Gardening tips: Can you reuse pot compost
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The Greenhouse People said: “As the temperature drops and the nights start to draw in, many of us will be hanging up our gardening gloves after a fruitful summer. However, autumn doesn’t have to mark the end of the season and your enjoyment of growing your own.
“With a little planning and creativity, you can defy winter and grow beautiful organic produce all-year round.”
Top tips include keeping crops warm as well as inviting them inside for the colder months.
The experts explained: “Even the most experienced gardener needs a helping hand in winter.
“If you have a greenhouse, a thermometer can track day and night temperatures, letting you know when to intervene if conditions become less favourable for particular plants like artichokes, tomatoes and peppers.
“Adding a gas or electric heater can help through cold snaps and most include a thermostat too, as an added bonus.
“Make sure to open your vents regularly to keep the air moving to deter fungal diseases such as grey mould and powdery mildew.
“Cold frames can be a great investment, a halfway house between a greenhouse and outside planting. Multiple layers of horticultural fleece can also be laid down on top of your plants to keep them warm and frost-free, but make sure to peg it down properly on a windy day.”
To help make sure the crops make it through winter, the experts recommend selecting vegetables known to cope in colder conditions.
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This includes vegetables like onions, shallots, garlic and leeks.
The Greenhouse People said these crops “virtually look after themselves through winter”.
They added: “Cold winter temperatures stimulate sugar accumulation in carrots and parsnips, acting as a natural antifreeze.
“Perpetual spinach, Swiss chard and kale are also very resilient, making an excellent ‘cut and come again’ winter crop. Plant broad beans and peas in autumn and be the envy of your neighbours when you have an extra early crop in spring.”
For those who don’t have a greenhouse and want to grow their own vegetables, opting to grow them inside may be the best option.
The experts said: “Choosing to grow some of your plants inside will mean you’ll reap the rewards through winter.
“Not only will your family get fresh organic produce, plants add colour to your interiors and according to NASA research, can cleanse the air in your home by neutralising harmful toxins found in furniture, household products and decorating materials.
“Window sills, if properly sealed from drafts, make a great place for your fruit and veg plants over winter.
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“However, you may wish to consider purchasing grow lights, which are ideal for seed starting. Make sure you choose full-spectrum lights because they ensure every plant gets the type of light it needs for maximum growth.
“Your central heating may dry plants out, so keep an eye on their moisture levels. Make sure to use soil designed for indoor planting, as outside soil can contain weed seeds and pests, which you won’t want in your home.”
As well as growing crops throughout autumn, the colder months are also a great time to plan ahead.
The experts recommend starting to plan what you are going to grow next season.
The Greenhouse People said: “It could also be wise to consider which new equipment you should prioritise saving for or redesigning your outside space to increase grower power.
“You can get ahead and make your own compost from fallen leaves. Place the damp leaves in a black plastic bin liner, tie a knot at the top and add a few air holes. Leave the bag in a sheltered position outside for six months or, even better, a year if you can wait that long.”
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