Potato Patio Planters

  • How to Protect Carrots from Carrot Fly

    You might think it is too early to think about carrot fly.  However, there is a lot you can do at the planting stage to ensure you get a healthy crop.  So well worth reading this now before you sow.

    If you have yet to experience that awful sinking feeling of lifting carrot after carrot riddled with dark crevices, tunnelled out by the dreaded carrot fly larvae, then consider yourself lucky. But for those of you that have, fear not! Haxnicks have been fighting various garden pests for over 20 years, and have picked up a few tricks along the way...

    How to protect your Carrots from Carrot Fly with Haxnicks
    Image courtesy of www.morguefile.com

    But first... some facts about carrot fly:

    • Carrot fly also affects other vegetables in the parsley family, such as Parsnip, Celery, Dill, Coriander, Fennel and Celeriac
    • They are attracted to the smell of bruised foliage
    • The larvae that damage the roots can continue to feed through the autumn into winter, moving between plants
    • The adult carrot fly is approximately 9mm long.  It is a slender, metallic, greenish-black fly with yellow legs and head. Larvae are creamy white, tapering maggots

    How can you tell if your carrots are infected? - Check for reddening of the foliage and stunted growth

    So now we know a little bit about the pest itself, we can look at some of the ways which we can protect our crops from infestations:

    1.  Make sure to avoid using previously infested ground. Carrot fly larvae are capable of surviving through the winter.  So avoid re-sowing any vegetable from the Parsley family (see above)
    2. Avoid sowing during the main egg-laying periods, which are (for most parts of the UK): mid-April to the end of May & Mid-July to the end of August.
    3. Sow disease and pest resistant varieties such as Fly Away F1 and Resistafly F1, available from garden centres and online seed suppliers.
    4. Erect a fine-mesh barrier at the time of sowing – at least 70cm high. Check out our Micromesh Pest & Wind Barrier which will work for containers and open ground.  Or a Micromesh Tunnel - with 0.6mm netting it will keep the Carrot Fly from getting to your precious crop.
    5. Sow thinly so as to avoid ‘thinning out’, releasing the smell of bruised foliage
    6. Thin out or harvest on a dry evening with no wind – or use scissors so that no bruising of foliage occurs
    7. Try companion planting - growing varieties of pungent Rosemary, Sage or Marigold as a deterrent/’smokescreen’
    8. Grow your carrots in a tall planters - for example the Haxnicks Oxford fabric planter or Carrot Patio Planters
    9. Lift main carrot crops by Winter, especially if any are infected – don’t leave them in the ground to serve as food for overwintering larvae.

    Thinning out tip: Use scissors to avoid bruising the foliage (and releasing the carrot-fly attracting scent)

    To find out more about carrot fly, and the other pests that may arrive in your garden check out Pippa Greenwood's excellent RHS book for plant by plant advice on Pests and Diseases

    Have you any experience of carrot fly damage? What do you think went wrong? Please let us know your thoughts using the comments section below.

  • Chelsea Flower show preparations 2017

    Hello gardeners,

    The Chelsea Flower show is fast approaching and plant preparations have been under way for quite some time now. If only the show was in July, my job would be made a lot easier. Forcing summer-grown fruit and vegetables to be at their best in mid May can be a little bit touch and go, but despite the chilly temperatures over the last couple of weeks my container-grown plants are looking good.

    Haxnicks Potato Patio PlanterThere was one particularly warm day when I decided that the potato patio planters should venture out of the Sunbubble as I was worried that they might be growing too fast. I then forgot to put them back under cover on the very evening that one of those cheeky late Spring frosts decided to descend. It was extremely lucky that I woke up at midnight, realised the peril the potatoes were in, and rushed out in my pyjamas to put them to bed. There was a little bit of frost damage to some of the leaves, and I got cold, wet feet, but both quickly recovered.

    Haxnicks Strawberry Patio PlanterThe container-grown strawberries are in flower and some small green fruits are appearing. I am very much hoping for some warmer weather to ripen them to a rosy hue in time for the show.

