How to build raised beds

If you want to do something new with your garden, building raised beds is a great idea. They are great for growing a wide range of plants, fruits such as strawberries, currants, raspberries and blackberries and almost any vegetable.

Raised beds allow you to:

  • Increase soil temperature
  • Improve drainage
  • Match soil type to the plant
  • Improve ease of access

Winter is a good time to build raised beds in preparation for spring.

How to build raised beds

How to build raised beds

Building your raised beds

Step 1: Choose the correct site

Choose an area clear of plants and remove any perennial weeds. You could also choose an area of lawn. For the framework you will need to use wood that has been treated against rot.

Step 2: Lay out your frame

When decided on the size of your raised beds, the length can be whatever you choose but it is advised that you keep the width to around 1.2m, so that you can easily reach around.

Lay out your wood and mark the corners with canes.

Step 3: Cut the bed

Remove your wooden boards and join the canes with string to mark out the position of your raised bed. If you are building your raised beds on grass, you will need to cut out the grass using a spade, with about 10cm on each side of the string. Slide the spade underneath the grass to cut pieces about 5cm thick. Take these cut out pieces and lay them evenly across the bed.

Step 4: Build the frame

Lay your wooden plants side-on along the bare earth outline you just created and join at each corner with one of two galvanised metal brackets.

Step 5: Fill with compost

Fill your bed with compost and compact it inside by treating it down. The middle of the bed should be slightly higher than the frame to allow for setting.

Step 6: Secure your frame

Hammer small sharpened pegs around our frame to help hold the boards in place.

Now you’re ready to plant!

Autumn gardening tips

Autumn is quickly approaching and your garden will be undergoing its yearly transformation. To help you get prepared, here is a quick list of things to do in your garden.

What to do in early autumn

  • Bring tender plants under cover before the first frosts arrives
  • Plant spring bulbs
  • Plant spring bedding plants
  • Sow hardy annuals in boarders for earlier flowers next summer
Autumn gardening

Autumn gardening

What to do in mid autumn

  • Tidy up perennials
  • Plant deciduous trees and shrubs
  • Move shrubs that are growing in the wrong places
  • Lay new lawns, making sure the soil isn’t too wet
  • Apply autumn lawn feed

What to do in late autumn

  • Plant roses and hedging plants
  • Clear up fallen leaves and compost them
  • Plant tulips and hyacinths
  • Dig over vacant soil and spread a thick layer of compost

 

How to secure your garden

Garden security is important all year round, but the risk of garden theft becomes a particular problem in winter as the number of daylight hours decreases. A few simple changes can add some much needed protection.

Front Garden

A secure front garden can also help protect your home from a break-in.

  • Make sure the front of your house is visible from the road.
  • Fences, hedges and gates shouldn’t be more than 1 metre high.
  • Use gravel for driveways, as they are noisy.
  • Fit security lighting.
  • Make sure your house is alarmed.
Don't make it easy for thieves to get in your garden

Don’t make it easy for thieves to get in your garden

Gates

  • Wooden gates are easy to climb, cover cross members with panelling so it isn’t so easy to climb
  • Wrought iron gates are difficult to climb and may be a better deterrent.
  • Use two locks if possible.

Fences

Fences offer vital protection from thieves, helping to keep them out.

  • A garden fence should be over 2 meters tall to help keep garden thieves out.
  • Add trellis to your fencing, as anyone attempting to use this to climb will surely break it and fall.
  • Plant spikey leaf plants and bushed along your fence.

Garden equipment

  • Don’t leave any equipment out in your garden, this will be stolen or used as a method to break into your home.
  • Mark your postcode and house number on all of your equipment and expensive garden items with ultraviolet pen or engrave.

Garden sheds

Keep your garden shed securely locked

Keep your garden shed securely locked

Garden sheds and garages are vulnerable to theft. The value of the contents of a garden shed can easily reach into the thousands of pounds, so it is important to keep them as secure as possible.

  • Make sure your garden shed is always locked.
  • Fit a heavy duty lock, for the best protection.
  • If your shed has windows, board them up.
  • Fit your shed/garage with its own alarm system.
  • Consider upgrading your existing wooden shed to a stronger, more secure metal shed.

For more information on garden security visit http://www.asgardsss.co.uk

Do gardening programmes make gardening look easy?

Gardening programmes on the TV have been blamed for making gardening appear easy, especially when it comes to growing vegetables. This is said to have resulted in a number of allotment holders being evicted from their plots.

With the price of food increasing, many people have taken to growing their own food or at least attempting to. I am one of those people, I have yet to venture further than herbs, chillies and tomatoes but it’s a start!

Many amateur gardeners have been fooled into thinking that growing your own food is easy and doesn’t take much effort. This has led to a large number of allotment holders being evicted from their unkempt plots.

Growing vegetables isn't as easy as TV makes out.

Growing vegetables isn’t as easy as TV makes out.

Any keen gardener will know the sheer amount of graft necessary to maintain a successful vegetable plot. Gardeners who have little experience are becoming down heartened and are giving up their plots to the weeds and because of this a record number of plot holders are being evicted for leaving their soil unworked.

