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No Mow May: Gardeners urged to let lawns grow wild

Garden Inspiration | Things to do in the garden | Posted on May 12, 2022 at 11:34 am by

This month is No Mow May, when gardeners are encouraged to let their grass grow wild – think of it as being like Movember for your lawn!

It’s an initiative that takes place this time each year, and is the brainchild of the conservation charity Plantlife, which aims to support British wildflowers, plants and fungi.

As part of those efforts, the organisation wants UK households to let their grass grow long during May, and even to let the weeds grow through.

While we’re all about a well-kept lawn that’s free from weeds, we’re not at all opposed to the idea of a meadow area, which can bring in the bees, butterflies and attract other garden wildlife.

Whether you leave your lawn to do its own thing for a month, or create a dedicated year-round meadow space, there are many reasons to give No Mow May a go.

So why is this so important, and how can you join in?

Why weeds matter

You might call them weeds, or you might call them wildflowers, but normally when they grow through your lawn, they’re not welcome.

But Plantlife’s surveys in previous years have found rare blooms like meadow saxifrage, adder’s tongue fern, snake’s head fritillary and eyebright growing through uncut lawns.

Even if all you get is dandelions, you’re helping the bees more than you’d think. On one lawn in 2021, Plantlife found 85 times more daisies than dandelions. Yet the dandelions produced almost a tenth of the total pollen and over a third of the garden’s nectar.

Ian Dunn, CEO of Plantlife, said: ‘The results underline how embracing a little more wildness in our gardens can be a boon for plants, butterflies and bees.’

How to join in No Mow May

Joining in No Mow May is easy – just leave some or all of your lawn to grow wild, with any flowers (yes, even weeds!) allowed to grow through and bloom too.

If you have dandelions, you might want to compromise by removing them once they’ve flowered, before they grow their ‘dandelion clock’ seed heads. That way, you shouldn’t be overrun by them next year.

On May 21st-30th, participants are invited to count the number of wildflowers in a square metre of lawn, to see how your garden compares with others around the country. Join over 4,300 other households and learn how many bees your garden’s pollen and nectar can support!

Do it your way

A weed-free manicured lawn is a beautiful thing, and of course we’re not suggesting you should lay a turf lawn only to leave it to go wild – it’s all about balance and getting what you need from your garden.

But giving yourself a month off from mowing is no bad thing either, and can allow your grass to grow stronger before the busy summer season of garden parties and barbecues.

Even a small dedicated meadow space can keep your garden in balance. You can plant daffodils, bluebells and wildflowers to grow back year after year for some spring-summer colour with almost no maintenance required.

Not only will you be helping out the butterflies and bees, but you’ll also be giving them their own place to buzz around in peace, well away from you, your family and your friends.


The benefits of gardening as a hobby in 2022

Garden Inspiration | Things to do in the garden | Posted on January 31, 2022 at 1:21 pm by

There are many benefits of gardening as a hobby, from fresh air and Vitamin D to the chance to grow edible fruit and vegetables to include in your meals.

Sustainable gardening can feel good for the soul as well as the body, and there’s something deeply satisfying about looking at living plants and thinking, “I grew those.”

Let’s look at some of the best benefits of gardening as a hobby, and how you can turn green fingers into a healthy body and a happy mind in 2022.

Benefits of gardening for mental health

Gardening is not only good for your physical health; it has real benefits for your mental health too.

After the events of 2020-21, we are all more aware of the value of physical activity and time spent outdoors. Even a small outdoor space can help you take up gardening for wellbeing, from planting pots and window boxes to curating a freshly laid turf lawn, rockeries and shrubberies.

As you gain experience, you’ll start to learn which plants you enjoy growing the most. Whether they’re hardy perennials or something more challenging, find your own comfort zone and peace of mind won’t be far behind.

Eco gardening for wellbeing

Sustainable gardening helps you do your bit for the environment, and an eco-friendly garden can even help to clean the air around the exterior of your property.

Planting edibles is a good choice for eco gardening. Not only will the plants remove carbon dioxide from the air and replace it with oxygen, but you’ll be cutting carbon miles from your household diet if you manage to grow enough to eat.

A herb garden is a great place to start if you’re short of space or not particularly experienced. Fresh herbs can add flavour to your food, and while they’re not completely fool-proof, they’re not too difficult to grow either.

