Ben Thorton, Bulbs, Flowers, Gardening, Gardening Year, Greenhouses, Grow Your Own, Herbs, How To, Planters, Planting, Plants

Often once it gets cold outside we stop gardening because it’s difficult to grow plants outside when the temperatures are low and the ground has frozen. Luckily you don’t need to just throw away gardening because you cannot do it outside, you can start an indoor garden and continue to get your gardening fix even in the dead of winter.

How to Grow Plants Indoors
Indoor gardening by definition is growing plants inside, whether it be in your house, some other building, a greenhouse, your basement or any other sheltered structure. This method of gardening usually is used to not only start plants earlier in the spring or extend their growth in the autumn, but also to grow your plants during the winter too. But any old indoor garden won’t do if you want to grow big, healthy plants, so that’s why I will give you some tips how to more successfully create and use an indoor garden.

1. Decide on the best place for your indoor garden

When you are thinking about setting up an indoor garden first you really need to think about where your garden will be. If you plan on creating the garden in your basement or in your garage you might want to think about some additional lighting for your garden. However if you situate your indoor garden in a room where there are big windows and plenty of light, or even set-up the garden on your windowsill, then you can get away with just the light that comes through the windows. Also when you’re choosing a place, think about how warm the room will be once the temperatures drop and how humid it will be in your planned indoor garden grow room, as too cold or too humid an environment will only stunt the growth of your plants.

2. Think about the growing medium of your indoor garden

Another important thing to think about once you have decided on where you will place your garden is in what growing medium you will plant your plants. You shouldn’t use soil found outside as it often is filled with different pests and weeds and doesn’t contain enough minerals to sustain the plants once they are indoors. That is why I recommend to either buy some kind of special potting soil or give your plants plenty of additional minerals, if you decide on using soil from outdoors.

3. Don’t forget to check on the plants regularly

When you are gardening outdoors often the plants get the minerals, the light and water they need from nature, but indoor gardening is a whole new ball game. You cannot forget to regularly check on your plants and see if they need more water, light or food (fertiliser). Often plants in different growing stages and in different conditions require different care so make sure that you keep up with what your plants need.

Quick tip: If you don’t want any pests to settle on your plants, rinse them under flowing water at least once a week, so the plant foliage is clean and you don’t have to use any pest control products to treat the plants.

4. Chose the right plants for your indoor garden

It is true that you can grow indoors virtually any plant as long as these plants don’t get too tall, as indoors you don’t have unlimited height. But there are certain plants that will grow better indoors. Plants that will thrive indoors are the ones that like warm environments and can grow even if there isn’t constant sunlight shining on them. For example tomatoes, beans, peas, any herbs like rosemary or peppermint, fruits like strawberries and grapes, and most flowers will be perfect for indoor growth. But this doesn’t mean that you cannot grow other plants in your indoor garden too. Just try it and if it doesn’t work out move on to next type of plant, because the beauty of gardening is trial and error and doing everything you possibly can to help your plants grow.

Benjamin ThortonBen Thorton is the owner and main editor of a website called www.t5fixtures.com. He is an avid gardening enthusiast and has many years of experience gardening indoors.

Awnings, Current Issues, Flowers, Gardening, Gardening Year, George, Greenhouses, Grow Your Own, Herbs, How To, Planting, Plants, Weeding

Gardening in the Rain

Why on earth would you want to try gardening in the rain? It’s a perfectly reasonable question. But, daft as it may seem, there are a surprising number of benefits if you’re prepared to brave the elements. And as our wet summer becomes an even wetter autumn, getting outside on drizzly days will enable you to get a huge amount more done in the garden. Plus, cloudy weather makes for cooler air, which is always a relief for hardworking gardeners. The damp keeps away most insects and, of course, the rain waters your plants for you. So grab your coat, and get outside!

What Can You Do in the Rain?