Chairman of The Allotments & Gardens Council, Reg Knowles said “Unfortunately people watch the gardening presenters on TV and don’t really see how they have a paid team working seven days a week on their plot. When they realise they have to do all the work themselves, it’s a lot and you have to be able to put the time in.”

There is a misconception that allotments are easy to maintain. Before taking on an allotment plot it is important to make sure you are aware of the work and effort involved.  The average plot needs around 8 hours of work a week, which for many may seem like too much.

If you already have an allotment, make sure your tools are protected and stored securely. Read our article on allotment theft, for tips on how to keep your allotment secure. For a secure allotment shed, take a look at the Asgard garden sheds.

How much does is cost when you are the victim of garden crime?

Each time there is a crime in your garden it costs over £600

The average home insurance claim for items stolen from the garden has now reached £620, as one in 12 over-50s say they have been affected by the crime.

According to analysis of claims submitted to Saga Home Insurance, the worth of garden items lost through theft or damage is going up.

It is estimated that two-thirds of the UK population keep things ranging from barbeques and garden furniture to gnomes and water features outside of their homes.

In the over-50s this figure rises to eight in ten people and the study found that many of them feel their garden is a place to relax and escape from the world.

Roger Ramsden, Chief Executive of Saga Services, said: “With the average garden insurance claim costing around £620 I would encourage keen gardeners to ensure they have the peace of mind of insurance cover for their precious garden possessions.”

Gardens are particularly important to the over-50s with 13 per cent of them stating their outside space as a reason for not moving house.

beat garden crime.

Summer gardening tips

Follow these tips to help keep your plants in full health during a hot summer spell.

Don’t over fertilise

The stronger your plant, the better it can withstand the stress of hot temperatures. Make sure you fertilise the soil before planting.

Choose plants that are heat resistant of have an extensive root system

By choosing plants with a hardier root system, your summer garden will get off on the right foot. These type of plants will also need watering less often.

Use shade cloth

This can be used to protect young fragile seedlings, or can be used to give larger plants a break from the heat.

Mulch

Mulch is important for retaining fertility, moisture and nutrients in the soil. Mulch also helps to protect the soil from UV light. Grass, hay and newspaper can all be used as mulch.

Water Butts

I know in the UK some areas haven’t seen rain for a number of weeks, but a water butt is still a good investment. Water butts capture rain water, which you can then use to water your garden. This gives you a cost effective and environmentally friendly way to water your garden.

A metal storage shed – a ‘must-have’ for Allotment Growers

Do you have an allotment?

Over a quarter of a million people in the UK currently hold an allotment plot.  Allotment gardening has always been a popular option for those of you who don’t mind getting their hands dirty in soil and spend time nurturing flowers and vegetable plants, but may not always have the space in their garden.  Apart from providing low cost food, they also provide valuable recreational opportunities involving healthy activity and social contacts.

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How does your garden grow?

Taking on an allotment plot is not all hard work; it can have many advantages, providing fresh home grown vegetables, fruit and flowers for you and your family, free from artificial additives and at a fraction of that you would have expected to pay in a supermarket or greengrocer.

There is also the social side, meeting new friends with similar interests and enabling you to enjoy a healthy outdoor life with gentle exercise and a place to relax and unwind.

Did you know: The first legislative reforms date back to the Enclosures Act of 1845. Today, the Council has a statutory requirement to provide allotments for the public.

Is your allotment secure?

As many allotments are independently or council owned, they will often have different levels of security.  Many allotment sites suffer from vandalism and theft, from minor incidents such as disappearing Fruit and Veg, ranging to major incidents where sheds located on one site have been broken into and vandalism, smashing of glass in greenhouses, breaking tools, dumping rubbish and damaging frames.

Keep your tools under lock and key 

Always try and keep all your gardening tools locked up and out of sight in allotment huts and sheds.  Not only do they provide shelter from the rain for expensive tools, gardening equipment and clothing, they provide much needed security for your allotment.

Secure Storage units for your allotments

If you need a secure storage unit installed in your allotment, you can choose from a range of metal storage sheds from Asgard in various sizes according to your needs.  The Asgard Addition is a popular choice for many gardens and allotments due to its compact size and multi-purpose storage space.  Built from our tough, galvanised (weather proof) steel with an integral metal floor and convenient large double door access this unit features an excellent 3-point locking system.

Asgard Addition storage unit

Asgard Addition storage unit – Great for allotment storage!

Smart and stylish, the Asgard Addition metal shed unit is available in a choice of 3 colours – dark green, ivory and brown enabling you to match the unit to your environment, and ensure your allotment is looking neat and tidy.

Top Tip: We recommend that you check the area available to install your shed before installation, and confirm with the allotment regulations before installation.

Want to grow your own?

Whether you are budding vegetable grower or a seasoned gardener, visit the Allotment diaries website for more ideas on making the most of your allotment.  For a ‘Plot Holders’ Guide’ from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) click here.

To view our full range of outdoor storage units and unit sizes, visit our website http://www.asgardsss.co.uk for further details.  We also offer free delivery and an installation service is also available for added convenience.