If you are a fan of growing things in your garden, then you are likely to want to make the most of any time that you have to flex those green fingers.

The trouble is, if you live in the UK, then you are always at the mercy of the weather, and as we all know, this isn’t always the kindest. That said, there are ways that you can extend your growing season.

To help you, we have put together our guide on 5 ways that you can extend your garden’s growing season and make sure that you enjoy gardening as much of the year as you can.

Buy yourself a polytunnel

If your concern is always to protect the plants that you have and make sure that they have the ideal conditions to grow, then you may need to invest in a polytunnel. These simple pieces of garden equipment are similar in functionality as a greenhouse, however, they are not a permanent building. They give your plants, fruits and vegetables a protective space to grow, making sure that they do not suffer from the heat, the cold, the wind the rain and even strong sunlight which can also cause them to struggle to grow. They also come in a range of sizes which is ideal for gardens that might not be the biggest.

Raise up your beds

Want to make sure that your garden plants have the best opportunity to grow and want to be able to prolong their season as long as possible? If this is true for you then you may want to consider creating raised beds to plant them in. Not only do raised beds look great, but they also gives your plants a fighting chance. You will be less likely to step on them as you walk around the garden and they will be at less risk from pests, weeds and of course the weather too. These are also a great DIY project, something that you can do at home using recycled materials.

Don’t overwater, let the rain do it instead!

We all know that our gardens will need water to grow, but this doesn’t mean that we should overwater them. Overwatering can be just as dangerous as underwatering your garden. Overwatering encourages the roots of your plant to remain at the soil’s surface, rather than digging further down, this means that the roots will dry out quicker when the weather is warmer and that they won’t have quite as many nutrients to absorb. This can mean that your garden doesn’t last quite as long as it could. You need to embrace the natural water that is sure to come from rain, rather than always watering yourself. After all, rain is something that we see plenty of here in the UK.

Use your compost as a warming blanket

Compost piles is are always a good idea for your garden. They not only help you to reduce the food waste that you may produce at home, but this will then help your garden to grow as best it can. Not only is compost ideal for delivering some nutrients, particularly during those off times when your plants are going to need a real helping hand. But it can also help to warm through your soil too, which will be ideal when the weather is a little colder. It covers the soil, which creates a layer to protect it, not only this but the chemical reactions in the compost can sometimes create a warming effect which will help your plants too.

Start by planting inside

Now, this may sound like an obvious approach, but by starting your planting inside you are going your plants a fighting chance to survive the elements outside. Those precious little seedlings are not exactly the strongest of things, which means that any helping hand that you can give them is going to help them when you put them out in the garden. You will need to find space for them to grow of course, which may limit the amount of plants that you can grow, but having them inside is not only great for the plants, but also means that you can encourage your family to join you in your gardening quest too.

In the UK we don’t always have the best weather, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t embrace the wonder of gardening as much of the year as we can. All you need to do is think about ways that you can help all those precious plants to grow, no matter how uninviting the weather could look outside.

 

Cuddle Fairy

Keeping your bed clean is something we hear a lot about in the media with horror expressed about the statistics around how often people change in the bed. Here are some tips on how it is relatively simple to keep your bed super-clean and healthy.

  • As with every housework chore, it is important to deal with things quickly. If you spill something on the bed, deal with it immediately even if you are tired because it will be that much easier to tackle. Try to avoid rubbing as this can make things worse and just blot the spillage with a damp cloth.
  • Consider how much paraphernalia you have on your bed. Cushions  and teddy bears may add to a good look but are just extra things to clean. You decide how much cleaning you want to do and make decisions about your interior design with that in mind.
  • Wash all bedding at least once a week. Make it a routine. Housewives of old had days for certain tasks such as baking and you can use this method to ensure those sheets get washed regularly. Read fabric care labels and go for the hottest settings recommended in your battle against the dust mites.
  • Vacuum your mattress taking care the attachments are clean first and giving particular action to tricky edges and corners.
  • If you come across stains, research the benefits and drawbacks of cleaning agents such as hydrogen peroxide and liquid dish soap. Enzyme cleaners are particularly powerful when dealing with yuckier stuff like blood, vomit and urine.
  • Baking powder is your friend when it comes to deodorizing your mattress and you can combine it with an essential oil if aromatherapy is your thing. Leave it on for as long as you practical so that it does its thing more effectively. Oh and using a flour sifter is a great trick for spreading it evenly across the mattress. Now it is time to get the hoover out again to remove the powder from your mattress.
  • Throw open your windows to air the mattress.
  • Moving forwards, flip your mattress regularly, invest in a mattress protector and perhaps some new bedding to celebrate all that domestic goddess like effort.

Keeping your bed clean does not actually take too much hard work once you put your mind to it and get into a routine. Sweet dreams!

3 Little Buttons

Your kitchen might be one of the most used spaces in your home, so if you’re planning to revamp this room, you’ll no doubt want to make sure you do a good job. To help you get this project right, here are four questions you should ask yourself when you’re planning a new kitchen.