  • Planting. One common concern that puts people off gardening when it’s wet is whether you can really plant in the rain. In actual fact, it’s fine – as long as there’s no standing water. Just use a pot, or place in the garden, that has good drainage. For new seedlings, planting in the rain can be of great benefit since you don’t have to worry about watering them.
  • Feeding. As well as sitting back and making the most of the rain watering your plants for you, you can take the opportunity to feed them too. Get out there with your fertiliser and sprinkle around the base of each plant. The rain will then help it to run straight into the roots for maximum uptake.
  • Harvesting. Some fruiting plants and vegetables love wet weather, and will produce lots of great crops for you to harvest. So while the season is rainy, it’s the perfect time for picking salad plants like lettuce and watercress, or herbs like mint.

What Can You Do After the Rain?

  • Weeding. Just after a good downpour is the perfect time to get your weeding done. Heavy rainfall means damp soil, which loosens up the weeds’ roots, making them much easier to extract. This is particularly useful for weeds which are notoriously difficult to remove, such as dandelions and those with taproots. Taproots are the thick, original root stems of weeds like creeping buttercup and wood sorrel. It’s much better to get taproots out while the soil is wet so that all the offshoot roots also slide from the earth, since if they break off they can regrow into new plants.
  • Edging. If you’ve ever tried to neaten up the borders of your lawn, you’ll know it can be a challenge to dig a crisp edge in the turf. Garden edging – usually plastic or metal strips – are the best solution for maintaining a trim border, and just after a rainy day is the best time to install it. Just like with weeding, the damp soil is your friend here. It’s much easier to shape with a spade or trowel, and the edging pins will sink into the ground much more freely.
  • Tidying. Though rain is of course essential to a healthy garden, it can also leave a few problems in its wake. When you go outside after a downpour, look for anything that’s been washed out of place, particularly soil or fertiliser. Make sure you turn the compost heap too, if it’s an open one, to help with the air circulation and prevent it getting waterlogged.

Snail in Rain

How Can You Prepare Your Garden for the Rain?

Not all parts of your garden are going to appreciate a real British deluge, so it’s best to be prepared. If you’ve just planted seeds they may be vulnerable, but simply covering them with a plastic cloche or sheeting should shelter them from the worst of the weather. If you have fragile plants in pots, an easy alternative is just to bring them inside while the weather is bad.

What to Wear for Gardening When It Rains

Gardening can be mucky, and never more so than when it’s pouring outside. But don’t let that put you off – with the right clothing you can easily stay warm and dry. Obviously a raincoat is a must. But it’s also worth investing in a pair of waterproof trousers if you’re going to be outdoors for a while, as normal materials will quickly become soaked through and weigh you down. You’ll want something to cover your head, but a waterproof hat is actually better than a hood for gardening since it allows for more flexible neck movement as you’re working outside. For your feet, walking boots are generally more practical than wellies. They’re lighter and don’t restrict your ankles, which makes it much easier for trampling through undergrowth and flowerbeds. Just make sure to check if your boots need spraying with a waterproofing agent first.

Useful Kit to Cope with the Showers

  • Greenhouse. Although more of an investment, a greenhouse will offer a permanent sheltered spot for gardening in a downpour. You’ll be able to get on with repotting and planting seeds whenever the weather decides to turn. It can also be a useful area to have for unexpected rainfall, as you can shift delicate plants undercover in an instant without having to worry about causing a mess indoors.
  • Garden track. One of the best ways to deal with the muddy ground rainfall causes is some garden track. This is a plastic roll out path that provides a solid surface to ensure you don’t slip over on the wet lawn, and is especially useful for stopping wheelbarrows sinking into sodden earth.
  • Garden shade. Sometimes you may just want to relax in your garden without the risk of sudden rain spoiling your day. Having an awning or shade sail installed is a great way to cover your furniture or guests when you’re entertaining outside. No more events ruined by bad weather!

So I hope some of these ideas have inspired you to not be downcast the next time the clouds appear on your gardening day. As we’ve seen, there are always a few bits and pieces you can crack on with in the wet weather, and even some benefits that the rain brings. It’s a garden essential. And if all else fails, stay inside, put your feet up and enjoy a nice cup of tea. After all, you were out working hard in the garden all summer…

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.

Gardening, Grow Your Own, Herbs, How To, Planting, Plants, Promotions, Tony Stacey

Herbs In Pot

“Herbs are the friend of the physician and the pride of cooks.” 

