If you suffered any gardening disappointments last year, I want to help you improve your growing techniques, so you’ll experience the uplifting joy of gardening success, this year!
Gardening is such a positive hobby, growing plants truly enriches our lives; yet it can be utterly disheartening when seedlings die, our plants decline to flower or fruit, or don’t perform as well as we hoped. There can be a multitude of explanations as to why a plant has deteriorated or failed to thrive. When buying plants or seeds, give yourself every chance of success – check whether the plant you’re considering is suited to the soil, light levels, and climate, you can provide.
The Great British weather isn’t always great! Flooding and drought can be serious, persistent enemies that will obliterate plants. If your garden is prone to flooding or becomes waterlogged after heavy rain, why not capitalise on this by creating a pond or bog garden?
Alternatively, alleviate extra moisture by installing raised beds, which will lift your plants up and improve drainage.
If your soil is at the other end of the spectrum and tends to be dry and free draining, why not create a dry garden, planted with beautiful drought tolerant plants that won’t need any additional watering in summertime?
Growing plants can be such an exciting and uplifting experience. We’re all keen to get started but do remember that it’s easy to falter and waste resources by sowing seeds too early. Without a glasshouse or cold frame, early seed sowings cannot be guaranteed to succeed. However, we can plant Jerusalem artichokes, rhubarb, raspberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, gooseberries, roses, and trees, outside in our gardens and allotments this month; these plants shouldn’t need any protection.
Always water your seedlings with tap water. Water butts contain fungi and pathogens that cause damping off disease, which kills seedlings. Seedlings need a good source of light above, otherwise they quickly become straggly.
Compost and soils can be overlooked but they’re of fundamental importance. When visiting your local nursery or garden centre, compost may seem like a rather dreary thing to purchase; whilst a new rose might feel like a more attractive acquisition. However, without a good quality growing media, your summer won’t be decorated with as many rose blooms.
Every year, I run Compost Trials to discover the best composts on the market. Dalefoot Composts produced the top performing composts in my Broad Bean Compost Trial and French Bean Compost Trial, but other compost brands also performed well (see all of my Outdoor Trial Reports, here).
Making compost is a wonderful thing to do! Compost heaps are beneficial for wildlife, plants, and our gardens. Home-made compost saves us money, too. It’s a myth that a garden can be too small for a compost heap. A compost heap is essential; it’s something every garden should have!
This article was first published in the February 2021 edition of Vantage Point Magazine.
To read my review of the Aerobin 200L Home Composter, (which is designed to be used on paved areas, making it ideal for patio gardens) please click here.
For information on growing a wide range of vegetables, please click here.
For houseplant ideas, please click here.
For information on beautiful plants for bees, butterflies and pollinating insects, please click here.
To see all of my Outdoor Trials, please click here.
To see all my Compost Trials, please click here.