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Grow-How

Regular expert advice from Fruit Hill Farm on organic growing.
  • Attracting Wildlife in the Garden

    Provide as many habitats as possible and make the most of the ones you have Lawns Lawns provide a home for many insects that are eaten by birds and other wildlife. You can improve your lawn for wildlife by simply avoiding the use of weed killers and artificial fertilizers. Providing areas of grass of different heights, which are cut at different times of the year, optimises food potential. Grow clover in your lawn. Clovers are of great value to bees, which will pollinate your plants, as a source of nectar. Hedges Consider a hedge rather than a fence. For every foot of
  • Sowing seeds indoors

    Growing from seed is a simple and economical way of raising a whole host of plants for your garden. Sowing in a heated environment allows you to raise plants from seed in early spring - much earlier than if sowing directly outside. What you will need Klasmann Organic Compost - the very best compost you can buy. Quality seed compost.  Seed compost has a fine particle size and is not as rich as potting  compost.  It is ideal for sowing seeds.  We sell Klasmann Organic composts, for more information please see our blog post. Quick Pot trays come in a variety of
  • Taking a soil sample

      Beneficial results of a soil test depend on a good sample. The sample should represent the area it is taken from. A soil sample must be taken at the right time and in the right way. The tools used, area sampled, depth and uniformity of the sample, information provided, and packaging all influence the quality of the sample. Take a sample well in advance to give yourself time to understand and act on the results. Do not sample when the land is waterlogged or very dry. For sampling purposes divide the farm into fields or areas of between 2 – 4ha. You will need
  • To get the best potato crop - add plenty of potash

    Potash deficiency in potato tubers Potatoes are heavy feeders. To get the best crop you should add plenty of fertility in the form of manure, compost or organic plant feeds. You might not be aware of how much they can benefit from a high potash feed. Potash is potassium (K) in a plant available form. Tubers with black in the middle are a sign of potash deficiency. Another sign is yellowing around the leaf margins. Sources of potash If you have a wood fire you can use wood ash to boost your potash levels. Take care to only use wood ash. Coal or peat ash is not a good
  • Growing potatoes in a greenhouse or polytunnel for a very early crop

    Potatoes can be planted at any time of year, provided you keep them free from frost. If you have a polytunnel or greenhouse then you can plant them in December or January and have very early potatoes on the table in March and April (early varieties take around 80 to 100 days before they are ready. If you have enough space, the seed potatoes can be planted in beds, just as you would outside. Another way to grow them is in large containers or grow bags. Filled with good quality potting compost and and a general purpose organic feed (such as Greenvale). The grow bags can
  • Seeds for grassland, forage and soil fertility

    Research is confirming that a diverse mix of grasses, legumes and other plants improves pasture and grassland for soil health, animal health and for wildlife. The Organic Research Centre in the UK has published a summary of results from a recent study that clearly shows the benefits of incorporating more than two species of legumes to help build soil fertility: Legumes: building soil fertility (pdf file) Legumes such as clover help build soil fertility They also found that including different grasses in the mix helped: "There are benefits from the inclusion of

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