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Amateur GardeningAmateur Gardening

Amateur Gardening 23-Feb-2019

Every week, Amateur Gardening is the first choice for both beginners and knowledgeable gardeners looking for advice and easy-to-follow practical features on growing flowers, trees, shrubs as well as fruit and vegetables. Be inspired, by our beautifully illustrated features covering plant and flower groups, both home grown and exotic, and take a sneak peek into some of the most beautiful private gardens around the country. Plus, every week we feature expert opinion and tips from some of gardening’s most influential exponents including Toby Buckland, Bob Flowerdew, Anne Swithinbank, Peter Seabrook and Jo Whittingham.

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51 Edities


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which compost to buy?

IT’S the season of stocking up for the year ahead, and nothing takes up more space or money than compost. Not only that, but there is such a wide array of strengths and varieties it’s easy to get bamboozled. So let us talk you through it. Choosing the right compost for your plants and soil; remembering that a container plant will have different requirements to those growing in the ground; realising that the azalea you’ve just been given actually needs acidic soil and you garden on chalk – all this and more will need to be taken into consideration. And what about your houseplants? Should you risk repotting your moth orchid in cactus compost, or will indoor plant compost be fine? Come to think about it, is orchid compost something you can…

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what is john innes?

Three levels of feed to suit all plants John Innes No2 is an everyday compost that suits most plants SOME of the most recognised compost is John Innes, a loam-based compound made by just about every gardening brand to set recipes. John Innes was a 19th century land developer who bequeathed his fortune to horticultural research, leading to the establishment of the John Innes Horticultural Institute (now known as the John Innes Centre, based in Norwich, Norfolk). The recipes for the varying strengths of product were released nationally as part of the Dig for Victory campaign in the World War II. There are three main John Innes products, all of which contain enough nutrients for several months, depending on the plant and season. The products are: John Innes No1: Designed for pricking out and potting on…

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what compost meets your needs?

Peat-based compost: Generally regarded as the best all-round growing medium, suitable for all areas of cultivation apart from sowing seeds. Peat-free: Used to be considered the poor relation of peat compost, but new formulations are greatly improved and they do perform well. Container compost: Specially formulated for baskets and containers with water-retaining granules and nutrients to keep potted plants growing well for longer. Growbags: High-nutrient feeds for tomatoes, salad crops, courgettes, cucumbers etc. Choose the fattest bags as thinner bags dry out faster. Ericaceous compost: For plants that love acidic soils (azaleas, camellias, blueberries, cranberries, etc). Often rich in peat, and with added iron and nutrients. Seeds and cuttings: A fine and relatively weak compost that will encourage robust germination and healthy root development, yet without excess nutrients that can damage young roots. Houseplant compost: Houseplants…

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westland expands compost production to new horizons

LEADING horticultural brand Westland has launched its new, improved peat-free compost range New Horizon. The three ground-breaking products promise gardeners that they will no longer ‘have to compromise’ between the results of peat-based composts and those made without. A company spokesman said: “It is the result of £35 million investment over 18 years, delivering all the features of a high-quality compost, with the added benefit of being peat-free, organic and sustainable.” The New Horizon range comprises an all-plant compost, a vegetable compost and a tomato planter. They all contain a mix of three key natural ingredients: Biofibre – a natural, nutrient-rich fibre that locks on to the root and ensures the fast, effective transfer of nutrients and moisture to the plant. West+ – a wood fibre that creates the optimum soil structure and airflow to…

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plant trends for the year ahead

TRADITIONAL favourites, colours both muted and bold, and larger plants with a Mediterranean feel are all set to be popular with gardeners this year. Growers and suppliers are hoping that last year’s good summer weather will encourage more people to get out in the garden, and they say sales are already doing well. According to Peter McDermott of online retailers YouGarden, the trend is shifting away from blanket planting to creating an instant effect in borders with a smaller number of larger, more striking specimens. “We have had a very positive start to the year so far. People buying fewer but bigger plants is a trend that has been emerging for some time,” said Mr McDermott. “I think the days when people would buy 150 busy Lizzies and dig them all in are…

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ag readers needed for pest control survey

A LEADING supplier of biological controls wants to recruit AG readers for a nationwide trial of its products. Sussex-based BASF has launched its Nematode Challenge 2019 and is looking for allotmenteers to join in. The project is being run in conjunction with the National Allotment Society (NAS), which has 125,000 members. The company is looking for 25 volunteers to take part, use the biological controls to keep their plots pest-free, and then report back with their findings. Nematodes are microscopic parasites that target pests and then die away when their food sources are finished. They are easy to deploy – simply mix them with water and spray them on to plants or the soil. The process is repeated throughout the growing season and is a safe, organic way of controlling pests, with no…