What Food Can You Grow In Winter?

If you enjoy growing your own food, you maybe wondering what you can grow over the colder months and how to prepare your garden now autumn is here, ready for winter. So here are some tips…

What Food Can You Grow In Winter?

Greenhouse

Whilst some plants can survive directly outdoors in winter, is useful to have a greenhouse to successfully grow your own food during the colder months here in the UK. Variable temperatures, hard frost and possible snow means that some won’t thrive without help. If you don’t already have a greenhouse, it is worth investing. Even if you don’t have much space for something larger, there are plenty of options such as these lean to greenhouses for sale from GBC Group for example.

What to plant

There are several things you can still plant outdoors or in a greenhouse to grow over the winter months. Don’t forget you can also plant herbs inside to. Here are some ideas of what to consider planting around October, if you haven’t aready:

Winter salad

This is best planted in a greenhouse, as it will need some protection from the elements.

Leafy Crops

Rockets, chard, kale and other leafy crops manage over winter with some help. Cabbage also does too.

Broad beans

These tend to do quite well over winter and can then be harvested much earlier than those planted in spring.

Peas

Peas tend to be quite hardy so these can be planted outdoors if you wish.

Onions

Onions don’t need much care but they do take a long time to grow. If you plant some now they will be ready next summer. So no time like the present!

Growing onions

Garlic

Growing garlic is similar to onions; planting now will mean they are ready to harvest next summer.

Carrots

Carrots will both just about manage over winter with a little protection. Pop them in the greenhouse and they will do just fine!

Parsnips

Parsnips are also hardy and will do well over winter.

Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts take up alot of space for a fairly long time, but they do well over winter so are worth considering.

Tips

• Protect your plants from hard frost by covering them over with a plastic sheet, tunnel, frame, or grow them in a greenhouse. Adding a layer of mulch will also help protect them.

• Use netting to protect your crop from birds over winter. Also beware of insects during these months, as you would throughout the other seasons.

• Water your crop sparingly over the wetter winter months.

Do you have any tips for preparing your food garden for winter? What else do you grow? 

*This is a collaborative post.

 

 

5 Tips on Staying Safe While You Garden: A Guest Post by Gardenknow

With our garden often just a few steps from the comfort of our home, sometimes it’s easy to forget the risks associated with gardening. In this post written by Gardenknow, we explore tips on staying safe while you’re doing your gardening. Below is a list of 5 simple steps that will help keep you safe when you’re doing your gardening…

5 Tips on Staying Safe While You Garden: A Guest Post by Gardenknow

1. Wear Protective Gear

Regardless of the task you’re doing it’s always important to consider protective wear. Even for jobs as simple as weeding, it’s recommended that you wear knee pads. Although this isn’t the most strenuous task, years of bending down to weed without knee protection could quite easily cut your gardening years short.

For more intensive jobs such as string trimming, remember to always wear the appropriate head and eye protection. All it takes is for the one time you forget to wear your visor, a rock to be flung up into your face to cause serious damage.

2. Stick to What You Know

There’s no two ways about it; gardening is addictive. However, don’t let this lead you to jumping into tasks you haven’t done before without any prior consideration. This can lead to safety risks for you and others around you.

We recommend reading guides for carrying out tasks prior to attempting them. This way you’re going into it with some understanding of what’s required. An example of this would be in our pruning guide post which you can read here. We detail the tools, techniques and precautions required before attempting pruning.

3. Drink Plenty of Fluids

If you were planning a trip somewhere involving lots of physical exercise, you are likely to consider staying hydrated. Gardening should be no different. Again, due to gardens being so close to the comforts of your home this is something that’s often overlooked.

Staying hydrated is vital, operating machinery within your garden will take lots of your strength. This is why it’s vital that you make sure you have all the nutrients needed for a long days work in the garden. This applies to food as well as staying hydrated.

Hand holding plant and woman smiling in background.

4. Bend Properly

We don’t want to make this post sound like a manual handling induction, but please don’t forget the importance of bending with correct form. Bending is one of the most common exercises in gardening. You’ll often find yourself bending down to remove weeds, or picking up branches and leaves.

Remember to always bend your legs and keep a straight back. We’re sure many of you do this already but it’s vital we emphasise how important correct form is in preventing injury.

5. Wear Sunscreen

This is something tons of people forget all about when gardening. Often you’ll pop to the garden for a job that would take minutes then end up spending hours there. Remember, whether you’re going out for 5 minutes or 5 hours skin protection is vital.

This doesn’t only apply for the summer time either. Whether the sun is glaring down or not, you’ll still want to make sure you have all the protection you can from UV rays.

