbage sow in March
    • For Winter Cabbage sow in May
    • For Summer Cauliflower sow in March
    • For Broccoli sow in April

    Deep Rootrainers make an excellent start when growing from seed, just fill with compost (preferrably peat free) and cover with a clear propagating lid and leave to germinate in a warm place.

    Haxnicks Plant House

    Once plants start emerging use as a drip tray under the tray and grow on in a good strong light place, A Haxnicks Hardwood Plant House situated on a sunny wall is an excellent place.

    When plants are ready plant out into a deep, rich well composted and moist soil. Make 15cm deep holes with a garden stake and place the seedling into the hole. Don’t close the hole with soil but rather water the plant which will close the hole with the right amount of soil.

    Watering of the young plants is vital until they are well established and weeding is just as essential.

    Using Garden Cloches from Haxnicks

    If pests are a problem or you want to bring on growth a little quicker then we do recommend our Victorian Cloches, these provide instant weather protection and additional warmth for faster growth.

    Tip for this post: I'm very aware we spend time recommending our own products - but we welcome your contributions if you have better or even just different solutions please share them with us. We'll always publish your comments free of 'moderation'.

    Finally, a little extra - some light reading for you, enjoy: Vegetable Growing
    Month-by-month: The Down-to-earth Guide That Takes You Through the
    Vegetable Year.

  • Growing Garlic Easily

    Growing Garlic using Haxnicks Rootrainers

    Garlic is a rather special plant to us here at Haxnicks, apart from the usefulness in cooking and the fresh smell  in the garden it really is one of the easiest vegetables to grow.

    It is recommended that Garlic is grown in a rotation system with carrots, onions, leeks, and probably may other root vegetables, but we find it makes a great space filler between roses and other flowers, Garlic also wards off unwanted pests with it's smell. Container growing is also very worth doing if growing only for the shoots, which give a subtle and yet distinct zest to salads.

    Cloves of garlic (Propagation of garlic is not usually done from seed, but rather from partially-grown cloves).

    To grow well it needs a cold period of at least two months. It is thus essential to sow from mid-October to allow the roots to develop before the cold weather sets in.

    1. Fill the Rowplanter rows three quarters full with a multi-purpose compost
    2. Tap the rows on the bench to settle the compost and then place in the holding tray
    3. Separate the cloves of garlic (The cloves of garlic can be sown indoors in the Rowplanter by planting each clove upright (the bottom of the clove lowest in the ground) to a depth of 2.5cm deep,10cm apart.
    4. Push with the base down so that the top is just below the soil.

    Once ready for transplanting, the entire row can be gently slid out into the prepared trench with absolutely no root disturbance.

    Once the leaves go yellow brown stop watering the garlic and it can be harvested 2 to 3 weeks later and it should then be left to cure for 3 weeks.

    Once the bulbs are thoroughly dried store them in a cool, ventilated place away from sun.

    Tip: You can use pretty much any Garlic cloves from any shop... just break apart the cloves and each clove will produce it's own plant.

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