Allotment, Composting, Gardening, Grow Your Own

Every garden can benefit from a compost heap. Good compost will help your flowers grow more vibrant and your veg produce more food   – its also a fantastic way to reduce your household waste. This guide will give you everything you need to be composting like a pro in no time. 

Step1 – Choose A Compost Bin

 

There are loads of different ones out there, so there will be something you’ll like. Just make sure you choose one that suits how you are going to use it.

Plastic – A good beginner option, most plastic compost bins come with lockable lids to keep pests out. However, they don’t get quite as good air circulation or heat distribution of other types. Great for the beginner or gardener who just wants to give their plants a boost.

Wooden – These open-topped bins give good air circulation and heat distribution which helps to kill pathogens. However, if not treated correctly, the wood will eventually rot and need to replace.

Compost tumblers – These bins speed the process up a bit and are a good choice for people who have reduced mobility. Put your materials in the bin and turn a few times a week. They won’t produce as much compost as other styles, but you will get it quicker.  

Wormeries – These are great for smaller or indoor spaces since the worms do all the work. The best option if you live in a flat or have limited space and still produce nutrient-rich compost. May not be the best option if you don’t like worms and they can give off a strong smell at times. 

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Step 2 – Find the right place fo your compost bin.

You should put your compost bin in a dry, well-drained place that is easily accessible year-round. Put over bare soil rather than concrete or paving to let worms and other beneficial organisms into the pile. You should also remove any grass or plants and turn t 6 – 8 inches of soil below the bin with a fork. For a wormery, follow the manufacturer’s guidance on placement.  

Step 3 – Know what can and can’t be composted. 

Composting materials can be broken down into two types – Green and Brown. You need both to get good results.

Green  grass clippings, fresh manure, vegetable trimmings and most green plant cuttings

Brown – leaves, hay, straw and paper

We’ve put together an at-a-glance guide to what you can or can’t compost in your garden. Feel free to print it off and hang it up to give you a hand.  

Download here: Primrose Composting Guide

 

Step 4 – Start your compost.

Making compost is like layering a cake. Just make sure you moisten each layer with the mist setting of a garden hose or spray bottle. To get started: 

  1. Line your bin with around 4 inches of twigs, hay and straw (for smaller bins see the manufacturers instructions for guidance)
  2. Add the same sized layer of brown material and cover with a thin layer of soil. 
  3.  Add the same sized layer of green material and cover with a thin layer of soil.
  4. Keep adding alternating layers of green and brown material until the bin is full.
  5. Aerate your compost with a shovel or fork every three to four days.

Step 5 – Use your compost.

When your compost has turned dark with a crumbly texture and takes on an earthy aroma, it’s ready to use. Compost can take between three to six months to be ready, but the longer you leave it, the better it will be. 

Dig out your compost as you need it and give your plants and homegrown produce a good boost. 

 

We have everything you need to get started with a great compost heap, why not take a look now.

 

 

 

 

Animals, Birds, Conservation, Wildlife

From the 29th to the 31st of January the RSPB is holding its 2021 Big Garden Bird Watch – your chance to discover the wildlife on your doorstep. And all it takes is an hour of your time. 

All you need to do to take part is :

  1. Choose a time 
  2. Count the birds you see in your garden over an hour period
  3. Submit your results here 

It’s the world’s largest bird survey and by getting involved, you are helping to uncover the secret lives of British wildlife. 

Why You Should Get Involved

British birds are in decline – since 1979 the Birdwatch has recorded the decline of several bird species. By getting involved, you can help track the trends and help conservationists reverse the trend. 

It’s a fun way to get in touch with wildlife –  Every garden is different, and getting to know the unique wildlife in yours is a great way to getting the most out of your outdoor spaces.

What might you see this year?

  

House Sparrow

 

One of the most common birds in the UK.  Found in 63% of gardens

 

Robin

 

The most recognised bird – 83% recorded seeing one in 2019

 

Dunnock

 

Only found in 43% of gardens, this beautiful bird is in decline. Can you help find where it’s thriving?


 

Waxwing

 

One of the more elusive birds in the country, the waxwing is out there, but can you find it?

 

 

 

Goldfinch 

 

 

This small bird is common but hard to spot. Can you be one of the 34% who did see one last year?

 

Blue tit

 

Seen by 77% of people, this common bird is drawn to a well-stocked bird feeder.

 

Starling

 

The fantastic speckles of the starling might not be around much longer. They’ve seen an 80% drop since 1979.

 

Wren

 

You’ll hear the wren before you see it, and only 21% did in 2019 – spot them near woodlands.

