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How to Grow Peas in a Garden

18 Jul

How to Grow Peas in a Garden

If you can remember sitting on the doorstep with your Grandma shelling peas while enjoying the beautiful garden decor you will probably want to know how to grow peas in a garden to enable you to recreate that wonderful experience of shelling peas, followed by the taste of freshly harvested peas served with your evening meal. You probably remember the taste of peas straight from the pod… Such sweet delicate flavours really do not come out of the freezer!

Choose the Area Carefully

So how to grow a garden complete with garden peas is the question you will want answering. It is best to choose a sunny area, although peas can manage in partial shade, particularly if the shaded time is during the hottest part of the day. Be careful of wind as peas can grow to over 6 feet tall and if exposed to high winds they can be damaged. Do not be tempted to plant near walls or fences though, you may get the wind protection but as Peas like moisture it is not the best place for them.

Peas will grow on most types of soil; an organic material medium well-dug into soil is a good start. Do not add nitrogen as peas get nitrogen from the air. An over-rich soil will just give you lots of leaf and a reduced pea crop. Mange tout are treated in the same way as peas so whatever variety you select the basic principles are the same, but you will not have the pleasure of shelling mange tout of course as you eat the whole thing. You can however grow them side by side to ensure variety at dinner.

How Long do Peas Take to Grow?

If you are wondering how long does it take to grow peas, they take only 12-15 weeks from planting to harvest so to ensure a constant harvest from June to September you will need to plant out your seeds from March to June. Use a range of different varieties not only to experience the taste, but to see if one particular variety is more successful as then next year you can make this your main focus, or concentrate more heavily on perfecting the weaker strains to promote a healthier harvest.

To harvest earlier crops you will need to plant under supported plastic or cloches and you will need to cover the soil about a moth before the peas are sown to ensure the bed is warm enough then keep them covered until all danger of frost has passed. So you see the basics of how to grow peas in a garden are not that difficult. Choose your spot with care, fertilise and dig well then plant and water to enjoy a quick return.

Photo by jana_koll **Courtesy of sxc.hu

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Plant Trellis and Climbing Plants

8 May

Plant Trellis and Climbing Plants

A plant trellis is a support for climbers that allows the plant to climb spontaneously or permits the gardener to hold the climbers in order for them to remain upright. There are different types of support for different climbing plants. The most important ones to consider are:

Wooden, plastic or bamboo cane: these types of plant trellis should lean over walls. They are particularly useful if we want twining stems to climb on them. They can be build manually but there are a lot of companies that provide good quality trellis at affordable prices.

When placing the climbing plant trellis on the wall, we should take into consideration that there should be at least a 5cm distance between the wall and the trellis so the plant can have enough room when it comes to ventilation. Also we should be located around 30cm above ground in order to keep it away from humidity and ensure conservation. Don’t place the trellis directly on the wall or brick wall; nail wood slats onto the wall and then fix the trellis on the wood. This allows air to go through.

Plastic or wire mesh: also similar and quite light but less visible. They are convenient for climbing plants trellis if you want to fix climbers that need to grab onto thiner material, or when wood or bamboo is just too thick when it comes to gripping. It is also important to leave separation between the wall and the mesh. Place it 30cm above the soil.

When climbers are not attached to a wall or garden fencing we can provide them with different types of support such as canes, sticks and plastic or wooden tripods or tressels. In this case we must attach the plant to our choice of plant trellis ourselves; usually when they can’t do it themselves or when the plant has become too heavy and thus will eventually fall.

Plants in pots should also be provided with adequate support to enable them to climb properly. Among the main supports for climbing plants in pots we can find:

plant trellis

Wild cane or bamboo stems are useful to hold potted specimens. Use them as a central vertical device /guide for plants with weak or long stems. You can also create different plant trellis combinations like triangles, small plant trellises, squares, etc. To make the trellis just tie together two or three horizontal and vertical canes and place the structure on the side of the pot. Use the plant trellis to hold weak stems therefore keeping the plant upright.

Trellises can make a garden, patio or any outdoor area really charming. With their aid you can get great foliage growing around the walls enhancing your garden decor at the same time as adding lots of freshness to the surrounding areas.


Cost of Enclosing a Patio

5 Apr


If you are looking into options for your patio area, you will find many options are available. The first consideration has to be the cost of enclosing a patio as this will impact any decisions you make, although if you plan and design carefully you may find it is possible to do the job in incremental steps, so you still have use from the area whilst the plans are ongoing according to budget.

You may just want to create a private patio area away from the prying eyes of your neighbors where you can still be outdoors yet out of the view of the street or neighboring properties. Quite simply a board fence may be the easy answer, but as with all erections do check the local planning regulations for height or any other restrictions that will vary in each locality. This sort of solution is easy to manage yourself and a cost effective option.

