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.

 

 

 

 

Allotment, Gardening, Hedging, Plants, Trees

Autumn can be a busy time in the garden, and one of the more exciting tasks is planting trees and plants to make sure they are established and ready for the Spring. We’ve made this guide to help you plan what to plant and get ahead of your spring garden. 

Bare-root Trees, Hedging and Shrubs 

Autumn is the best time of the year to plant bare-root plants as it gives them enough time to become well-established before the spring which will give you better blooms and foliage in the Spring and improve yields from fruit trees and bushes over the lifetime of the plant. 

Ornamental Bare Root Trees

From cherry blossoms to rowan trees, the right ornamental tree can bring the design of your outdoor space to new levels and be the finishing touch to tie a scheme together. 

Shop ornamental Bare root trees 

Bare Root Fruit Trees

A garden full of fruit brings bright colour, sweet smells and wildlife into your space. Great for bringing your garden to life and giving you some great things to cook with throughout the year. 

Shop Bare Root Fruit Trees

Bare Root Hedging

Adding structure to your space and bolstering your boundaries, our bare root hedging is great for lining paths, sectioning off parts of the garden or adding privacy. 

Shop Bare Root Hedging

Our Top Picks 

 

 Red Stemmed Dogwood

A hardy shrub whose bright red bark stands out in the winter and that produces lush foliage and delicate white flowers in the spring. A great plant for year-round colour. 

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Japanese Maple

A small deciduous tree with an upright habit and that produces a thick canopy of leaves. A symbol of springtime Japan, this tree is an ideal feature piece for smaller gardens or a large container for patios.

Shop Japanese Maple 

Flowering Quince

Can be trained into a hedge or climber or left as a shrub. This colourful plant produces red blossoms and versatile tart fruit that makes a great jam or tart.

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Black Cherry Plum Tree

A beautiful ornamental cherry tree that produces pale pink blossoms and black foliage in spring and dark red fruit in autumn. A great tree for a contemporary style garden. 

Shop Back Cherry Plum Tree

Cheals Weeping Cherry Blossom Tree

A hardy tree whose leaves are a gorgeous bronze when young, before turning red in spring, and light green in summer. Come autumn, they fade to a mellow orange giving you an ever-changing display of colour. 

Shop Cheals Weeping Cherry Blossom Tree

Accolade Cherry Blossom Tree

A gorgeous deciduous tree with a spreading habit. It’s early blooming semi-double flowers start off pale pink, then fade too much lighter pink mid-autumn. 

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Rowan Tree

A popular fast-growing tree with thin, green leaves and jewel-like ruby-red berries in summer and Autumn to create an interesting contrasting display. 

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Tibetan Cherry Tree

A small but sturdy deciduous tree with distinctive glossy coppery-brown bark and yellow leaves. In spring, single, white flowers appear and are often followed by small amounts of fruit in the autumn. 

Tibetan Cherry Tree

Spring Bulbs

summer bulbs

Autumn is the time to start thinking about the garden after winter. For a lively garden full of colour in the spring, you should think about planting your spring bulbs now, before the first frost hits and the ground becomes too hard. Some plants benefit from a cold dormant period before flowering so consider planting Crocus, Tulip, Hyacinth and Snowdrop or bluebell now for great results in spring.

Shop all spring bulbs now 

Autumn bedding

A colourful outdoor space can be a year-round thing with the right planting. Bring life and texture into the autumn and winter with some of our great autumn bedding. 

Shop autumn bedding

 

Allotment, Composting, Gardening, Gardening Year, Gardens, Grow Your Own, Planting

Autumn is a season of transition. As the warm bright days of summer begin to shorten and grow colder, your crops near their end and it’s time to start preparing for winter and planting for spring. There is a lot to do at this time of the year, but with our list of jobs to do this season, you will find yourself well prepared. 

General Maintainance 

raking leaves

  • Collect fallen leaves– keep your garden looking tidy and reduce the chances of pests and diseases in your garden
  • Create a compost heap –  fallen leaves and dead plant material can make great compost that will be good for plants in spring. Think about creating your heap in a quiet corner of your garden or in a compost bin
  • Repair or replace fencing – now that your plants are dormant and the ground is still warm enough to dig in it’s a great time to replace damaged or old fencing
  • Insulate outdoor taps – frozen taps can become damaged. Wrap in kitchen foil of fleece to protect it from the coldest weather
  • Prepare the lawn for winter – continue to mow the lawn if the frost is not too heavy, but raise the height of the mower blades; spike with a garden fork to improve drainage
  • Organise your shed-  take the time to clear out your garden shed, check security, and organise and clean your tools ready for spring. 
  • Prune the garden– prune fruit trees, dormant shrubs and hedges, roses, and Japanese maples in order to ensure a good start to spring
  • Cluster container plants together– as their roots are more exposed to the elements, move shrubs and bedding plants growing in containers to sheltered spots and cluster together for protection from the colder weather
  • Check tree ties– check any tree ties to make sure trees are protected from strong winds and the tree stems will not be damaged by ties that are too tight; 
  • Make Leaf Mould – bag up fallen leaves in a good quality bin bag. Poke holes in the bag and leave out of sight for two years. Leaf mould  can be used as seed-sowing compost or used to enrich the soil
  • Clear the remains of summer crops – to avoid them rotting and attracting pests and diseases
  • Clean Your Tools – taking good care of your tools now will prevent them from rusting over winter and needing to be replaced in the summer
  • Prune fruit bushes –  prune out any dead, dying or diseased wood whilst your fruit trees are dormant to encourage new and good growth in the spring
  • Net brassicas – to protect them from overwintering birds. Use a fine mesh or a frame that it lifts clear of the plant to stop birds pecking through. You could also consider a polytunnel or cold frame
  • Begin Digging Over – dig small sections of your garden over the month to get manure, air and compost into the soil. 

