Category Archives: Topsoil Tips & Advice

Bury Hill Gardening Calendar – August gardening tips

August gardening calendar

August gardening tips

Hazy days and warm summer nights…

Keep to a strict watering schedule in August and make sure you’ve got garden helpers on hand if you are planning to spend some time away from home. Prune summer-flowering shrubs to keep them neat and encourage further growth.

What to do in the garden in August

Plants and Flowers

Collect seeds from garden plants which can be used for next year’s garden. Keep soil nourished by topping up with high grade topsoil and green manures.

 Fruit

Pruning fruit plants is essential at this time of year, and make sure you cut out old fruited canes on raspberries. and pot rooted strawberry runners too.

Vege

August is a great time for harvesting veggies so keep an eye on your vegetable patch, sweetcorn, broccoli, and lettuces should all be ready to enjoy.

 Top 5 GardeningTasks for August

  • Deadhead your flowering plants on a regular basis.
  • Watering! Pay attention to all your plants and flowers and don’t let them dry out – but do try to recycle water where you can.
  • Keep ponds and water features clean and free of dirt and debris, and top them up with water if needed.
  • Reap the rewards of a well thought out vegetable garden and eat what you grew!
  • Give soil a helping hand by adding composts and green manures to keep it healthy.

For helpful tips and advice throughout the year you can Download our full 12 month calendar here

What is the difference between topsoil and loam?

 

Getting the right kind of soil to ensure that your garden flourishes, is so important, and one of the many questions we frequently get asked is to explain the different between Topsoil and Loam Soil – and how to know which should be used in a garden.

Every gardener knows that for their plants and flowers to have the best chance of success the soil they are planted in must be rich in organic matter, free from harmful chemicals, kept moist, and turned over as much as possible.

Many gardeners who feel their soil needs a little boost will simply head to their local garden centre and buy only topsoil to try to improve their soils nutrient level and help their garden grow.

The problem with this, however, is that to take care of your whole garden you must dig a little deeper. Loam and topsoil are often banded together, however, while they share some similar qualities they are not the same thing, and it is important for gardeners to understand the difference. So, what is the difference between topsoil and loam?

Topsoil

In your garden (as you may guess by its name), Topsoil is the uppermost layer of soil, or rather, the first 12 inches. Topsoil will be dark and rich in organic matter due to leaves and other vegetation that will have decomposed on the surface. However, topsoil can also contain sand, clay, and silt.

Loam

Loam is a classification given to soil rather than a standalone type. When soil is described as loam soil, it is because particular qualities it contains – a mixture of sand, silt and clay. You can also get different types of loam depending on the percentages of sand, silt and clay found within it. You may hear soil being referred to as ‘sandy loam’ or ‘clay loam’ for example because it has a greater percentage of one material then normal.

When it comes to commercial Topsoil and Loam Topsoil, Topsoil tends to have a looser consistency – this is to help with draining so when you water your plants the water will quickly reach the roots and retain a great amount of moisture, but also drain away well so as not to build up and drown your plants and flowers. Good quality topsoil often contains decaying organic matter, rich in nutrients to feed your soil. Loam soil contains little or no organic matter, however, it is popular with gardeners, landscapers and green keepers alike because of its ability to retain water and nutrients.

What is important to remember is that when you ask for topsoil in your garden centre, you may be given something that is not loam soil as well – and therefore not as beneficial to your garden as it could be! A mix of organic matter plus the benefits that a loamy soil provides is ideal..

So, now you know, next time you buy, make sure to be clear so you can rest assured you are getting the very best kind of soil to help your garden grow.

At Bury Hill, all our premium grade topsoils and loams are blended using high-quality natural soils, selected sands and grits and organic compost from known sources. So whatever your gardens needs, we will be happy to help!

The Best Trees For Small Gardens

Find the perfect tree for your cosy outside space

As all experienced gardeners will tell you it’s not the size that matters, it’s what you do with it that counts. Having a small outside space doesn’t mean you can’t turn your garden into a little piece of paradise all of your own.  Just as with any garden, it takes carefully planning and a little bit of research to find out what works best and how to make the most of it.
Many people may fear that a beautiful blooming tree is but a pipe dream if their garden is a little on the petite side. However, they need not worry. There are plenty of small tree species available that you can stick in a corner or even a plant pot that will provide leafy shade, beautiful blossoms and generally look pretty fantastic.

