Archive for the ‘Wildlife Gardening’ Category

Let’s Get Dirty!

Person Author: Sojali Farm Calender December 28, 2014 Posted Tags: , , , , Comment No Comments
earthworm1

Gardening is fast becoming the new ‘thing’. More and more people are putting their names on allotment lists, planting at home, and sowing seeds in all varieties of containers and pots and sometimes more unusual holders to grow their fruit, veggies, herbs and plants in. We aim to bring all the delights of Grow Your Own (GYO) to children and adults alike. To do this, we need to start at the beginning. The Soil. Most horticulturists and gardeners know that if your soil is perfect, you can grow literally anything. The exception of course being anything that requires certain conditions like high alkaline or high acidic soil, but for now, let’s show our little ‘angels’ all about soil and the importance that worms have in creating the perfect base for plants to grow in. Wormery

Continue reading »

OPAL Tree Health Survey

Person Author: Helene Coleman Calender May 9, 2013 Posted Tags: , , Comment 1 Comment
Oak

A slightly different blog from me today…..In my day job, I’m lucky enough to work for a project called the Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) project which is run by the Natural History Museum and Imperial College London. OPAL is a ‘citizen science’ project, which aims to get people outdoors and involved in scientific research. So this got me thinking that OPAL might be a project that the keen gardeners of Seed Parade might be interested in getting involved with! We launched our national tree health survey today and this runs from May to September when trees are in leaf. As trees are so important for bringing nature into urban areas and providing food and habitats for wildlife, I thought this might appeal to my fellow gardeners out there! The survey takes about 30 minutes to

Continue reading »

Wow it’s March!!

Image

I can hardly believe that March is here already! Mind you the last few days have been very spring like. I have seen a few very large bumble bees buzzing around. These will be females that have come out of hibernation, they will feed on early flowers, then look for somewhere to build nests, often old mouse holes. This got me motivated to create a new bee friendly bed out of my old rhubarb bed. The rhubarb grew so huge last year that it over grew the paths and made it difficult to pass. I had already decided to move the rhubarb so after it had died down last year, I planted a plum in the centre of the bed in October. I had chosen a half standard Burbanks Tangerine plum, this would allow for planting beneath it. I have been growing some plants that are very attractive to bees, lots of

Continue reading »

Speckled Bush Cricket

Person Author: Lajos Szabo Calender August 21, 2012 Posted Tags: , Comment 1 Comment
Image

I was really happy to find one in the garden yesterday and was really surprised by that feature at the bottom end. It is fascinating isn’t it? And I found out that it is a female and that interesting upward curving feature is an ovipositor. By the name of it I guess this helps the female to lay her eggs under tree barks and into plant stems in the end of the summer, where the eggs will overwinter and the nymphs will emerge in late spring. This bush cricket is flightless and apparently very common in the south of England and in Wales but because of the hidden lifestyle in the undergrowth and in hedgerows it is not easily spotted. And they are active at night and at dusk which makes them hard to find too. Sorry that the pictures focus on the ovipositor but it is the first tim

Continue reading »

Saving Seeds – Flowers

Person Author: Helen Fowler Calender August 16, 2012 Posted Tags: , Comment No Comments

It's mid-August and an ideal time to save your own flower seeds. Lots of flowers either have or are starting to set seed. A quick walk around my own garden and I found about 20 different flower seeds to collect. Flower seeds come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some are large and easily collected, like Sweet Peas, Cerinthe and Morning Glory. Other seeds can be very small and fine, like Poppies, Foxgloves and Lobelia. The best time to harvest the seed is when the pods are starting to go pale brown. It doesnt matter if the pods still have some green, but the seed will have better germination if it is mature. Poppies for example can be harvested when pale green and still give good viable seed. There are a number of ways you can collect seeds. The easiest way is to walk round the garde

Continue reading »

Pollination in the greenhouse

Person Author: Lajos Szabo Calender June 4, 2012 Posted Tags: , Comment 1 Comment
Image

Growing your own in the controlled environment of a greenhouse or polytunnel has its obvious advantages but it has some challenges too. Controlling temperature, watering and humidity control as well as pollination can be a challenge at times. Providing humidity is important in pollination to avoid dry set. Fruiting crops like tomatoes, peppers and melons need successful pollination in order to set flowers and produce fruits. Tomatoes and peppers are self pollinating, meaning that one flower contains the necessary pollen. Squashes and melons have male and female flowers, so you have to make sure that the pollen from the male flower (which usually have a longer stalk) reach the female flowers. Assisting pollination in your greenhouse is easily done just by keeping the vents and door open,

Continue reading »

Perfect Pollination

Person Author: Helen Fowler Calender May 24, 2012 Posted Tags: , Comment No Comments
Image

  One of the greatest delights in the summer garden are home grown fruits. Many of the most delicious fruits quickly loose their texture and flavour,  so home grown are so much better than shop bought. An important part of success in the fruit garden is pollination. Most pollination is carried out by a variety of insects, but the most important group are the bees. There are about 270 different species of bees in Britain but many of them are in decline. There are a number of factors involved in this decline, but what ever the reason, we need our bees and other insects to give us good crops. Our pollinators fly from plant to plant carrying pollen, this mixing or crossing of pollen is what gives a 'good set' this triggers the fruit to swell and grow into our juicy mature fruits. P

Continue reading »

Solitary bees

Person Author: Lajos Szabo Calender May 24, 2012 Posted Tags: , , Comment 3 Comments
Image

Solitary bees live and rear their offspring on their own. The females are all fertile and make their own small nests. There are about 250 solitary bee species in Britain, 24 bumble bees and 1 honey bee. When it comes to pollination these bees are just as important as the well know colony forming bees as solitary bees are very good pollinators, according to studies one solitary bee can do the job of 20 or more honey bee. Around 90% of the bees in the world are solitary, living their life on their own as single bees. The first bees appear in the garden in early spring are the mining bees. They called mining bees because they make their nests in the ground, usually on soft, sandy soil or along paths where there is not too much vegetation. They are very similar in appearance to the honey be

Continue reading »
SagePay Thawte Visa Paypal Master Card