How to start your own organic garden

Organic gardening is gaining popularity. More people avoid consuming food and vegetables containing chemicals and synthetics. Organic gardening is great for the health of your family as it greatly reduces the amount of pesticides you consume and helps to protect the environment from overloading of toxic chemicals. Yes, organic gardening can get a bit expensive if you are hiring someone to install and maintain your garden, but with these tips you can start one on your own. So, let’s roll up your sleeves and get started.

Prepare the Soil Properly

Healthy soil helps strengthen plants. To get best results from your new organic garden, you will have to ensure that the soil is properly conditioned. The plants need food just like you. So make sure that the vegetables are getting sufficient nutrients. The best way to measure the quality of your soil is by getting it tested. Use a Ph testing kit or it would be even better if you send a sample of the soil to your local agricultural office. You can then tailor your gardening program according to the results.

Ensure that your soil has plenty of humus (organic matter). Use manure from livestock that have been humanely raised. Do not use manure from animals that have consumed meat.

Composting

All gardens can benefit from composting. The best compost in your garden will form the correct ratio of carbon-rich and nitrogen organic waste when mixed with soil, air and water. Following proper techniques, you can even make the best compost in your organic garden.

Choose the Right Type of Plants

Choose the right type of plants and plant them in a good spot keeping in mind the light, moisture, drainage and soil quality. Remember, the happier and healthier your plants are, the more resilient they will be. If you are planting your own, make sure that you get seedlings raised without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. It would be best suited if you buy them from the farmers’ market and they might even have other varieties suitable to your area.

Plant the Crops in Wide Beds

Plants that you will be harvesting such as, vegetables or flowers, should be grouped tightly in beds and planted in places you don’t walk on. This reduces water waste and weeding, it will also help you in targeting nutrients and compost. Sufficient space between each row helps repel fungal attacks and increases air circulation.

Watering

The best time to water the plants is in the morning. Mornings are cooler, without strong winds. This means the amount of water that is lost due to evaporation is reduced to a great extent. Remember, you just want to water the roots, not the greenery. Experts recommend that one or two applications a week on plants encourages deeper rooting, giving you stronger plants.

Control Weeding

Pulling weeds by hand is hard work. You can further reduce the number of weeds by applying mulch and it also helps in protecting the soil.

Harvest

After weeks of hard work and labor, don’t forget to harvest the fruits. The more you harvest, the more the plants will produce.

Following these tips and putting in a little effort will ensure that you grow a beautiful organic garden. You will be able to enjoy food and vegetables that are natural and free from any sorts of chemicals and synthetics.

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A Guide to Water Features for Your Garden

One of the newest trends in gardening is water gardening. An aquatic element, such as a pond or waterfall, can transform your garden and become an astounding point of attraction. Also, the use of lighting, plants and fish is becoming increasingly popular and will enhance the overall look of your garden. There are several options available. However, make sure you choose the right spot for your water garden, as it cannot be relocated once it has been established.

Here’s a quick and easy guide to help you in your water gardening endeavors.

Plan Ahead

The best way to start is by having a precise plan. Things like location of your water feature and equipment you need should be determined when planning your water garden.

Budget

Determine the amount of money you are ready to spend on this project. Building a water garden is a major investment that adds great value to your home. Proper planning prevents mistakes and cost overruns.

Size of the Feature

There is no limit to the size of your water garden. Choose the correct dimensions that will suit your landscape. However, if your garden is large you have more opportunities to innovate.

Where Should It Be Located?

After you have selected the water feature you are interested in, you must decide the perfect location for it. It is preferable to choose a place that gets plenty of sunlight and where it can be easily observed from your home.

Plant & Fish Selection

Fish alone are a beautiful attraction. Choosing the right plants further adds to the beauty and will keep the water free from debris. You can add goldfish and also mosquito fish to the water. When it comes to plants, there are many options you can choose from. You can get plants that will submerge in water or the ones that will float. Getting plants for your garden will not only increase the attractiveness of your garden but will provide oxygen and keep your water garden healthy.

Streams & Fountains

Fountains can be kept freestanding in a selected area in your garden or can be constructed within your water feature. Fountains supply oxygen to your plants and fish, they also act as a sound barrier, enabling you to enjoy and relax the feel of nature. Streams are usually used as a connection, usually between a waterfall and a pond. It will require a pump to move the water back to the waterfall and things like erosion and the development of silt should be considered before thinking of a stream.

Lighting

Incorporating lighting will greatly enhance the way your water garden looks at night and complements the features and focal points beautifully.

Algae & Perennial Management

After the completion of your water garden, perennial management and algae management should be taken care of throughout the year. Algae formation is a huge problem, but can be avoided by controlling the amount of nutrients introduced in the water garden and by the reduction of feeding and fertilizing. Also, remember to replace the water after a period of time.

