15 Items that are Excellent for Your Compost

An excellent way to help reduce the amount of biodegradable waste that could end up going to already overly-used landfills, is creating your own compost. Making your own compost is also a great way to save money by creating your own fertile top soil, instead of buying it. You can cultivate compost with either a compost bin or a compost heap/pile. Compost can be created year-round and typically takes about six months to be produced from the time that you start. It is recommended to keep balance and variety to the things that you add to keep the process moving quickly, as too much of one thing or the other can slow this process.

The 15 best things to compost are:

1. Dried leaves
2. Tea leaves
3. Grass clippings
4. Dried manure
5. Fruits
6. Vegetable
7. Peelings
8. Coffee grounds
9. Old wine or corks
10. Used biodegradable pet bedding (such as from rabbits or hamsters) or toothpicks
11. Dust from sweeping or hoovering
12. Dry cat or dog food
13. Old herbs and Spices
14. Shredded Newspapers
15. Hair and nail clippings

Understanding Gardening Tool Sharpening Instruments

The best way to ensure that your gardening efforts are safe and efficient is to be sure to keep your gardening tools sharp. Tools that are well looked after, help to prevent injury and wasted effort. If you are unfamiliar with the options for sharpening instruments, here is a bit of information that could help you make the right choice in this investment.

Sharpening Tools

• Whetstones- are blocks of fine-grained stone. There are two types as some require oil and others, water for lubrication to help the blade slide over the stone. These are suitable for knives and secateurs and should be used on a sturdy surface, like a table.

• Diamond coated sharpening tools- come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The diamond-coated blocks and portable, pocket-sized types are perfect for sharpening secateurs and knives on the go. The diamond-coated files are more suitable for spades or hoes.

• Sharpening steels- are usually used for kitchen knives, however there are a few versions that are designed for maintaining garden blades, such as loppers.

• Files- are excellent for sharpening cultivation tools like spades and hoes, just ensure to get one that is suitable for metal work.

10 Autumn Plants for a Splash of Colour

Autumn weather and shorter days can make things a bit grey and gloomy, so to help brighten up your garden, why not make sure you have some beautiful autumn bloomers. There are several varieties of plants, like deciduous trees, shrubs and climbers that can really put on a lovely show in autumn. Many of these plants bear hips, berries and other fruits for fall.

1. Snowy Mespilus- produces beautiful scarlet and crimson leaves in fall
2. Aster- blooms late summer and early autumn
3. Beauty Berry- develops stunning, large clusters of purple berries mid-autumn
4. Judas Tree- the leaves turn an impressive, cheery yellow in autumn
5. Autumn Crocus- flowers in September and October
6. Cotoneaster- bears beautiful red berries in autumn
7. Crab Apple- produces colourful fruit and leaves in autumn
8. Nerine (Nerine Bowdenii)- gives a lovely lipstick-pink flower and can be grown outside if in a warm, sunny border that’s backed by the shelter of a wall
9. Chinese Virginia Creeper- has a velvety texture and turns a fiery crimson in fall
10. Sternbergia lutea- bright yellow flowering bulb that like a warm sunny spot with good drainage

Preparing Your Greenhouse for Winter

Fall is just around the corner and it will soon be time to start prepping your greenhouse for winter. It is important to conduct proper up-keep of a greenhouse to prevent disease and mould. Here are a few steps to consider.

Clean your greenhouse out by:

• Removing seasonal plants
• Sweeping it out
• Disinfecting surfaces and floors with soapy water
• Clean the roof cover with a mild detergent
• Wash the entire structure and all gardening tools and accessories in the greenhouse
• Take inventory of tools and possibly reorganise them
• Clean off any shading paint to allow more sun and heat to enter during winter
• Ensure that after the clean, the greenhouse is thoroughly ventilated and dries out

Inspect the greenhouse by:

• Ensure the roof cover is not cracked
• Examine the insulation
• Possibly add additional insulation on the north facing wall
• Inspect heating system (if present)
• Inspect the ventilation system
• Replace any cracked panes

The Best Plants to Entice Bees and Butterflies

As humanity consistently expands, we need to ensure we still make room for nature. Bees are an important part of our ecosystem so we need to help look after them, and who doesn’t love butterflies? Try planting these 10 plants to entice bees and butterflies to your garden.

1. Alliums and Chives-all members of the allium family (chives, onions etc) are a firm favourite of the bees and not too fussy on soil conditions.
2. Sedum-these are a butterfly magnet and easy to grow in containers.
3. Cranesbill or Geranium-these are excellent for bees, especially the blue or purple varieties and are quite low maintenance.
4. Cerinthe Major-difficult to find but another bee magnet! It is an annual plant, grown from seed.
5. Buddleia or Butterfly Bush-is very fragrant, has a variety of sizes (some quite large) and very attractive to bees and butterflies.
6. Perovskia/Russian Sage-loves dry, sunny conditions and a large container.
7. Monarda or Bee Balm-not ideal for growing in a container and enjoys a sunny, well-drained spot.
8. Cotoneaster-is a shrub of various sizes and types. Ensure to get a less invasive variety, should it try to take over.
9. Herb Oregano-a very hardy herb, typically used in a border and highly attractive to butterflies and pollinators.
10. Lavender-very fragrant, likes sunny/well-drained spot and good for container growing.

These plants are all easy to grow and could also be put into pots or windowsills if you are short on garden space. They will help you create a wildlife friendly habitat and give you the enjoyment of watching the bees and butterflies appreciate your efforts.

