Monthly Archives: March 2016

6 Tips For Starting A Vegetable Garden

 

Choose your ground

This is really important. You need a spot with plenty of sunshine and preferably away from long grass or other plants – this means slugs and snails will have nowhere to hide if they attack your plot.

Weed thoroughly

If you can find a spot without any weeds in the first place you’re on to a winner! Although, we know how hard this can be, so if you can’t find a weed-free plot, make sure you give it a thorough weeding!

Follow the instructions

Always read the back of your seed packets. The instructions are written by experts who want you to get the most out of their products. They’re there for a reason!

Build raised beds

Raised beds are always a better option than planting at ground-level. It gives you a huge advantage against slugs and snails and gives you better control of the soil.

Prepare your soil

We can’t stress this enough! Follow the instructions in our previous blog post  – “5 Simple Tips To Prepare Soil for Spring

Choose ‘easy’ plants

Choose some of the easier crops to grow such as salad leaves, peas, beans or potatoes. You’ll be much more likely to stick at it if you’re successful.

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Why you should be using a compost accelerator

 

Garden waste composting is nature’s way of dealing with organic waste, if you do it in the right conditions with the right amount of brown and green waste, you should end up with rich-fertile compost.  This is a natural process and should just happen. Right?

 

Green waste does have indigenous bacteria which, given the right time and conditions, will break down the waste naturally. The problem is green waste doesn’t come with a label saying that it should be composted at X temperature, mixed with X ingredients and with X amount of water. So it comes down to a lot of guess work.
Compost accelerators use bacterial and fungi strains which have been isolated and chosen for their ability to break down green waste.

 

They create rapid growth of mesophilic microbes that feed on the green waste and generate heat, this heat then create thermophilic microbes which can breakdown more complex materials like cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin.  These high temperatures also kill plant pathogens that may be in the waste. By using a compost accelerator you take out the guess work and speed up the process!

Envii Compost Accelerator is available on our website by clicking here.

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Which pond treatments should you be using in spring?

Throughout the winter, organic matter is being added to your pond. This includes twigs, leaves, bird droppings, undigested fish food and just about anything that can end up in the pond. As this organic matter breaks down it produces ammonia, phosphorous and hydrogen sulphide, which are all sources of food for algae.

This is why it’s so common for ponds to be green when people go back to them in spring. If left untreated it can take all summer long to get them back to a healthy colour, and then winter’s coming round again.

There are products on the market that will clear your pond almost instantaneously. These products work by clumping the organic matter together and sinking it to the bottom of the pond floor, which gives the immediate aesthetic results but will come back to haunt you.

It’s far more beneficial to use a bacterial treatment that will actually digest the organic matter and therefore solve the problem. For the first treatments in spring we recommend using a treatment specifically aimed at pond sludge as it will make reducing any further problems – like green water – much quicker.

Envii Sludge Klear works as low as 4°C which means you can treat far earlier in the year than before. For more information click here.

Sludge Klear - Envii

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Early Starter – Radio 2’s Terry Walton Endorsement!

We’re delighted to announce that Terry Walton – BBC Radio 2 Gardening/Allotment Expert – has given Envii Early Starter a ringing endorsement!

Early Starter is an advanced biostimulant that allows plants to continue to grow in cold temperatures. This means you can plant earlier and protect your plants against cold snaps.

Here it is –

“ My gardening year starts in January in a heated greenhouse when in go my onions, lettuce, cabbage and broad beans. These are started off in the warmest part of the greenhouse and after transplanting they are moved to the cooler area.

This winter has been the warmest and wettest on record and a total lack of sunshine. The seedlings just sat there refusing to grow. So, action was needed and I came across Early Starter from Envii. This stated it would stimulate growth of these plants in the lower temperatures and encourage growth. I filled my pressure sprayer with tepid water and added the correct amount of Early Starter liquid and gave my seed trays a wetting with this liquid. After a couple of days and another spraying these dormant seedlings decided to grow again! I must say I was sceptical that this would happen but the proof is in the results.

This is definitely part of my ‘armoury’ in future.

Based on my results I would strongly recommend it to any gardener looking to grow in the early season when the weather is cold.”

We’d like to say a huge thanks to Terry for giving Early Starter a try. To find out more or to order Early Starter click here. 

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6 Tips To Prepare Your Pond For Spring

Remove debris 

Use a net or pond vacuum to clean the debris from the top of the pond. Any organic material left in the pond will decay and cause algae problems like green water and sludge. Removing it is the first line of defence against algae problems. It’s also worth clearing the surrounding area to prevent anything blowing into the pond.

Move fish back into the pond 

If you’ve moved your fish into a temporary tank during the winter, now is the time to get them back in the pond. It’s important to ensure the temperature of the tank is within 1°C of the pond temperature.

Clip back and trim plants 

Spring is the best time to have a general tidy up of the pond area. Overgrowth can be a large factor in an imbalance in the pond system.

Feed fish 

You can start feeding your fish again at temperatures of 10°C and higher.

Start treating your pond 

The earlier you can start treating your pond the better. Envii’s pond products work as low as 4°C which means you can get started earlier in the spring and treat later into the autumn. Giving the bacteria longer to establish will greatly increase the chances of keeping your pond clear and healthy. Click here for more information.

Clean your filters 

Most bacterial water treatments will dislodge any algae or sludge and it will get sucked into the filter. If the filter gets clogged it will stop filtering the water and become completely useless. It’s important to clean them regularly for water treatments to work efficiently.

Thanks for reading

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5 simple tips to keep your compost healthy

Monitor the moisture level

There’s no point going into complex methods of actually monitoring the moisture levels, because most people won’t bother. If your compost starts to smell bad, it’s probably too wet. Try adding dry materials like wood chip in to equalise the moisture level.

Add moisture to the middle of compost heap

This is where it is needed the most. The middle of the pile is where it is the hottest and therefore dries out the quickest. This is especially important in plastic compost bins because the sides of the bin keep moist through the condensation.

Use diatomaceous earth

This is to kill any ants or red mites. While they do help to aerate the compost, they can cause problems when you use it.

Aerate and mix contents effectively

Try to avoid layering the same materials where possible (this is sometimes difficult with grass cuttings). Aerate every 5-10 days and even poke holes with a thick stick to get air into the centre of the pile.

Get the carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous balance right

Microbes require 1 part nitrogen to 25 parts carbon to be effective. Grass & plants cuttings and fruit/vegetable waste are high in Nitrogen while dry leaves, wood chips and sticks are high in carbon. Use fertilisers with the correct C:N:P balance for the types of waste you are adding.

Envii Compost Accelerator is the perfect addition to any home-made compost. It will increase the efficiency and fertility of your compost. Click here for more information.

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How bacteria-based pond treatments work

Bacterial-based pond products – like the Envii Pond Range – work by using task-specific strains of bacteria which digest organic waste. This organic waste is the reason we get water problems like green water, blanket-weed and pond sludge.

The process starts with a singular bacterium which produces enzymes that digest waste. As the enzymes digest waste the bacterium grows and splits into two. This process repeats which means that the bacteria grow logarithmically (i.e. 1 becomes 2, 2 become 4, 4 become 8).

The more bacteria you add the more waste they eat and when there is no more waste they sit dormant and wait for their next food source to be added.

For more information visit http://www.bio8.co.uk/d-26/pond