How does your garden grow?

This time of year, we’re bombarded by adverts encouraging us to knock our garden into shape, but gardening doesn’t have to be a pricey pastime. How does your garden grow?  

The experts at Which? Gardening magazine have compiled these top tips:

Collect seeds.

Keepan eye on your flowers. When the seed heads start to ripen, catch them before they fall. You can then sow them straight away to get a new batch blooming. It’s always best to sow while the seeds are fresh, so don’t wait around.

Propagate by taking cuttings.

Make the most of the flowers you already have by taking cuttings and overwintering them indoors. Choose a healthy plant and pick a green, non-woody stem. Cut just below a leaf and remove the bottom few leaves so none go into the compost when inserted into the pot. Stick the cutting in some compost for raising young plants. You can pot more than one cutting in the same soil but only if the leaves aren’t touching. Keep cuttings moist and let them root before repotting.

Buy self-seeding flowers.

If you’d rather see your garden grow naturally, invest in self-seeding flowers such as poppies and foxgloves. You might need to buy the first batch of seeds – or get some from a friend – but once they’ve grown, they’ll drop new seeds, and more flowers will bloom.

Make your own compost.

Homemade compost helps the environment by allowing you to recycle things that would normally go to council bins, such as kitchen scraps and grass clippings. Plus, it’s totally free.

Fertilise lawns with clippings.

Don’t spend money on expensive fertilisers if your lawn’s looking a little tired. Instead, feed it naturally by trimming your grass with a mulching mower or robot mower. The mower will drop the clippings, and as they rot down they’ll act as a fertiliser. Try to cut it regularly so the clippings are small – large clumps will take too long to decompose. 

Stock up on free pots. Many garden centres now run recycling schemes where you can return and pick up free plastic pots and trays, so you don’t need to keep buying new ones, and the old ones won’t end up in landfill. That’s good news for you and the environment. 

Use a rain barrel.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, hoses and sprinklers typically use about 1,000 litres of water an hour – the equivalent of more than 12 baths. Reduce your bills by using a water butt to harvest rainwater for use outdoors. If you want to use the water you’ve collected with a hose, you’ll need to install a water butt pump.

Shop in the sales.

Many garden centres have autumn sales and, while you’re unlikely to bag a freebie, you will find lots of great items at reduced prices. Keep an eye out for perennials and shrubs, as these will return each year. But avoid buying compost – it might be cheap, but it won’t be fresh when you come to use it next spring.

Upcycle old household objects.

Before you throw away worn-out furniture or household rubbish, think about what you could use it for in your garden. Old bed slats or scrap wood can easily be made into a trellis to house climbing plants or provide some privacy in your garden. Plastic water bottles are perfect used as plant pots. In fact, a lot of household items can be used to grow plants, including an old, chipped teapot. Colanders make ideal hanging baskets but make sure the bracket you use is strong enough to hold it up. You could also use a worn car tyre for grouping plants in your garden.

Unfortunately, we’re not gardeners! But we can help you with any payroll queries, so please get in contact with us via our contact page, here.

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