It was National Tree Week at the end of last year.  This first came about in 1975, and is the UK’s largest tree celebration officially launching the start of the winter tree planting season. To celebrate these life-giving plants, if you have always wanted to grow a tree in your small garden, now is the perfect time to do it.

Here are 5 of the best trees to buy for a small plot.

The lovely Japanese loquat is ideal for small gardens, it stays relatively compact in size as it grows, and you can prune it back to suit your space.  It’s evergreen which means it will stay looking lovely in your garden all year round. In summer it produces glorious yellow fruit which you can eat. Be aware that it is not a huge fan of the cold so try to plant it somewhere sheltered and protect it from frosty winters.

A strawberry tree is another excellent choice that will provide you with tasty fruit that you can make into jam (if the birds don’t get to it first of course!) and bursts of delicate white flowers come autumn.

Acer griseum AGM which is otherwise known as the ‘Paperbark Maple’ is another smart choice. This beautiful small tree is particularly noted for its bark flaking and curling which creates a rather appealing textured effect. These trees tend to stay narrow making them perfect for smaller gardens, and you can expect a rich and colourful burst of foliage come autumn which will cheer up and outside space. In fact, there are many varieties of AGM

If you are looking for a tree that will be the pride of your garden come summer try the Koelreuteria paniculata ‘Coral Sun’ AGM which grows to about 6m high and 3m wide. This tree will bring a ray of sunshine into your garden when the weather is at it’s warmest with gorgeous yellow midsummer flowers. It’s yellow and orange leaves come autumn are also very appealing.

For a tree that is easily kept in check, the Prunus ‘Amanogawa’ is a good choice. Delicate pale pink blossoms appear in spring, and the columnar shape of the tree means it won’t take up too much room in a small plot.

Of course, there are much more different types of trees to buy for a small garden. For more inspiration, why not take a look at some advice on trees for small gardens from the Royal Horticultural Society?

When buying a small tree, there are some considerations to take into account. Measure your garden space and think about how much room you want your tree to take up – height and spread are both important factors.  Consider your neighbours and factor in any other buildings nearby which might impact its growth or damage the property. Think about seasons and how your tree can complement other plants and flowers in your garden depending on when it blossoms or when its leaves change colour.

Whatever you decide making sure you garden is ready for its new arrival is important. If you are planting your tree in the ground give it the best start in life by making sure your soil is in the best condition it can be. At Bury Hill we offer a range of top quality topsoils,  specialist soils and compost and mulches to keep your garden flourishing all year round!

The 10 Most Common Gardening Questions Answered

Common gardening questions

Gardeners are a lot like cooks. Some follow the ‘recipe’ exactly, they read all the instructions carefully, and never fail to stick to their watering and feeding schedule. Others just like to scatter a few seeds here and there,  chuck on a layer of compost, and hope for the best.

The truth is that when it comes to gardening you can never guarantee complete success – so when gardeners stand aghast at their wilting wildflowers their drooping daisies and their failed fruit plants despite having done everything ‘right’ they can feel more than a little hard done by.

However, there are some pieces of practical, functional gardening advice that have stood the test of time.  So here are some useful answers to some of the most common gardening questions – ones that you won’t find on the back of a seed packet.

How Can I Find Good Design Inspiration?

If you are serious about perfecting your garden, then you can’t beat checking out how the professionals do it in real life. Visit celebrated gardens, go on garden tours, and ask the experts for advice. Of course, if you are short on time and money then go online and follow influential gardeners, check out social media sites such as Pinterest for design inspiration, and buying a good old-fashioned gardening book can also give you loads of great ideas as well as practical advice on how to achieve them.

How Can I Make Sure I am Utilising My Outside Space To Its Full Potential?

A great garden can feel like an extra room in your house, and no matter how little outside space you have, if you are clever with it, you will find it a comfortable and calming space to relax and enjoy throughout the year. Gardens should be colourful and bright and have places to sit and socialise. Even the smallest of patio gardens can achieve this so make sure you chose your furniture and plants carefully to make the most of your space and work with it rather than cramming it full or neglecting it altogether.

How Often Should I Water My Plants?

This question is widely asked and of course there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. But the truth is however resolutely you follow each plants instructions the only real way to tell if your garden needs watering is by checking it. Stick your finger in the soil – if it’s dried out then your plants are thirsty, and it’s time to get the watering can out. If you try to plan your watering schedule you could easily end up overwatering or under watering your plants – nature is unpredictable, so you just have to go with the flow.

