Garden Ideas

Picking the right lawn mower for a community garden

Picking the right lawn mower for a community garden is no easy task because they’re so many different things to consider that you really going to be in to a pitfall of issues. Overall if we think about what we have got to consider there’s the fact that you need to make sure that they spend the right amount of money because there’s other people to consider, you need to think about how big the lawnmower needs to be in and how big the grass area is. You also need to consider things like how difficult the lawn is to navigate. If you’ve got a great big flat area of grass then we really ought to be going to go with the ride on lawn mower, but say you’ve got a load of trees in between that might not be so easy.

But then that said, if it’s a really big garden and then you’re going to really need to have a really big lawn mower and then have a strimmer as well. So many different permutations here makes it almost impossible to understand exactly what community garden lawn mower you should buy. So I am really hoping we can go through some of the best issues that come and I’ll be to pick a car community lawn mower.

My community garden is really big and flat, what lawnmower should I go for?

When the situation arises your community garden is a big flat surface area than there’s no doubt in my mind; go for a ride on lawn mower because you’ll get the job done the most quickly and efficiently. The only thing you have to consider is ride on lawn mowers cost from as little as £800 which is a serious investment. If there’s a lot of people than you split that cost up then it seems to make a lot of sense. But would that said the £800 ride on lawn mower is at the bottom end of the market and it’s not exactly a high quality piece of equipment. If you’ve got an awful lot of garden to do it actually makes much better sense to spend a couple of thousand pounds and get a really good model to go through the grass really quickly.

Because you’ve got also got to consider that you’ve got to get through all of that really tough grass and that the blades could be dulled and damage really easily. But if you’ve got high quality piece of equipment then you’re going to get blades that really stay sharp and that’s going to help you to get the glass cut really quickly. You have also got to consider someone has got to ride that lawnmower and it’s going to cost money as well. So if they can get the job done quickly and then they will actually save you money with a high quality piece of equipment. The other option that you’ve got is that you could go with the a high quality power petrol lawnmower but the problem is the amount of time that you spend lawn mower is large if the lawn is pretty huge. And if someone’s got to be paid to do it, then there’s no pay back whatsoever.

Large garden but a lot of trees in the communal area

Following on from the comment I made recently about petrol lawnmower, I would actually say that in this situation and petrol lawnmower is the way to go because you can navigate much more easily and quickly. If you got a lot of trees to get round there’s an awful lot of debris on the floor and it means they’re being able to coordinate hand to a much more efficiently means that you’re going to end up not damaging the blades. Damaging the blade is the biggest worry as when you have got a lot of trees around because of the fallen leaves and branches, It means that the damage is really quick and therefore you don’t know it’s going to happen and so you get yourself into a situation whereby you find yourself with the lawnmower just simply doesn’t work.

What about a robotic lawnmower to save on garden lawn mowing fees?

Mcculloch ROB 1000 Robotic Lawn Mower
Mcculloch ROB 1000 Robotic Lawn Mower

The wildcard option for a communal lawnmower is a robotic version. I’ve actually tested the Mcculloch ROB 1000 Robotic Lawn Mower and this was because it was provided to me by for a quick trial run. I must say that was highly impressed by this piece of equipment and it was very handy because it actually recharges itself and it meant that I didn’t actually have to do anything at all and I just left the thing alone for a couple of weeks and at all times my garden lawn stayed perfectly trimmed and tidy the only problem with it is that this particular version can only do up to 1000 square metres and that’s obviously not really ideal if you’ve got a really big garden. They do to a bigger version so it’s worth considering the fact that you don’t have to pay out any maintenance fees as well and that’s a big deal with specially if you’ve got a group of people that are making the payments but when you consider the thing is over £700 in two significant investment. It makes the perfect lawn mower for a community garden.

read more
Flower GardenVegetable Garden

Tips For Using Natural Pesticides In Your Garden

Whether you want to create a flower and plant gardens for beautify or want to grow edible plants, avoiding chemical pesticides is a good idea. In this article, we provide some excellent tips on using natural pesticides in your garden

You can learn how to use natural pesticides in your garden and avoid the excessive use of dangerous chemicals that have an impact on the environment and your own health. There are many ways to avoid the use of these chemicals that are not only dangerous but also quite expensive, adding greatly to the cost of your gardening projects.

