Decided to plant early? Here’s what you should know about frost damage:

frost damage

February is among us, which means it’s late winter. As each day gets a little lighter and longer, gardeners increasingly have the urge to get back to growing their own vegetables. Most people know the ideal season to begin gardening is spring but for those of you who have a little less patience and are eager to get started sooner, planting early is a possibility, when done in the correct way. The major advantage of planting your fruits, vegetables or flowers a little earlier is that you allow more time for your crops to grow to their full potential.

However, there are important issues to consider when it comes with planting early, especially with regards to proper precautions being taken towards protecting young plants from very low temperatures. Low temperatures cause colder air temperatures and colder soil temperatures. In locations such as the UK, this can be highly detrimental when there are uncertain weather conditions in terms of consistency.

Coldness comes and goes… what’s the big deal?

While some people may think that the once the cold weather has gone, their plants will revive and take back their healthy form, that certainly isn’t the case. Plant cells are actually damaged when temperatures drastically fluctuate, which as highlighted before can be a major issue for locations like the UK where the weather can be unpredictable throughout the day, let alone throughout the season. Repeat freezing and thawing of plants can even destroy cells and in turn prevent further growth.

There are simple ways to reduce the chances of frost damage such as selecting planting positions that avoid and reduce ‘frost pockets’ or to avoid exposing plants to early morning sunshine. However, tasks like this may seem tedious when there’s so much work and effort that goes into gardening already.

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While you can’t completely control the conditions in your garden or green-house, you can alter how your plant reacts to the cold weather conditions and have more success planting early! Our product Early Starter acts as an anti-freeze stimulation for plants, helping them to endure temperatures below 5°C. This is achieved by biologically encouraging plants to focus on root growth, resulting more strength to access nutrients that achieve more resilience to weather conditions.

For more information about Early Starter, click here.

 

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Eco-Friendly Valentine’s Day Flowers

Animated Potted Plants

Valentine’s Day is a wonderful time to show love and appreciation for the special people in our lives but this one day comes with a cost to the environment when it comes to the gift of giving. Each year people head to the shops and florists looking to buy their beloved a bouquet without considering the potential impact thousands of people buying fresh flowers could have on the environment and furthermore, whether there are better alternatives.

Environmentally, the issue with fresh cut flowers is the potential harm of pesticides from the farms they’re grown on and the use of chemical fertilisers to accommodate mass production and meet the needs of supply and demand. The cycle of environmental implications doesn’t end there, often the bouquets are then packaged in non-recyclable wrapping making even more non-eco-friendly.

We’re understand that people aren’t going to totally ditch giving flowers, so we dug up some Eco-Friendly alternatives that won’t only help save the environment but will save money and be more valuable! This Valentine’s Day, rather than spending your money on a half-dead plant that will last about a week, try these potted flower plants!

NEW EFVF

 

Quality Control – What to look out for in shop bought compost…

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The lower the price you pay for your compost, typically, you should expect the quality to match. This is due to the fact that shop bought compost is generally produced in mass and therefore less care and precautions are taken to make sure it’s up to the appropriate standard to be as effective as possible and fit for purpose. In comparison to home-made compost, you have no control over what you expect to find when you open up your bag and therefore no say in whether the compost will do the job you are wanting.

But how do you actually know whether your compost is low quality? Surely price isn’t the only determining factor. While price is a major determining factor, mostly because the ingredients required for manufacturers to compost their raw materials can be costly, they can often omit the sufficient amount required to fully allow the raw materials to transform. Between meeting the needs of supply and demand and shifting product that has a shelf life, quality isn’t always at the top of the list of priorities of compost manufacturers, despite what they might officially tell us. The simple solution might seem to be to pay more but before you consider spending more money, you need to know what signs to look for to show you that your shop bought compost isn’t up to scratch…

Common characteristics include:

  • Dampened moisture
  • Ammonia odour
  • Excessive traces of un-composted sawdust, wood fibre and weed seeds.
  • Traces of waste such as plastic or glass
  • The compost isn’t fully composted

In essence, lower quality compost is more likely to have excessive amounts of the above characteristics. Although we’re not guaranteeing that if you pay more that you still won’t find some of them present in your compost. Actually, we think the best way to say no to unwanted surprises in your compost is simply to make your own. For advice and guidance on how to make your own compost and other gardening tips, make sure you stay up to date with our blog and social media content for more information.