Enclosed patios are increasingly popular because people want a shaded, bug free environment and like to bring the outside in. An additional benefit is you are free from the worry of sun damage. You could be upgrading your existing carport to give an additional foot print to your home and in this case pay extra consideration to the flooring as if you want an year round weather proofed room you will need to make sure your floor is appropriate.

If you are looking at how to enclose a patio the roof will be the first consideration. They can be self supporting canopy type roofs in glass, or you may prefer a gabled tiled insulated roof. Cheaper options could be to screen in a solid patio covers, or you can of course buy a complete sunroom in a kit form, it comes with everything you will need, the roof, walls, screens, windows and of course a door! Thinking of your garden decor will be important when choosing any design.

How to Enclose a Covered Patio

5 Mar


Whilst roll up awnings have a purpose and are a great way of creating outdoor space you may be wondering how to enclose a patio that is already covered.

An enclosed patio differs in that it is a fixed structure capable of dealing with the elements, unlike a retractable awning which can be rolled up in winter or severe weather conditions. A good example of this sort of structure is a carport or covered walkway. So how to enclose a covered patio is an area worth investigating if you need more space, be it for the car, or a games area where the children can play all year round.

If you already have a porch, walkway or carport, by simply screening it you will have an additional room, great for those days when the BBQ has to be cooked indoors because of the increment weather, however not terribly suitable in the cold of winter.

If you require an all season room it is possible with some extra work and added expense. You will need to have windows installed. This is a good way to add living space to your home add will increase the useable square footage.

You need to examine what it is you need as the cost of enclosing a patio can vary enormously depending on what you require, so decide if you are going for a screened porch or a weather tight room with windows. Also, think of your garden decor when deciding these things.

You will then need to think about the roof, is the current roof going to be suitable (if you have one). Would you like a hipped roof or a simple angled roof that butts up to the side of the house? How will the roof be supported is a primary question to ask yourself. Also in an enclosed room you will have to consider insulation, both walls and flooring, importantly do not forget the flooring. The floor is crucial when planning an all season room.

How to Enclose a Patio

11 Dec



Many people ask themselves how to enclose a patio and which is the best way to go around it. To enclose a patio you first need to sketch out your ideas through several designs according to the existing structure and also what is the preferred outcome in terms of look and style. When it comes to thinking about different ideas for enclosing a patio, it is important to point out that the design and overall result should match that of your garden decor or/and the actual look of your house. Is the wood the predominant element? Brick? Concrete? What do you want to enclose a patio with: glass? walls? screen? plastic?

The next thing you have to ask yourself is if there is a need to add a roof. This should be fairly easy to decide upon; first and foremost think why are you enclosing a patio in the first place. There is no doubt that it would protect you from the weather and add an important touch of privacy (especially if you already have a garden for outdoor enjoyment); at the end of the day you do spend quite a lot of time in the patio and/or outdoors during the spring, summer and fall. If the main reason for undergoing such a task is so you can elongate these periods of time during the winter, you should contemplate the idea of roofing your patio as well. There are ups and downs with this option; you will close in your patio area a lot more than if you were just to build walls or add screens around it and you will less light througout the whole year even if you add windows. If you are adding a roof to your patio the best thing would be to think of glass when it comes to the walls, a bit like the British conservatories or at least similar to the style. These conservatories are usually surrounded by glass (the English weather is renouned for being very cold in the winter) and supported by metalic frames. Some of them have the lower half built with bricks as it offers more security and privacy. You should design your roof first and then the framing structure.

The next thing to consider is the cost to enclose a patio. After you finish your design (you should have quite a few sketches so it will be easier to choose the design that fits best) it is important to set yourself a budget and take it from there. Are you going to enclose the patio yourself or are you going to pay for professional help? Surely professionals will be able to do a good job but it will come at a price. You should definitely go for it if your pocket allows. Next you should budget for the right materials and the ones you chose on your sketch. Some are more expensive than others and some are easier to work with especially if you are doing it yourself. Maybe you should compromise here by choosing certain materials  that are cheaper in order to be able to afford others that need to be sound and solid when it comes to quality. Enclosing a patio is not the same as building a house: you don’t need to be so worried about a perfect finish, but building with good materials is always a plus.

The actual enclosure can be done in different ways but the easiest by far is by using screens. They are cheap and very simple to set up. Although not as strong as brick or steel, they will definitely do a good job for many years to come if fitted properly. The other advantage is that they do let a lot of light through which is an important factor when it comes to gardens and patios (or any outdoor area in general). You might want to think about proper patio lighting for the evening and night times and also to enhance the decor of the new enclosed area.

Think of style and design of the windows if you are opting for brick walls, and, again, if you are enclosing it yourself windows might be a bit more complicated than just enclosing with screens. Do you want to add window sills? Are they going to be double windows? What about light coming through the roof? Think of all the electric appliances that need fitting when doing your designs, and of any central heaters that need to be placed.