Whether you want to create a flower and plant gardens for beautify or want to grow edible plants, avoiding chemical pesticides is a good idea. Chemical pesticides kill all insects, both the ones that are bad for your garden and those that are beneficial. Other wildlife that may eat from your garden, even if they are unwelcome visitors, can be killed by these pesticides as well. Even though you don’t want these creatures in your garden, you probably have no desire to end their lives. Also, if you grow plants as food sources, chemicals can enter the plants and have the potential to cause cancer and other health problems. Water can be contaminated by the improper use of chemical pesticides; impacting the environment that everyone depends on to survive.

There is a broad spectrum of solutions to use in your garden to remove and discourage insects that can damage your plants. Some of these involve planting plants that cause insects to seek other places to live while others involve the application of a natural solution or compound.

One way to use natural pesticides in your garden is to purchase non-detergent insect-discouraging soaps. These inexpensive alternatives to chemical pesticides are based on a combination of naturally occurring plant extracts that deter the bugs from feasting on your plants. Another choice is to add one teaspoon of liquid dishwashing detergent to one gallon of water and spray this solution on your plants. You can also use dishwater that has already been used to wash your dishes for this purpose. A strong stream of water from a hose can dislodge insects; just be sure the force is not so great that it will harm the plants also.

Purchase hot pepper sprays that use the extracts of pepper to act as an insecticide. This natural product will not harm the environment but will deter insects and many animals from eating the plants. The residue from this spray will be washed away when you wash any food products that come from your garden. If you use this solution on flowers and then cut the flowers for home decorating, be sure to wear gloves and not to place your hands near your eyes, mouth or nose or you may be in for a hot surprise. To create a similar solution at home, place one cup of fresh, crushed or sliced hot peppers into a boiler with about two quarts of water. Boil the peppers for 30 minutes or more to extract the hot oils from the peppers. Strain and place in a spray bottle, adding water to create one gallon. Spray the plants with this solution when there will be time for the pepper solution to dry on the plant. This can work very well to deter pests of all kinds.

Garlic-based natural pesticides are also available. This product is sprayed on plants to discourage pests and can be quite effective. Adding the juice of several large garlic cloves to a gallon of water can be effective also. It may not smell great to you, but the pests feel the same way and will stay away.

You can grow plants in your garden that will deter many insects. These plants are often useful as well. For example, if you want to keep ants away, plant mint and then use it as an herb or make tea from the harvested mint. Tansy and pennyroyal work well in fighting ants as well.

If you have roses, aphids can be a problem. They can attack other plants as well. Plant mint, garlic, chives, coriander or anise around the plants and aphids will be discouraged. If mice tend to be a problem in your garden, plant some onions. They’ll be great to eat and the mice will stay away from them. These plants make nice border plants for a vegetable or herb garden too.

If you are growing beans or other plants that bean leaf beetles attack, plant onions or turnips to deter these pests. Another bean pest, the Mexican bean beetle, doesn’t like onions, garlic, radishes, petunias and marigolds. The Colorado potato bug can be driven away by planting coriander and nasturtiums. If you grow tomatoes, the hornworm is a likely invader that can wreak havoc. Marigolds, sage and borage will drive these pests away from your juicy red fruits. The cucumber beetle doesn’t like radishes or tansy. Cabbage worms avoid mint, sage, rosemary and hyssop.

Slugs can damage a garden, whether vegetables, decorative plants or flowers. These pests will stay away if you plant prostrate rosemary which stays close to the ground and makes a nice ground cover border. Slugs also avoid wormwood.

The insect known as a stink bug can infest any type of garden. Drive them away from your plants by planting radishes. Spider mites can be deterred by adding onions, garlic, cloves or chives to your garden.
Marigolds, attractive as flowering plants, are effective against several types of insects and even nematodes. Root nematodes will not be prevalent if you plant the French variety. The squash bug will avoid these plants as well as radish, tansy and nasturtiums. Thrips and whiteflies also avoid marigolds.