 See what you can find this year, and see how your garden stacks up against the rest of the nation.

Sign Up Now 

 

Decorative Features, How To, Indoor

If you’re working from home it’s essential that you keep your working space as lovely to work in as you can. The work environment has a significant effect on motivation and productivity. Here are our top tips on making your home workspace work better for you. 

Add Houseplants

 

Adding a natural touch is one of the best ways to improve the quality of your working life. Houseplants purify the air, remove toxins from the space and create a more pleasant space to work in. They also don’t take up much space, and some even thrive in low light or humid areas – great if you are working from your kitchen or conservatory. 

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Use Mirrors to add light. 

Mirrors are a great way to lighten up your space and make it feel bigger. Outdoor mirrors can look really nice when brought indoors, and they tend to be more decorative and strong. Put your mirror opposite a window or where it will reflect natural light and your office will feel lighter and roomier. 

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Be creative with screening.

If you have the time and are looking to get that ultra-modern office look it might be worth looking at garden screening. Artificial foliage screening creates a no-maintenance living wall in your space that adds a touch of the outdoors that you’d only find in the most high-end London offices. Want a slightly more textured or feature background for your video calls? Then consider some bamboo or willow screening – it really gives a great look. 

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Think about water features

An indoor water feature has a lot of health benefits: purifying and humidifying the air and fills your space with the relaxing sounds of running water. Their use in the home is often overlooked, but they will only benefit your workday and they come in so many styles that you will definitely find something to suit your style. 

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For more on how to improve your home working experience why not take a look at our guide here. 

We would love to see what you have been doing with your home office, why not show us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

Garden Design, How To

Lots of people have been working from home this year, and some big companies have made the change permanent. With hybrid working looking more likely in the future we need to start building workspaces in our homes. But, those with no spare rooms or a busy home might find this a bit difficult, so why not look to the garden. A garden office separates you from the distractions of the home and if you don’t have the budget to buy a brand new one why not look to what’s already in your garden. Here is everything you need to know about converting a shed or summerhouse into a great garden office. 

Image thanks to SHARON D

Step 1: Make your space suitable. 

Before you start buying materials and making changes to any outdoor building you should take a good look at it first to make sure it is a suitable place to work. You will be spending a big part of your day in it, so it needs to be comfortable, secure and protected from the weather. When surveying your space think about: 

  • Weatherproofing – your new office needs to be completely watertight, and some older sheds might not be. This is the first thing you should do and it is easy to do with a few simple steps: 1. Line the floor and roof with DMF, 2. seal any large gaps with a silicone sealant and you should have a nice dry place to work.

 

  • Electricity – a lot of office spaces will need computers, printers, fax machines and extra lighting in the winter. This means you will need a mains connection and always consult an electrician. You shouldn’t need planning permission unless you live in a listed building.

 

  • Heat & insulation -in the winter you want to work in a nice, toasty office. A smaller space can be easily warmed up with a heater. If you want to go a step further you can install some insulation and plasterboard for a higher-end look.  

 

  • Wifi and internet – this can be a tricky one if you have a big garden, but as long as you have a wired mains connection, the internet can be yours. You can buy a plug-in powerline adaptor quite cheaply that turns your electric cables into wifi boosters. 

 

  • Lighting – good lighting is the key to productivity. A combination of natural light in the day and good artificial light in the afternoon is key. If your shed or summerhouse has windows then one is already sorted. When putting artificial lighting in your home you have a few options, install a light fitting or buy a lamp. Whichever you choose make sure to choose a cold white over a warm white as they are better for concentrations, and always consult an electrician before installing light fittings. 

 

Step 2: Arrange your workspace.

Once your shed or summerhouse is ready to go it’s time to set up your office, and how you do this will depend on the size of your space. 

Small  – A basic office without all the bells and whistles, but there will be enough room for a chair and desk with all the space for your basics. 

Medium – Offers you more flexibility when it comes to the layout. You can add bookshelves and larger printers or equipment.

Large – Gives you the most flexibility. Y. Allows you to store all of your paperwork and equipment and may allow for workspace for multiple people. You can also add furniture for meeting or break spaces. 

Step 3 – Decorate

Make space your own. Consider adding some houseplants or pictures to make it a place you want to work. 

For more ideas on decorating your new workspace see our guide

Don’t have a shed or summerhouse already? 

 

If you don’t have a suitable building to convert into an office, then why not start from scratch. A small purpose made studio office is ideal for most sized gardens, but if you want something different you can see our whole range of outdoor buildings to find something you’ll love.