Should I Feed My plants?

Feeding your plants tends to be a good idea, in fact, feeding plants regularly can help them to flourish. This applies in particular to plants and flowers you are growing in containers. Feed them every 4-5 days for the best results (despite what it says on the plant labels). However, remember only to do so when your soil is thoroughly moist – putting food directly onto dry soil can damage your plants.

Are Cheap Plants More Likely To Die?

Providing you buy plants that look healthy, regardless of whether you get them in your local supermarket or at a fancy garden centre, the chances of them flourishing are down to you. Plants at bargain prices aren’t necessarily ‘worse’ however it is important to remember that local plant shops and garden centres might have to put their prices up to survive the competition! It’s also important to look to your garden to provide you with plants and flowers year on year. Take cuttings and save seeds for next year and you won’t need to keep buying new plants every time the sun comes out.

What Are The Best Plants For Pots?

If you don’t have any areas in your garden to sow seeds you can still create a brilliant outside space by using plant pots. You can grow pretty much anything in a pot. Often novice gardeners get put off attempting anything too ‘exotic’ as they think they won’t be able to survive in our less than tropical climate(!). The good news is that you don’t need a greenhouse or even great weather to grow all sorts of exciting plants, fruits and vegetables and flowers. If the weather turns cold, simply bring your more delicate pots inside to keep them warm and protected from the elements. Of course, during the colder months, plants tend to retreat, and having a bunch of bedraggled or barely there plants in your house might not be appealing. However, if you can store them in the basement or a secure shed you can leave them to it over winter and then start to water, feed and tend to them once the warmer weather returns and watch them bloom once more.

How Can I Get Rid Of Weeds?

Weeds can be a serious problem for any gardener, and your focus should be on eliminating them altogether rather than treating them as and when they appear.  A usually successful method is to dig a trench around your garden plot and line with sheet plastic. The trench should be a good foot wide and as deep as you can make it. In this ‘sealed’ area you can treat pesky weeds in a variety of ways such as blocking out the light, cutting off any flowers as soon as they appear to prevent the spread of seeds, and using a non-persistent weed killer.

How Do I Tell What Kind Of Soil I have?

The type of soil you have can have a significant impact on the success of your garden. The consistency of your soil, how acid or alkaline it is, and how well it holds and drains water all affect how well your plants will do. Knowing your garden’s soil means you will be armed with the information you need to tackle any issues that come with your soil type. To discover which type of soil you have to take a look at our recent blog, The Different Kinds of Soil Explained

My Garden Doesn’t Get Any Sun, Will Anything Grow?

While having a sunless garden can be limiting, there are plenty of plants and flowers that are well-suited to the shade and will do well here. Well known bedding plants such as Fuchsia, ‘Bizzy Lizzy’, Begonias and Lobelia will all flower without being in the direct sunshine. Rhododendrons and Hydrangea shrubs don’t need a sunny spot, and snowdrops and ‘Dog Tooth’ Violets also do well. There are plenty of places to find extensive lists of plants that love the shade. For a start, try here: https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=100.

What Plants Work Well For A Fragrance Garden?

There is nothing nicer than stepping into your garden and breathing in a lungful of delicately perfumed air. Fragrance gardens are sweet-smelling and beautiful, and there are plenty of low-maintenance plants and flowers that you can grow to make your garden smell gorgeous. Try Rhododendron luteum, (which has the added benefit of looking rather stunning with its candy yellow flowers), gives off a sweet and fragrant scent until late spring. In summer bring out Evening primrose, lavender, roses and lilies, and you can even keep your garden smelling fantastic in winter with Daphne bholua or Chimonanthus praecox – otherwise known as wintersweet.

There is no one overarching formula that ensures your plants will flourish, or a little-known secret that will suddenly make your garden beautiful. However, as experienced gardeners know time patience and practice are what will help to make your garden great, and understanding the answers to some of the most common gardening questions is an excellent start!

At Bury Hill our team of experts are always happy to help gardeners with tips and advice as well as supply a whole range of high quality gardening and landscaping materials to create your perfect outdoor sanctuary!

The Different Kinds of Soil Explained

Understanding different kinds of soil

Understanding the Type of Soil You Have in Your Garden Will Help Your Garden Grow

Identifying the kind of soil you are dealing with and being aware of the characteristics of different kinds of soil will help you determine whether it will be a good host to your plants and flowers, and if not, what you can do to rectify this.