 

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Seafeed Xtra, beyond your average seaweed fertiliser…

 

Seafeed XtraBeyond your average seaweed fertiliserSeaweed, historically, has been used as a gardening soil enhancer and is a great source of nutrients for plants. It’s known to be rich in trace elements such as zinc, iron, nitrogen and 57 other minerals that plants only require a small amount of for their general intake. Acting as a growth stimulant, it’s a popular choice among gardeners and the likes of people who wish to avoid synthetic and/or animal sourced fertilisers.  There are various things you should be considering when deciding to use a Seaweed fertiliser and this begins with first understanding how a plant’s transportation system works…

Most people believe making sure plants get the nutrients they require is a matter of watering the soil and the roots will therefore take in the nutrients from the ground, up into the transportation system, however, plants also rely on their leaf anatomy as a core method of nutrient intake.

Plant leaves are a great focal point when it comes to nutrient intake because you as a gardener control the plant’s intake of what you apply, which in this case would be Seaweed fertiliser. Whereas when relying on root nutrient intake, the plant may or may not decide to take on what it finds within the soil. In essence, applying Seaweed fertiliser to your plant’s soil could mean that you aren’t maximising the product you are using.

One of the interesting and unique factors of our product Seaweed Xtra is that it works to improve the plant’s absorption system, particularly through the leaves, by acting as a faster pathway to allow nutrients to distribute throughout the plant. That’s why we generally recommend the use of a pressure spray or foliar spray onto plant leaves (although this can also depend on what you’re using the product for) when using Seafeed Xtra as oppose to a watering can to ensure our customers maximise the plant’s intake of the the amount of product they use.

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While Seaweed fertilisers are already packed with rich elements, Seafeed Xtra a higher amount of those highly beneficial elements such as Urea, Iron and Zinc. Urea helps to kick start a plant’s growth process, Iron further assists with transporting other key elements to the plant’s core transport system and Zinc regulates the plant’s overall growth and stem elongation. Offering enhancement to the yield and quality of crops.

So whether you’re trying to grow vegetables, flowerbeds or simply trying to improve your lawn. Try Seafeed Xtra! Naturally nutrient rich with a little extra, beyond your average Seaweed Fertiliser…

Aquarium Water & Fish Poisoning

 

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Whether you’re a self-proclaimed aquarist or a fish hobbyist, at some point along the road you decided to have your very own aquarium. So, you set up the tank and got a great collection of fish but your dreams of having a fish tank have been going far from great. If you’ve experienced multiple deaths of fish in your tank, it’s time to assess the water quality.

Good water quality is the single most crucial factor when it comes to successfully maintaining a home aquarium. Poor water quality alone is responsible for more aquarium fish deaths than anything else. Essentially, if you’re ever having problems with your fish, water is the place to start.

There are many elements to consider, quite literally, in ensuring the appropriate water parameters for your fish. From the p-H levels to g-H (general hardness) and even KH (carbonate hardness) levels to the amount of Ammonia, Phosphate and Nitrate present. All of these determine the suitability of the environment for your fish and combined with fish waste and excess food can form an unpleasant home for fish to live. They also all contribute to the formation of toxins, which while they are not necessarily visible to the naked eye, contribute a great deal to the increased likelihood of fish poisoning.

Aquarium Klear is a product formulated with beneficial bacteria that digest the organic waste produced by fish, preventing the increased level of chemical waste that forms toxins.  Whilst also removing sludge, algae and green water, this product aids overall maintenance of the fish tank and reduces the amount of water changes without being detrimental to the quality of water.

Please note, this product does not act as a substitute for water changes but rather works in conjunction with less frequent water changes to help you manage the factors that can influence the health and livelihood of your fish.