As you can see, there are ways to use natural pesticides in your garden. These natural alternatives are good for your garden and good for the environment. They are also much less expensive and much safer than chemical pesticides and insecticides.

read more
FertiliserVegetable Garden

Seaweed Fertiliser Explained

Since the dawn of time, mankind has always been on the lookout for new ways to do things. It’s no different in gardening. All over the world, gardeners have constantly invented better and better methods for improving the quality and quantity of the large variety of flowers and plants in their gardens. Mind you, not

However, one that did gave birth to a product that is commonly referred to today as a seaweed fertiliser. In simple terms, this was the successful adaptation of seaweed as a natural soil fertiliser, especially in Great Britain and other European countries. What makes seaweed such an invaluable product is that it possesses unique qualities. Consider this. It is loaded with essential trace minerals and growth hormones that encourage plants to thrive and prosper. With only a small amount of cellulose in its system, grinding it is an easy task. And, if that’s not enough, seaweed does not share any known diseases with any land-based plant.

For these reasons, it’s not surprising that organic gardeners, whose numbers worldwide continue to increase by the day, have popularised and continue to use algae fertilisers in their home gardens in large quantities. They wanted something that is all-natural and plant-based, something that would not harm the environment and does not have the negative connotations that the major brand name chemical fertilisers carry with them.

So, how do you use this wonderful product in your home garden? Well, you can apply it as mulch by adding it directly to your soil and positioning it around your plants. It will break down fairly quickly, the likely reason being that seaweed is about 90% water.

Good gardeners also add seaweed to their compost heap or bin and swear that the humus generated is even richer and more friable than in a “traditional” compost. I can vouch for this as this has been my experience as well (not that I’m claiming to be such a good gardener).

Seaweed Fertiliser

Other gardeners turn the seaweed into a liquid fertiliser by letting it dissolve in some kind of suitable container before feeding their plants. Because this method may not be the ideal way to do it and also because of the high salt content in seaweed, you may be better off with an organic commercial product. Seaweed fertiliser is available in powder form as well and can be dissolved and used as a foliar spray.

However you decide to use seaweed fertiliser, you will end up with soil so fertile in your home garden that you will produce a crop full of healthy and beneficial vitamins and minerals in no time at all.

read more
Wild Garden

Wild Garden at home

There would be little point having a garden alive with birds, butterflies and frogs if you can’t enjoy it. A wildlife friendly garden needs to be people friendly too. So when you are planning your garden, think of what you want to use it for.

Will you be entertaining friends with barbecues in the summer? Do you need to think about ensuring the garden is safe for children? Do you need some lawn for sunbathing? Write down all of the different ways in which you will use your garden as well as some ideas about the features you want to have to attract wildlife. Then visit the outdoor room page to see how you can put it together to create a place that will really bring you closer to nature.


Create a journey around your garden with paths. This will encourage you to explore your garden and make the most of it. Paths can be made from paving slabs, stone and gravel, or they can be wide strips of grass. Straight paths encourage you to move from one area to another quickly, so windy paths will encourage you take your time as you walk around.

Perhaps a gravel path is the most attractive in a wildlife friendly garden. Simply dig out the path from its surroundings to a depth of no more than 10cm and then compact the soil by walking over it many times. Then lay down some weed suppressing material and tip in some gravel to bring the path up to the height of its surroundings. This will create an informal and relaxing path in your garden with the gravel spilling out in to its surroundings.

Creating more sophisticated paths requires a good practical understanding of basic building techniques. The RHS practicals book on paths and paving is a good place to look for more detailed advice.

Compost Heaps

Composting your food and kitchen waste is a great way to recycle whilst also making compost, which is beneficial to your plants and soil.

Composting is the easiest way to make your garden grow more beautiful, encourage wildlife and create a mini ecosystem.

Raised Beds

Tending vegetable patches requires a lot of bending and lifting. If you are less agile than you used to be or are a wheelchair user, creating raised beds can make gardening much easier. Raised beds are also useful if your garden gets waterlogged, because it lifts the roots of the plants out of all that damp soil.

A raised bed can be created by knocking together old scaffolding boards, floorboards or pieces of decking. All you need to do is measure out your raised bed with string, hammer some wide stakes into the ground, cut your lengths of wood to fit and nail them to the stakes. Then fill your raised bed with compost or top soil from a trustworthy source. Avoid any peat-based composts as these have been made from peat that has often been taken from some special places for wildlife. Once the soil has settled, you can plant your raised bed with vegetables of flowers.

