Monthly Archives: September 2018

  • Don't let your plants go outside without a jacket or a blanket to keep them warm!

    Fleece_jacket_to_protect_from_frost Easy Fleece Jacket (small). by Haxnicks

    Plants cost a lot of money.  Plus if you've grown them from seeds or cuttings, then an awful lot of research, time and anxious moments too!  So you don't want early frost to catch you out.  This could at best set their growth back and at worst kill them off.

    The RHS offer several ways to avoid frost damage:-

    • Choose plants that are reliably hardy and suited to your growing conditions.
    • Cold air flows downwards on sloping ground, collecting at the lowest point creating what is known as a 'frost pocket' - avoid planting tender plants in areas such as this.
    • Grow slightly tender plants in a warm sunny spot like a south-facing wall, to provide extra warmth and winter protection
    • Cover plants with a double layer of horticultural fleece when frost is forecast
    • Mulch the root area of evergreens, conifers, tender shrubs and tender perennials with a thick layer of organic matter to prevent the ground becoming frozen
    • Move container grown plants to a sheltered part of the garden in cold weather and provide some extra protection by wrapping the pot in a fleece jacket
    • Leave the previous seasons’ growth on more tender plants until spring,  to provide valuable frost protection
    • Lift Tender plants or move them to a more sheltered position or greenhouse.  Ensuring that adequate heating and insulation is in place to prevent damage.
    • Protect fruit and strawberries from frost by packing with bracken or straw or fleece
    • Avoid applying nitrogen-rich fertilisers late in the season as they stimulate soft growth which is especially vulnerable to frost damage
    • Plant tender bedding plants out after the danger of frost has passed; this is generally late May in the south of England and June elsewhere. Always harden plants before planting outside

    So choosing the right plant in the first place is clearly a good idea.  As is, moving them to the greenhouse if you have one, or a more sheltered spot.  A good solution but not always possible with larger heavier plants.  As the RHS recommend a great alternative as autumn approaches and early frosts threaten is to use a fleece.  The Haxnicks Easy Fleece Jacket.  is a simple way to protect exotic plants, hanging baskets and other semi-hardy plants in pots patio containers.

    You may have used horticultural fleece, bought off a giant roll at the Garden Centre?  But this is unruly and requires securing.  The fleece jacket is quicker and easier.  Slip it over your plant and the job is done. Secure with the integral, rot-proof drawstring and locking toggle = instant protection against frost, harsh weather and pests.

    Fleece_cloche_over_bedIf your plants are in the ground rather than containers then it may be a fleecy cloche or even a blanket you need to instantly cosette your crops.  Both have the advantage that not only will they protect crops this end of the season but, laid over the soil in Spring they can bring it up to temperature before all your friends.  This allows you to sow or plant out weeks ahead of others.  As a result it will extend the growing season and hopefully reward you for your care with an increased yield.

    Haxnicks Easy Fleece Jackets are available in three sizes, priced at £7.99 per pack

  • Making your Garden Season Last as Long as Possible

    Flower_in_need_of_dead_heading_fall_seasonThe temperatures are dropping and growth is slowing down.  But there are still some things that you can do in the garden to prolong the flowers and keep active outside this season.

    Its tempting to think that the fat lady has sung and you can hang up your boots for the year.  The weather is still very dry though so don’t give up yet on watering your plants, especially the ones in pots.

    If you deadhead your flowers such as roses, antirrhinums, lupins or sweet peas, they may still produce a few more flowers.

     

    seed_pods_with_seed_on_table_harvest_season

    If some of your dead heads are looking nice and dry you can collect their seeds to sow next spring. I often go to other peoples gardens and see flowers that I want for my own garden and collect them.  Different lavenders, hollyhocks, delphiniums people don't tend to mind…..

    You can still sow things too like herbs and winter salads.  I cleared away a nice spot in the greenhouse the other day in order to sow some coriander and lettuce.  The chicken thought that this was an extremely comfy new armchair that I had made her though! So I have sown the seeds into some recycled plastic ‘seed trays’ and will move them on later.

