It’s been a while since I last shared a gardening post. I think it was even as late as last year when a green piece went out – all about the Tulip Lasagnes in case you were wondering.
I wanted to say a huge thank you to those of you who messaged me on Instagram with pictures of your own ‘lasagne’ experiments. They looked amazing and I felt all glowy inside when you mentioned that I had given some of you the confidence to give them a go and that it’s now inspired you to go on to experiment further in the garden. Go you!
So it’s May already and before you know it we’ll be luxuriating in fresh new Summer growth so today’s post is all about preparing your garden for the months ahead. We’re thrilled to be collaborating with Wilko on this post as they have such a huge gardening range. Having purchased from them on multiple occasions I can testify to their excellent service and product quality so it’s worth bearing them in mind if you’re looking to invest in some gardening kit.
Anyway I digress…shall we get started.
General maintenance is as good a place to start if any. Assuming like myself that you’re not starting a garden from scratch, you’ll want to make sure that you get kitted up for the season ahead.
If there’s four gardening tools I can’t live without then they have to be a hand trowel, a small fork, a hoe and some garden gloves.
The hoe for obvious reasons…whilst the summer months provide the perfect growing conditions for luscious plants, those pesky weeds also benefit too! Wilko’s Stainless Steel Dutch Hoe is perfect for helping to lift and remove weeds in and around flower beds and vegetable plots easily without you having to break too much of a sweat.
And whilst I don’t mind getting my hands dirty I find keeping a pair of gardening gloves to hand incredibly useful when it comes to pruning plants that are especially prickly – I’m looking at you roses!
If there’s one thing I learned from my own experiences last Summer then it’s not to grow vegetables for the sake of it. Or rather don’t grow those veggies that you’re not really going to eat. Instead concentrate your efforts on those plants that you know the whole family will love; it’s much more sustainable and practical that way…and saves you so much time in the long run.
For us, this means carrots, tomatoes (although technically a fruit), potatoes, peas, french beans, herbs and salad leaves. I’ve vowed never to grow Borlotti beans after they were massacred by slugs last year. For peas and beans I always use root trainers as it allows their roots to grow long which is essential for supporting their top heavy bounty and also for drawing maximum benefit from the soil. I’m on my second lot of seeds having sowed the first round earlier in the year so it’s not too late to benefit but I’d recommend sowing direct into the soil at this stage of the year. Wilko have a plethora of seeds to choose from so I recommend popping along to see what they have to offer. I would recommend Dwarf French Beans which if you sow now you could be looking to crop in September. Equally these peas are good too!
Another tip of mine is to tie in growing beans and peas to a supportive frame with twine rather than wire as this is kinder on growing stems and leaves.
May is the perfect time to grow carrots too. This strain from Wilko has improved carrot fly resistance but I would recommend planting your seeds in a raised bed and sowing them thinly to combat the pest further.
If you’ve got restricted space but fancy trying your hand at potatoes then it’s worth planting a couple of seed potatoes in these grow bags. To begin, add a layer of compost on the bottom of the bag, then your seed potatoes and then add another layer of compost on top. Once you see the foliage sprouting, keep adding more compost on top so that gradually the bag fills to the top. The durable material from which the bags are made mean that they’re also reusable so can be used season after season. The in-built drainage holes also prevents the soil from becoming waterlogged too.
Whilst I won’t be growing courgettes this year, now is the time to sow them if you’re going to try your hand at them. I’d recommend the Wilko Jumbo Grow Kit for starting them off before growing them in their final position.
Lastly I’ll be trying my hand at chicory and iceberg lettuce this year – both where I intend them to grow for the long term. I’ll be posting my progress on my Instagram account if you’re interested…
Admittedly tulips are drawing to the end of their season now, as are primroses and grape hyacinths but as they fade the joys of wisteria, roses, viburnum and clematis all take centre stage which makes me very happy indeed.
This year I’ve decided to focus on a mostly all-white colour scheme for the flower beds, some of which I’ll be cutting for use in floral arrangements for the house too. I’ve already sown Cosmos Bipinnatus ‘Purity’ and Cosmos Bipinnatus ‘Psyche White’ as well as white snapdragons and Ammi Majus into these pots and they’re coming on a treat. As the pots are made from 100% fibre, they can be planted straight into the ground once the seedlings are ready to go outside. This means you’re much likely to produce stronger plants as you won’t be disturbing their roots when pulling them up for repotting.
I love the idea of mixing culinary herbs with beautiful flowers in terracotta pots and positioning them in clusters around the back door. You can’t beat plain terracotta for good value and a classic look plus I love the weathered appearance that they take on after a few seasons outside.
If you’re a regular outdoor entertainer, in that you love having family and friends around for garden dinners, consider adding some florals to your patio table. Smaller terracotta pots filled with colourful bedding plants is a budget friendly way of adding some beauty to your outside space. Place small pots in informal groupings on outdoor tables for instant charm but don’t forget to move them to more sheltered spots in inclement weather.
And that brings today’s post to a close. Are any of you trying your horticultural hand at something new this summer? What pieces of your gardening kit can’t you live without. We’d love to hear all about them.
The products in this post were supplied by Wilko but all opinions are my own.
Images by Adam Crohill