Vegetables you can grow indoors

There is no disputing that organic homegrown vegetables just taste superior, fresher, and more satisfying, so there is no surprise that more and more Britons have taken to growing vegetables. Many people are fortunate enough that they have the outdoor space to grow vegetables but if you don’t and are wanting to grow indoors, we have put together a list of vegetables that are easy to grow inside.

1. Scallions – scallions are an easy plant to grow suitable indoors as they do not need as much sunlight to grow. They are also easy to care for so a great option for beginners.

2. Radishes – these are another option that doesn’t require maximum sunlight. They will require a deep large container.

3. Lettuce – Lettuce is another easy to grow indoor plant. Try not to over water, the aim is to keep the soil damp, using a spray bottle would be a wise choice.

How to grow tomatoes

There is no disputing that tomatoes are a wonderful and versatile food that is healthy, full of nutrients, and delicious. More and more people are opting to grow their own fruit and vegetables more now than ever before, you simply cannot beat fresh homegrown produce.

If you would like to start growing your own tomatoes, first you must consider which variety you want. If you are looking for salad tomatoes then Sungold is a great option or if you are wanting to make passata or ketchup then Roma is a great choice for you.

Once you have chosen your variety follow these steps.

1. Sow the seeds indoors in March.

2. Keep your seedlings moist and in a sunny spot.

3. Plant out, two feet apart, in a sunny location after the risk of frost has passed.

4. Feed when fruits start appearing

5. Harvest from July as they turn red

Things to consider before setting up a vegetable patch

So, you have decided that its time to start growing vegetables in your garden. Vegetables provide valuable nutrients to your diet and it can’t be disputed that fresh home-grown vegetables taste amazing! Before you set up there are a couple of things you will need to consider.

You will need to pick the best location for your new veggie patch and will need to consider how big or little you want it to be.

You can easily grow vegetables even if you only have a small amount of space. You can grow them in containers or in a raised bed if you are really limited in space and of course you can have your vegetable patch as big as you like.

For the location you must pick a light airy spot which has limited shade. Most of the grow at home vegetables really love sun and need it to thrive.

Once you have figured out the location and size you can get to work buying the materials you will need to set up and of course your chosen vegetable choice.

How to reduce weeds

Keeping weeds under control in your garden can be a time-consuming task but is essential to keep your garden in perfect shape. Although the initial stage of pulling pesky weeds can be somewhat satisfying it soon becomes a chore. Simply following a few basic steps can reduce weeds and keep your garden looking great.

– Avoid soil disturbance – disturbing your soil can lead to a break out of fresh weeds, if you need to disturb your soil make sure you fill with plants or mulch.

– Cut the source – use a sharp knife with a narrow blade to slice through the roots rather than digging them out.

– Pull when wet – weeds are far easier to remove after a big downpour. If you can’t pull them, or cut the source – remove the heads to buy some time

– Consider your space – closely placed plants will give shade which will reduce weeds

– Draught – only water the plants you need in hot conditions, avoid watering any weeds.

Benefits of potted plants in your garden

Potted plants can make the world of difference in your garden, especially if you have a relatively low maintenance space or possibly a tiny concreted area to work with. With potted plants, even the smallest of gardens and balconies can enjoy a touch of nature, and there are so many different flowers and plants you can choose from, including those that blossom in spring, winter, autumn and summer.

 

With potted plants, you can keep the space nice and tidy too, whilst they’re so easy to grow and nurture, and if the weather gets a bit too severe, you can always bring them inside to ensure they survive. These are just two of the reasons why potted plants are so popular in the UK, but a third and final reason is that they’re very affordable too. You can buy already developed plants in pots from gardening stores and you only need to have a little peak in the sale section to discover a complete collection of plants at very low prices.

 

Bulbs can be grown in hanging baskets, borders and containers to give life to beautiful garden blooms. Planting bulbs in the right way is essential to giving them the best start in life. Bulbs should be fresh – they should feel firm and solid – and they should be planted in well-draining soil, with just the right amount of sunlight when the shoots come through.


Bulbs are planted by gardeners to grow flowers of many different varieties, from begonias and freesias, to crocuses and alliums. Garden bulbs that are planted in the right spot and given the best growing conditions will have the best chances of flourishing. If bulbs are healthy and fresh when planted, there’s no reason why they won’t grow into strong, healthy plants and flowers.


Looking after a lawn is essential to keep it fresh, green and healthy. It’s useful to establish a good system of lawn care, complete with scarifying, watering, spreading top dressing and sowing additional grass seeds if needed. Laying the right turf in the first place is a good first step to having a lawn that’s in excellent condition.


Bulbs can be grown in hanging baskets, borders and containers to give life to beautiful garden blooms. Planting bulbs in the right way is essential to giving them the best start in life. Bulbs should be fresh – they should feel firm and solid – and they should be planted in well-draining soil, with just the right amount of sunlight when the shoots come through.


Bulbs are planted by gardeners to grow flowers of many different varieties, from begonias and freesias, to crocuses and alliums. Garden bulbs that are planted in the right spot and given the best growing conditions will have the best chances of flourishing. If bulbs are healthy and fresh when planted, there’s no reason why they won’t grow into strong, healthy plants and flowers.


Looking after a lawn is essential to keep it fresh, green and healthy. It’s useful to establish a good system of lawn care, complete with scarifying, watering, spreading top dressing and sowing additional grass seeds if needed. Laying the right turf in the first place is a good first step to having a lawn that’s in excellent condition.


Many domestic gardens are underused. Although a garden adds value to a home, it’s not always easy to use it all year round, and homeowners aren’t always gardeners. Domestic gardens can be much improved with quality turf, or by growing different plants, flowers, shrubs and trees. Patio areas can be created using decking, with an awning as a beautiful covering.