    Haxnicks Vigoroot Pots with lupins, strawberries and herbs

    The Vigoroot grown plants  are looking fabulously green and healthy and ready to grace the stage on our Haxnicks stand at Chelsea.

    Other seeds for success were sown this time last year. Those were the seeds of an idea to develop a new product that would combine the magic of our hugely successful Vigoroot™ fabric with a simple self-watering system. From this idea grew The Vigoroot Easy Table Garden. This exciting new product is a raised table garden, greenhouse and irrigation system all rolled into one. The RHS are excited about it too as it has been nominated for the Chelsea New product of the Year finals…watch this space!!

    Grandpa Haxnicks

  • The Potty Gardener sows Christmas Potatoes

    Haxnicks Garden Products can be brought onlineSurely it’s too early to be thinking about Christmas, I hear you say. At least I think I do, amongst the many other voices in my head. I am indeed thinking about Christmas. More specifically I am thinking about potatoes at Christmas. Even more specifically, delicious homPotato_Patio_planterse-grown roast potatoes at Christmas being proudly placed on the table to gasps of awe and admiration and maybe a harmonious chorus of Gloria!

    Normally, British potatoes are home-grown from early spring throughout the summer. Instead I am planning to sow some spuds now in Potato Planters, nurture them through the autumn and hopefully harvest them in time to share oven space with whatever beast we decide to roast for Christmas lunch this year.

     

    Which variety?

    At this time of year, cold-stored potato tubers should available from specialist seed merchants.  Maris Peer or Nicola are good winter varieties that don’t need chitting.  Having said that the ones that I have just picked up from my local Garden Centre are vigorously chitting.  Looks like they are chomping at the bit.  So we will see if this makes a difference.

    I have had varying success in the past just using supermarket spuds. Grandpa Haxnicks tells me that this is because harvested potatoes go into a dormant state for some months before they are ready to produce new shoots. So, either I found particularly stress resistant tubers in the supermarket.  Or they had been on the shelf for a long time and were very ready to get out and breed!

    Haxnicks Potato Patio Planter foliage

    Plant your eager-to-breed tubers in the potato bags.  Plant on about 6 inches of multi- purpose compost and cover with the same amount again. Each time the foliage pushes through the soil, cover it again until the bag is full. Keep them watered and fed with a liquid fertiliser. The Bage can be kept in a greenhouse, but should also be OK outside provided they are given frost protection. A cosy Fleece Jacket should do the trick, no need to bother with a scarf or gloves. In the autumn, when the foliage yellows and dies back you can cut it off.  then leave the potatoes in fairly dry soil until Christmas. Once harvested, be reassured that they will then enter their dormant state and wil be perfect for peeling and roasting.

  • The Potty Gardener puts her planters to bed

     

    Haxnicks Garden Products can be brought onlineThis week I decided that my well-travelled potted veg garden had given its all and was ready to be put to bed for the winter. The pots and planters have had an exciting year travelling from greenhouse to garden, from the Cotswolds to Chelsea and finally settling in their new spot on top of a windy hill in Dorset.

    Healthy Potatoes and other Vegetables grown with Haxnicks ProductsMy final colourful crop was a healthy collection of oddly sized, strange coloured veg that nevertheless gave me a grin of self-satisfaction and made me wonder a few things….

    Q Are the satisfied smiles of celebrity gardeners that glare out of my gardening magazines perhaps true grow-your-own grins rather than I-can-charge-an-enormous-fee faces?

    A Of course.

    Q Can I call my giant courgette a marrow?

    A I can if I want to. Marrows and courgettes are both members of the squash family (cucurbit) with just a few horticultural differences. Strictly speaking, according to my research, if you want to grow marrows you should choose a thicker skinned variety of courgette designed to grow big and make sure that you are happy to spend most of autumn making chutney!

    Q Can I ripen the last few green tomatoes without the Indian summer that I was expecting?