Year-round gardening

Winter doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy time in your garden. In fact, weather permitting, it’s the perfect time to clear fallen leaves and dead annuals, and cut back trees and shrubs that can take being pruned or pollarded.

Early spring is the time to plant many bulbs and should also see the first shoots start to grow through the bare earth – always a spirit-lifting sight after a cold winter.

Also, remember to look after the visitors to your garden. Not friends and family, but birds and wildlife – keep feeders filled, put out fresh (not frozen!) water for drinking and bathing, and create hidey-holes for hedgehogs and other ground-dwellers.

What about the lawn?

A well looked after lawn provides the ideal centrepiece for any wellbeing garden, a place to play or entertain, and just the feeling of open space.

If yours needs a reset, you can get high-quality turf from the Carbutts Turf online shop, ready for whatever the spring, summer and autumn months of 2022 bring your way.

You’ll find even more ideas for gardening in winter and top tips for turf lawn care on our blog.

Happy gardening!


When and what to prune in winter

Blog | Garden Inspiration | Things to do in the garden | Posted on December 20, 2021 at 12:58 pm by

The British winter of 2021-22 started with a bang, as Storm Arwen and then Storm Barra swept through the UK, stripping the trees of any remaining autumn leaves.

Since then, conditions have improved, and we’re yet to meet Corrie, Dudley or Eunice – the next three names on the Met Office’s ‘Name our Storms’ list for this season.

There’s plenty to do in the garden over winter while the fine weather holds. In particular, now is the perfect time to take care of any pruning in your garden, as the winter months are the best season to trim most trees, shrubs and large plants.

Why prune in winter?

As temperatures drop, many plants enter a dormant phase. During this time, it’s safer to prune them back without causing unnecessary damage.

Pruning has the obvious effect of cutting back on the amount of growth by removing dead and unwanted branches, but it can actually boost growth over the long term.

That’s because once the springtime arrives and the tree or shrub exits its dormant phase, it’s able to put more energy into growing green shoots, rather than sustaining old, unhealthy branches that should have been removed.

Pruning vs. trimming – is there a difference?

Although the process of pruning a tree or shrub is very similar to that of trimming it back, there are some differences in the way the two terms are used, especially by professionals.

Pruning typically focuses on the health and vitality of the plant. It may involve removing dead branches or those damaged by storm winds, and there is often a public safety element to the process as well.

On the other hand, trimming is more of an aesthetic consideration. The branches removed might be in good health, but growing in an odd place or position, or growing towards nearby buildings where they are not wanted.

What not to prune

Some plants prefer to be pruned later in the winter season, after the last frost has thawed. If this winter remains cold and crisp, that could take us quite a way into 2022.

Apple trees and grapevines are fine to prune immediately, and cutting your apple tree back to a wine glass shape should encourage additional fruit growth in the next year.

Roses and clematis can also be pruned early in winter, whereas lavender, buddleia and ornamental grasses are all best left untouched until the warmer weather of springtime sets in.

An apple tree in the snow

How to prune

Pollarding is the process of pruning to encourage new shoots to grow next year. In general, shoots should be cut close to the base, which reduces the risk of disease and removes as much as possible of the unwanted wood from your shrub or tree.

When pruning apple trees to encourage fruit growth, aim for that wine glass silhouette, with evenly spaced branches, and leave a hollow centre rising up from the trunk.

Ornamental trees can be trimmed back to maintain a pleasing aesthetic. Aim to thin out the growth rather than severely cutting back entire sections of the tree.

Shaping the foliage on a tree for aesthetic effect is called topiary, so remember the P’s and the T’s: pollarding is pruning, and topiary is trimming.

Visit our blog for more gardening advice and inspiration, or buy our Gold Standard Turf here.


10 autumn flowers to brighten up your garden at the end of summer (and when to plant them)

Garden Inspiration | Posted on October 30, 2020 at 1:48 pm by

Autumn flowers can keep your garden looking bright and cheery as the darker evenings draw in and the leaves start to fall from the trees.

Here are ten of the best autumn flowers for some end-of-summer blooms, and the time of year you should plant them for the best results.

Asters

Asters are named for their distinctive star-like blooms with long individual petals. They can be propagated from softwood cuttings in spring, or by dividing mature clumps at the end of autumn or during winter.

Flowers can be expected from the summer months through to October, so asters are ideal if you want your summer garden to look pretty for as long as possible into the autumn.