Water gardening does not take more time than normal gardening, but there is no denying that it can make your garden look much beautiful than it is now.

Organic Gardening with a busy schedule

As Autumn gets closer, none of us can wait to get active in the garden, eagerly checking if the soil is perfect and warm enough. But then things start shifting into high gear and you get busy. Does that mean you give up your gardening plans?

Not at all!

Just follow these really simple and time saving ideas that are guaranteed to bring positive results from day 1:

Make a Plan
A well-laid plan always helps, as it will save you time when deciding how to spread different plants in the garden.

Make Your Bed!
You can quickly make beds by simply slicing under the soil using a spade, flip it upside down, and cover the area with the help of 3 to 4 inch wood chips. Wait a few days before planting.

Keep your Tools Close
Reducing the trips to your shed will save you time. So keep your tools at hand.

Cut the Weeds
When weeds such as lamium grow on your mats, don’t go removing them one by one. An easy method to remove weeds is by using a sharp spade, slice under the weeds, and turn them over, thereby burying the leaves.

Use Mulch
Mulch is good for the fertility and health of the soil as it conserves the plants from excessive moisture and greatly reduces weed growth. It also enhances the appearance of the area, therefore efficiently spreading the mulch using a rake or bow around your garden.

Water your Garden Wisely
Don’t just go over-watering the plants, as they need specific amounts at different intervals. Soaker hoses can save you loads of time, as they slowly irrigate a part of your garden with low water pressure. Don’t forget that the tender seedlings you planted still need to be watered by hand.

Use Compost
Compost is extremely fertile for soil, by applying compost you are enriching your soil with much needed nutrients. You can make compost by storing garden waste materials in compost bins, but the bins are expensive. However there is a cheaper way out. Store your waste in a fenced off area of your garden. This way you won’t have to wheel barrow compost back and forth to your garden. Add the compost to each side of the beds and you will definitely enjoy the fruits (and veggies) that you harvest!

Harvest:
Collect your harvest in a basket. The basket acts as a strainer, quickly rinsing off the dirt and debris from the fruits and vegetables.

Keep Taking Small Steps
When you are busy, every minute is valuable. However, take a few minutes in the garden whenever you get the time so that garden chores don’t pile up. For example, cut a few weeds while taking your dog out for some fresh air, or remove dead plants while waiting for the school bus with the kids.

By following these easy tips, you will be able to transform your garden the way you desire. Plan well and work hard. Good luck!

How to Fertilise your Lawn – A Complete Guide

When it comes to beautifying your home, it is certainly incomplete without a lawn. Fertilising your lawn is one of the most important things you need to do because it’s important to keep your lawn healthy, green and free of weeds. Here is an easy guide to fertilising your lawn.

Grass Type

One thing you should be aware of before fertilising your lawn is the grass type and the season and time of the year. If your lawn has, for example, cool season grass, there are 2 growing periods you need to know about. First, when the grass grows right after winter dormancy and the second when the summer heat wave ends, it’s best to fertilise your lawn after it greens. If your lawn has warm season grass, you wouldn’t want to fertilise your lawn until it comes out of dormancy, as the grass is sensitive and the application of fertilisers can destroy your lawn. Once your lawn has been cut three times, it is safe to assume that the warm season grass is completely out of dormancy, which is then the best time to fertilise your lawn.

Type of Fertiliser

Before applying any type of fertiliser, make sure you read the bag of contents. This way you will know exactly what are you applying and whether or not it suits your lawn. Some fertilisers cannot be used on certain grass types as they can destroy the grass, and some might have extra additives that can be harmful for the grass. If you are not sure of which type of fertiliser to use, here are some factors to keep in mind:619woGWWpAL._SL1500_

  • You can get either liquid or granular fertiliser. Liquid fertilisers work and are absorbed quickly whereas granular fertiliser is sprinkled on the lawn and absorbs slowly.
  • Choose either quick or slow release granular fertilisers.
  • Choose between organic and chemical fertiliser. There are fertilisers available that also kill weeds but organic fertilisers are better for your lawn in the long run.

Use Proper Equipment

The equipment you use during the fertilisation of your lawn makes a huge difference to the overall outcome. If you have a small lawn, most of the work can be done by hand but if your lawn is fairly large, you will need to rent or buy proper equipment. Get a rotary spreader for large lawns as it has a wider reach. A drop spreader can be used for lawns with areas that need precise fertilisation.

Prepare the Spreader and Start Fertilising

Fill the spreader with the appropriate fertiliser and adjust it so that the release matches the recommended dosage on the fertiliser bag. Choose a place in your garden to start the fertilising. However, be sure not to skip areas and avoid spreading excessive fertiliser.