Guide Dog Essential Characteristics

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When you think of a Guide Dog, you may simply think about how they are well trained to assist the blind and partially sighted in making their journeys throughout the day. What you might never have thought about is why each characteristic makes Guide Dogs great at what they do. From intelligence to being family orientated, Guide Dogs are more than just a walking companion! So we’ve compiled fact file info-graphics with a rating system generated by @pets4homes to give you and glimpse of 3 top guide dog breeds.

Intelligence is a no-brainer when it comes to a Guide Dog’s characteristics, they are essentially responsible for the safety of their owner when travelling. This intelligence makes them easy to train which is all important since they have to go through three stages of training through the @GuideDogsUK charity. That is, being walked as puppies and learning basic obedience, early training which involves avoiding obstacles and crossing roads and advanced training, being matched to a prospective owner and catering to their specific needs.

Being good with children is also another important characteristic for Guide Dogs because children themselves sometimes require them, not to mention that those who use Guide Dogs may have young family members. The dogs need to be well suited to family dynamics and that means being adaptable to children of all ages.

Cost to keep and exercise needs are also major contributing factors. This is not surprising considering Guide Dogs have to be kept in optimum health so that they can care for their owner. After the cost of training, food and health insurance can contribute greatly to the maintenance of Guide Dogs, meaning these intelligent group of dogs don’t come cheap.

In support of Guide Dogs UK, Envii donates 10% of sales from the product Pet Fresh to the charity to help raise funds and awareness to this cause. We would love for you to contribute by simply joining our #NameAPuppy competition through liking our Facebook page and sharing this post.

In the meantime, here are the top 3 Guide Dog breeds and their 5 ratings in 5 Guide Dog Essential Characteristics:

Labradors

Labrador Infographic FINAL

Golden Retrievers

Golden Retriever Infographic FINAL

German Shepard’s

German-Shepard-Infographic-FINAL

Why You Should Be Juicing These Home Grown Fruit & Vegetables #NationalGreenJuiceDay

pexels-photo-616833National Green Juice Day was established in 2016 to motivate people to maintain their health and wellness new year resolutions, especially towards the end of January. If you’re growing your own fruit and vegetables, then you might already know a thing or two about the nutritional benefits of green fruit and veggies, but have you ever considered juicing them?

First thing’s first, let’s explore the significance of juicing in the first place:

The obvious reason is that juicing helps you to increase your nutritional intake. The process of juicing extracts insoluble fibre from fruits and vegetables working to improve digestion and absorption, while cooking them on the other hand, often destroys nutrients. With all the great effort gardening your own fruit and vegetables takes, why not make the most of what you have grown.

You might be thinking that you could simply buy readymade, store bought juices but as a gardener, we’re sure you can relate to the notion that your home-grown vegetables are arguably better than grocery store vegetables. Wouldn’t the same idea apply to juices? We think it’s worth a shot.

To get you started and in light of #NationalGreenJuiceDay, we’re sharing 5 home grown green fruits and vegetables and a quick tip about why you should be juicing them:

Romaine Lettuce

If you’re not keen on the bitter taste most dark leafy greens have, romaine lettuce is a great beginner-friendly alternative juicing ingredient, a lighter green leaf without sacrificing on high levels of vitamins and antioxidants.

Kale

You don’t need a ton of kale to gain major health benefits, sneak even a small amount into other juices to enhance the nutritional boost.

Spinach

Spinach is a great powerhouse of vitamin A, to assist your immune system during the winter season. Perfect for juicing alone when you run out of cooking recipes to make use of it.

Pears

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, juicing a pear will be your go-to! Pears are one of the fruits with the highest sugar content per serving, which is fine because these are natural sugars. Add pears to your green juice mix to sweeten up the taste!

Green Apples

Say goodbye to the store-bought apple juice, most likely full of added preservatives and juice your own wholesome green apples at home. Apples are also great to mix with other fruit and vegetable juices.

 

Grow better fruit and vegetables:

If you want to start growing these fruits and vegetables to make juices, we highly recommend you try our product Early Starter. Gardening in winter can be a challenge due to low temperatures, Early Starter acts as a anti-freeze system to protect your plants and sustain their growth in temperatures as low as 5°c.

Click here to find out more.