– Charlemagne.

For years we’ve known herbs add wonderful depth to our dishes and perform miracles for our health. So with the cold weather now on its way, follow these essential indoor herb growing tricks to ensure your kitchen brims with luscious and rich herbs this autumn.

Engulf them with sunlight

Herbs On Windowsill

Whilst they can look superb perched up in the nooks of your kitchen, the key to herb growing is light. Herbs want lots of it. You want to provide your herbs with at least 6 hours of sunlight – so place them close to a window. Preferably an east facing window, as this will bathe them in a healthy dose of morning light daily, weather permitting!

Basil really loves sunlight. But for winter time or a more shaded location, you’ll find parsley will become your friend.

Regular, consistent water

Watering Can

When you grow herbs indoors you must remember Mother Nature can no longer give her helping hand – water sources such as rain and morning dew are no longer accessible to your plants. This means you must be extra vigilant to provide regular water. Make sure the soil of your herb garden is always damp.

Always water the soil and roots of your herbs, not the top of the plant where water can quickly evaporate in the warmth of your home. This way the soil will retain much more moisture.

Container advice

Indoor Herb Growing Planter

Herbs will be pretty happy in most containers, providing they have plenty of soil per herb. Herbs suck your soil dry of water fast, so the more soil, the more moisture they will have access to. Especially if you are anything like me and forget to water now and again, an indoor windowsill herb garden planter will hold plenty of soil and retain lots of moisture. This means the herbs will be much more forgiving!

Food for food

Herbs On Chopping Board

Should you be feeding your herbs? Absolutely. As you’ll eventually be using these herbs for consumption we suggest you pick a chemical free fertiliser and apply lightly to your herbs every two weeks. You should avoid over fertilising – this can prevent the creation of the herb’s essential oils, reducing their flavour – and who wants to eat bland herbs?

Whatever level you are, there’s a home-grown herb out there for you

For beginners we suggest buying baby herb plants so you don’t have to worry about the germination process. Oregano is incredibly forgiving and grows well even in poor soil. Other herbs we recommend are parsley, mint, chives & thyme.

If you’ve grown herbs before, try growing annual herbs from seed. Leafier herbs will germinate fairly fast so look out for basil, coriander & dill.

If you consider yourself a herb connoisseur, we suggest bulking out your indoor garden with some more exotic and unusual plants. You can grow the quite adaptable Stevia from cuttings or a small plant – now used quite commonly as a natural alternative to refined sugar.

It’s ‘thyme’ to get growing!

Feeling inspired? Check out National Garden Gift Vouchers who are currently running a Herb Garden Competition to help promote growing year-round goodness. They are giving away 25 herb garden packs brimming with thyme, sage, mint, coriander and basil until the end of December 2015.

Find out more on their website: competition.thevouchergarden.co.uk.

Tony StaceyTony Stacey is Marketing Manager at the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), the organisation who administer the National Garden Gift Voucher Scheme. HTA are the leading trade association representing the UK garden industry. Tony is incredibly passionate about promoting gardening campaigns to children and non-gardeners to get the nation more green fingered and inspired to grow their own food.

Bulbs, Flowers, Gardening, Gardening Year, Geoff, Grow Your Own, How To, Infographics, Planting

You can have a colourful garden with flowers blooming all year round – just use our simple guide!

Knowing what to plant, when to plant it and where it grows best can be a tricky business. But if you want a colourful garden for every season, all you really need to get dug in are the flowering times. So we’ve created this infographic as a handy visual guide for when flowers bloom. Simply pick the plants for each season that will suit the conditions best in your garden. Then you’ll be sure to have luscious planting whichever time of year!

When Flowers Bloom Infographic

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GeoffGeoff works within the Primrose marketing team, primarily on anything related to graphics and design.

He loves to keep up with the latest in music, film and technology whilst also creating his own original art and his ideal afternoon would be lounging in a sunny garden surrounded by good food, drink and company provided there is a football nearby.

While not an expert, his previous job involved landscaping so he’s got some limited experience when gardening.

See all of Geoff’s posts.

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