Gardening, George, How To, Planting

How to Grow Moss in Your Garden

Is your garden in need of a design shake up? Do you dream of smooth rolling lawns, but without the hassle of maintaining them? Then perhaps a moss carpet would be a great alternative for you, either across the whole of your garden or for a particular area. Contrary to popular belief, many types of moss can actually grow in the sun as well as the shade, so there’s no need to limit where you can place your moss garden. The key is to look for moss that’s growing in similar conditions to your chosen location when you’re picking samples to transplant. In this guide you’ll learn how to grow moss in your garden with just a few simple steps.

Preparing the area

Pretty much all soil types are suitable for growing moss, except the most sandy soils as these might not be stable enough. Begin by clearing the intended area of any remaining grass, leaves and other debris. Smooth out the soil but feel free to leave curves, bumps and ridges in as desired. Remember that moss clings very closely to the shape of the ground, so any landscaping will be clearly visible. Lightly scratch the earth with a rake to make it easier for the transplanted moss to gain a grip.

Gathering moss

In order to grow a new moss lawn, we’re relying on the natural ability of moss to grow outwards and cover a horizontal area. All you need are samples of living moss to expand and cover your chosen ground. As mentioned earlier, the best way to pick the type of moss that will grow best is to look for some growing in similar conditions – soil type, shading and access to moisture. Obviously ask permission if you’re going to take samples from somewhere outside of your own garden. Scrape some moss from the ground or trees at the original location using a trowel or spatula. This will be easiest when the moss is slightly damp, so go out after a rainfall or spray it with some water yourself. Once you have your sample split it up into lots of small pieces – enough fragments as you can to get good initial coverage of your intended area.

Transplanting Moss

Transplanting the moss

Start by wetting the earth you’ve prepared, though be careful just to make it damp to the touch rather than completely waterlogged. Then push the small fragments of moss into the dirt, not spread out too sparsely but enough so that the whole area is fairly well covered. If you’re worried about the pieces shifting, you can secure them in place with netting or pins to start with.

Settling in

After the transplant it’s important to water the moss regularly – at least a few times a day. Spray the whole moss lawn lightly with water, using a fine head on the hose or a spray bottle for smaller areas. Keep pressing the fragments down, either with your hands or by walking over them. Be aware that it will take some time for the moss to acclimatise and expand to fill in all the gaps. But soon enough you will be enjoying a rich, smooth, spongy lawn all year round.

Moss has great potential to really enhance your garden and differentiate it from a standard turf lawn, which can often be a struggle to keep looking healthy and trimmed. Whether you want a natural secluded cove at the end of the garden or just a place to lay out in the sun, a moss lawn is definitely worth considering. You can transplant the moss any time of year, just keep in mind any falling leaves and adjust your watering depending on the weather. Remember to choose moss suited to your intended place, and you can find varieties that will thrive in shade or sun. A lot of moss is also drought tolerant, all it needs to grow well initially is constant moisture and a lack of competition from other plants.

If you do decide to take the plunge and try out growing moss in your garden, please get in touch and let us know how you get on!

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.

Callum, Garden Design, Gardening Year, How To, Planting, Ponds

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Lawn

Britain’s climate allows us to grow the very best grass in the world so wouldn’t it be a shame if we didn’t make the most of this wonderful opportunity? Start by removing all the dead leaves, sticks and any other unwanted debris to give your lawn a chance to breathe. Then it’s time to get your rake out, dethatch the lawn and remove all the dead roots and grasses.This process will clear the way for watering, mowing and planting seeds. For larger areas you can seek a scarifier with a motor. The debris will still have to be raked up and removed. Now if you want your lawn to have the best drainage system then a good old fashioned forking wouldn’t go amiss. Simply push the fork into the lawn every 12 centimetres and wiggle it around to break the soil and reduce the compaction.

Lawn

Alternatively, if forking isn’t for you, an aerator can be used instead. This is a very simple tool that pushes into the lawn like a fork and will remove small plugs of soil which can then have lawn sand brushed into them. Your final step is to add lawn feed and place seeds wherever there are bare patches. I’m sure it goes without saying but it is vital you stay off your lawn as much as possible until your lawn has finished its growth period to give your grass the best chance to prosper.

Soil

Sadly your soil just isn’t the same as it was a half a year ago. Months of rain and numbing temperatures will inevitably take their toll. Now you’ll need to really show your ruthless characteristics at the start of this process. Give your beds a thorough cleaning, remove everything except for perennial plants. This will make it easier to maintain your soil and help you to determine what to plant this year.

