Tips for happy gardening

The other month we were asked by the good folks at the Thompson and Morgan blog to impart one favourite piece of gardening advice. Just one?

Over the years we’ve picked up loads of horticultural information through gardening books, learning by our own mistakes and chatting to fellow enthusiasts (a great tip in itself) and it got us thinking, what are our all-time favourite gardening tips? Over the next few weeks we’ll feature a few of our favourites, starting with:

The compost bin is probably the most valuable addition to any garden. The secret is getting the balance of materials in the heap correct plus regular turning with a garden fork and adding more moisture if necessary. You ideally want a 50/50 mix of materials containing nitrogen (“greens”) and carbon (“browns”). The greens are: grass clippings (applied sparingly as they can turn to a smelly mush), plants (no flowering weeds or diseased leaves) and kitchen waste (vegetable peelings, ripped-open teabags and over-ripe fruit). The “browns”: cardboard, ripped or scrunched-up newspaper and egg boxes. Don’t bother with thick stems or anything woody as they tend to take ages to break down and no meat or dairy should be put in either.

Don’t make the mistake we did by adding salad leaves from a dinner plate that had been contaminated with some meat juice. It didn’t dawn on us that we did wrong until one Saturday while despositing some vegetable peelings we were faced with the back end of an enormous rat – the size of a large guinea pig – escaping down the compost heap. The large rodent took off into the neighbour’s garden with our cat gingerly following it down their path. A minute or two later hysterical screams were heard from next door but one’s back yard where a family barbecue was in progress. We kept our head down for the rest of the day and vowed never to put any meat in that bin again!  #Compostingiseasy!

Hang ’em high!

Walking to work this morning just around the corner from Clink Street we saw this great plant holder idea. Hats off to all the ingenious hanging basketeers! Seen any other mad hanging basket ideas? Your photographs on a email please…

Keep off the Crass

When it comes to sowing vegetables, straight rows abound in the Weeds HQ garden but of late we’ve got into a bit of anarcho-gardening. That don’t mean we slip into our favourite biker’s leather jacket and do the punk kicking dance on the lawn in the evening but rather we buy a few packs of seeds and scatter them randomly and see how they get on.

One of our favourite beds has a couple of tomato plants, a rhubarb crown or two, rocket and borage alongside all sorts including our favourite night scented stock. Pop down your local seed emporium and buy a dolly mixture type assortment of seeds packs and give it a go. No to (too much) uniformity in flower beds, unless you want it! #gardeningsnotdead

Across the board antics

On heavy rotation this week at Weeds HQ is the mix below by our good friend Mistah Brown (Tighten Up crew/the official Trojan Records club night) taking over the Never Dug Disco show on Soho Radio and features a lovely across the board mix including the cracking tune by Chief Checker above. There’s some excellent stuff including Jazz, Salsoul and even a bit of Reggae! If that mix floats your boat there’s another show in the series featuring Mistah Brown and another DJ known usually for playing reggae Oxman (mix here).

Tuber, tuber, tuber

We usually lift our Dahlia tubers in the autumn and stick them under the stairs in a paper bag to dry out and then return them to the ground in the spring but this year we didn’t and feared for the worst. We shouldn’t have as the two plants are giving us a spectacular display this year.

We’ve had a bit of blackfly on them but they’ve now seemed to vanish. We’ve given them a bit of TLC in the form of regular watering and a weekly feed of comfrey liquid and loving the results. All from a couple of tubers bought in Shannon’s a few years ago! Anyone out there got any nice varieties we can show on Weeds? Pictures please…