Garden Guru

Garden Guru is a series of tips and advice for gardeners of all abilities, we hope it answers some frequently asked gardening questions. So if you have a question please feel free to get in touch at info@thegardenhouse.ie and check back here regularly as we grow our topic list.

Choosing the right pot

The right pot or container is crucial to matching your style and ability to care for your plant properly. Plants need to have enough room to grow and for roots to develop. They also need good drainage. You need to think about the style of your garden, how a new pot will fit with the current colour or materials already being used.

Follow the tips below to choose the right pot for you and your plant:

Size

  • Re-pot plants in a pot that’s one size bigger than they are currently growing in Choose a pot that’s big enough to comfortably fit all of the plants you want to grow, now and in future (you can check how large they will grow by checking the individual plant labels)

Drainage

  • Always choose a pot with drain holes at the bottom, good drainage is essential in our climate (tip: add some potting grit before your compost to help with drainage)
  • If you find it difficult to keep pots watered regularly, consider buying a pot with a saucer underneath

Material

  • Plants are rarely fussy about what kind of pot you use and we have a lot of choice available now in traditional terracotta, glazed or contemporary plastics.
  • Select a pot that you like the look of and that matches the style and colours in your garden
  • Some traditional clay or terracotta pots can be very heavy when filled with compost. Consider whether you may want or need to move the pot in the future.

For more hints and tips, see our FAQs or contact us on 01 531 2020 or info@thegardenhouse.ie

Feeding and watering pots

Plants that are grown in containers or pots tend to dry out quicker as pots don’t store much moisture. In general they need more regular watering and feeding than those grown in the soil and the optimum time to do this is early morning or late evening. They can’t extend their roots into the ground to search for moisture or nutrients. They rely on us to meet these needs for them.

 

Watering

Most plants in pots need slightly moist soil in order to thrive. During hot temperatures you may need to water your pots and containers every day to keep them thriving.

One way to reduce the risk of under-watering is to plant your pots and containers in our Gro-sure container compost  which contains water retaining gel granules which soak up water and release it gradually when the plant is in need. Often times these composts have feed included, which means you don’t have to worry about this for the first twelve weeks.

 

Feeding

As a general rule, pots and containers should be fed at least every two weeks from March until  September. We stock a number of plant foods and can advise you on which one to use for your particular needs. Tip: If you want to boost the flowering at the end of its season, switch to a plant food with higher potassium content, such as tomato food.

For more hints and tips, see our FAQs or contact us on 01 531 2020 or info@thegardenhouse.ie

How to test your soil

If you’re new to gardening, one of the first things to do before you start planting is to establish what sort of soil you have.

If your soil is acidic, it means that different plants will thrive, including ericaceous (acid-loving) plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias. If your soil is more alkaline, then ericaceous plants will struggle to grow in your garden unless you grow them in pots using our Gro-sure Ericaceous compost.

The easiest way to do this is to go to invest in a soil testing kit or bring some of your soil along to us and we can tell you the pH level of your soil. Alternatively, you can get a good indication by looking at other gardens in your neighbourhood to see what’s thriving in your area!

If you want to test your own soil, follow these simple steps:

Step 1

Dig a hole in the garden soil about 10cm (4 inches) deep. Take a small amount of soil from the bottom of the hole and place inside the test tube up to the first level.

Step 2

Open the capsule and carefully tip the contents onto the soil in the test tube.

Step 3

Top with rainwater to the fourth level

Step 4

Shake well and allow the mixture to settle.

Match the colour of the liquid with the easy to use pH chart which comes with the test.

To purchase a soil testing kit and for more hints and tips, see our FAQs or contact us on 01 531 2020 or info@thegardenhouse.ie

Pests and Diseases

Even the most experienced gardeners suffer with garden pests and plant diseases. You can keep these problems to a minimum by following good gardening practices.

We offer a range of solutions for various pests and diseases, both chemical and organic. If you experience an issue in your garden, call in to see one of our knowledgeable team. It would be useful if you can bring along some photos or a sample of the problem so we can try to identify the likely cause and recommend the most suitable course of action.

You can also phone us on 01 5312020 or email us at info@thegardenhouse.ie

How to care for the birds in summer

Even in the summer, birds need a helping hand in the garden.

Food shortages can happen at any time of year, even in the height of summer and if this happens while young birds are still small, it could harm their ability to survive. Also, by providing them with some food during the Summer months, you will retain your resident feathered friends and prevent them from going elsewhere to forage.