Autumn Crocus

Plant autumn crocus bulbs in July or August for flowers in September and October, which should return year after year once the plants are established.

Autumn crocus are best placed under a tree, shrub or other shelter, to keep their delicate flowers looking beautiful after heavy autumn rain showers.

Begonias

Plant begonias for bright petals that should appear in the summer, but can last for as long as the nights remain frost-free, sometimes as late as November.

You can plant begonias out once the last frosts have passed, but in a cold spring they can also be started in the greenhouse for use in pots, planters and hanging baskets.

Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums provide a burst of colour and include some surprisingly hardy varieties that can last well into the autumn months.

They can be propagated by taking softwood cuttings from a mature plant in spring, and should make it through the winter months if you protect them with mulch.

Cyclamen

Cyclamen do well under trees, in the shady and dry patches where other flowers refuse to grow.

You can plant cyclamen bulbs during the autumn months, even as late as September, and depending on the variety you can expect flowers anytime from late summer through to winter and early spring.

Dahlias

Dahlias can be planted out once the last frosts have passed, but you can start them in the greenhouse if you want and only put them into the ground in late May.

They’re a slightly earlier blooming autumn flower, and should be out in August and September, which covers the period when many other garden favourites are on the decline.

Gladioli

Gladioli (singular: Gladiolus) can be planted from spring – about a fortnight before the last frosty day – right through to the early weeks of summer.

By planting a few at weekly or fortnightly intervals, they should grow and flower at different times, potentially giving you a display from August through to October.

Hesperantha

Hesperantha deserves more of a place in UK gardens, with the potential to bloom from late summer through to Christmas if there are no frosty nights in between.

Established hesperantha can be divided and replanted in mid-spring every 2-3 years. Alternatively, collect the seeds in early winter and plant them once spring arrives.

Snowdrops

With its dainty white petals, the snowdrop is a cheery companion in the winter months, and may appear from January through to March.

Newly bought snowdrop bulbs can be planted in autumn, or the bunches sold in pots in winter can be planted directly and should return each year after that.

Winter Aconites

Finally, one more winter friend. Aconites produce a buttercup-like bloom in late winter and can carry your garden through February and March as spring bulbs start to appear.

Like snowdrops, they can be bought ‘in the green’ in spring, or planted as newly bought tubers during the autumn months.


Easiest things to grow in an allotment

Garden Inspiration | Posted on August 14, 2020 at 9:35 am by

The theme of National Allotments Week 2020 is Growing Food for Health and Well-being, so with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the healthiest yet easiest things to grow in an allotment.

Growing your own food in an allotment gives you good control over the types of fertiliser and pesticides your fruit and veg are exposed to, and also lets you choose exactly what to grow.

Here’s our pick of the five easiest things to grow in an allotment, in line with the healthy theme of National Allotments Week 2020.

1. Onions

Onions are a versatile ingredient and you can grow them in several different ways, including starting from seed.

It’s common instead to grow onions from a ‘set’, which is a small onion you plant in your allotment and then harvest once it reaches full size.

You can even plant the root end of a mature onion when you slice it off during cooking, which should grow back into another onion over the course of 90-120 days.

2. Potatoes

Potatoes are the classic British staple food, so it’s no surprise that many allotment holders choose to grow them.

You can plant potatoes in beds or grow them in containers. If you have a greenhouse on your allotment, you can also grow them through the autumn – which means your roast potatoes on your Christmas dinner could come from your own harvest!

Just be wary of damage to your potato plants. Some of the biggest threats include frost, excess water in the soil, and slug damage.

3. Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a fruity allotment favourite – although it is technically a vegetable – as it grows well from ground level and you can harvest just as much as you need each time.

There are only a few things you need to know, including that rhubarb needs plenty of space, so might not be suitable for small allotment plots.

It’s also important not to eat the leaves or give them to wildlife or pets, as they contain oxalic acid; however, it is safe to put them in your compost bin.

4. Blackberries

Blackberries are so easy to grow that you can find them in almost any public park, footpath or hedgerow.

However, that shouldn’t stop you from planting them on purpose, as they’re delicious and not difficult to cultivate.

You can grow blackberries from cuttings and propagate more plants easily too, as the tips of stems can put down new roots when they come into contact with the soil.

Blackberries grow well in shady areas, which makes them ideal for allotments with ‘less than perfect’ growing conditions for most other fruits.