Water Your Lawn

Last, but not the least, don’t forget to water your lawn with appropriate amounts. This helps the soil absorb the fertiliser. Follow this easy guide and observe as your lawn will obtain the benefits right away! Like us on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/maxicropuk Follow us on Twitter – https://twitter.com/maxicropuk

Show us your flowerbeds and WIN!

Here at Maxicrop UK we aren’t about to let a bit of British weather stand in the way of us and our gardens, and we know it won’t stop our keen green fingered friends either!

flowers in a garden

Show us your flowerbeds!

We want to see you all getting into the spirit and getting out into the garden, be it your own, a friend’s, or even a beautiful public garden, of which there are plenty up and down the country for us to explore and enjoy.

So get out there, get creative, and snap and post your garden related pictures on our Facebook wall. The best three pictures judged by us will WIN a 1 litre bottle of Maxicrop Natural Fertiliser to keep their garden healthy and thriving all year round!

Competition winners announced on 16th July!

Weather problems solved!


WHAT a topsy-turvy year for weather we’ve had so far: a hot spell at the end of March, a month of heavy rain and really cold weather in April, soaring temperatures at the end of May, and now it’s bucketing down again, even though many of us still have hosepipe bans! As gardeners we don’t know whether we’re coming or going, so it’s not surprising our plants don’t either!
A lot of plants are behind, thanks to the low temperatures in April and if they’re not behind schedule we are, having spent months trapped indoors by pouring rain. At least regular rain helps keep lawns lush, and plants de­finitely aren’t wilting, but heavy rain like we’ve experienced this year brings its own set of problems: from soft growth and lack of flowers to top-heavy plants flopping all over and the problem of leaching, when plant nutrients are washed through the soil by the sheer volume of rain.

If nutrients have been washed away, plants can struggle to grow, and if they’re behind schedule as well, that’s the last thing you want. Now’s a good time to replenish those vital soil nutrients and Maxicrop’s range of seaweed extract tonics and fertilisers are just the ticket to boost growth and promote strong, healthy plants. An application of Maxicrop to borders will top up depleted soil with nutrients and as an added bonus, the seaweed extract that makes up Maxicrop is rich in crucial trace elements too.

Not only will Maxicrop get your soil fighting fit, it will also help your plants get back on track. All that water has led to masses of soft leafy growth that’s especially prone to attack from pests and diseases and often produces fewer flowers.

The nutrients in Maxicrop toughen and strengthen that soft new growth, which in turn encourages your plants to flower. And where all that lush top-heavy growth is threatening to flop, Maxicrop can also help. Regularly using Maxicrop increases root, giving you healthy, sturdy plants.

Regular applications of Maxicrop also raise your plants’ natural defence mechanisms. Naturally occurring substances found in seaweed – such as mannitol and betaines – help your plants’ cells stay healthy, so plants can function better. They’re better equipped to handle extremes of weather and they’re better able to fend off attacks by insects or diseases.

So it’s not too late to rescue the situation, plant new plants and get your garden growing as it should. Let Maxicrop help and whatever the weather throws at us next, your flowers, fruit and veg will be better able to cope!

Read more on this article Weather problems solved!

Choosing The Right Lawnmower For Your Lawn

It is that time of year again when its time to tackle the jungle that is your lawn, and it can be confusing, with so many gardening tools and equipment on offer, to know what are the best tools for the job. So here is Maxicrop’s guide to choosing the right lawnmower for your lawn. For tips on other essential lawn care tools, check out our Essential Lawn Care Tool Kit article and for lawn care and maintenance tips check our Tips for Maintaining a Health Lawn article.

Choosing The Right Lawnmower For Your Lawn

There are three basic types of lawnmower:

Cylinder

Rotary

Hover

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Cylinder mowers are available in manual, electric powered and petrol powered versions. They are called cylinder mowers because the blades rotate vertically like a cylinder against a bottom blade, giving a scissor-like cut. These mowers are ideal for perfectly level lawns where the grass is fine and a short cut is required. Most models come with a detachable grass collection box to minimise debris.

Engineered real wood

Rotary mowers are the most versatile mower. They can cope with most types of lawn and rougher grassy areas, and even difficult, sloping banks. They come in electric or petrol driven models, and you can opt for manual push or self-propelled. The blades on a rotary rotate horizontally and are adjustable to the preferred cutting height. Self-propelled models are best for people with particularly large areas to mow.  They are slightly more expensive than the normal manual push models, but are worth it for larger areas.

Engineered real wood

Hover mowers are essentially rotary mowers that literally hover over the surface of the grass. The majority of models come without wheels, and need to be lifted and carried to position, and therefore have a lightweight and space saving design.  The handle folds so the machine can be hung from a shed or garage wall making them space efficient and easy to carry.  A hover mower is ideal for small to medium lawns, and some models come with an integrated grass collection box. The hover mower is the best choice when it comes to keeping things neat and tidy, but doesn’t give the best cut.