Soil

The next step is to test your soil. Get a baseline of your soil’s PH by using a testing kit. Test several places in your garden as results can differ across different areas. The ideal P.H is between 6-6.5, if it’s below that then your plants will have a hard time absorbing nutrients. If the P.H is below the magical 6.5, then add some garden lime and use according to the packaging directions. It is unlikely it will be above this, but if it is then add some pure sufler to these alkaline areas or alternatively you can just plant alkaline loving flowers. Finally add an inch or 2 of compost, either homemade or purchased. I would recommend commercial compost as it has a finer texture than homemade, and then simply rake over the surface of soil to even it out across your bed.

Pond

Ponds provide a beautiful sense of sound, movement and reflection in the summer months which many of us like to exhibit to our close friends and families. If you ignore your pond however, then the urge to boast this potentially beautiful spectacle might disappear and regret will sink in. Now (unfortunately for some) it’s time to clean your pond and work that elbow grease. If your pond is murky with no sign of life, start by giving it a good clean. Bail out the water with a bucket and remove any plants, standing them in bowls of water in a shady spot. Scrape the sludge off the bottom of the pond with a spade, being careful not to damage the liner, then scrub the sides and floor with a stiff brush.

I would then recommend supplying yourself with a pond vacuum. This neat mechanism attaches to your hose. The water pressure creates a vacuum venturi effect which sucks up any dirt and debris, collecting in a reusable bag allowing the clean water to pass through. The brush attachment then has special rollers which glide easily over the pond bottom, gently removing the dirt whilst protecting pondlife and fish.

Pond

By following all of these steps your garden should have all the essentials to produce the frameworks for an aesthetically pleasing garden ready to show off to all your fellow friends and family. Happy gardening everyone!

 

Callum is currently on his placement year here at Primrose with his parents being huge garden enthusiasts.Callum

In the time he has free from his parents rambling on about the garden, he is being a typical university student experiencing life to the full and supporting his beloved Reading FC.

See all of Callum’s posts.

Allotment, Bulbs, Charlie, Composting, Flowers, Gardening, Grow Your Own, How To, Planting

Compost – a gardener’s friend, a great way to give a boost to all your plants, from seedlings to mature shrubs and trees – but which compost is the best for the job? We take a look at the things to keep an eye out for when buying your compost.


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Q) What do you call an irishman lying at the bottom of a bog for 1000 years?
A) Peat!

Since the 1970s, most composts use peat as a central ingredient. Peat is great for compost as, being made up of decayed vegetation, it contains in abundance many of the nitrates needed to help plants grow. However there are environmental drawbacks – namely the destruction of huge areas of natural wilderness owing to the harvesting of peat. While most of the peat used in the UK is imported, the amount of peat used from UK sources still far outstrips the rate at which it is naturally produced.

Thankfully, there are now on the market many peat-reduced or peat-free alternatives to the regular types of compost, many of which are just as effective as helping your plants grow. Generally made out of coir, wood fibre and composted bark, which mean they are good at holding water, but are also well drained. At Primrose, we only stock peat-free compost.

As well as the peat content, another thing to keep an eye on is the acidity. Composts that are too alkaline or too acidic can be damaging to many plants, while some plants do thrive in acidic soil conditions this is not the case for most. An ideal pH is around 7, but due to the salts containing the nutrients plants need to thrive,most composts will be a bit off from this. Too low and it can spell disaster for plants.

Drainage/ Water Retention. How well a compost drains and contains water is also important. If a compost has poor drainage it can lead to waterlogged root, on the other hand, if a compost has poor water retention, it can lead to there being not enough moisture for the plants to really thrive.

Fertiliser Levels. How much fertiliser is in the compost will naturally affect how well a plant grows. What might be less apparent however is that too much fertiliser can also be a bad thing, as well as too little. Too much fertiliser is not needed by many plants, and putting too much in can cause the soil’s pH to fall to dangerous levels.

We at Primrose hope this helps you make a more informed choice, and buy the best compost for your plants and the wider environment, as long as you buy from us!

 

compost

 

CharlieCharlie works in the Primrose marketing team, mainly on 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.

Amie, Celebrations And Holidays, Christmas, Gardening, Grow Your Own, How To, Planting

Recently, Alan Titchmarsh came out and stated home grown fruit and vegetables are far superior to those sold in a supermarket. The flavours, the varieties and the need to support local agriculture far outweigh the downsides of doing otherwise. To some extent, I fully agree with Alan, but I recognise the impracticality of doing this too, so I won’t judge those who don’t do this. If you have a garden, and the time and means to do so, then I fully encourage you to grow your own veg!

With a rather important seasonal holiday approaching, where roughly £175 is spent on food and drink per household, I wanted to apply this theory into growing your own Christmas dinner and research whether or not it would be possible for you at home to try this out yourselves.