It’s best to provide a high protein food that will support the development of birds and assist with their moulting process during the hot summer months. We stock a wide range of feeders and types of bird feed mix so you can choose the best one for your garden and the birds in your area.

The warm weather makes it all the more important to practice good hygiene, so make sure you have a bird feeder that you can easily take apart and clean.  Also provide a plenty supply of clean water, to ensure your garden birds have enough to drink and don’t become dehydrated. This is especially important during very hot weather.

If you want any birdcare advice you can always ask our experts on 01 531 2020 or info@thegardenhouse.ie

How to kill weeds in your lawn

Never use a regular weedkiller on your lawn. Sure it will kill your weeds, but it will also kill your grass, leaving you with bare patches!

The most effective way to ensure you eliminate them completely is to use a weedkiller which has been developed specifically for lawns, like Resolva Lawn Weedkiller.

This powerful weedkiller is easy to use and gets straight to the roots of the weed, but doesn’t affect your grass, leaving you free to get on with the mowing!

Alternately for a triple-action solution a lawn weed, feed and moss killer, such as Aftercut All in One.  This will kill weeds as well as moss on your whole lawn as well as green at the same time.

How to kill weeds on your path or patio

Sometimes weeds get into awkward spots where it’s hard to get them, such as in between paving and on gravel areas. If you don’t get all of the root, it will simply grow back in just a few weeks.

For these areas use Resolva Path and Patio Weedkiller which is specially formulated for those hard to reach spots. It gets right down the root, killing the weed quickly and permanently. It also leaves no nasty residues and doesn’t stain!

For advice on weeds you can always ask our experts on 01 531 2020 or info@thegardenhouse.ie

How to look after your lawn in the summer

Summer time is the best time to enjoy the lawn but it can also take a toll on your grass.

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to keep your lawn looking good throughout the summer season and with the right tools and treatments at your fingertips, you can’t go wrong.

Hot and dry weather can quickly affect the appearance and overall health of your grass, so moisture is key!

Don’t forget to enjoy the lawn during the summer months! It’s the perfect place to host garden parties, barbecues and to enjoy the great outdoors while the weather is warm and the rest of the garden is looking good. We also stock a great range of Barbecues and outdoor furniture to make the most of the summer. For more information you can always ask our experts on 01 531 2020 or info@thegardenhouse.ie

Don’t worry too much about damaging your lawn, it is there to be enjoyed and as long as you follow the advice below, it will bounce back quickly.

Mow your lawn regularly

You will now probably need to increase the regularity with which you mow your lawn.

If the conditions are ideal for growth, you may need to cut twice a week to keep it looking good. Don’t be tempted to cut the lawn too short when it is hot as this can cause damage. If you are going away on holiday, cut the lawn normally as close to your leaving date as possible. Use an edging iron to keep lawn edges neat and tidy.

Don’t forget to feed your lawn

Apply a feed to keep your lawn looking green and healthy. Aftercut 3 day green can be applied directly after mowing and can be used every 3 to 4 weeks until October. It contains a blend of nutrients to support and sustain your lawn during the season, giving you greener grass in just 3 days!

This will also protect against hot, dry weather, as a well-prepared lawn that has been properly fed and treated is better able to withstand and recover from drought.

Keep on top of weeds and moss

Small patches of weeds can be treated effectively using a selective weedkiller, such as Resolva Lawn Weedkiller.

For larger areas of weeds, or if moss is also present, apply Aftercut All in One. Lawns treated with this product in the spring may need a second application if the moss or weeds are persistent.

Keep a watch out for chewed lawn roots and patchy lawns that may indicate a problem with leather jackets and chafer grubs. These are underground larvae that feed on grass roots and be controlled using naturally occurring nematodes.

Look after new lawns

Keep newly sown lawns and freshly turfed areas well watered in dry spells.Ensure you water thoroughly, light watering can cause damage by encouraging roots to the surface.

Water at dusk and really soak the area so that the water filters through to the soil around the roots.

Start planning for a new lawn

It is not a good idea to sow a new lawn in the summer months as the soil is too dry. Postpone sowing until early autumn when your new lawn has a much better chance of success.

There’s plenty you can do in the summer to prepare for this:

Mark the area where you want to sow your new lawn with string

Kill off any weeds with Resolva 24H

Dig over the whole area, breaking up clods of soil. Incorporate sand to improve the texture of heavy clay soils

Rake over the ground so it is as level as possible.

Wait until autumn to sow your lawn.

For any lawn care advice you can always ask our experts on 01 531 2020 or info@thegardenhouse.ie

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