Tidy Up The Garden

Tidy Up The Garden


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Home Page > Home Improvement > Gardening > Tidy Up The Garden

Tidy Up The Garden

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Posted: Mar 16, 2010 |Comments: 0
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With spring finally on the way, it’s time to dust off those gardening gloves! Here’s my top ten tips for a perfect garden…

Trees and shrubs

March is a good time for planting fruit trees and berries. When choosing new plants go for those with the freshest, plumpest buds, as these are raring to get growing. And my granddad taught me to add a good handful of bone meal – mixed well into the surrounding soil – shrubs and trees are long term projects and bone meal fertiliser will last over a year. If, like me, you have faith in a barbeque summer you might consider burying a length of garden hose alongside the roots of large trees to help watering.

Lawns

Compacted soil takes in less water, oxygen and nutrients – so for a lusher looking lawn aerate your grass every spring. You can use a garden fork – or even buy special machines for this but my good old granddad used to slip on his golfing shoes and go for a walk…

Prepping for veg

I firmly believe in growing your own, even if it is only a couple of pots of herbs on the windowsill. I also believe in an easy life which is why I choose to grow my veg in a raised bed. Soil doesn’t become compacted (as it would if you walked over it) so there is no need for deep digging and my veg bed is waist height so there is no bending either! To prepare for planting in the spring I collect up a black bin bag of leaves in the autumn and over winter they mulch down to make great nutritious compost. Come March I simply spread this mulch over the top of the raised bed and lightly dig in using a trowel. Easy.

Seeds

Sadly I haven’t inherited my granddad’s green fingers – mine are pale khaki at best. I therefore stick to plants that are very easy to grow from seeds and swap my extra seedlings with friends who are more experienced. If you are just starting out I recommend tomatoes and lettuces – I start these on a sunny windowsill inside. I also find petunias and marigolds easy – and apart from being pretty these make great companion plants for your veg by warding off pests.

Pots and containers

If you are impatient to plant up your pots (as I always am) you will probably have been cautioned that late frosts will damage delicate new roots. You could overcome this by bringing the pots inside overnight. But as I’m a bit of a lazy lump I use old bubble wrap (left over from Christmas) to line my pots – making sure there are holes and tears for drainage.

Hedges

My friend Karen’s top tip for hedges is to trim them before the birds nest in them! To get a straight(ish) top I push a broom handle into the hedge at each end and tie garden twine between them to use as a guide.

Paths

There is no doubt that a pressure washer is the easiest way to clear mosses, lichen’s and weeds – not least because if there is a man around he will probably be attracted to the fact that most power tools resemble guns and take over! However if you find yourself with a mucky path, no pressure washer and no obliging male around then salted boiling water and a good stiff broom will do the trick. Karen uses Jeyes fluid but I prefer salt as although it may need to be repeated, it will not damage surrounding soil and is safe for pets.

Weeds

The best tip is to get in early. Weeds produce thousands of seeds at once – so once weeds go to seed you will be fighting the weeds from those seeds forever (think dandelion clocks!) Therefore if you have limited time and unlimited weeds your best bet is to concentrate on dead-heading any flower heads. I also cover large weed patches with off-cuts of carpet – this cuts out light, stunts growth and buys me time to get round to them. Don’t dismiss all weeds though – nettle soup is delicious!

Pests

I can recommend three lively dogsfor keeping squirrels away from your spring bulbs but my granddad used to wrap his bulbs in a thin layer of steel wool before planting – the shoot pushes right through so the flower is unaffected. He also used washing up liquid as insecticide – I’ve checked this on the web and most sites recommend dissolving up to 1 tablespoon of liquid into 1 litre of water and you can add a few drops of vinegar too – put it in a spray bottle and mist the entire plant. Karen puts out clear plastic bottles filled with water to stop next door’s cat using her flower bed as a litter tray – apparently cats don’t like their reflection! She also catches slugs this way by adding beer. I must say this has never worked for me and I now use animal friendly slug pellets. I do try and be eco conscious but the slugs ate an entire crop of pea seedlings one year and now they have it coming. My dogs don’t appear to be deterred by anything but I read today that pepper will put off most dogs so I’m going to give that a try.

Garden furniture

Mine made from teak which is weather resistant so I leave it outside all year. In the spring I scrub it with soapy water to remove algae – and if it’s looking very tired and ‘thirsty’ I treat it to a drink of teak oil. You can apply with a cloth – rubbing into the grain, but being a lazy lump I whack it on with a large paint brush. Do make sure your furniture is dry when you apply oil though – if you’re impatient and apply oil to wet teak it goes black. While you have the soapy water out don’t forget to wipe down the washing line – ready to hang out your sheets on the first dry and breezy day. I just love sheets that smell of the great outdoors. Sadly hot soapy water probably won’t kick it when it comes to the barbecue. The best tip for barbecues is to scrape after every use to get the worst off – there is little point in cleaning until it sparkles because it will be black again after the next barbecue. If mine is very dirty I lay the grills and utensils out on newspaper on the grass and spray with oven cleaner, leave for 10 mins and then use rubber gloves and a scouring pad to clean off.

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About the Author:

We are four women who work together at Vax – the UK’s number one floorcare company. We all love having a clean, fresh home and because we work together we find ourselves spending a lot of time either doing household chores or talking about them! We thought it would be a cool idea to pool our knowledge and experiences… and so the new We Love Clean blog was born.

Each month we share our ‘things to do’ lists, top household tips and favourite seasonal recipes. And as we like to have fun too, we’ve got a few ideas for spending good nights in and great nights out that you also might enjoy. Visit us at http://www.weloveclean.co.uk

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Article Tags:
berries, drainage, fertiliser, frost, fruit trees, furniture, garden, gardening, grown your own, hedges, herbs, insecticide, lawns, lichen, marigolds, moss, mulch, nettles, paths, pest control, petunias, planting, pots, raised beds, roots, spring, squirrels, teak, trees, vegetables

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We are four women who work together at Vax – the UK’s number one floorcare company. We all love having a clean, fresh home and because we work together we find ourselves spending a lot of time either doing household chores or talking about them! We thought it would be a cool idea to pool our knowledge and experiences… and so the new We Love Clean blog was born.

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