5. Herbs

Herbs grow well on allotments with very little effort, and they’re an excellent way to add flavour to meals without packing more fat or salt into the recipe.

Grow chives for a convenient way to add a mild onion flavour; oregano for a taste of Italy on pizzas and in pasta dishes; or versatile classics like parsley and sage.

All of these are easy to grow and don’t take up too much space, so you should be able to add a herb garden while still leaving plenty of room to grow fruit and veg on your allotment.


Five ways that gardening is good for your health

Garden Inspiration | Posted on July 9, 2020 at 12:33 pm by

Most of us could use some extra exercise, but it’s not always easy to find time to get out of the house.

But you don’t even need to go beyond your driveway to take in some gentle exercise and fresh air – it’s waiting for you quite literally on your doorstep.

There are a huge number of gardening health benefits, not just for you, but getting children into the garden will benefit the whole family. Here we’ll look at five ways gardening is good for your health that we think belong near the top of the list.

1. Core muscle workout

Forget setting up a DIY garden gym, gardening naturally works your core muscles, without overdoing it (unless you start trying to lift and carry rocks or filled planters).

Lifting smaller items in the correct way is good for your legs and back, while the variety of different tasks you carry out around the garden will give your arms some exercise too.

Doing non-repetitive tasks, as you do when gardening, helps to build muscle tone naturally, so you never have to worry about whether it’s arms or legs day or pay gym membership fees.

2. Fresh air

No matter where you live, a healthy garden can improve the air quality around your home – both inside and out.

Plants naturally remove carbon dioxide from the air, replacing it with oxygen instead. That’s one reason why green spaces are an important part of town planning.

You can create ‘green lungs’ of your own by planting a good mix of different flowers, shrubs and trees – you can even grow indoor pot plants that release more oxygen overnight, which could help you sleep better too.

3. Eat fresh

The air isn’t the only thing that’s fresh in your garden. Pots, planters and raised beds can be home to a variety of edible treats, from fruit and vegetables, to mint and borage petals to put in your Pimm’s.

Cooking with fresh ingredients, or eating raw foods freshly picked and washed, can give your vitamin intake a boost.

Besides, it’s just more satisfying eating a meal knowing that you grew part of it yourself.

4. Stay social

Not all of the health benefits of gardens are physical. They offer ways to socialise more, which can give your mental health a helping hand.

If you have kids, you could get them involved with your gardening efforts, or ask your partner or other family members and close friends to help.

Even if you live alone, a garden can lead to interactions with other living things, either by entertaining human guests, or by enticing wildlife like birds, squirrels and hedgehogs to pay your garden a visit.

5. Something to show for it

It’s sometimes tempting to feel like exercise is getting you nowhere, especially if you’re more interested in keeping in good health, rather than building muscles or losing weight.

But with gardening, you’re working towards other visible results at the same time. You not only gain natural physical fitness and lung capacity, you also create an outdoor space that looks (and often smells) great.

At the end of a long day digging the flower beds or moving boulders around your rockery – bending from your knees each time, of course – you can sit and enjoy your creation, surrounded by pretty flowers, sweet scents, and the birdsong of feathered friends as they visit your feeders.

 

Whatever you do, you should be enjoying your garden, and a healthy natural lawn is a big part of most peoples’ garden space.

Get in touch today to speak to us about fresh cut turf and our lawn laying service.


How to get children interested in gardening

Garden Inspiration | Posted on at 12:30 pm by

There’s no age limit on gardening. Many of us enjoy maintaining our outdoor spaces into old age – but there’s also no limit on how young you can be, either.

As a family, playing in the garden is a wonderful bonding activity. Involving the kids in gardening is a great way to get them outside in all weather too, as well as give them skills that will stand them in good stead in future life.

Gardening teaches care, patience, chemistry and biology, and if you grow herbs, fruits or vegetables, it can teach home economics and cooking too.

For a relatively small cost, you get all the health benefits of spending time together, time outdoors, and help build an area for the whole family to enjoy.

A quick start guide to gardening with kids

If you want to get your children engaged with gardening, it’s a good idea to start fast. Some seeds will sprout within a couple of days, while some will grow in a glass of water so you can see progress without having to wait for them to reach the surface of soil.

Grow something brightly coloured, sweetly scented or edible, as this will give an extra element to the experience for your kids.