    Seeds_planted_in_plastic_trays_planting_season

  • Chillies too hot to handle and coming out of your ears...

    Chillli~-jam-in_silver-panThe hot hot hot weather has lead to a bumper crop of chillies this year and some gardeners are finding them just too hot to handle.  Having eaten them every day since August and made Chilli Sauce, Chilli flakes, Chilli truffles and 3 types of Chilli Oil here is a new recipe to help use the glut.

    Chillies and tomatoes are great to grow but difficult to keep for long, so if you would like to remember your summer fruits from the garden chilli jam is an excellent and delicious memory. Great in a cheese sandwich, fried up with chicken or you could put a couple of teaspoons in your soup to spice it up.

    Chilli Jam

    Ingredients:

    8 red peppers.
    10 red chillies.
    1 finger-sized piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
    8 cloves of garlic
    14oz (400g) of fresh tomatoes chopped – or a 400g tin of cherry tomatoes
    1lbs 8oz (750g) Preserving sugar this also helps not to make the jam too runny
    7 floz (200ml) red wine vinegar

    Preparation: 20 minutes Cooking time: 60 – 90 minutes

    Directions:

    1. Cut up your peppers and chillies keeping the chilli seeds but not the pepper ones. Put them into the food processor along with the garlic and ginger.
    2. Scrape into a heavy-bottomed pan with the tomatoes, sugar and vinegar, then bring everything to the boil.
    3. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for about 50 minutes, stirring occasionally – skim off any scum that comes to the surface.
    4. Once the jam becomes sticky, continue cooking for 10-15 minutes more, stirring frequently
    so that it doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan. It should now look like thick, bubbling lava.
    5. Cool slightly, transfer into sterilised jars, cover with lids straight away to create a vacuum, then leave to cool completely.
    6. Keeps for 3 – 12 months in a cool, dark cupboard - once you have opened it keep it in the fridge.

    For a printable version click here Chilli_Jam 

  • Award Winning planet-friendly Plastic free Pots!

    Haxnicks new range of Bamboo Pots and Seed Trays has won Best Garden Care - Accessories Award in the prestigious GLEE Gardening Industry Awards.

    The natural pots and trays are made from sustainable bamboo and rice. The range is designed to help you make your greenhouse plastic free.  It’s estimated that 500 million plastic plant pots are sold every year. The majority are sent to landfill or are incinerated.  Very liGlee_award_with_bamboo-potsttle is recycled as there are few facilities to do so. A large amount of fossil fuel is used in the production of plastic pots which furthermore  take around 500 years to decompose.  Haxnicks Bamboo Pots once broken up in active compost will decompose in 6 to 12 months. Quite a difference!https://www.haxnicks.co.uk/garden-products/new-products

    GLEE is a trade exhibition for the gardening industry.  500 leading UK and international wholesale garden suppliers exhibit so that every gardening retailer; big, small, online or on the high-street can source the very best products for you.

    Damian Cardozo of Haxnicks says.  "The Products that win at GLEE are those that really move the industry forward and offer the gardener what they need.  The appetite is there for sustainable pots so it is the right time for this product. We are thrilled GLEE has recognised Haxnicks Bamboo Pots and Seed Trays and excited about playing our part in turning back the tide of plastic use"

    The Pots and Seed Trays will be available online and in all good Garden Centres from December 2017.

     

     

  • Fancy some foraging? Bramble is the best free food...

    Blackberry or bramble...  Love them or hate them?

    In my garden they are a BIG nuisance, terribly invasive they've overtaken the edges of the garden and each year they creep further towards the house.  Much as I dislike them at home, in the hedgerow on my leisurely stroll to work they are different,  Here they are an abundant gift from Mother Nature which will provide all sorts of treats when teamed with the thousands of apples that have come off my tree this year.

     

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