    A Yes with a banana! Put the green toms in a box or jar with a ripe banana and it will release its magic ripening gas to turn your tomatoes red. Wouldn't we all go red if we were trapped in a confined place with a banana?

    Q What can I do with the seemingly useful looking soil that I have emptied from the planters?

    A The soil will have lost its magic, drained of goodness and gusto for growth.  As with crop rotation in veg plots you don’t want to be growing the same sort of veg again in the same soil risking pests and diseases that would turn your grow-your-own grin into a grimace. Put the soil on the compost heap or spread it on borders, but beware of the escaped potato from your potato planter soil. There will be at least one and it will pop up in your flower bed next year totally unaware how out of place it looks.

  • Haxnicks helps out in Schools

    Hello Gardeners,

    I have always encouraged my children and grandchildren to get out in the garden and get growing, so I am happy to say that Haxnicks have been busy helping out in schools this year. As many of our products are easy to use and can be stored away at the end of the growing season, they lend themselves nicely to school growing projects.

     Haxnicks Rootrainers for Schools

    Our Rootrainers have been put to good use on classroom windowsills to kick start a sunflower growing competition.

    Haxnicks Carrot Patio Planters for Schools

    Our orange Carrot Planters sparked some imaginations when they were sown with purple carrots. Apparently one pupil suggested growing oranges in a purple planter too! The Class teacher was particularly delighted that she wouldn't have to come into school over the holidays to water the carrots as she can send them home to be looked after.

    Haxnicks Garden Maypoles for SchoolsOur Plant Supports are being put to good use in this primary school garden keeping the sweet peas and runner beans firmly in place.

    We also sponsored a Grow your own school garden competition as part of a project funded by the Mayor of London and the Big Lottery fund that aims to cultivate young people’s love for learning, and hunger for knowledge, and develop supportive local communities through food. Designed to get London schools with no previous experience of gardening into growing, this competition involved schools planning their own garden from scratch, complete with an equipment list.

    Boris Johnson Awards Haxnicks Prizes to pupils The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, awarding students from Richmond Park Academy a Haxnicks prize at the Grow Your Own School Garden Competition Awards Ceremony. Photo: Jane Baker/Garden Organic

    Congratulations to the prize winners - Our Lady of Grace Catholic Infant School (Brent) and Richmond Park Academy who won a Haxnicks  Grower Frame with a Poly Cover Giant Easy Tunnel and Potato Patio Planters 

    "The Mayor and I want to see every school in London growing food. We've made huge progress with many pupils in the capital now reaping the rewards of outdoor learning. This new initiative will help us go further, reaching more schools and helping existing growers expand."  Rosie Boycott - The Mayor of London's Food Advisor and Chair of the London Food Board

    So as the school year draws to a close this week, Haxnicks would like to wish all our junior growers happy growing and happy holidays!

    Goodbye for now,

    Grandpa Haxnicks

     

     

  • CaneToppers for the Potty Gardener

    Haxnicks CaneToppers

    My planters, pots and their contents have happily survived our house move but did suffer somewhat along the way due to abandonment and stormy weather…

    Having packed up the removal lorry and two family cars, locked up the old house, pulled out of the drive in triumphant convoy and traveled 350yds with a satisfied smile, it suddenly dawned on me that we had left behind my entire potted garden. The satisfied smile was replaced by a weary wince as I realised that we barely had room for a single strawberry (a squashed one at that), let alone a dozen pots and planters. I did for a moment consider swapping my noisy children in the back of my car for the placid plants, but I didn’t think the next occupants of our house would be quite so understanding about left over children as opposed to left over plants. So it was clear that we would have to return to Gloucestershire to collect a final car load of plants. Just one more 120 mile round trip to add to the many made in the last few weeks!

