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  • Using Leafmould as a Soil Conditioner

    Leafmould is made from decaying leaves.  It is an excellent soil conditioner adding organic matter and micro-organisms to the garden.  Leaf mould is quite low in nutrients, which makes it suitable for seed germination as the seedlings develop a strong root system, which will help them remain healthy when threatened with pests and diseases.  If you have enough, leaf mould makes an excellent soil improver. The coarse organic particles help create air spaces, vital to let roots penetrate the soil. Leaf mould also makes a good mulch that aids moisture-retention and
  • Top Ten Organic Bulbs

    Conventionally produced flower bulbs are one of the most polluted crops in horticulture and are heavily sprayed with Neonicotinoids.  Research has focussed on the impact of these insecticides on honey bees. The chemicals have been found to impair bees’ communication, homing and foraging ability, flight activity and immune systems. These all have an impact on the bees' ability to survive. Neonicotinoids also have a huge effect on butterflies, moths, insects, birds, fish and soil life.  Planting organic bulbs will ensure your garden is enjoyed by all its users.
  • Seed Saving Basics

    Often considered a practice of the more geekier strain of gardener, saving seeds (of certain plants) is, however, easy and accessible to anyone. Why bother though? There are many far reaching reasons why small scale seed saving is important. In particular, the large scale loss of genetic diversity brought about by narrow breeding for commercial varieties and massive consolidation within the seed industry are a serious threat to food security and sustainable agriculture. These concerns are highlighted well by the organisations linked below. However, there are
  • 5 things to do in Autumn to Prepare your Garden for Winter and Spring

    1. Clean Up There’s more to a tidy up in the garden than just making it look neat and tidy – old plants can harbour diseases and pests so it’s wise to remove and dispose of any spent or rotting plants from your plot. You can also bury any disease and pest free spent plants into the ground which will improve soil quality by adding organic matter to it. Dig up any weeds that appeared over the summer and make sure to dispose of them completely – they will likely take root again if you simply move them elsewhere or put them onto the compost heap. 2. Prepare your
  • How to Dry Herbs

    You can dry herbs to make your own herbal teas and to use in cooking throughout the year. It's a relatively simple process and a great way to use up any excess or underused herbs you have growing in the garden.. Harvesting Herbs for drying You can harvest herbs throughout the season, but the best taste is obtained from fresh growth. Herbs grown for their leaves should be harvested before they flower. After they flower, most herbs tend to lose their flavour or become bitter. You also want to pick the leaves when they are tender and contain the highest amount of oil,
  • Seeds for Autumn Sowing Outdoors

    There's no good way to say this...but, Summer is waning. With the changing season (and temperatures!) we can turn our minds to what seeds we can sow that can cope with the lower levels of light and lower temperatures that the coming seasons will bring. Ideally seeds sown now should be grown in a polytunnnel or with a protective cloche outside, but the following seeds cope well with lower temperatures & light levels and can still be sown directly outdoors. If we have a mild enough September / October, these will grow within 8-10 weeks. SALADS Cornsalad - Has a
  • Farmers Markets & Honesty Boxes for Seasonal Gluts

    It's that time of year again when you may find yourself with a glut of produce - be it tomatoes, cucumbers, apples potatoes or something else - there's only so much preserving you can do at home - so it's worth considering setting up a stall at your local farmers market or even a simple honesty box so your neighbours or passers by can buy some of your extra produce off you. Farmers Markets Some farmers markets, like the Bantry market close to us here at Fruit Hill Farm, have been going on for as long as people can remember, whilst many are relatively new. With such a
  • How to Grow Christmas Potatoes

    It does seem a little early to be talking about Christmas, but if you want to have new potatoes for Christmas dinner this is what you do: What to plant You need cold treated seed – the cold breaks the dormancy cycle and spurs the potato into growth again. By using your own homegrown seed potatoes, or those from an organic grower, you can ensure they will not be treated with any chemical to prevent budding.   Early varieties are best as they have the shortest growing cycle. You can carry out your own cold treatment on the seed potatoes by putting them in a paper bag
  • Careful now! Minding yourself in the garden

    Stay safe out there, its a scary world! Put tools away, keep sharp objects safe. Keep fertilizers and any garden sprays or pallets away from children and pets. Careful when lifting heavy objects. Look after knees with either a kneeling cushion or knee-pads. Protect from the sun. Always wear gloves and cover wounds with waterproof dressing. Keep a small first aid kit handy.  Keep tetanus shots up to date. Wear a dust mask when strimmering to avoid bracken spores and fine dust particles. Do not put cooked food on the compost heap as this can attract rats. Compost
  • Foliar and Liquid Feeding for optimum crop growth

    With foliar feeding, instead of watering a liquid fertilizer into the soil, it is sprayed (in solution) onto the leaves of the vegetable or fruit crop. Research has found that a leaf can be a very efficient organ of absorption. The amounts absorbed may at first seem relatively small, but to offset this, the efficiency is high. So plants are able to absorb essential elements through their leaves as well as their roots. The absorption from the leaves takes place through their stomata and also through their epidermis. Transport is usually faster through the stomata, but

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