Garden Design, Gardening, Gardening Year, George, Make over

Redesigning your garden over winter

Winter is the perfect time to rethink the layout of your garden while the plants are scaled back and the ground is clear. With few pressing gardening jobs to get done, take the opportunity to plan out how you’d like your garden to look for the coming year.

Here are a few tips to bear in mind when taking on your winter garden overhaul.

Watch out for the wildlife

Be careful when shifting things around in your garden over winter. Most wildlife will be unaffected at this time of year, but watch out for hibernating animals. Check compost heaps, piles of leaves, logs and long grass in particular.

Keep warm

If you’re working outside for extended periods, it’s essential to look after yourself in the cold. Take regular breaks indoors, have a nice hot cup of tea, and wrap up well – even consider some heated clothing.

Protect the plants

Many plants are easier to rehome while they’ve died back and aren’t in full bloom. In fact there’s less chance of harming them and affecting their growth. Just be sure to treat them gently during transit.

Designing garden in winter

Clear the ground

During winter you’ll see your garden stripped back. This is perfect for taking stock of the space and layout you have, making planning out your new design a whole lot clearer. Just be sure to allow room for your flower beds to bloom once summer comes around.

Make the most of the sun

With daylight hours so short in winter, you have to be fast to catch the rays. But it’s worth it to see where the light falls and which places will be best for patios and planting spots come the warmer weather.

Avoid any upheaval

The best aspect of redesigning your garden over the colder months is being able to make large-scale changes with minimal impact on its use, rather than disturbing it while everyone wants to spend time outside over summer.

So enjoy the blank canvas that winter brings to your back garden, and let your imagination run free!

George at PrimroseGeorge works in the Primrose marketing team. As a lover of all things filmic, he also gets involved with our TV ads and web videos.

George’s idea of the perfect time in the garden is a long afternoon sitting in the shade with a good book. A cool breeze, peace and quiet… But of course, he’s usually disturbed by his energetic wire fox terrier, Poppy!

He writes about his misadventures in repotting plants and new discoveries about cat repellers.

See all of George’s posts.

Charlie, Garden Tools, Gardening, Gardening Year, Grow Your Own, How To

One of Primrose's many fruit storage solutions.
One of Primrose’s many fruit storage solutions.

Following on from David’s post about the harvest, I thought I’d share with you Primrose’s top tips for keeping your fruit fresh all winter.

  1. Throw away bruisers. Despite the old saying, the truth is one bad apple really can spoil the bunch. Segregate any apples with bruises or rot on them. Storing them with healthy apples can lead to the good apples rotting as well.
  2. Space the apples out. Another way to prevent rot spreading is to space your apples out so they are not touching. It also helps to keep different varieties of apples on different shelves, as they tend to decay at different rates and you don’t want your faster spoiling golden delicious apples spoiling your long lasting cox apples, for instance.
  3. Wrap your apples. Following on from this, one piece of advice is to wrap your apples in newspaper – this will prevent contact and stop any rot from spreading between apples. Be sure to use plain black and white newspaper or paper as coloured ink contains poisonous elements that you don’t want in prolonged contact with your apples.
  4. Don’t let your apples freeze. Frozen apples are spoiled apples. This is why it’s best to store apples in a cool cellar, but don’t worry, you can always bring your apples into your conservatory or kitchen for a few nights if you know it’s going to be below freezing for extended periods.
  5. Don’t forget – here at Primrose we have a great range of fruit storage solutions. Check out our range of fruit racks here. They’re perfect for keeping out rodents and other pests and keeping your fruit off the ground and fresh through the autumn.

And that’s our top five tips for keeping apples fresh. But what to do with those rotten apples I mentioned? Well they’re perfect for making cider…

 

CharlieCharlie works in the Primrose marketing team, mainly in online marketing.

When not writing for the Primrose Blog, Charlie likes nothing more than a good book and a cool cider.

To see the rest of Charlie’s posts, click here.

 

 

David, Gardening, Gardening Year, Grow Your Own, How To

Harvesting Summer Vegetables

With summer coming to a close and autumn fast approaching, many farmers and gardeners are starting to plan and carry out their harvests. To ensure an abundant yield of optimal produce, it’s important to pick fruits and vegetables at the right time, handle them properly during the post-harvest phase, and store them in a way that preserves the nutritional content as much as possible. In this guide, you’ll learn the basics of how and when to harvest the most common summer crops.