Author Bio

Linda, a writer at Gardenknow, has a real passion for spreading her knowledge gathered through decades of gardening experience. She runs the website along with her Husband Paul. They formed the site as a way to document great quality information gathered through their combined gardening experience with the hope of sharing this with others.

Organic Vegetable Gardening Made Simple

If you’re one of the growing numbers of people who are becoming more and more concerned about the use of pesticides in the food chain, and you’re thinking of feeding your own family by growing your own healthy organic vegetables, here are some tips that will make the whole process much simpler for you…

 Organic Vegetable Gardening Made Simple title on faded background image

Get Yourself in a Greenhouse

If you get yourself one of the greenhouses from https://www.swgreenhouses.co.uk/greenhouses-for-sale.html, you will be able to grow a wider range of vegetables for a long period of time. You may even be able to grow some of your favourite fruits and veggies out of season.

Prepare the Soil Carefully

If you want your vegetables to grow and thrive, then you need to ensure that your soil is rich in organic nutrients. That means, before you even think about planting anything, you should ensure that you have worked plenty of organically created compost into the soil. If you do nothing else, then do this because it will ensure not only a bumper crop but a tastier one too.

Delicious looking cabbages growing in the soil

Choose Foods That Will Thrive Where You Live

It’s an obvious one, but there is little point in choosing to plant vegetables that are unlikely to thrive in the kind of weather conditions you’re dealing with. If you’re unsure which veggies are likely to thrive in your garden space, ask an expert at your local garden centre, read a book like the one at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Allotment-Almanac or talk to local gardeners in your area. They will typically know what’s best for you, and most will be only too happy to share their knowledge.

A bumper crop of fruit

Heirloom Veggies are Best

There are lots of things that get better with age – like fine wines and vegetables. No, I’m not talking mouldy old vegetables; but seeds! Heirloom seeds are seeds collected from older varieties of produce, and they are almost always cheaper and more flavoursome, not to mention nutritious, than modern versions. They can sometimes be difficult to find, but it’s worth the effort trying to source them.

Flowers are a Veggie Garden’s Best Friends

You might be wondering why you would want to take up precious organic veggie growing space with flowers, apart from the fact they’re pretty that is, but the fact is that flowers will attract bees and bees will pollinate your veggies, so that you don’t have to do quite so much of the work yourself manually. Plant them around the borders, and you will soon see lots of little pollinators coming to pay a visit.

Worms are Fantastic

When it comes to organic gardening, you should absolutely be creating your own compost, and you know what makes really good compost and garden mulch? Worms. Invest in a wormery, and you’ll never want for high-quality compost again. Seriously, they make way better compost than you’d get just by collecting your scraps in a bin.

Check Seeds are certified Organic

Not all seeds are organic, so when it comes to buying the stock you plan to grow in your garden and greenhouse, you should always seek to verify that your seeds are indeed organic. If you don’t do this, then your veggies simply won’t be organic, despite your best efforts, so it is important to do the checks.

A raised planting bed

Raised Beds Extend the Season

If you plant your veggies in raised beds, using the richest soil you can find, you can probably extend the season of your produces, sometimes quite dramatically. It’s also much easier to weed veggies in boxes because they aren’t as close to the ground. Of course, you need to make sure that any beds you use are made from natural untreated wood, or there could be some chemical leakage into the soil.

Alternatively, you might want to think about growing things vertically using cages or trellis, which means you have more space to increase your yields and better circulation that can help to prevent blight and other diseases.

Plant Companions

Nature is smart, and it creates plants that thrive well together. By identifying these companions and planting them close together, you can cut down on the amount of insects who attempt to lunch on your veggies, grow more volume and cut down on the risk of disease, to name but a few benefits. So do your homework, work out which veggies are best friends and plant them accordingly.

Time to get your wellies on and get gardening! What are you growing this year?

*This is a collaborative post.

The 3 Must-Haves for Any Vegetable Garden

Growing your own veg is such a privilege and if you have the garden space, you should definitely make use of it. However, you do need to be careful about how you prioritize your space to get the most out of the land and bring in a good haul come the harvest.

There are some great advantages you can gain from adding green tools like rainwater harvesting to your garden, but if you are just looking for the basics, here are the things you will need.

The 3 Must-Haves for Any Vegetable Garden title with a picture of delicious fresh vegetables in a basket.

A Greenhouse

Having a greenhouse is ideal for any gardener but it is a must for a serious fruit and vegetable grower. Choose one of a good size that will hold lots of tender plants such as courgettes and tomatoes as well as seedlings that need to be kept warm until they are ready to be planted out. Have a look at https://www.greenhousestores.co.uk/ for some ideas of what you could get.