    Haxnicks Range of Patio Planters

    Amazingly, despite the searing heat and lack of tender loving care that followed before someone was able to bring home the plants, they neither died of thirst nor were eaten by giant slugs. However, they did then suffer from rough man-handling (definitely not woman-handling) in transit, arriving home with a few broken stems. More damage was done when they were left overnight in an exposed position without support canes and were somewhat battered in an amazing blockbuster style thunder storm.

    Haxnicks Patio Planters with CaneToppers

    Our new garden is a little more exposed to the wind than the last and so the reinstated bamboo support canes need a little extra help to stand to attention. I subtly suggested to Grandpa Haxnicks that some CaneToppers would be the perfect moving in present. Subtle suggestion turned to pleading request and the cane toppers duly arrived on my doorstep. Popped on top of the wind wobbled canes ( a hair-raising job for me ) they are helping to add stability and a little more style than the scrappy bits of string that were holding the canes in place before.

    Happily all is now good, the sweet peas are blossoming, the strawberries are juicy, the tomatoes are swelling and I have faith that the potatoes and carrots are doing their stuff down in their earthy depths. I am very much looking forward to harvesting and feasting soon.

     

  • Potatoes in Planters

    Haxnicks Garden Products can be brought online

    The time has come, I can no longer tolerate their mischievous presence on my kitchen window sill. If they have eyes on stalks that grow by the day who knows what else they might develop? I certainly cannot risk the possibility that they may someday be able to talk and expose my fifty shades of green lifestyle! So the potatoes are going under….well some of them anyway, the rest have been relegated to the windowsill at the back of the larder to chit behind a closed door.

    Grandpa Haxnicks advised that I shouldn’t sow them all at once unless I want to harvest them all at once and have a glut of potatoes, and then I would have to eat them all at once and have a gut full of potatoes and end up looking like a potato, not one of my ambitions, so I will sow one planter at a time.

    Planting Potato Seeds in Haxnicks Potato Patio Planters

    Job done. I chose the 4 seed potatoes with the most prying eyes, about 2.5cm long and buried (I think the kinder word is planted) them in a potato planter on top of 10cm and under 5cm of multi- purpose compost. When their prying shoots appear through the soil I will bury them further!

    Haxnicks Giant Standard Easy Fleece Tunnels

    EasyFleece Tunnels warming the soil

    I went to visit Grandpa Haxnicks this week hoping for a cup of tea and some gardening gossip (mostly vegetable based rivalry with his neighbour), only to be put to work preparing some of his raised vegetable beds for the growing season ahead. We removed all the weeds, dug it over and then put out some Easy Fleece tunnels to help warm the soil presumably so that he can get his growing season well under way before Mr Perfect Parsnips next door.

  • Growing without the Garden

    Grandpa Haxnicks would like to introduce you to The Potty Gardener talking to anyone who will listen, mostly herself....

    Haxnicks Potty Gardener

    Hello from The Potty Gardener!

    There is definitely an air of spring on its way this morning. No sign of a frost, some chirpy birdsong and a glimpse of sunshine. Of course, it won’t last but it is fuelling enthusiasm for my new project.

    The kitchen table is strewn with gardening magazines awash with smiley, rosy cheeked experts inviting me to join in their plant-based passions. 'Sow', 'Create', 'Transform', 'Cultivate', 'Titivate', 'Rotavate', 'Motivate'!  Further fuelling of enthusiasm for my new project.

    Vigoroot Pots Full Of Life from Haxnicks

    So what is my new project, I hear you ask (or is that just the voices in my head?)? Well I'm quite happy talking to myself…potty, completely potty….and that is my new project. The potty garden. This year I am going to grow everything in pots, planters and bags. Why (voices in my head again)? Not because I am potty, but because I am living in a rented property where every inch of growing space is a knotted nightmare of ground elder roots. It invades the dry stone walls, penetrates the weed matting and is resistant to roundup. But it is possible to be motivated to sow, create, cultivate, titivate (maybe not rotavate) without the garden.