There are five main types of soil that gardeners can expect to find on their land. Testing which kind of garden soil you have can be done by looking and feeling the soil, and also by seeing how much water it holds.

Sandy Soil

Sandy soil can spell trouble for your garden. It contains large particles, has trouble retaining moisture and feels dry and gritty to the touch.

Not being able to hold moisture is a problem if you are trying to grow plants and flowers – as naturally they need to be able to suck up water and nutrients from the soil in order to flourish.

The gaps that are created between the large particles means water drains straight through the soil making it extremely difficult for roots of the plants, particularly young ones, to reach it.

There are some good sides to sandy soil for a gardener however. The consistency of the soil means it heats up easily creating a mild and warm environment which plants appreciate, and it is light and easy to work with too.

If you have sandy soil you will be able to tell by adding water to it and trying to roll it into a ball, if you cannot do this and the soil reminds crumbly, the soil is sandy.

Silty Soil

Silty soil feels smooth and silky to the touch. This is a reasonably fertile soil, though still can’t hold as much moisture as one would hope for in an ideal garden climate.

Because of its smaller particles it is easy for silty soil to become compacted, which can result in poor aeration -aeration is important for water and nutrients to be easily absorbed into the soil.

Clay soil

Clay soil has the smallest particles of these three, and has a sticky feel when moist, though smooth and silky when dry.

Because of its small particles, its water retention is good. However, this also means that compaction is an issue and if water cannot easily pass through the soil it can become logged if there is heavy rainfall.

It can also be hard to manipulate if the weather becomes very dry so it is important to keep turning it over in the warmer summer months.

Saying that, clay soil is one of the most beneficial for your garden. It is slow draining, which means it will hold onto nutrients better which your plants can then feed off, resulting in more successful plant growth.

Peaty soil

Peaty soil has a rich dark brown colour and feels soft to the touch when dry, and spongy when wet.

Peaty soil holds plenty of organic matter and retains water easily which makes it a useful option in the warmer months as it will hold water, yet also protect your plants roots when heavy rain is experienced.

Peaty soil is often used to help pH levels in soil and control diseases too.

Saline Soil

Saline soil is usually found in very dry regions so is unlikely to be found in the average UK gardeners home!

Saline soil is very damaging to plants due to its high salt content which prevents water uptake by plants. If you have saline soil you are likely to notice a white layer on the surface of your garden soil.

So which kind of soil is best for my garden?

For general gardening the ideal soil type for gardeners is actually a combination of silt, sand and clay soil.

This soil is known as loam soil. Loam soil retains moisture while also draining well and is also easy to manipulate and keep aerated.

If you don’t have loam soil in your garden do not despair! You can help treat your soil with a good soil conditioner, or by adding a layer of nutrient rich topsoil to your garden to give it a boost and help your garden plants to flourish!

Bury Hill has a huge range of premium grade soils to suit any garden and gardener. If you would like to discuss your needs, why not give our friendly and knowledgeable team a call on 01306 877 540?

Lawn Care in Spring: How to prepare your lawn for summer months

Lawn Care Tips and Planting Grass Seed

The best lawn care tips to follow this spring in order to achieve a perfect summer lawn

This is the time of year when you should start preparing your lawn for summer.

With the weather becoming brighter and warmer getting your lawn in great condition is paramount, and will leave your garden looking healthy and well-kept, so you can fully enjoy your outside space during the summer months.

The climate at this time of year means your lawn will start actively growing, and if it has been left over winter it will need some love and care to get it back looking its best.

No lawn can be left untended for too long. In order to keep grass growing healthily and strong, and to avoid sparse dry patches, you need to feed, water and cut it back regularly.

Even if initially it may require some time and effort to bring your lawn back to life, once you have done so, a little and often approach is best, and providing you give it regular maintenance it shouldn’t be a huge job to keep it looking great.

If you haven’t already started, now is the time to start thinking about your lawn and, and with the right attention, it will start to flourish in no time at all.

Here are the top spring lawn care tips you should follow in order to achieve the perfect summer lawn.

Mowing

This is one of the more obvious, but still crucial tasks to complete in order to maintain your lawn.

While not much growth may have occurred during the colder months, you will no doubt have noticed your lawn now beginning to grow again.