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  1. Brussel Sprouts

Love them or hate them, these lookalike mini cabbages are as much a Christmas tradition as office party debauchery, Santa’s Grottos and god-awful jumpers (only kidding, I love them!). 4billion Brussel sprouts were brought in the week before Christmas last year, and the average person will consume 14 of these tasty vegetables over Christmas. Unbelievable right?

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Preparation for making sprouts begins in March, where you will need to sow them under a cloche, fleece or cold frame thinly to a depth of 1 cm, with roughly 15 cm separating them. The earlier you sow, the better the crops will turn out. You can purchase various varieties of sprouts such as ‘Evesham’ and ‘Maximum’.

Once they have reached roughly 15 cm in height, which should take roughly two to three months, it’s time to plant them out. You will need to allow 60-80 cm either side of the plants, and if you’re lucky enough to have some tall ones sneaking through, they will need support from say, a bamboo cane. Add some fertiliser and water throughout the planting process, and continue watering the plants every few weeks (especially if we’re lucky enough to see dry weather) until your plants have blossomed. Keep an eye on pests too such as birds or caterpillars.

Sprouts take roughly 35-40 weeks from initial sowing to, excuse the pun, sprout. You will have to start at the bottom of the stalk, when they are the size of cherry tomato, and firm like a walnut. The best way to remove them is to simply snap them off with a sharp, downward pull. Once frosted, the sprouts will offer a much improved flavouring. You will then need to store until December, and you have a lovely, traditional side!. If you have some spare sprouts, you could try out a new pizza topping or even Brussel sprout soup.

  1. Potatoes

The great potato, the world’s favourite root vegetable, a common addition to every roast throughout the UK. Did you know they initially originated in South America, and only reach Europe in the 16th century? Now you do.

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The best variety to use if you’re intending for a classic roast would be a King Edward or a Maris Piper; great for roasting, high on flavour and relatively easy to produce and store. Potato ‘seeds’ are commonly available online or from garden centres. You will need to sow roughly 35-40 cm apart, in rows 75 cm apart, in deep trenches roughly 15 cm underground. If you’re intending to use spuds around Christmas time, it best you plant April or early May at the latest. When you plant your potatoes, you need to try maintaining them upright, an egg box would probably be a good device to use.

Once you start to see shoots through the soil, it’s time to earth the spuds up. You will need to cover the shoots with soil, either side of the rows to form a ridge to protect them from wintry weather. If you’re worried your potatoes will be prone to frost, you can cover with a fleece for extra protection. Continue to water, especially in dry spells.

Once the leaves begin to show, and are open, it is time to harvest your potatoes. I’d advise using a fork, and going in at a 45 degree angle, so not to pierce through the pots underground.  Once dug up, they will need washing to remove the dirt, grime and any possible pesticide placed upon them, and then leave to dry for a few hours. Once dried, store in hessian sacks in a dark, frost free place until they are ready to eat in December! To add extra flavour to your potatoes, cover in salt, thyme, rosemary or garlic.

  1. Carrots

A favourite of Bug’s Bunny, and supposedly great for seeing in the dark (although this is definitely a myth!), the carrot has been a Christmas favourite for years. A member of the parsley family, carrots are low in fat and high in Vitamin A, so they’re very nutritious too.

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The best time to sow your carrots in time for Christmas is July, August at a push. Sow thinly at around 3 cm deep, allowing 30 cm between each row. The ideal soil conditions for carrots mean a nice, light, well-drained soiling, facing towards light. July and August should provide you with plenty of sunlight.  You will need to ensure the soil is stone free too, but there is the option of a raised bed if you don’t think your soil will be feasible.

If sowing in the summer time, you will need to ensure the carrots are well watered, and the soil kept moist, otherwise germination and growth will be halted. Other than that, carrots are a fairly care free plant, requiring little or no attention.

Once the frost hits, you will need to cover your carrots with straw or a fleece so not to ruin them. Your carrots should be ready to harvest in October but if you want to use them for Christmas, the later the better. You can check by lifting one or two carrots to give you an idea of their size. I suggest harvesting in the evening, to avoid attracting carrot fly, which can cause your crops to rot. You will need to store the carrots in boxes of sand, in a cool, frost free place until you are ready to cook them.

traditional xmas tree

With these three key components of any Christmas dinner ready to go, all that is required for your plate is a turkey! For this, I would recommend your local supermarket or butchers though. If you need advice on how much to serve each guest, then BBC Good Food have a simple guide on portions, but don’t let this stop you!

 

AmieAmie is a marketing enthusiast, having worked at Primrose since graduating from Reading University in 2014.

She enjoys all things sport. A keen football fan, Amie follows Tottenham Hotspur FC, and regularly plays for her local 5 a side football team.

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

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