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Amateur Gardening

Amateur Gardening 25-Jan-2020

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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United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd
51 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
it’s time to get sowing!

GROWING plants from seed is one of the most satisfying things about gardening, which is why the free seeds that come with Amateur Gardening are such a success. Once again we have teamed up with Mr Fothergill’s to bring colour to your patios and gardens. This year’s selection is bigger and brighter than ever before and includes some Sarah Raven seeds: clary ‘Blue Denim’, cleome ‘Violet Queen’, Mina lobata and larkspur ‘Giant Imperial’. The rest are a carefully curated mixture of hardy annuals, half-hardy annuals and perennials, as well as specially adapted mixtures for shady areas, and to attract pollinators and wildlife into your garden. The easiest way to grow plants from seed is not to worry about them. Of course they need care, but consider the plants you see growing wild and…

1 min.
keep your seedlings healthy

SEEDS may be tough little things, but seedlings are vulnerable to all sorts of dangers. Sow as thinly as possible so that when they emerge they have enough room to grow robustly within their own space. One of the greatest dangers is a fungal disease that goes by the glamorous name of damping off. It can lay waste to a tray of seedlings overnight and is caused by a range of factors, including contaminated compost, trays and water, overcrowding and poor ventilation. There are no chemical treatments against it, so prevention is the best way forward. Give seedlings the best start by always sowing onto fresh seed compost. Make sure the trays or pots are new or well washed to reduce the risk of contamination by pests or fungal spores, and use…

1 min.
check viability

We all have leftover seeds from years past and while some remain viable (able to germinate) for several years after ripening, others only last a season or two. There are a couple of things you can do to check if your seeds are fresh enough to germinate. Try sowing a few to see how many germinate and then either grow them on or discard the rest of the packet, according to results. Alternatively, sprinkle a few seeds onto dampened kitchen paper and place them somewhere light and warm for a few days. If they sprout, they are sound. The third test, which is useful for larger seeds such as sweet peas, is to pop them in a bowl of water. Discard any floaters and keep those that sink for sowing.…

1 min.
how to sow seeds for successful germination

1 Sieve fresh compost to remove unwanted debris and give smaller seeds a better chance of germination. 2 Tamp the compost flat so the seed sits securely and isn’t at risk of rolling to the side or falling into fissures. 3 Dampen the compost well with fresh tap water, using a clean watering can fitted with a fine rose. 4 Scatter the seeds thinly so that each seedling has plenty of room to grow healthily. 5 Cover the seeds with a thin layer of compost, the mineral vermiculite or a mixture of the two. 6 Label, cover the tray with a lid or secure it in a plastic bag and place in light and gentle warmth.…

1 min.
happy chickens

KEEPING chickens has long been an integral part of cottage gardening and smallholding and now it’s even easier thanks to the launch of the first ever hen welfare centre. The British Hen Welfare Trust is behind the new centre in Rose Ash, north Devon, which is designed to be a halfway house for hens moving from commercial laying farms to happier homes. The bespoke new centre includes a hen hospital and plenty of outside space where the birds can scratch for bugs and slugs and enjoy a spot of sunbathing. Founded in 2005 by Jane Howorth MBE, the Trust has so far rehomed more than 730,000 hens. The charity works closely with commercial laying farms and has a network of more than 800 volunteers who collect caged hens deemed no longer financially viable…

2 min.
new peat-free range launched

TWO weeks ago we ran an article about how the charity Garden Organic is imploring gardeners to only buy peat-free compost to help save the planet. Now Ireland’s major gardening brand, Bord Na Móna, has given its own verdict on the debate about peat extraction. The company, which has long been a champion of peat-based gardening, stopped peat extraction from 17 bogs in 2018, with chief executive Tom Donnellan saying that decarbonisation ‘is the biggest challenge’ to the planet’. Bord Na Móna has also launched a ‘Brown to Green’ strategy to support the national climate and energy policy by speeding up the development of renewable energy assets, as well as accelerating investment in higher-value recycling and resource recovery. Peatlands, formed by the accumulation of decayed vegetation, help regulate the climate by removing and storing…