Mowing your lawn not only gives it a neat, well-kept, and even appearance it will also keep it healthy by eliminating pests from the grass, clearing bits of debris that may not be immediately obvious if your lawn is overgrown, and help it to easily distribute and absorb water, sunlight and feed due to its even nature.

When you cut the grass on your lawn you are eliminating the weaker, thinner strands, leaving only the most vigorous and hardy shoots which will give your lawn a greener, more luxurious appearance.

The older cut grass that falls onto the earth (even though you will undoubtedly clear the majority of it away) helps to fertilise the earth creating a natural compost which stimulates even more growth.

Do this regularly in spring and summer and your lawn will stay looking fresh and bright throughout.

Eliminating moss

Moss can cause problems to the look and health of your lawn. If your lawn is damp and poorly drained moss can grow and create issues when it comes to creating that neat and even look.

Moss growing on your lawn is usually an indicator that your soil is not right for growing grass – either that it is too acidic, too moist, or is nutritionally poor or too compacted.

These conditions are perfect for moss to thrive in, but not for your lawn! Killing the moss is the first step and can be done with a good quality herbicide or moss killer, which often come combined with a fertiliser. Following this, the lawn will need scarifying which removes the moss and weeds leaving the grass. However, to thoroughly tackle the problem you also need to change your soils condition.

Do this by aerating the soil where necessary and by distributing a fine layer of loam topsoil and/ or soil conditioner to help your lawn recover from the stress and feed the bacteria within the soil, helping to improve its root mass. Alternatively, a good quality green rootzone (a blended sand and compost mix) can also be applied following scarification and re-seeding which is available to order online or by calling 01306877540.

Feeding your lawn

A good lawn fertiliser is useful to help maintain your lawn. Feeding your lawn on a regular basis will help to increase growth and the strength of the grass shoots. It will also keep weeds at bay.

For best results apply a good lawn fertiliser when the soil is damp. Do this as early as possible in spring/ summer. Too late in the year and you could actually damage your lawn by encouraging too much growth too late on which will then potentially be damaged by the cold weather, or pests and disease.

Planting grass seed

There may be patches of your lawn that have become sparse and dry particularly after scarification, and if this is the case you may need to seed over these areas to encourage new growth. Always use a good quality FRESH grass seed which has been coated to aid germination.

Pay attention to the more shaded areas of your garden where lack of sunlight may have affected growth.

The best way to plant grass seed is to create a seed bed by either carefully raking the areas to be re-seeded or by applying a fine topsoil or rootzone. Sow the grass seed at half the recommended rate (unless you are starting from scratch) and then gently rake over the soil for even distribution of the seeds.

Keep an eye on the weather and water the areas if the sun stays out for a few days. You should see the newly planted grass start to show within 7-10 days.

One of the problems with over-seeding your lawn, however, is that it can create a patchy look in terms of colour. It may be advisable to simply seed over your entire lawn in order to achieve a uniform result.

Watering your lawn

Pay careful attention to how much water your lawn is getting. In the UK watering is not usually necessary for your lawn to stay in good condition in summer. However, if you encounter a particularly hot, dry summer, then use a fork to aerate the soil before you water and then do so once a week in order to keep the soil from drying out and the grass turning brown.

Looking after new lawns

If you are planning a new lawn this summer then make sure you choose top quality grass seed or lawn turf to achieve the perfect, manicured garden lawn look.

You can find advice on the best time to lay lawn turf here.

Be sure to carefully follow instructions, and remember not to use your lawn right away. Lawn turf needs at least a week to settle and lawn seed should be planted and allowed to grow until it is ready to be cut back by mowing before it is used.

If you follow these handy spring lawn care tips you are sure to have a beautiful, fresh, well-nourished garden that you can enjoy all summer long!

Bury Hill provides everything you need to get your lawn in great condition this spring. From premium grade topsoils and soil conditioners to grass seed and lawn turf, if you are looking to create a fantastic lawned area in your garden then our friendly and knowledgeable team will be happy to advise you. Get in touch today!

The Easiest Vegetables To Grow in the Summer

Vegetable Gardens

It’s National Vegetarian Week in May, and while you might not want to give up meat just yet, learning to grow your own vegetables in your garden might just inspire you to do so!

Growing veggies in your garden is possible even in the most modest of outdoor spaces, and there is nothing more satisfying then making a delicious home cooked meal from freshly gathered herbs and vegetables that you have lovingly grown yourself.

