Growing A Small Vegetable Patch

Even with very little space you can grow and enjoy fresh garden vegetables. Nothing beats a freshly picked tomato or freshly dug new potato. The small garden layout tips will help with basic design and the links lead to other pages on my website

Cottage gardeners have always grown their own fruit and veg wherever they could find the space to place a plant. Runner beans climbing up stone walls and cucumbers in the flower borders. We now call it companion planting, the olden gardeners called it making use of every available bit of garden space. Companion planting reduces space for weeds to grow and reduces the effects of garden pests.

Almost any container can be used to grow fruit and vegetables in. These include but are not limited to – window boxes and raised garden beds made from almost anything that will hold garden soil such as hay bales.

If you have a small garden with limited space for planting vegetables but you want to grow your own vegetables, be creative and you will find more space than you ever thought you could find.

How To Improve Your Clay Soil

Clay soil is composed of mostly clay particles. Soil that consists of over 50% clay particles is referred to as heavy clay. Carry out this simple test to find out if you have clay soil: if the soil sticks to your wellies, garden spade and fork like glue and forms big hard lumps of soil that are difficult to break up and the garden surface cracks up in dry weather, it’s clay!

Clay soil can be a nuisance, even if it’s not waterlogged. Hard clay soil is hard to dig and although many trees and shrubs grow well in clay,  the roots of the some annuals, perennials, and vegetables, especially root crops like carrots and turnips can’t grow their way through heavy clay. Clay soil is slow draining, slow to warm up in spring and compacts easily into large hard lumps of soil making it difficult for plant roots to grow. In dry weather the surface cracks up.

Clay soils retain moisture better than sandy soil, handy during long dry spells. It’s also rich in the nutrients plants need to grow, holding calcium, potassium, and magnesium. See the note below to understand a little more about calcium, potassium, and magnesium in garden soil.
It’s possible, with some hard work, to make clay soil more workable and suitable for planting and growing most plants and at the same time keeping the good things about clay such as nutrients essential for plant growth. Clay also has moisture retention properties.

Top 4 Benefits of Insulated Garage Doors

Investing in a high-quality garage door will do more than boosting the curb appeal of your home. When properly executed, insulated garage doors can make your entire home greener and provide you additional liveable space.

How Does The Insulation Work?
Typically, polyurethane or polystyrene will be used as an insulating material for the garage doors. Polyurethane is an injected foam material which bonds to a garage door itself, while polystyrene is a block of insulation.
Polyurethane is often considered a more rigid and stronger insulation material, adding more strength to your door. Also, it delivers twice the thermal insulation properties (R-value) than the polystyrene, but will be slightly more costly as a result. The greater in R-value an insulating material is, usually the less expensive it’ll be to continue heating your garage.
The construction of door is equally as significant as the insulation itself. Any door with loose seals and joints which allow air flow into your garage won’t offer an efficiently insulated room. It is essential to ensure that weather stripping off your door is intact, and the old joints are updated to allow minimal airflow. Continue reading

Awnings and canopies

In this country it often seems that Summer is incredibly short and fleeting. However, even so, on hot, sunny days you may find that your rooms which are exposed to full sunlight are just too hot or that sitting outside on your patio is unbearable after just a few minutes. If this is the case, you may want to consider installing a canopy or awning to an outside wall or to cover your patio area. A retractable system which is attached to brickwork of an exterior wall may just be the answer to glaring sunlight as it will give shade and deflect some of the heat. It will also help to protect carpets, soft furnishings and fabrics from fading by the sun. Awnings and canopies can also offer some protection from rain, enabling you and your guests to enjoy sitting outside for longer, even during a Summer shower.

Before spending money on an awning, do think carefully about the style of awning that you require and the size and make sure that it has the features that you need and that it is easy to use.

Growing vegetables on a balcony

As living space becomes more and more compact and apartment living becomes common place, you may still want to create a little splash of colour by planting in pots and containers on your balcony.

Do bear in mind that extremes may be felt more readily on a balcony. Plants will dry out more quickly and it will be windier than in a sheltered garden at ground level. Soil in terracotta pots can dry out very quickly, so either line the pots with plastic or use plastic or metal containers.

For balcony gardeners, chillies and tomatoes are ideal for sunny facing balconies but do plant in pots large enough to allow roots to expand. Choose smaller varieties of tomato like “Gardener’s Delight” and you will have a steady supply of fruits throughout the summer. If you have a wall to which you can fix a hanging basket then you could try tumbling tomatoes which hang down attractively and provide plenty of fruit. “Tumbler” or Hundreds and Thousands” are good varieties for baskets.

Pots of rosemary, thyme, sage and chives will also survive well on a balcony though rosemary may only be suitable if your balcony is a spacious one. You could also grow a row of lettuces in a couple of window box-sized containers. Pick the leaves as you need them and you will find they the lettuces will continue growing for a few weeks after you have picked the first leaves. However, you must make sure you shelter lettuces from the wind or the leaves may taste bitter and tough.