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Team at MyGardenSchool

Planting Broad Beans Now


As broad beans are frost hardy, it’s easy to grow them through the winter, either outside or under the cover of a garden frame. So I’m giving it a go planting them now. I don’t have an enormous amount of space for them in the rather crowded vegetable bed – so I’m growing a dwarf variety.

MyGardenSchool's Broad Beans

My Broad Beans - Ready to Plant

Broad beans are actually one of the oldest vegetables grown by humans dating back to 6,500 BC, however up until recently broad beans were not grown as a vegetable but as a cattle food. Luckily that is no more, broad beans are such a fantastic tasting vegetable yet they are so incredibly easy to grow.

The seeds are large, they germinate fast, no special care or attention is required, they’re quickly ready for harvesting and a very easy vegetable to grow. You should dig the spot where you plan to grow broad beans incorporating well rotted manure or compost while digging. The spot should be in a sunny location in soil that is free draining. They will grow well in most soil types but for a larger crop better conditions are required.

Sow seeds 8 inches apart in rows that are twelve inches apart. You may wish to sow some extra seeds in a seedbed or containers indoors to fill the gaps where the seeds do not germinate successfully.

I’ll report back on how we get on with ours – maybe with a timelapse video so you can see how they’re fairing.

MyGardenSchool Loves This Thinking on Education


At MyGardenSchool we pride ourselves on pioneering and being ahead of the game on the latest educational thinking and techniques. We’re designing our courses to help people enjoy as well as absorb fascinating information about horticulture and gardening. See (
MyGardenSchool Courses
). Learning should be fun. We like this vid..

Happy Halloween! Check out this Pumpkin vid


Vodpod videos no longer available.

We like this pumpkin chaos. Frantic lesson in how to carve a pumpkin.

Pumpkin Carving 101
Depending on your local weather conditions during the month of October, an un-treated, carved pumpkin can have a life span any were of from a week to only a day.

The best way to make a carved pumpkin last longer is to slow down the dehydration process and deter the on-set of mold. When pumpkins shrivel up, it’s because they have lost moisture.

You can sometimes restore them back to their original condition by soaking them in water overnight.

One technique is to coat all cut surfaces of the pumpkin with Vaseline immediately after they have been carved. This includes a light coating of the entire inside of the pumpkin. If you can’t do the whole inside, at least try to coat the design that you’ve cut into the pumpkin.

The Vaseline acts as a barrier to seal in the pumpkins internal moisture to help slow down the dehydration process of the pumpkin. You can use a finger to coat the eyes, nose and mouth but you may want to use a paper towel with Vasoline on it to coat the inside. It’s less messy that way.

Because of the amount of pumpkins we carve for Halloween, we usually carve most, if not all the pumpkins one or two days before Halloween. Because temperature, particularly heat, it is important to move the pumpkins to a dry, shaded area during the day. This will help to extend there life. If you have a spare refrigerator, you can empty it out and keep them in it over night to slow down decomposition.

Top Ten Garden Tasks for Autumn


The Abbey Gardens, Dorchester

1. Tidy up!

Autumn is a great time for those who love wielding the clippers – all that summer growth will need a trim back now to keep the garden tidy. But many off-cuts will strike well in the humidity right now so think about planting some of your cuttings out into pots.

2. Dig out the debris

Remove plant debris and diseased leaves from flowers and vegetable patches. Dig up the annuals – plants that last only a season – and put them on the compost heap. Flowering perennials – plants that spring up year after year from their roots – should be cut back. Remove yellowing or dead leaves or flowers before rot develops and remove any weeds hidden under the plant foliage.

3. Start composting

Winter gives cuttings and leaves a chance to break down and produce nutrient-rich compost, which will be ready for boosting the garden in the new year. Now is also a really good time to turn your compost heap. It will heat up nicely and then gently rot over winter.

4. Embrace autumn colour

Deciduous trees, such as acers, will provide lovely autumn colours from foliage, bark and berries. Autumn flowers such as crocus and amaryllis add colour, too. Cyclamens come in white and a range of pink shades with glossy green leaves, and add a welcome dash of vibrancy.

5. Plant for the future

This is a good time of year to plant spring bulbs, such as daffodils and tulips, and new perennials – the soil is still warm but moisture levels are increasing. There is still time for plants to establish themselves before the real cold sets in. This is also a good time of year to plant or move shrubs and trees to allow them to anchor down before the growing season. Reflect on what was and was not successful in this year’s planting scheme so that you can adapt your plans for next year.

6. Venture into the interior

Ventilate conservatories during the remaining warmer days to prevent soaring temperatures, but reduce ventilation once the cooler, windy autumn weather sets in. Use shading paint or blinds to help to keep them cool. However, as light levels fall, reduce the shading as well as the watering of any houseplants.

7. Love your lawn

For a lovely lawn next spring, start to mow less frequently and raise the height of the grass as the growth rate slows down. Scarify your lawn by raking out dead grass and moss that has built up over the summer. Follow this with applying an high-potassium autumn lawn feed, which will release the correct balance of nutrients throughout the winter.

8. Cover up the furniture

When there is no more need for garden furniture, store it in the shed or garage to protect it from the winter weather and allow it to dry out. If you can’t do this, cover it with a tough waterproof sheet securely fixed down, taking care to allow plenty of air to circulate so that the furniture is not damp all winter. Wooden items, such as benches or pergolas, may benefit from a treatment of chemical preservative.

9. Give wildlife a hand

Encourage birds into the garden by providing extra food. Place the feeder near a tall shrub, fence or mature tree to provide protection from predators. Plant berry-bearing plants for an extra source of food for birds and other wildlife. Firethorn, rowan and holly plants are recommended.

10. Protect your pond

Cover your pond with a net to stop falling leaves polluting the water, but make sure you clean it regularly to prevent the net from sinking into the pond. If it contains fish ensure that they can continue to breathe by preventing the water from freezing. Make sure the pond is at least 8ft deep because fish live in the deepest levels during the winter months.

Quirky gardening vid.


Gardyn
– Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

At MyGardenSchool, as well as being the hotspot for learning everything about gardening online, we love to spot gardening related quirkiness. This one is nice. This is the creation of a chap called Pogo. You might (or might not!) remember Pogo from his video’s such as Alice or Upular, where he takes old Disney movies and creates songs from samples he takes. Not sure the middle of the music/gardening venn diagram is awfully well trafficked – so to the two of you who know what I’m on about – hoorah! To the rest of you, just feel all warm inside in the knowledge that gardens are inspiring places to make tunes! This is a music video where a guy has shot footage and taken sounds from his mother’s garden and used her voice to create this eclectic video called ‘Gardyn’.

Check out this nifty guide for planting bulbs (how deep and when)