Creating a vegetable patch or herb garden is easier then you think, and even novice gardeners will find that with a little love and care, they can grow some fantastic veg that will keep on giving all summer long.

So what are the easiest vegetables to grow in the summer? Here are eight of our favourites.

Salad Leaves

Salad leaves are fast growing and need little work, and the fantastic range you can plant gives your garden a variety of lovely textures too.

Different types of lettuce leaves can all be grown outside. Spinach is great as can be grown all year round, and punchy rocket is a sure fire hit for its peppery flavour which works well in salads.

Make sure your soil has been turned over, and fertilise it with a good compost before you seed. Water regularly, especially in hot weather and you should be-able to reap the rewards in as little as 2-3 weeks.

Spring onions and Radishes

These are both super easy, fast growing veggies and are perfect for those with a smaller space for their vegetable garden. You can grow both of these in pots or sow directly into the ground – whichever works best for you.

These lovely plants give salad texture and crunch and will keep on producing throughout the summer months.

Peas

Peas are great for gardens that don’t get a lot of sunshine as are happy to grow in colder weather.

You can plant peas between March and June and throughout the summer you can enjoy plucking fresh peas for a variety of dishes – even better, the more you pick them the more they’ll grow.

Just remember they need support, so make sure you have some chicken wire or similar to twist the stems around so they’ll stay upright.

Mint, rosemary and thyme

Fresh herbs are a brilliant addition to your vegetable garden, and are hugely versatile in the kitchen too.

You can grow them in individual pots or set aside a patch in your garden to grow them together for a lovely variety of textures – the more room you give them, the bigger they’ll get!

Broad Beans

Broad Beans are another satisfying vegetable that are very easy to grow outside.

For the best results sow them in spring, starting them off in small pots indoors. After a few weeks they’ll be ready to plant in the garden.

However, if that sounds like too much work you can simply sow them in well cared for soil in a sunny spot and they should do well here too.

Broad Beans also produce delicate flowers that make for a pretty addition to any garden as well.

Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic pretty much look after themselves so are perfect for those who like the idea of growing their own vegetables, but don’t have time to spend hours in the garden.

Onion bulls and garlic cloves can be planted directly into soil either in spring or during the autumn months. When the foliage starts to turn yellow you know they are done and can just lift them out, let them dry in the sun and then all that’s left to do is to think about what you’d like to make with them.

Tomatoes

Sweet, juicy home grown tomatoes are so much nicer than any you can buy in a supermarket and give off a lovely scent in your garden too. Plant them in hanging baskets around your garden for a splash of glorious colour and use a good tomato plant feed to keep them flourishing.

Beetroot

Beetroot is one of those love or hate vegetables but if you do like beetroot the good news is it is easy to grow yourself and is packed full of nutrients that will make you feel all healthy and virtuous too.
Beetroot should be planted in moist soil anytime from March to July and you can enjoy delicious fresh beetroot from May all the way through to September.

These easy vegetables are perfect for gardeners who want to give growing their own a try.

For the best chance of success make sure that you have made proper plans for your vegetable garden and thoroughly prepared your soil before you start.

We offer a range of premium grade and specialist top soils which will help get your garden in great shape as well as soil conditioner which is perfect to help improve your soils properties and give your veggies the best start!

How to Create the Perfect Vegetable Garden

Organic gardening

Top tips to help start your very own vegetable patch

There are so many benefits to growing your own vegetables. Not only is it a satisfying and rewarding hobby, it also saves you money, and is good for the environment too!

With spring upon us, it is the perfect time to start thinking about getting your garden ready for the summer months, and planning and sowing seeds for your very own vegetable garden. You don’t need a big space to start organic gardening and if you haven’t got a lot of room, don’t worry – vegetables grow well in pots too.

Growing vegetables in your garden has become increasingly popular with the likes of celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall advocating using your own freshly grown food to make delicious meals the whole family can enjoy. 

There is nothing quite like cooking up a fantastic meal made from produce you have lovingly grown yourself, and providing you do a little planning and take care of your veggies, you can look forward to a fantastic crop come summer. Bury Hill shares it’s tips on how to start your own vegetable patch.