With your greenhouse set up, you will be able to multiply your output easily as critters are kept away from your more tempting plants and youngsters are kept away from the frost. Your greenhouse will also come in handy over the winter when less hardy plants need a little bit more warmth.

A Compost Heap (or Two)

To grow great crops you need great soil. To have great soil, you need compost. Compost is simply a large pile of rotting materials including things like old leaves from the garden, kitchen food waste and green matter such as grass clippings. While you can certainly buy decent compost and fertiliser at your local garden centre, it seems wasteful to get rid of all the natural goodness coming from your own garden.

Making a good compost heap is very simple. All you need to do is set aside a space like a compost bin and then add in all the organic materials. Turn the heap over using a garden fork every so often to ix the ingredients as they degrade. This will also increase the amount of oxygen in the heap, fuelling the whole process.

Worms will do most of the work for you with your compost heap so make sure that if you find any around the garden, you introduce them and let them settle in. If you want to, you can also buy worms over the internet and add them to your heap.

A Plan

You might not think it, but planning a year ahead is vital for making the most of your vegetable garden and increasing your crops. From making sure that your rotate crops to give the soil a chance to recover to planting seeds at the right time so that they are ready for planting out, having a vegetable garden planner is vital.

With a bit of planning, a sensible use of space and a healthy compost heap, you and your vegetables will be as happy as Larry under the summer sun. Though you can never guarantee the best crop, with a little bit of help, you can get a little closer to perfection.

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Top Gardening Tips To Make Everyone Green With Envy!

Maintaining your garden to a high standard so that it gathers admiring glances from all quarters is high on the list of serious gardeners. Take a look at these gardening hacks from Rattan Direct and make your neighbours green with envy at your gardening prowess.

rattan direct, gardening, livinglife our way, outdoors, garden, green living

1. Know your garden, the soil and the climate
Cacti survive in arid desserts for a reason, which is why having them in a garden in a wet and windy corner of the UK will not see cacti thrive. Knowing your patch of soil, whether it is acidic or alkaline and how you can change this, as well as making the most of the climate, will help in deciding the best plants to buy and plant, as well as the best spaces in your garden for these plants to flourish. Camellias, for example, prefer a north-facing wall in a court yard and an acid soil, so there is no point planting them in water-logged, alkaline soil with continuous cold draughts irritating their tender stems.

2. Water
Water is not a sustainable resource. But one of the key elements that turns drooping pansies into a flowery mass of colour is water. Whilst your neighbour’s lawn and borders become ever more parched during a drought, carry on watering your luscious blooms with water butts catching rain from all your down pipes.

3. Remove pesky weeds as soon as they pop their heads above the soil
They are a nuisance. They are everywhere. One minute, it is a tiny head, just popping above the soil surface. Next thing, they are running rampant across flower beds, anywhere they can get enough of a foothold with their shallow roots. Weeds are not a gardener’s friend. But the good news is that it takes only a few minutes to whip these pesky weeds out of the soil before they not only get a chance to become established, but turn to seed and spread across your entire garden.

4. Complimentary accessories
Many people are used to thinking of gardens as place to be admired – from the house. They look out, admire the dancing blooms in the summer breeze and yet, spend little time actually enjoying the fruits of your gardening labours. But gardens can be made comfortable enough for everyone to enjoy, and at any time, not just until daylight fades and the temperature drops. Make your neighbours green with envy with not only beautiful plants, but fantastic accessories;

  • Garden seating – from a practical garden bench to functional outside sofas, there are all kinds of options when it comes to garden furniture that suit all tastes and budgets.
  • Rugs, throws and cushions – ramp up the style and add splashes of fantastic colour with rugs, throws and cushions made from special material for the outdoors, which won’t fade, shrink or spoil in the occasional rain shower or bright, bleaching sunshine.
  • Lighting – solar lighting has come on leaps and bounds since the first dim, last-no-more-than-30-minutes solar powered fairy lights from decades ago. There are all kinds of solar lights that make for a bright, romantic garden when the sun drops.
  • Water – gentle running water caresses the soul. After a busy day at the office, talk a walk in the garden and sit by your water feature, enjoying its soothing tones as water trickles down, playing its soul-soothing tune. Or build a full-scale pond and welcome a whole new raft of wildlife in your garden.

5. Plant in pots
Planting in pots is the perfect way to add colour, form and texture to a garden, softening corners and adding interest. Keep garden pots of similar colours and shades to get a coherent colour palette running through the garden. Take time to consider the plants you will use in these pots too. Potted plants will need a little more attention, including a daily water (twice daily if the summer is hot) and bedding plants should be regularly dead headed to keep them putting their energy into flowering and not making seeds.

Rattan Direct have a range of garden accessories and furniture, perfect for dressing your garden and accentuating its glorious plants and design.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.