Not everything can go on your Compost Heap!

Creating your own compost is a fantastic way to reduce waste, save money, and be self-sufficient. Still, not everyone knows what you can put in the compost bin and what should go out in general waste.  Here are a few don’ts when it comes to the compost heap.

Coal or charcoal ashes. These contain toxic materials that could harm your plants and wildlife; however, wood ashes are fine.

Walnuts. Surprisingly these also contain a chemical that could be harmful to other plants, and they do not break down as you would think.

Cat and Dog waste: This is due to its potential to carry dangerous diseases that can spread to humans.

Coloured paper: Some coloured paper contains toxic dyes.

Limes: Due to their pH, which is alkaline, composting them could kill the essential microorganisms in a compost ecosystem.

There is also a list of foods that are not recommended (other than those mentioned above) for composting. These include meat, onion peels, citrus peels, grease, bones, or dairy products. This is due to the amount of time they take to break down, or they can attract pests.

Winter Pot Advice

When creating a summer pot, you know they will grow means a few small plants can turn into a beautiful display. However, plants don’t grow in winter, So how do we get over this issue? Well, you need to buy more plants than you would in the summer and pack them in tightly.

Within a winter pot, you can plant a wide range of shrubs and perennials. Because they don’t grow, they’re unlikely to outgrow their container in one winter. You can always replant them outside when they start to grow and start your winter pot over again.

One thing to watch out for is plant pests. If you spot any pests in the compost, you must eliminate all the compost in the pot and replace it immediately to avoid your beautiful winter pot being destroyed.

As with summer pots, don’t have too many different colours in one pot or grouping, with expert gardeners recommending a maximum of three colours, with green being one of the colours.

Best indoor flowering bulbs

Bringing the beauty of spring into your home during the Autumn and Winter months can really brighten things up, but what are the best indoor flowering bulbs.

Paperwhite Ziva (Narcissus Tazetta) are a distinctive white flower that has a wonderful scent and are a popular indoor bulb. They do not tolerate frost hence why they cannot be planted outside in the UK winter. These flowers prefer a warm area and are best planted in Autumn for a festive bloom.

Autumn Crocuses are available in a few varieties and are suitable for indoor or outdoor planting during the autumn months. Typically producing 2 flowers per bulb you can be creative with how you plant them, whether it be in a small decorative pot or grouped together in a larger vase.

Amaryllis are large, impressive flowers and are easy to grow with minimal care and attention needed.  Plant these in the Autumn for a festive season bloom.  They normally take between 6-10 weeks to flower.  Plant multiple blubs in two-week intervals for a festive and new year continuous bloom.

Gravel Garden Alpines

Alpines are easy plants to grow and look great in any garden.  Ideal for filling up the gaps next to a gravel path or in a rockery garden, these plants come in a wide variety of shapes, colours and sizes.

Alpine plants are drought-resistant, meaning during dry spring and summer seasons, once the plant is established, it will still thrive.

When planting alpine plants, make sure to add grit to the soil and plant in a dry area with good drainage.  Once planted, water them well and ensure they get plenty of sunlight. 

Alpine plants are great for creating a focal point within your garden or planted along the top of a wall.

Alpine plants dislike soil that is constantly damp.  If you have planted the alpines in a container, move them to a dryer area during the winter to avoid the winter rainfall.

How to Speed Up Decomposition in Your Compost

The biggest issue with composting is that it can be a slow process, so many people are keen on knowing how to speed the decomposition up. There are a few tricks you can try to encourage the decomposition process so that you can more quickly benefit from some lovely fertile compost.

1. Think small- be sure to chop or shred items up into small pieces so that they can more easily decompose.

2. Moisture balancing- you want your compost pile to have a similar moisture content to that of a ‘wrung sponge’. In other words it does need a decent amount of moisture, but not too much.

3. Mix it up- you need a mixture of carbon rich (brown) and nitrogen rich (green) ingredients to speed up decomposition.

4. Keep it moving- every 3-5 days you should turn the compost heap over.

5. Microbes- by keeping up with the above tasks, you will develop good microbes that are the biggest key to decomposition.

These five tricks will help speed up the process of decomposition in your compost heap.

Tips for Growing Strawberries

If you are a strawberry lover then you are in heaven come summer when strawberries are at their best. One satisfying way to enjoy strawberries is growing your own!

Top Tips for Growing Strawberries

• Seed them early. The earlier you plant them (as long as they won’t encounter frost) the longer you will have delicious strawberries.
• Give them full Sun. these plants need lots of sun to keep them producing fruit well.
• Don’t crowd them. Strawberries need their space so plant them at 30cm deep and at least 40cm between each row.
• Do not over water. Strawberry plants need well drained soil and watering about 1in per week.
• Strawberries grow quite well in pots or raised beds.
• Fertilise when flowers appear.

These handy tips will help you with your yummy strawberry growing and hopefully ensure that you have plenty of berries for enjoying all summer. Good luck with your strawberry growing!

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.

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.

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.