Cress is an incredibly easy option – you can grow it indoors as a precursor to trying more ambitious outdoor crops, and it’s a tasty addition to sandwiches too.

Plotting together

Let your children help you design a layout for your garden. You can of course steer them in the right direction, but it can be worth having them choose where to position planters, grow frames and flower beds.

This can bring together different arts and crafts, from sketching out a scale drawing of your garden, to colouring in or collaging the various planting areas where your child would like them to go.

Help them to understand that gardens are organic – they change with the seasons, and you can always move things around in the future if you want.

That way, if they want to try something different or more ambitious, you can reassure them that if it doesn’t work, it’s not the end of the world.

Keep it fun

Try to keep things fun throughout the experience of gardening with your kids. Don’t let those regular garden tasks seem like chores – try to combine them with some optional kids garden activities too.

We believe that a healthy lawn is the heart of every garden. Our Gold Standard Turf bounces back well after being played on by children and pets, and provides the perfect centrepiece for you to surround with raised beds or rockeries.

Gardens are the best of both worlds – private space that you can design and look after yourself, but with access to the great outdoors for some fresh air and exercise.

Start your kids young, and by the time they grow up, they’ll have the skills they need to be self-sufficient by growing fruit and veg in the garden, or just enjoying the outdoors by planting flowers and tending shrubberies.

Working on keeping your lawn healthy can be difficult sometimes, if you feel like giving your lawn a makeover, call us today, or check out our professional lawn laying service.


Birdwatching during self-isolation – a beginner’s guide

Garden Inspiration | Posted on May 14, 2020 at 9:29 am by

Birdwatching is a popular hobby at the best of times, but during social distancing and self-isolation, even more of us are paying attention to the feathered friends and other sorts of wildlife outside our window.

If you have a garden, then you have more options to attract new species of birds to within a good viewing distance, but you don’t need to have any outside space of your own.

You can spot birds from any window, even in urban areas, and once you start to learn about the different types, you might be surprised by how much variety is in your area.

If you have a garden…

To bring more birds to your yard, put up some bird feeders. You can hang them from trees, fences, or put up a freestanding bird table.

Try different foods – if your local shops have them during your essential grocery run, you could get some fat balls, suet pellets or bird seed.

Different species like certain foods the best. Berries and berry-flavoured suet sticks are more likely to attract robins. Niger seeds are favoured by goldfinches.

If you have a window…

If you’re limited to what you can see from a certain window, just do what you can. You can get bird feeders that attach directly to the glass using suction cups, for example.

Set up a comfortable chair in a position that gives you a good view out of the window, ideally without overlooking any neighbours too much.

Keep a note of the birds you see, and you’ll soon learn which directions give you the most action, the species that are common in your area, and the less frequent visitors.

In urban areas…

Your variety of species might be smaller in urban areas but you might start to notice the same individual birds coming back day after day – and potentially spot where they fly away to, too.

If you see the same birds flying off in the same direction every day, their nest might be nearby. Try to identify species that are known for nesting in roof spaces, and see if you can make a good guess of where they might live.

Urban birds can be extremely entertaining. They’re less fussy about their food and less nervous too, so if you have a small yard, you might still be able to sit outside and see them close up as they fly down to feed.

Learning about birds

The internet is an amazing tool when learning about birds. Look for any distinctive colour markings – for example on goldfinches, the red head and splashes of yellow on the wings.

Even a quick search can identify many species of birds from their markings. If possible, take a photo and use a tool like Google’s Reverse Image Search to find photos of similar birds, which is another handy shortcut to identify which species you are looking at.

Again, as you learn the common visitors to your garden or street, you’ll naturally start to notice the less frequent visitors too, so you can start to make a note of any rare or unusual species, or those that might have travelled further than you’d think to reach your feeder.


Make your garden a home for wildlife

Garden Inspiration | Posted on February 27, 2020 at 12:07 pm by

A healthy garden creates a balanced ecosystem that can help your flowers and shrubs to thrive, not to mention keeping your lawn green and healthy.

For example, if you are looking for natural ways to fight slugs in the garden, try attracting thrushes and hedgehogs, both of which love to snack on slugs.

Here are a few ways to make your garden a home for wildlife of all kinds, with plenty of beneficial effects as a result, not to mention the positive impact on your family’s mental health.