    I am making a plan that starts with potatoes in planters, but that ultimately helps me to get growing and glowing like they do in the magazines. I want my pink cheeks to match the flowers in my garden like Carol Klein, to use my hands as spades like Monty Don and develop an organic grin as satisfied as Bob Flowerdew, so watch this space!

  • Get chitting ready for planting your seed potatoes

    If you have a small or urban garden potatoes are the perfect veg to grow in a Haxnicks Patio Planter - we even have a special Patio Potato Planter!

    Seed potatoes are on sale from December and throughout the spring. Each Patio Planter is suitable for planting 3 seed tubers or 4 tubers if very small 'baby potatoes' are required. By planting each potato planter at 4 week intervals you will be able to harvest over a longer period.

    First you need to 'chit' your seed potatoes by placing them in a cool but frost-free place in egg boxes or shallow trays in full light, so that they can form sturdy shoots (chits) about 2.5cm (1 inch) long. This takes approximately 5 weeks.

    When they are ready to plant, you will need approximately 40 litres of good general purpose compost for each planter.

    Haxnicks Potato Patio Planters

    Pour approximately 10cm (4 inches) into the bottom of the planter. Plant your seed potatoes, with the shoots or eyes facing upwards, and cover with 5cm (2 inches) of compost. Keep the compost slightly damp, but do not over-water.

    When the shoots have grown 7cm (3 inches) high, add another layer of compost to leave the tips of the shoots just showing, keeping the compost damp each time. Repeat this process until the compost and shoots are 3 cm (1 inch) from the top.

    When the Potato Planter is full and the leaves of the plants are showing, feed weekly with a high potash/ low nitrogen soluble plant food. If there is danger of frost, cover with fleece and remove when the frost has passed.

    When the plant produces small white or pink flowers your potatoes are ready to harvest. Simply dig down into the planter to see if your potatoes are ready, and look out for the planter bulging, another sign of good potato growth. Remove a few potatoes at a time, or tip the planter out to reveal a bumper harvest.

    If you want larger tubers then continue feeding and watering for another few weeks. When the potatoes are ready to harvest, you can always store them in a Haxnicks Jute Vegetable Sack!

  • WIN £100 & Haxnicks goodies

     

    Haxnicks Garden Products can be brought online

    Potato Growing Competition

    You could win £100 and a bundle of Haxnicks grow your own goodies.

    All you have to do is send us pictures of your Haxnicks’ potato planter full of plants (or home grown potatoes) - it couldn't be easier.

    Don't fret if yours don't flower as you'd hoped - there are a couple of other ways to win:

    Growing the Hugest Harvest – How many tatties can you grow in one planter? Send us an image of the potatoes laid out on the ground next to or on top of your planter. Super Spud – photograph your largest potato on a flat surface next to a ruler or tape measure on top of the Haxnicks’ potato planter it was grown in. Extra snaps of how you grew it would definitely help your chances.Haxnicks Garden Products can be brought onlineHow to enter
    You will need:
    • A pack of Haxnicks Potato Planters
    • Some Seed Potatoes
    40 litres of compost per planter
    • A camera to record your progress

     

    When you come to harvest your potatoes (from June for early crops), email pictures of your produce to: [email protected].  Alternatively, you can write to us at Haxnicks Ltd, Beaumont Business Centre, Woodlands Road, Mere, Wiltshire BA12 6BT.

    Haxnicks Patio PlantersYou can also use our Facebook or Google+ pages to post comments and photos.
     

    Check out our neat 'how-to' YouTube video to help you get started with planting your very own potatoes.  Click here to see the potato planter (pictured, right) product page.

    Be sure to take photographs of your progress so you can prove that the potatoes were grown by your own fair hands, but if you get stuck let us know.
    Images submitted may be used on www.haxnicks.co.uk, www.facebook.com/haxnicks and in promotional material.  Any personal details we receive from you, however, shall be kept strictly confidential and remain on our files only.

     

    Follow or search the blog for further information, tips and updates.  Good luck!

1-10 of 19

Page:
  1. 1
  2. 2