News - Page 96

Sow Hardy Annual Flowers

Sow hardy annual flowers in generous drifts straight onto the ground this month, as the soil is now nicely warmed up and they'll germinate and get growing in no time.

Annuals include some of the loveliest of all garden flowers, often self-seeding at the end of the year so you'll have new plants popping up next season too. You'll find lots of seed to choose from in your favourite garden centre: try feathery-petalled love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena), sky-blue...

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Keeping the crops coming

One of the real skills of good vegetable growing is the ability to time the cycle of sowing, growing and harvesting so you always have a steady stream of goodies to pick fresh from your garden.

It takes good planning and a few canny tricks to make sure you always have just the right amount to pick, ready when you want it, every month of the year. Here are our top tips to help you keep the crops coming.

  • Sow often: sow everything at once and you'll...
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Edible Hanging Baskets

Plant up edible hanging baskets for decorations that are as productive as they are pretty. Alongside the usual begonias and busy lizzies, make space for baskets crammed with tumbling tomatoes and herbs, alpine strawberries or even brilliantly-coloured chillies, for a delicious harvest just outside your door.

You'll find dozens of ready-grown plug plants in your favourite garden centre to start you off, as well as hanging baskets, felted liners and compost. Th...

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Speedy veg

When you're just starting out, full of enthusiasm and keen to get going, it can seem an age to wait before you pick the first fruits of all your hard work. And it's true that some crops, like purple-sprouting broccoli or parsnips, can take all year to mature to harvesting stage – mind you, it's well worth the wait.

Luckily there are loads of fantastic quick-crop vegetables to grow and eat while the slowcoaches are getting going, so sow these and you'll have p...

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Top tips for sowing vegetables

Most vegetables are raised from seed, making them fantastic value – for the price of a single lettuce bought in the shops, you can buy a packet of seed to grow 1000. That's reason enough to grow your own: but you'll find sowing seed is also hugely satisfying as the first tiny sprouts appear, with their promise of bumper crops to come.

Growing from seed is straightforward but there are a few things to remember as you crack open that first packet and get sowing...

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A taste of history

Sometimes in veg-growing, as in life, the golden oldies are the best.

Older 'heritage' veg varieties aren't often found in the shops, as they aren't uniformly shaped, sometimes don't store or travel well, and are difficult to harvest mechanically. That means the only way to enjoy their sumptuous flavours, colours and textures is if you grow your own.

Here are five of the best old-style veg to look out for in your favourite garden centre and try in your...

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Plant of the week - Clematis Montana

One of the most useful varieties of climbing plants - very vigourous and colourful, producing flowers for much of the Spring and Summer.  Montana is also very versatile, and not fussy about where it grows - around tree trunks, over a shed, fence or hedge or up a wall!  A very attractive and useful climbing plant.

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Japanese Cherries

It's cherry blossom time as Japanese cherries across the country burst into spectacular bloom.

In Japan the arrival of the cherry blossom is a major event, and in the UK, too, it's a cause for celebration at Batsford Arboretum in Gloucestershire, currently holding its annual Festival of Japanese Flowering Cherries (until the end of the month).

It's well worth tracking down some of these spectacularly beautiful small trees for your own garden. You'll fi...

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Kids Gardening

Get out gardening with the kids this week as the sun is (at last!) shining and there's no better time to be outside getting your hands and knees well and truly muddy.

Have a go at these fun activities at home too:

  • Sowing seeds is always popular. Larger seeds like courgettes, cosmos and marigolds are easier for little fingers to handle.
  • Hold a sunflower-growing competition! Choose tall varieties like 'Russian Giant' and plant seeds straig...
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