1. A home for hedgehogs

Hedgehogs are high on many gardeners’ ‘would like to meet’ list, so create a mini hedgehog habitat in a quiet corner of your garden for the best chance of receiving a spiky visitor in the night.

You can buy special hedgehog food, but meat-based dog food and cat food (not containing fish) works too, along with a shallow dish of water – you might also want to leave small access holes at the bottom of your fences.

2. A bath for birds

A bird bath can attract many more winged visitors to your garden, perfect for bird watching. Keep it in the shade to prevent it from drying out. This should mean you can rely on rainwater to fill it for longer and also slows algae growth, which thrives in direct sunlight.

If you opt for a moving water feature such as a fountain, it will probably come with a filter in the pump. The slimy stuff that accumulates on the filter isn’t very pleasant, but it is rich in nutrients, so use it as fertiliser for your flowerbeds.

3. Make a meadow

Wildflowers are equally happy growing in bare soil as they are growing through grass, so it’s up to you whether to make a meadow retained in a flowerbed or scatter seeds on an area of lawn.

Either way, a good mix of wildflowers should attract butterflies and bees into your garden, and thorny teasel can bring in goldfinches, especially in autumn as the tufty flower heads dry out.

4. Creatures of the night

You might not use your garden at night, but nocturnal wildlife does, including hedgehogs, foxes and a particular friend to gardeners – bats.

Keep night lighting to a low, plant fragrant night-time flowers and consider putting up a bat box, and you can expect these lovable flying mammals to take up residence, keep the midge and mosquito population under control, and deposit richly fertilising guano on your shrubberies in return.

5. Keep on composting

A compost heap is a great way to make your own fertiliser from garden cuttings, glass clippings and the right kinds of kitchen food waste.

Compost needs to drain, so make sure liquids can run off from the bottom of your compost container – this also leaves somewhere for microbugs to get in and help the digestion along.

Carbutts is a family-run business selling fresh cut turf daily from our Cheshire farm. Get in touch today to see how we can help your garden lawn flourish.


National Allotment Week: How to kick start your allotment

Garden Inspiration | Posted on August 16, 2019 at 10:48 am by

National Allotment Week 2019 is still running for three more days, and it’s a great opportunity to learn more about growing your own fresh produce, whether in a rented allotment plot, your own back garden, or even a window box.

The week-long event invites members of the public to visit their local allotments, many of which have opened their gates from August 12th to 18th.

You can rent an allotment in cities, towns and villages the length and breadth of the UK, but National Allotment Week is also about encouraging people to grow their own at home or in other private spaces.

Whichever you choose, there’s still time! Here are five top tips to kick start your allotment.

1. Clear the turf

First of all, you need bare topsoil free from any grass so you can plant your seeds – so it’s time to lift the turf, if you’re starting with a grassy plot.

If you’re starting a vegetable patch in your own back garden, you might want to clear an area and then lay fresh turf along the edges, giving you a neat outline of healthy grass that’s easier to maintain with a straight, sharp edge.

2. Remove rubbish

If you’ve inherited a rented allotment plot that’s strewn with rubbish, left-behind tools and other materials, spend some time properly clearing the space so you can plan it out and plant it out effectively.

Fully clearing an allotment plot can be a challenge – there might be old root systems snarling up the soil, and you might even want to remove the topsoil and replace it with a more fertile and well draining mix – so don’t shy away from this part to get off to the best start.

3. Make it safe

While clearing the plot, you might encounter dangerous materials like broken glass or buried shards of metal – so wear sturdy gloves, use tools, and stay safe.

Again, by properly clearing the area in the first instance, you give your allotment the best chance to thrive, with no nasty surprises while digging over the earth further down the line.

4. Watch for wildlife

Allotments, especially overgrown plots, can be tempting habitats for animals, especially if there’s an abundance of berries, fruits and tasty vegetables growing there.

You might consider wildlife to be pests if they eat your hard-earned produce, but at least give animals a chance to leave safely before you fence and net off the plot – and especially before you take a mower or strimmer to the long growth.

5. Work with what you’ve got

Finally, whether you’ve inherited an allotment or you’re starting a vegetable patch in your own garden, work with what’s already there if possible.

That might include hardy and herbaceous perennials left by the previous occupant, wild plants like garlic, mint and berry-filled brambles, or even more established features like fertile fruit trees, all of which can give you your first harvest sooner than you might think.


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