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snippets

GARDEN TIPS

  • Give your houseplants a boost by leaving them outside in dappled shade to catch drops of soft summer rain.
  • SnippetsThe shed often becomes the final resting place for half finished or ancient packets of seeds, something nearly all gardeners find impossible to throw away. Again, there is little point keeping them if they are never going to be sown, and remember that the viability of seed diminishes over time. Before sowing, consider carrying out a germination test to see of it will be worth it. Line a saucer with damp kitchen roll and place 10 seeds onto it. Put the saucer in a propagator or a warm airing cupboard, then count how many germinate. Multiplying that figure by 10 will give the seeds’ percentage germination rate, which should help gauge whether they are better off binned.
  • Plastic and terracotta pots will always come in handy for seed sowing, cuttings and potting on. Before storing, check they are not broken, brush out old compost and wash with disinfectant. Stack them neatly according to size; one ingenious way to store them is in long snakes in lengths of guttering attached horizontally to the shed wall. If you have too many, Wyevale and Notcutts will take plastic plant pots for recycling. Participating garden centers can be found at www.pottoproduct.co.uk
  • Snippets
  • Add 1 teaspoon of salt to a gallon of water and water a 12ft beetroot bed only once which increases the leafy growth enabling them to grow a bigger root. This is a method of watering used for sugar beet on an industrial scale and is well documented online
  • Log and stone piles in shady areas give cool, moist hidey-holes for insects, amphibians and small mammals.
  • A simple seed sowing idea using recycled yogurt, cream or soup plastic pots, clear plastic with a lid being best. After digesting the contents, wash out and find a small pot that fits neatly inside. Fill the pot with some multipurpose compost and then sow with some seeds – courgette, bean, lettuce or some herb seeds. Lightly cover with compost and water and drop the pot into the bottom of the clear pot. Put a hole in the lid and then pop the lid on the pot. Place on a warm windowsill and once the seedlings have emerged remove the pot and place back on the windowsill or a cooler spot to grow on.
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