Now is the time to start thinking about taking cuttings of your favourite shrubs such as hydrangeas, philadelphus and forsythia, as well as woody herbs such as rosemary, sage and lavender for more plants next year. It is an easy way to increase your plant stock without having to buy new plants each year.
Cuttings are best taken in the morning when the shoots are at their freshest. Take cuttings with a sharp knife or secateurs from the new shoots by choosing healthy, pest-free non flowering shoots, and make a straight cut below a pair of leaves. Cuttings should be 5-10cm long. Remove any leaves from the bottom half of the cutting, leaving 2 leaves at the tip of the cutting.
Fill a pot with compost and put several cuttings in the edge of the pot keeping the leaves away from the surface of the compost and water. Put the pot in a propagator. The Vitopod is perfect for cuttings, heated propagators will lead to faster root development. Make sure you open the vents on your propagator once a day to let the excess moisture out and keep the compost moist.After 3 weeks, keep checking for roots at the bottom of your pots. When the plants are about 15cm high, pinching out the tips will encourage new branches to grow.
An alternative way to propagate soft wood and hard wood cuttings is with a misting propagator. Our Hydropod propagator sprays a mist over your cuttings to maintain the moisture levels needed. The misting speeds up growth as the roots are encouraged to access the water, leading to healthy root development without any fungal or root rot.
Have a look at our selection of propagators on the website and remember our Gardening Angels are always on hand to answer all of your gardening questions.
Grow your own salad all year round with our salad growing kits. We love growing our own Salad as it grows very quickly, and if you have a Saladgrow or Vitogrow planter you can grow them anywhere, creating your own salad garden, even if you’re short of space.
Salad leaves love to be sown where they are going to grow-one and be harvested – making them perfect for the Saladgrow & Vitogrow or a large trough. Sow the seeds little and often and cut the leaves rather than pulling up the whole plant and you can have fresh, home-grown salad leaves all year round.
Each variety of salad leaf has a slightly different nutritional value so a combination of leaves helps maintain a healthy balanced diet.
Even if you have an allotment it’s still worth growing a few mixed salad leaves at home as you are more likely to use them as it only takes seconds to snip a few leaves when needed.
Salads can be sown throughout the year for a continued crop. They will grow equally well on the windowsill as in the greenhouse or out on the patio in a light position.
Our Salad growing kits will get your salad seeds off to a great head start and include everything you need for a bumper salad harvest. There's a wide range of salad varieties for you to choose from.
Loose Leaf – Salad Bowl – all the major suppliers do salad leaf mixes
Lettuce cabbage type or Cos – Little Gem, Winter Density, Tom Thumb, Cassandra, Arctic King
Spinach – Medania, Toscane, LazioF1
Also consider Endive, Rocket, Lambs Lettuce to add dimension to your salad choices.
Salad leaf varieties are best sown either directly into a Saladgrow or Vitogrow or into seed trays. Alternatively you may have seed tape which is a fantastically easy way to grow from seed. These can be laid out on the compost surface and covered with a light covering of compost and water.
Ensure your salad seeds emerge in a light space and that your final growing space is adequately lit. The biggest threat to young salad leaves in moist weather conditions is grey mould, a fungal disease which can quickly destroy a crop. To avoid this ensure that your Salad is well ventilated and has plenty of access to light.
The summer holidays are here and it’s time to keep the children busy. My sisters and I loved our summers with our gran in her garden. When I was very little we loved making mud pies, but as we got older we would regularly help her with the more mundane gardening jobs such as weeding, desperately trying to remember what were weeds and what were seedlings. Then we finally graduated to getting our own section of the garden where my sisters and I would try to grow the biggest sunflower, the most peas or the biggest carrot. There’s nothing more I loved as a child than eating freshly picked home grown strawberries, which dripped juices down your chin and made your hands sticky.
As a child there is something magical about growing vegetables and fruit, so why not get your little ones involved with our children’s gardening kits. The perfect gift for the little gardener, full of handy children’s gardening tools & accessories. Our children’s gardening kits containing everything little ones need to start growing their own vegetables and fruit!
When I grew up I got an allotment and would take my son, my nieces and nephews in turn to help tend my plot. They loved to help, had fun and learned all about growing things and nature. More importantly they were never bored, were active and got lots of fresh air.
The Royal Horticultural Society has some great ideas for gardening with children. At this time of year they suggest planting “Sweet Williams”, a colourful biennial that will flower next summer. Or why not organise a snail race. There has been a population explosion of snails this year, so get your small helpers collecting this summer pest. If each child has a plastic box they can collect their “stable” of racing snails, giving each snail their own pattern or colours with correction fluid or a sample pot of paint on their shell. Then once the runners have been collected make a race track or course, ensuring that it is kept damp so the snails can move quickly over it. The world snail championships course is a white damp cloth on a table, with a circle course of 13inches diameter, each snail starting from the centre and pointing the right direction but you can design your own race course.
As the temperatures finally reach summer norms, remember to keep watering your vegetables in your raised beds and containers. You can use collected rain water. I’m sure most of you will have plenty of that from this summer in your water butts. Slow drip watering is the most water efficient way to irrigate your plants so try a drip irrigation system like our Click and drip (waterbutt version), to keep your plants happy and be water efficient.
Vegetables in your raised beds and allotments will soon be ready to harvest. Make easy work of harvesting your lettuces and marrows with our vegetable harvesting knife. Sweetcorn may need a few extra weeks since the summer has been so miserable but potatoes will be ready to dig up. If you are like me then you know that as you harvest your potatoes, the fork will inevitably spear your best spuds so to avoid this happening again, why not try our potato harvesting scoop, it’s the ideal tool for the job. If your potatoes have been affected by blight then cut the affected foliage off and burn it, don’t compost it. This will prevent the disease getting into the tubers. Leave the potatoes in the ground for at least 2 weeks. This will allow enough time for the spores to die on the surface of the soil. Keep an eye out for any affected tubers in storage and remove immediately if you see any.
The poor summer has been tough on tomatoes, producing lots of green tomatoes but very few red. We have noticed this with our crop this year and it seems that you have experienced the same as we have had a lot of our ripening covers whizzing out of the door. So if you want to avoid a glut of green tomatoes they are available here
As you harvest your crops then make sure you compost all the waste foliage (apart from any plants that may have been affected by blight). Cut the tops off your peas and beans and add them to the compost bin. Dig the roots into the soil as peas and beans are nitrogen fixing and the roots add nitrogen back to the soil as a fertiliser.
Most vegetables can be frozen but the Royal Horticultural Society webpages have some useful information for storing different vegetable such as carrots, onions and potatoes.