Year round gardening tips.

I'm adding to these general tips all of the time, so whilst they may seem a bit haphazard at the moment, in time they they will branch off into different sections.

Table: Year round gardening tips.
Subject Tips

Safety

  • Some garden chemicals can burn the skin, wear a mask, goggles, gloves and overalls when using, especially when spraying.
  • Don't use chemicals in windy conditions, wait for a dry, still day.
  • Use ear defenders when using noisy equipment.
  • Listeria monocytogenes, which multiplies outside and at low temperatures, may be found in the garden and can cause serious illness, especially in children, the elderly and pregnant women. We are exposed to these bacteria all the time, so it's about the infections dose, but it's important to wash hands after gardening to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Always wear sturdy shoes or boots when gardening.
  • Keep BBQs away from trees and fences, not only for safety reasons, but the rising heat will likely kill the branches above and heat radiation can discolour a fence.
  • A ladder will sink on soft ground and slip on hard ground, get someone to hold the ladder at the base. The safest angle to use a ladder at it 75 degrees (approximately 1 foot out for every four rungs of the ladder).
  • When using power tools, wear close-fitting clothes (or overalls), goggles and sturdy footwear.
  • A residual circuit breaker should be used when using electrical tools. This will immediately cut the power if the cable is cut or if the tool develops a fault. Over 6,000 people a year visit A&E due to accidents with lawnmowers

Seeds

If you have small expensive seed, such as pansy or busy lizzie. It's a good idea to mix the packet of seeds with silver sand (or wallpaper paste) before sowing into a seed tray / pot, as this will provide a much better distribution of plants and make it easier to prick out seedlings. This also gives the added benefit of that you can see where you have sown.

Bonfires

Whilst there aren't any laws against when you can have a bonfire*, it's probably going to cause less upset if you wait until after sundown, or wait for an overcast day. Either way check to see if any neighbors have their windows open, or washing out before lighting.

* It is an offence to burn domestic/household waste on a bonfire, if it is likely to cause harm to human health or to the environment. If you have them regularly, or they burn for too long, they could be regarded as a nuisance and be dealt with under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. For more information see The Government Services and Information website (Gov.uk)

Check bonfires for animals (hedgehogs, frogs, toads, mice etc.) before lighting.

Animals

For tips on scaring animals away from your garden please see the pests & diseases page.

Ponds

Children seem to be drawn hypnotically to water. Consider filling in the pond with large pebbles (easy to remove when the child has left home :-)), filling with sand to make a sand pit (although make a cover for it so the local cats don't start using it as a toilet) or fit a sturdy 4" steel grate over the pond.

Paving

When laying paving next to grass, ensure that it's below soil level to avoid catching the lawn mower blades.

Fencing

To reduce the rotting of fence posts, stand them in a container of preservative for a couple of hours before using.

Potting on

When moving houseplants into a larger pot, the plant will grow roots rather than produce flowers. So leave the potting on until after the flowers have finished.

Watering

When watering plants in the border, make sure that you give them a really good drink. Just giving them a short watering encourages the roots to develop closer to the surface of the soil, making the plant less drought tolerant and more susceptible to be rocked by the wind.

Herbs

Tarragon has an aniseed flavour. Always taste some before you use it in cooking, the strength varies dramatically between plants.

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