If you live in a flat and you want to enclose a patio you should first ask your neighbours to see how they feel about it. Also make sure you get planning permissions if needed (whether you live in a flat or in a house in the countryside). Some places consider enclosing a patio building an extension to the house (especially if you are enclosing with brick and adding a roof).

If you are going to spend a good amount of time in your new enclosed patio during the winter you should think of insulating the floor. This can be done easily if there is already concrete and it just against the ground, but it becomes more of a difficult task if the patio is suspended above the ground level (as it happens with garden decking) and you need to do a thorough plan.

Some people wonder how to enclose a covered patio as their property was sold to them with a roofed outdoor area. These situations take place when site developers roof an outdoor structure with the idea of owners wanting to enclose it at some point in the future. Sliding doors are a good, simple and inexpensive solution if this is the case.

How to enclose a patio is down to you in the end, but the most important step that people should not take for granted is designing sketches on paper first to avoid unnecessary problems that might arise later on.

How to Grow a Garden at Home

7 Dec


If you are wondering how to grow a garden at home, you should plan first a general design before embarking in any hands-on job. Do sketches on paper first. They will help you enormously along the way.

Study the ground. It is advisable to conduct a soil survey to determine its characteristics and adept to these when growing your chosen plants. In case there was a garden before and you want to improve it or change it completely, you should take into account all the plants, flowers and trees and also the general structure of the garden: it is all about maximizing all the possible elements within the already established garden.

Don’t go over-budget. Set yourself a budget that will be realistic; think of general subsequent maintenance that your garden will need. We have to consider  factors such as the presence of children, any spring allergies and also pets in the house. When planning we have to look at elements in our garden like the pool, pond, garden arch, garden decking, ornamental statues or any other decorative item that might add to our existing garden decor.

Is the garden or patio area part of a house that has not been built yet? Ask the architect or designer to develop a joint home-garden, so that the views from the home fall into your outdoor area. The next step would be for the ground to be leveled with that one of the house. If the land is away from the house it is possible to plant trees just before the finishing edges to create a sort of “garden fencing” with them and at the same time allow them to adapt to the terrain. Also, we do not want the bigger trees near the house as eventually we would run into problems when the roots grow too far in.

Grass is probably the most essential element as the most prominent feature in any garden is the lawn. It will take it 12 to 18 months for it to be fully grown and it is not easy to grow it nearer the trees but gravel can be used for ease of growth. Furthermore, it should be noted that in the lowlands gardens can suffer from flooding making it convenient to “terrace the plants” so they can develop roots above the water. Also, soil aeration is important in case of soil that has been compacted by heavy machinery or trampling roots.

In case of an existing garden that only needs a bit of improvement, the elements and other materials have already been established. Make sure that plants always compliment them as you don’t want to have different elements that don’t blend in.

The right plant selection if of utmost importance: check general light conditions, soil, temperature and humidity and choose the plans accordingly, plants that will be integrated with ease taking into consideration all these factors.

The final results will mostly depend on the height of the plants you are planning to grow, volume, structure, colors and flowers. Furthermore, there are many ways to “present” this collection. Plants can be arranged in sections or scattered around separately. Analyze in your sketch how you want to grow these sections so you can see an overall shape before starting to grow a garden.

Plants in general are very useful for creating fantastic areas within your garden and at the same time create different types of moods and feelings in the designated areas. For example, protected areas that have been fenced in should really stand out for their particular ornamental features. Contrary to what people may think, you should not select plants based on the beauty of its flowers but for shape, volume, size and texture instead. The most important factor is that the general conditions are favorable for their survival.

Finally, and in relation to plants, we must make an effort to avoid growing excessive varieties within the same area, a very common mistake. It is advisable to grow a garden that shows simple and uncluttered plants; for example, choose a dominant color and group all the different varieties very carefully.

Trees also provide a wide range of options and can play different roles within your garden. One of the main objectives is to create shaded areas and the other is to do with the design and attractive focal points. So, trees have both a useful and ornamental functions. The top of the trees vary from spherical, umbrella-shape, fan-shaped and column-shape. These different shapes will create various effects and types of shades. Please, take also into account the growth rate of each and every tree in order to avoid “space” problems or the overall development of the tree. Other tree qualities that should be considered is if they are evergreen or not, color, foliage texture, brightness of the leaves, its flowers and consequent fruits. Evergreen trees (the leaves do not fall) are very useful as windbreaks and also to keep your garden looking green during the winter. Deciduous trees will lose their leaves in the autumn season, can provide shade during the summer and allow passage of light through their naked branches during the winter period.

Make sure you take all these factors into account. The secret of how to grow a garden successfully will depend on your determination, patience and how faithfully you follow your sketch designs and choice of the right plants.