Harvesting Times and Tips for Popular Summer Fruits and Vegetables

Due to the wide variety of produce types and cultivars that are typically grown in a well-rounded summer garden, there is no “perfect” time to pick anything. In fact, you’ve probably noticed that many of your plants have already started producing edible goodness. Since harvesting times vary greatly, it’s better to go based on ripeness rather than the exact date or time of season. Here’s a basic list of ideal harvesting conditions for seven of the most popular summer produce types currently being grown at Carpenters Nursery:

Tomatoes – These are worth mentioning first because it is imperative to harvest these while they’re still orange and let them ripen into a vibrant red after being picked. Picking them after they’ve turned red well leave you with overripe, soggy tomatoes.
Lettuce – Most varieties reach peak ripeness about 50-75 days after being planted. You can tell when lettuce is coming into maturity, as the colours will become richer, the heads will feel full and firm, and the leaves will be densely packed together.
Cucumbers – Being that these fruits ripen throughout the summer, and have a bitter, undesirable taste when overripe, you should be picking them gradually as each fruit comes into maturity. Pick them when they meet the expected size specifications for the cultivar you’re growing, but don’t take them early because they won’t ripen after being picked. Avoid letting them turn yellow and pick them in the morning for best results.
Broccoli – Broccoli is ripe when the heads reach approximately 4-8 inches in diameter and the entire flower cluster (the green stuff you eat) has densely filled in.
Spinach – Typically ripe within 37 to 45 days and can be harvested as soon as 5-6 fully formed leaves are present for baby spinach. Leaves should be removed within a week of being fully formed to prevent yellowing.
Potatoes – Potatoes are usually ready to harvest after about 10 weeks, or in early July, and more will continue to ripen throughout the summer. They need to be harvested before the vines die in late August or the potatoes will rot, and care needs to be taken when lifting them out of the ground.
Peppers – Peppers can be harvested at different stages depending on taste preference. Bell types are typically harvested when they’re firm and between 3 1/2 to 4 inches. Almost all varieties will transform from green and bitter to sweeter and more colourful the longer you leave them to ripen on the plant. Try to pick before they start to soften.

Preserving Crops with Proper Storage

In closing, don’t forget to research proper picking, canning, and storing techniques for the crops you’re growing. Nothing is more disappointing than having a sizable portion of a harvest go to waste due to poor preparation.

DavidDavid is a professional writer with a keen interest in gardening. He currently contributes written articles to various gardening websites such as Carpenters Nursery & Farm Shop.

 

Gardening Year, George, How To

Outdoor Dining Tips

We all want to make the most of the brief moments of sun we get, with few things more satisfying than a nice meal outside. Here are some outdoor dining tips to make your alfresco eating a success!

1. Keep the insects away

Flies buzzing around your food are one thing, but mosquitos and biting insects are quite another. Ward them off as the night closes in with citronella candles.

2. Clean up your mess

Another vital tip for keeping the bugs at bay is to quickly mop up any spilled food or drink. This will stop it attracting unwanted flies to your table.

3. Counter the evening chill

Even on the most baking hot days, once the sun goes down your patio can begin to get a little nippy. Prolong your evening with some added warmth from an outdoor heater.

4. Light it up

Chances are you want to see what you’re eating. Create an intimate illumination with some tealights or candles on the table to keep things visible long into the night.

5. Turn the power on

If you’re eating out past sundown on a regular basis, think about installing some permanent lighting. Hanging LED lights in your parasol or floodlights on the wall are perfect.

6. Add a little greenery

Planting around your seating area can provide both natural shade and the warmth that comes form an enclosed space. Trail some climbing plants around a pergola for an easy dining enclave.

7. Shelter from the heat

Sunshine is great but too much can spoil food and bring about a few burnt heads. Cover your table with an awning or shade sail for instant shade whenever you need it.

We hope these tips can help you make the most of eating outdoors this summer. Do let us know if you have any more advice!

George at PrimroseGeorge works in the Primrose marketing team. As a lover of all things filmic, he also gets involved with our TV ads and web videos.

George’s idea of the perfect time in the garden is a long afternoon sitting in the shade with a good book. A cool breeze, peace and quiet… But of course, he’s usually disturbed by his energetic wire fox terrier, Poppy!

He writes about his misadventures in repotting plants and new discoveries about cat repellers.

See all of George’s posts.

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