With warmer weather finally forecast, our gardens can awaken into spring bloom and our indoor plants can begin to stretch towards that sunny patch. Read on for some to do's and how to's for your home and garden this week.
Grow Your Own (Outdoor, Patio, Balcony, Windowsill):
Alan's picked out his Top 3 Vegetables and Herbs from our Grow Your Own Selection that he thinks you should give a go and grow! Price Range: £1.99-£2.49
1. Edamame Bean (Soya)
How to Grow: Edamame beans prefer well-drained but moist soil in a sunny position. Sow or plant 15cm (6in) apart in rows 45cm(18in) apart.
How to Harvest and Use: Look out for the leaves to start falling from the plant - this means your beans are ripe! The brown stems should reveal lots of hanging pods - boil or steam them whole and then shell to reveal the tender green bean inside. These beans are an excellent source of protein when harvested and dried, or boiled or steamed whole. NB: Harvested beans must be boiled for at least 10 minutes before shelling and eating to destroy any toxins.
2. Sugar Snap Peas
How to Grow: These can be planted in succession from March to June. Plant in a well drained sunny position 2-4 inches apart. Keep well watered in dry weather and support them with pea sticks or mesh. Pods are carried in clusters of two and successive planting will provide product until September!
How to Harvest and Use: Pick regularly when the pods begin to round. They lose their tenderness with age so be sure to harvest when young and fresh. These peas hold excellent flavour and are best eaten raw, steamed, boiled, sauteed or stir-fried.
3. Garlic - Possibly one of the most commonly used herbs with much research into its health benefits.
How to Grow: Take out of pot and place in a prepared hole that is the same depth as the pot. Gently firm the soil then water plant and surrounding area well. This plant prefers a sunny spot in rich, well-drained soil.
How to Harvest and Use: Harvest in mid-summer, store them to dry. Chop or press the cloves to add flavour to savoury dishes. Roasted whole cloves are a treat with roast meat and vegetables.
What else will I need?
When you come to pot on your plants, our shop assistant Nick recommends this Plantpak 3-Tier Stack-able, Stylish Planter (£29.99). If you're short on space, this is a great way to optimise your growing area as it provides 10 planting locations and is ideal for herbs and vegetables grown on patios or balconies.
Try This Trend: Indoor Cacti & Succulents Garden
We have a huge selection of cacti in all shapes, sizes and colours that will help you create a striking display in your home.
What You Will Need:
- A large plant pot or bowl (not too deep) or terrarium
- Crocks (small broken up plant pot)
- Shingle & coarse sand or grit
- Cacti compost
- Selection of cacti and succulents
- Selection of pebbles (collect from a beach trip or a walk)
What To Do:
1. Place some crocks in the base of pot/bowl/terrarium then cover with a layer of shingle or coarse sand to give the plants good drainage
2. Mix some coarse sand into the compost and then almost fill the pot/bowl/terrarium
3. Sort the plants into those with prickles and thorns and those without and carefully take the non-prickly plants out of their pots and plant them into the compost (making sure there is enough soil around the roots)
4. Pick up the prickly plants by wrapping a folded sheet of newspaper around each one to avoid getting the prickles in your fingers, plant them into the compost and carefully firm them in.
5. Once all the cacti are planted, place pebbles in the spaces between the plants then use the sand and shingle to cover any soil that's still visible
6. Water them gently, using a watering can with a sprinkler head. Place on a windowsill and wait for them to grow!
7. Remember, the cacti come from places where water is extremely rare so the garden will only need to be watered when the soil is dry.
Focus on: The Green, Green Grass of Home
It's that time of year again where the lawn is actively growing - so now is the ideal time to get feeding, weeding, moss-killing and mowing.
Away we mow...
The frequency of cutting your grass depends on several factors (including lawn type, weather conditions, soil fertility and the time of year) but as a guideline, we recommend aiming to mow the lawn twice a week when the grass gets growing vigorously and once a week during prolonged dry spells (remember those?).
TOP TIP: Before cutting, make sure the grass is not damp, and remove any dew or raindrops using a besom brush or lawn brush - this will also help to lift grass blades. Also weed stems and spread any worm casts before mowing.
Weed rather you didn't stay...
To get rid of individual weeds, use a hand fork making sure that the entire root is removed before filling the hole with fresh compost, scattering some grass seeds, lightly raking and watering. Eliminating patches of weakened or dead grass can stop weeds and moss from colonising your law. We recommend re-turfing or re-seeding at the first sign of weakening to prevent weeds from taking over.
If weeds are already established in your lawn then full weed control will be required.
Ben's top products for...
Gro-Sure Smart Lawn Seed
Neudorff Bio-degradable Weedkiller
Bayer Garden Moss Killer
Brown patches on your lawn can be caused by several factors including over-feeding, drought, cutting the grass too short and pets using the lawn as a toilet. To prevent scorching, raise your mower blades slightly higher during dry spells, otherwise if not necessarily urgent, this can be left until the Autumn.
What else is there to do?
Click here for a full list of this months recommended gardening to-do lists and be sure to visit the garden centre with any questions you have for our friendly and knowledgeable staff!