Outdoor room

If you’ve got a list of how you want to use your garden and the features you want to create to attract wildlife and grow food, you can make a simple plan so you can make the most of the space you have. The plan does not have to be like one a garden designer would do. A simple drawing will be just as good for most gardens.

When making your plan, try to divide the garden into different areas for different uses, like the different rooms in your house. You might have an area for sitting and eating, a patch of lawn to lie on, flower beds to walk among, raised beds for vegetables and perhaps a pond for frogs and toads. Try to fit these together, creating different outdoor rooms. You can then think about linking the outdoor rooms together with paths and dividing them with hedges and climbing plants. A series of functional, wildlife friendly outdoor rooms are possible in even the smallest city garden.

Sitting areas

Sitting areas are vital if you are going to enjoy all of the wildlife you are attracting to your garden. So make sure you place seats where there will be something to see. This could be next to your wildlife pond or with a good view towards a bird table or butterfly border. Make sure that wherever you place your seating, it will be comfortable for you too. So think about whether you want a sunny spot to rest in or a shady hideaway.

You can buy all sorts of seating from garden centres and DIY stores, from simple park style benches to ornamental arbours. If you buy a wooden garden furniture, check that is made from timber harvested from well managed forests. Look for the FSC logo.

You can make a simple and attractive bench using two logs and a flat piece of timber. Simply cut the logs to equal lengths and screw the flat length of timber to the top. This sort of bench is perfect for next to a pond or under a tree.

read more
Grow Grain

Cereals we grow

Used since the beginning of time to nourish both man and animals, cereals are now produced in enormous quantities. Which plants do they come from? How are they consumed ? Let’s find out a bit more about this subject.

A Bit of Botany

Botanically, cereals are part of the Poaceae or Gramineae family, commonly called “grasses”. They are herbaceous plants which grow in tufts and produce edible grains. The most common of these are rice, wheat, oats, spelt, wheat, barley, rye, corn and millet. Only buckwheat (Polygonaceae), quinoa ( Goosefoot) and sesame (Pedaliaceae) are not part of this big family.

Worldwide Production

In France, almost 10 million hectares are used to produce cereals, notably wheat, corn and barley. This is, however, way behind China, the U.S., and India, who are the world’s biggest producers.

The Most Widely Grown Cereals


Common wheat is one of the oldest cultivated cereals. It occupies almost half of the surface area used for cereals in France,

and for good reason : the famous French bread is made from it ! It is also used as animal feed and for the starch industry.

Durum wheat (Tritucum durum ) is very rich in protein and sensitive to cold weather, resists drought very well and can be grown in very dry conditions. The seed, which is very tough, can only be consumed when it is transformed into semolina, and then used for making pasta and couscous.


This Mexican plant, which was imported by the Conquistadors, was the basic food for pre-colombian civilisations. Today it is the world’s most cultivated cereal, grown for its ears of sweet grains, which are rich in starch. It is also much used for animal feed. It has been the object of many genetic modifications, often denounced, which are subject to regulation in France today.


This is the first cereal in the world to be grown for human consumption. Ninety percent of production comes from Asia, where the monsoon seasons provide optimal growing conditions. Wild rice, which is grown in the Camargue region in France, has a more pronounced taste. Rice is a basic foodstuff for much of the world’s population, especially in Asia, Africa and South America.


This plant, grown and consumed widely in the north of Europe, thrives in cold, humid areas. It is eaten in the form of flakes (in muesli, for example) or biscuits. It is the main foodstuff for horses.


Originally from the Middle East, this cereal is transformed into flour for human consumption. It is also much used for feeding animals. It is not very widely known that it is also used for thatching roofs and for stuffing furniture.


This name groups together several species of plants which have very small grains (pearl millet, common millet, sorghum, ..) and are grown in very dry regions of Africa and Asia. Eaten in the form of mash or pancakes, millet is a very nutritive and energy-giving food.


This is the world’s oldest cultivated cereal. It grows just as well in a tropical climate as in the high Tibetian plains, where it remains the basic foodstuff. It is grown for both human and animal consumption, but it is especially used in the brewing industry where, once malted, it is transformed into beer.


This cereal is suited to a moderate climate and poor soil. It is a basic foodstuff for central European countries where it is eaten in the form of flour (in pancakes and blinis) or just as it is. It is also a very melliferous plant, used in beekeeping. Once cut, it is used as animal fodder.

read more