National Gardening Week 2020
National Gardening Week 2020 runs from April 27th through to May 3rd and is organised by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) to raise awareness around gardening and horticulture with the hope of encouraging more people to take part in healthy, productive, outdoor activity.
Social distancing restrictions in place, our gardens offer a space for outdoor activity. Gardening is just one of many activities that anyone is able to take part in for as long as they like.
April and May are prime months for getting your garden ready for the lovely summer season. You can get all of the initial jobs out of the way, to make sure you have plenty of time to enjoy your work later in the year.
My own approach to gardening can be summarised in one statement: I like my garden to be tasty, yet pleasant on the eye.
Grow your own
As a prolific snacker, I enjoy being able to graze on something around me when I’m out in the garden. Even a fresh spinach leaf is great! I truly enjoy growing my own fruits and vegetables. Over the years I have tried many different things, testing what grows well in my garden and what we can eat as a family.
My “grow your own” plan for this season is:
Tomatoes. I already have some healthy sized tomato plants in my greenhouse, luckily, we eat a lot of tomatoes. Plus, tomatoes are very versatile. Homemade ketchup, tomato juice and other tomato sauces keep us going all year round with different varieties of dishes. I always plant half and half, half of greenhouse for cherry tomatoes and half for beef tomatoes. This year I received free outdoor tomato seeds from my ever-favourite Gardening World Magazine (I highly recomend to check out the latest buysubscriptions.com voucher codes for this amazing magazine subscription deal), so I have few outdoor tomato plants now outside of the greenhouse too. You can check out my Top Tomato varieties recommendations in my Grow Your Own Collection - for your Harvest Festival basket blog. One tip for greenhouse tomatoes, they generally don’t like to have “neighbours”, but you can safely add a few chilli plants in there. I also have a few aubergines on the go in tomato greenhouse, which I will later move to a sunny spot.
Cucumbers. I am lucky to have a separate greenhouse for my cucumbers and it is already covered in lovely little cucumbers which will be ready for picking soon. I always plant 'long' cucumbers as well as cornichon varieties for pickling. My 'pickle' of this year is 'Vert petit de Paris', it is a very efficient variety that produces small, regularly shaped fruits, ideal for pickling. My cucumbers are happy to have a few melons and watermelons in the same greenhouse too. I’ve tried different varieties every year for the last few years, until I found “the perfect melon” for my own garden. It’s still a 'work in progress' but I managed to enjoy my very own yellow watermelon last summer. Thompson & Morgan is one of my top suppliers for 'grow your own' seeds.
Salads and greens. Usually I do not get the time to look after my garden greens properly, but this year I took a more industrial approach. I used insect netting to cover my cabbages, brussels sprouts, and chard right from the start. I also used weed-control fabric on the soil to save myself from weeding later in the season. Generous feed with organic chicken manure pallets and some wood ashes should keep my greens happy this season too. I grow radishes and salads in large tubs under the netting which makes them very easy to look after.
Soft fruits. A firm favourite in my household. I have raspberries and strawberries of all colours, shapes and seasons; blueberries, gooseberries, grapes, jostaberries, goji berries, honey berries, red, black and white currants and even golden currants. Most of the plants are already well established and just need some feed and a quick tidy up this season. Everything in my garden is organic but with the shortage of organic compost this year, I opted for the organic liquid seaweed fertilizer to give my soft fruits a boost. This organic fertilizer can be found online and delivered to your door.
Fruit trees. I do love my fruits. I grow apples and pears of course, as well as quinces, plumbs, peaches, apricots, sweet cherries of different colours, three varieties of sour cherry, mulberries (black and white), figs and even persimmon fruits! My garden is fairly large, but not enormous, which is why I usually buy small to medium size trees to make sure I can fit it all in. When you buy a fruit trees, pay attention to what rootstock they have – to make sure you get an appropriate size for your garden.
Bee-friendly garden flowers
Did I say tasty and pleasant on an eye?
I love flowers. My garden is blossoming all year round and there is no shortage of choice for the mail order flower suppliers. Here are just a few to choose from: Crocus, Gardening Express, Jersey Plants Direct, Waitrose Garden, yougarden.com I am making an extra effort to have bee-friendly garden flowers and shrubs all year around.
I also plant a few cottage flowers in my vegetable and fruit garden too – it attracts bees for pollination and just makes it, well, prettier! Here is my personal selection of my favorite bees-friendly garden blossoms for this season:
I hope you get inspired to go outside and start gardening to celebrate National Gardening Week this year. Don’t forget to check our garden voucher codes and deals to get quality garden products online and save on your garden shopping at the same time.
Make the most of the National Gardening Week this year!
Tanya Larsen, mother of 3, keen gardener, world traveller and a business owner
More blogs from Tanya:
Mail Order Plants – its gardening time!
Northern Lights Holidays: Best Places to Visit 2019
Grow Your Own Collection - for your Harvest Festival basket
Get ready for the Wimbledon finals this Sunday with Strawberries and Cream
VoucherShares Garden Design Ideas. Product revew: Petunia "Night Sky" from Thompson & Morgan
More from Voucher Shares Community Blog