Here are some top tips to help you create a fantastic vegetable garden

Select your ground

Vegetables need lots of sun in order to flourish properly, so make sure you find a bright and sunny spot to start your vegetable patch. Sun helps vegetables ripen too, making for sweeter flavoured tomatoes, onions and carrots – delicious!

Deep, rich soil is best for veg growing. If your soil is thin and dry then now is the time to boost it. Topsoils, composts and mulches will help improve your soil and make your garden perfect for planting veg, and a good soil conditioner can help break down heavy, wet soils which help your plants grow well. 

If your garden is paved you can still join in the fun, simply build some raised beds – these will actually help protect your veg from pests, and save them from being trampled on by children/ pets too! 

Raised beds also improve the soil drainage and elevate your crops further towards the light!

Protect from pests

Your plot is undoubtedly going to attract slugs and snails who will try to get a sneaky taste of your delicious vegetables. Make it difficult for them by keeping your plot clear of long grasses and weeds. Using natural slug pellets to keep them at bay is another good idea too.

Stick to the guidelines

It is tempting, when getting excited about growing your own vegetables, to ignore the advice on seed and plant packets and to try and start growing them before it is recommended to do so. 

Always wait until the dates stated on the packets. In fact waiting until nearer the end of the recommended start date is likely to give your plants the best chance of good growth. 

If you plant your seeds to earlier then you’re meant to, cold weather and a lack of light means it will be difficult for them to recover. 

What to plant

There are a huge range of fantastic vegetables that you can grow at home. If you are new to veg growing and not sure where to start, here are some of the easiest:

Salad Leaves

Salad leaves are great to grow in the garden, you can choose from a range of flavours and textures, and they grow quickly meaning you should be able to reap the benefits in just a few weeks!

Potatoes

Everyone loves the humble potato! Really growing potatoes simply involves keeping them well watered, and it is great fun rummaging in the soil to find them at the end of the season.

Peas

A fresh pea is truly delightful, and they are great for gardens that don’t get much sun as they will happily grow in cooler weather. You can plant them from March and they should be ready to pick from June through to August, and the more you pick them, the more they grow!

Herbs

A little herb garden is an easy way to grow some of your own food, and a great one for the kids to help out with. Mint, rosemary and tarragon all do well in moist soil, and with a decent amount of sunshine, they should flourish quickly.

Carrots

Since it’s international carrot day on the 4th April why not try your hand at growing your own carrots this year? Carrots need little water and like lots of sun, and you can do lots with them in the kitchen too!

Organically growing your own vegetable garden is lots of fun and even novice gardeners with only a modest outside space can still give it a go. 

So why not see what you can grow in 2016 and get planning your vegetable garden now? 

At Bury Hill we offer a wide range of garden solutions to improve the look and feel of your garden and help your plants and flowers flourish. For help and advice why not give our expert team a call on 01306877540 – we’ll be happy to help!

The Benefits of Composting in Your Garden

Benefits of Composting

How compost can help your garden grow

Many people tend to think of compost as an environmentally friendly way to reduce household waste, and while controlling waste is, of course, fantastic, keen gardeners also benefit from using compost in the garden as it has a huge number of significant benefits.

Of course, if you are unable or unwilling to make your own, but still want to reap all the benefits of composting, then it is easy to purchase. Good quality compost is a fantastic way to give your garden a much-needed boost and to help it flourish.

So what exactly does compost do?

Improves soil structure

Healthy soil is usually a rich dark brown colour and has a soft and crumbly touch. This indicates enough air and moisture are within it and it contains enough energy to move freely. 

Adding compost to your soil will help it to get to this point and keep it healthy from there on. It also helps to neutralise your soil’s PH balance which is useful for plant growth.

Increases its ability to hold nutrients 

Compost is nature’s best fertiliser – it is essentially a group of organisms that live in the soil – bacteria and fungi as well as common garden creatures such as earthworms. 

These organisms help soil remain healthy, and the organic matter found in compost allows essential nutrients to be held in the soil which plants and flowers can then obtain. 

Compost also releases nutrients slowly over time so they don’t leach away, which can be the case when using certain synthetic fertilisers. Plants and flowers need a steady supply of nutrients in order to thrive, and this is what compost provides.

Uses less water

Healthy and fertile soil uses less water, and if compost creates healthy soil it should retain more moisture which means you don’t need to use as much water in your garden.

Obviously the larger your garden the more advantageous this is, but whatever its size, using less water is good for the environment, and less hassle for you too!

