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Easy to Grow Herbs

It is so annoying when cooking a meal to suddenly realise that you have run out of the herbs required for the recipe that you are following. Herbs sold in supermarkets often seem to lack flavour. However, if you grow your own, preferably in pots or containers in a sunny spot outside your back door then you won’t have to go far to obtain fresh herbs for any recipe.

Parsley is incredibly easy to grow and it is hardy enough to continue growing over the Winter months. Whilst the plants are very small, you will have to protect from slugs.

Coriander is also very simple to grow from seed. If seedlings are too crowded then thin them out. Fresh coriander added to a green salad tastes delightful and gives the finishing touch to Indian curries and dahls.

Chives can also be grown in small pots outside. Just snip off lengths as and when you need them for recipes.

It is essential to grow mint in a container as it will swamp everything if left untended in abed or border. Use for making mint sauce or for adding to Greek dishes.

Rosemary is a woody perennial herb with needle like leaves. It likes warm, sunny conditions and needs to dry out between waterings. Grow Rosemary in a pot and you can move it to a more sheltered spot or inside during the Winter.

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Dealing with Dandelions

Dandelions are often considered the scourge of most gardeners. Their fluffy, yellow flower heads may look quite attractive but once the heads turn to seed, the slightest puff of wind spreads dandelion seeds over the whole of the garden. You could try digging them out but they have a long, tapering tap root which tends to break off as it is pulled. You only have to leave the smallest part of a tap root behind in the soil and you will soon have dandelions growing again.

The best way to get rid of these bright yellow flowers with their broad green leaves is to prevent them becoming established in your lawn in the first place. In order to do this, after each mowing, make sure you leave some grass clippings on the surface of your lawn. These will act as a mulch and will help prevent seeds from germinating. Also, make sure you do not cut your grass too short as this weakens the grass, allowing weeds like dandelions to become established. Do not allow bare patches to develop in your lawn. Make sure you rake over the bare patches, break up the soil a little and sow with new grass seeds.

However, if you continue to lose the battle against dandelions, then you could harvest them as an edible supplement for your salad bowl!

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The Ode Beauty of Garden Decking

Yes, it is spring time. You can just see love in the air and butterflies resting on freshly bloomed flowers. If you are missing out on the breathtaking nature gift, it’s your bad luck. If you still did not get the centre crux of my words, just allow me to frank. I’m basically talking about the valuable gift of nature that is just next to the windows – your garden.

Considering the main benefit of a garden deck, this is that you can enjoy your garden and outdoor area while still being connected to your house, without garden decks you would have to appreciate your garden from a distance.

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Encouraging wildlife to the Garden

One of the best ways of encouraging wildlife to your garden is by constructing a pond. It does not have to be a large expanse of water, even a small pond will attract several species of insects and birds and animals.
It’s important to have a shallow, boggy area around the edge of your pond to encourage amphibians like frogs which require both water and land to survive. Water beetles and dragonflies also like shallow, muddy areas for part of their life cycles. Dragonflies lay their eggs in the water, but once the nymphs are fully grown, they need plant life on dryer land to hang on to before transforming into young dragonflies.
Ensure you have plants growing around the edge of your pond to create enough cover for frogs to hide from predators. As ponds also attract insects, you should find that these in turn will encourage blue tits and sparrows to your garden. The poor hedgehog has declined in numbers drastically over the last 30 years but you may find that a pond may also attract this little animal to come along for a drink. Hedgehogs are able to swim but they do need a means of getting out of pond once they are in, so make sure you provide a ramp of some sort or place rocks which they can clamber over to prevent them from tiring and drowning.

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How to Lay your Lawn Turf

How to Lay your Lawn Turf

Do you want to remedy a tired and shapeless patch of grass? Or perhaps you desire to create a new lawn. Whichever the case, laying lawn turf is the sure answer. Of course, it’ll be more expensive compared to sowing seeds, but the benefits will outweigh the costs incurred. For one, you’ll instantly have a usable lawn area. It’ll also have no moss or weeds to spoil the result. So, when’s the best time to lay the lawn? Go for a warm spring or autumn, especially when there’s plenty of rain to help the new grass to establish its roots. The lawn will be ready in time for the summer heat or winter frost.

Now let’s get started on the lawn. First prepare the area by removing stones and leveling the ground. You can use a rake to even it out. Make sure that the soil surface is firm-you can walk up and down on it, taking small and heavy steps. A starter fertilizer, without a pre-emergent, can be applied to the soil. Next, get the turfs and lay them on the soil, slightly overlapping each other. In order to get a clean edge, grab a sharp knife or spade and use it to cut off any excess lawn turf. Voila! You’re done. It’s that simple. Continue reading