Plants 

 

  • Protect plants from the frost– standard terracotta planters often break in cold weather, so consider our frost-resistant fibrecotta. For plants in flower beds, a cold frame or cloche fleece provides instant protection
  • Raise plant containers– raise pots off the ground for the winter using bricks or pot feet to prevent them from becoming waterlogged
  • Prune rose bushes- prevent wind rock (swaying in the wind and the roots becoming loose) by pruning roses by one third to half their height
  • Cut back herbaceous perennials– cut back the yellowing foliage of any flowering plants, then life and divide any overcrowded clumps
  • Plant tulip bulbstulip bulbs to bloom in spring next year are best planted in late autumn to prevent the tulip fire disease
  • Move dormant plants– if you need to relocate any plants or fruit trees, now is the time to do so while they are dormant
  • Plant spring bulbs– plant bulbs such as daffodils, crocus, hyacinths, and fritillaries before the first frost to fill your garden with colour in th spring
  • Take hardwood cuttings– cut healthy shoots from suitable trees, shrubs, and climbers, including honeysuckle and blackcurrant shrubs. plant in the ground or in a pot to propagate new plants
  • Lift and store dahlia tubers– these tender perennials need protection from the colder weather, so lift the dormant roots and stems to store indoors and plant back outside next spring

Greenhouse 

 

  • Stock up on greenhouse accessories– now you’ll be spending more time in your greenhouse, make sure to stock up on accessories, including a heater to maintain the temperature and staging to hold your plants
  • Sow winter herbs– sow Mediterranean herbs such as thyme, sage, and parsley for a fresh supply during the winter
  • Clean your greenhouse– if you haven’t already done so, make sure to clean your greenhouse thoroughly; wash and disinfect capillary matting before storing away
  • Water plants sparingly– make sure plants are hydrated but keep the greenhouse as dry as possible to reduce the risk of disease
  • Combat pests– check overwintering plants for pests such as aphids and red spider mite, treat if necessary using a general insecticide
  • Maintain plants– pick faded leaves and dead flowers from plants that are being stored in the greenhouse over the winter
  • Check that all heaters are working properly –  You will need them in the coming months, so check them now so you don’t have to rush and buy new ones when they are needed. If any are broken replace them now
  • Remove snow– make sure to brush any snow off the top of greenhouses and cold frames to make sure the glass does not get damaged

 

 

Allotment, Gardening, Grow Your Own

Many of your plants will start dying back and loosing there leaves this month, but there are still a few crops to plant and harvest. Collecting these fallen leaves to make leaf mould to get even more use out of your crops.

Vegetable gardening

General

 

  • “Cure” pumpkins and squashes – this hardens their skins, the harder the skins get the longer you can keep them
  • Break up heavy soil – dig over beds where the soil has become hard and compacted. Pull out any weeds as you go
  • Cover beds with polythene – spreading sheets over the soil keeps off the worst of the rain and suppresses weeds, as well as allowing you to sow earlier next spring. 
  • Cover late crops with cloches – when temperatures drop, especially at night, protect autumn salads and Oriental leaves with cloches or fleece
  • Cut down asparagus and Jerusalem artichokes – chop down to the ground yellowing asparagus foliage and the stems and foliage of Jerusalem artichokes, and compost
  • Dry out beans for storage – if the weather is dry, leave bean pods on the plants to dry. If it’s wet, cut them down and hang them up indoors or somewhere dry and sheltered. When they are completely dried, pod them and store the beans in airtight containers.
  • Earth up Brussels sprouts – keep earthing up the stems of Brussels sprouts, cabbages, and other brassicas to give them support as they become increasingly top-heavy. cut off any yellow leaves.
  • Order new fruit trees and bushes – Next month is a good time for planting many new, bare-rooted trees and bushes, so order plants from nurseries now if you didn’t do so last month.

Harvesting 

  • Aubergine
  • Beetroot 
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage 
  • Carrot 
  • Cauliflower 
  • Celeriac 
  • Chicory
  • French beans
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi 
  • Leeks 
  • Lettuce
  • Marrow
  • Mustard Leaves
  • Parsnip 
  • Pear
  • Pumpkin
  • Raddish
  • Spinach
  • Swede 
  • Sweet potato
  • Swiss Chard
  • Tomato 
  • Turnip

Sowing & planting

  • Blackcurrants
  • Broad beans
  • Cabbages (spring)
  • Cauliflowers (early summer)
  • Cranberries
  • Garlic
  • Gooseberries
  • Grapevines
  • Nectarines
  • Onion sets
  • Peaches
  • Peas
  • Redcurrants
  • Rhubarb sets
  • Strawberries
  • Whitecurrants