Keeps disease at bay

Some studies have shown that compost can help keep pests at bay, and where more sterile soil can eventually become overrun with these and eventually ruin your garden, compost will help to naturally reduce the number of these problematic diseases, keeping your garden safe and healthy. 

Compost is also good for keeping soil loose and easy to manage. Soil compaction can be an issue in soil that is not healthy. It also helps to inhibit erosion, and, if you are using clay soil, can promote drainage and aeration.

Composting has so many fantastic benefits which make it an essential product for most gardeners to keep their soil healthy, and give their plants and flowers the best chance of blossoming and flourishing each and every year. 

If you are looking for great quality compost, mulch or topsoil to improve your garden’s soil in preparation for summer, we offer a fantastic range, and if you need any advice why not contact our friendly team today

Make Your Garden A Wildlife Garden: How to Encourage Wildlife in Your Garden

Wildlife garden

How to encourage wildlife in your garden

Encouraging wildlife to take up residence in your garden is a great way to do your bit for the environment, and can help it flourish too. 

Even those with a small urban garden can use this space to invite natural wildlife to come in, and the sounds of bees buzzing and butterflies flitting from flower to flower is sure to have a positive effect on your wellbeing too!

So what can you do to turn your garden into a wildlife garden? Here are some fantastic tips to encourage wildlife to come in. 

Look after the bees.

Anyone interested in wildlife and the environment will probably be aware that the number of bees in the UK has been rapidly declining over the last few years, with at least two species of bee becoming extinct in the 21st century. 

Bees feed on the nectar of flowers so why not give them an easy meal or two by planting some wildflowers in your garden? We offer a range of high quality wildflower turf and seed which will attract bees into your garden.

Bees are excellent pollinators so play a key role in producing many of the foods that we enjoy, so it is only fair that we give them a helping hand and do everything we can to conserve these lovely creatures -the beautiful mix of colours and textures of wildflowers in your garden is a fantastic added bonus too.

 Help the hedgehogs.

Hedgehogs are another delightful wild creature that are sadly in decline. Luckily there is plenty we can do to help them. Hedgehogs are always on the lookout for food sources as well as to find a good spot to settle down for the night, or even search for a mate. 

If you have a lot of land you may find that hedgehogs are happy to wander through your garden, but even in an enclosed space you could create a gap to allow hedgehogs to roam in and out of your garden freely. 

Hedgehogs love to feast on mealworm, and sunflower hearts, but you can also buy specially made hedgehog food, and they are even partial to meaty dog food and unsalted peanuts too! 

Leaving out water for hedgehogs to drink is also helpful, but remember that milk can actually cause them upset so don’t try to coax them in with that. 

Creating sheltered spots for hedgehogs to live in can be created or bought and will keep them safe and protected from predators. Another important point is that slug pellets and weed killers can be dangerous to hedgehogs if they ingest them, so using organic products, composts and fertilisers will keep them safe as well. 

Boost the butterflies.

Butterflies are attracted to colourful flowers, so include plenty of them in your garden to attract beautiful butterflies and other insects and bees. 

While butterflies tend not to be too fussy, if you want to give them the optimum environment, planting clusters of small, tubular flowers or flat topped blossoms are ideal as their shape makes it easy for butterflies to land and feed on the nectar. Including flat stones in sunny areas of your garden are also attractive to butterflies who enjoy resting on warm spots after enjoying a good meal!

Care for the birds.

With spring on it’s way, now is the ideal time to think about including a birds nest box in your garden. Even the smallest gardens can accommodate one, and in doing so you will be helping to conserve birds species, giving them an ideal, safe and secure place to nest and breed as well as being a truly joyful experience if birds do choose to take up residence and lay their eggs in your nest box. 

Include the insects.

Insects are an important part of our ecosystem, and attracting insects to your garden can keep it flourishing as they feed on pests that may otherwise destroy it. 

They also naturally fertilise soil, keeping it healthy, and ideal for growing plants and flowers. 

Avoid use of chemical laden fertilisers and allow your lawn to grow a little longer, and you can encourage a variety of harmless insects into your garden providing them with much needed shelter, which is particularly important over winter where they look for suitable spots to hibernate. 

By making little, inexpensive and simple changes you could easily transform your outside space into a thriving wildlife garden, which will not only bring you satisfaction in the knowledge that you are doing your bit for the planet, but will also bring colour and life to your garden all year round.