1. How will I use the room?

Firstly, how will you actually use the room? Do you just want to be able to prepare food in there or would you prefer to be able to dine and entertain in there too? Do you like privacy while you cook or do you enjoy some company? Answering questions like these will help you to determine design essentials such as whether your kitchen should open out into a dining area and whether you should incorporate an island unit. If you want a sociable cooking space, it’s probably best to go for an open plan layout with plenty of seating, while if you like a quiet, functional kitchen, you might want to close this room off and design it with a tighter work triangle.

2. What’s the most efficient layout?

It’s easy to get fixated on looks when you’re designing this part of your home, but it’s vital that you focus on functionality too. As part of this, you’ll need to ask yourself what the most efficient layout of the room will be. Kitchen designers tend to create zones in cooking spaces. These can include areas for washing, prepping and cooking. So, when you’re planning this room, think carefully about where appliances will sit in relation to each other. For example, consider how much distance you want between your cooker top, fridge and sink. Efficiently designed kitchens can make cooking much easier, quicker and more enjoyable, so it’s worth putting plenty of thought into these issues.

3. How much storage do I need?

Storage is the unsung hero of kitchen design. When done well, you hardly notice it’s there, but when it’s done badly, entire cooking spaces can look chaotic and messy. So, when you’re planning this room, make sure you incorporate enough storage to house your essentials. Bear in mind there are lots of clever ways to incorporate extra storage into these areas. For example, kitchen unit specialists such as Solid Wood Kitchen Cabinets provide full-height cabinets that can help you to take advantage of the vertical space on offer in this room. In addition, to make use of awkward corner areas, you can invest in L-shaped corner units, as well as magic basket features that give you easy access to the furthest reaches of your cabinets.

4. What’s my style?

Once you’ve ticked off important practicalities like these, you can get to the fun part of deciding exactly what style you’re aiming for. Do you love the contemporary look or are you aiming for a rustic farmhouse vibe? If you like modern cooking spaces, you might want to go for a minimalist design where most of your kitchen equipment and appliances are hidden away in closed cabinets. On the other hand, if you want a more relaxed, lived-in look, why not have some open storage units that show off anything from crockery to glassware?

When it comes to materials, do you want the time-old appeal of natural wood or stone for your surfaces, units and flooring, or would contemporary alternatives like glass, metal and plastic suit you better? Whichever style you’re going for, make sure you stick to it in all aspects of your design, from your furniture to your fixtures, fittings and décor. Consistency is key if you’re trying to achieve a coherent, harmonious look and feel.

Planning a new kitchen can be a daunting task, but if you answer questions like these before you launch into the project, you can’t go far wrong.

 

Twin Mummy and Daddy

Before becoming a parent and home-maker I did not think about flooring much. If I could walk on it that was enough for me. Flooring much like storage becomes of deep interest when you start a family. There are practical considerations but also the more time you spend at home the more attractive you want it to be. As a stay at home mum, any way to remember who you are in terms of taste and fashion is welcome. Let’s look at flooring trends for 2018.

I encourage you to check out online just how amazing laminate and wood flooring can be with the injection of vibrant colours and interesting shapes. I have never thought of flooring as an art form before but why not?

I am pleased to see that recycling is playing more of a part in our flooring reusing old materials in new ways. I am a bit late to environmental awareness but the more I look into the future of our planet, the more I see why we need to take action to protect it now. I am intrigued to hear how fishing nets can now be made into carpets for example. Similarly, I am fascinated at how cork floors can now replicate the look of wood or stone. Cacoa shells are another material used in 21st century flooring.

You can now personalize your flooring perhaps with a company logo or an inspirational quote.

Laser technology is now used to enhance the aesthetic appeals of our floors. Flooring is not as boring as I used to imagine. You might even want to experiment with different textures on the same floor. The world really is your oyster when it comes to the floor beneath your feet.

Of course carpets are a traditional way of injecting warmth and colour into the home but I am not a fan as they get dirty so easily. However, if you are a domestic goddess carpets and rugs are a way to express yourself. I do love how handmade carpets celebrating real craftsmanship are on trend this year. Artists are drawing on their own histories and the beauty of nature both of which are to be encouraged.

So what are your favourite flooring trends this year?

Tammymum

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How do you choose flooring for your home? When you move in do you put up with what is already there or ring the changes?

Here are some of my thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages of each type of flooring.

Carpet

I am not a fan of carpet to be honest. Of course growing up in the Sixties and Seventies, all the main rooms had carpet and of the wild pattern variety at that. So I can still get very nostalgic when I see that type of carpet but overall I don’t think carpet is a great option particularly for families with children or pets. Carpets gather dirt and are easily damaged beyond repair in seconds. I have always expressed surprise at how many mums of babies and toddlers have cream carpets. That’s an accident waiting to happen however beautiful it looks when it is first put down.

Wood floors

Wood flooring can be difficult to get down so maybe not the perfect choice for someone who wants to do it themselves. However they are durable and easy to keep clean. I really like the look of wood floors and have a beautiful one in my dining room. I think they do give that refined feel perfect to go with my sparkly chandelier.

Laminate flooring

If you want that wood type look but are not expert at laying it, laminate flooring is a great option with prefinished lengths that snap together.

It is fairly hard-wearing too and relatively easy to claim although can show wear over time.

Ceramic tile flooring

Again, this is not particularly easy to install unless you know what you are doing.

I have lots of tiled floors in my home including in the sun room, the kitchen and the lounge. I love them as a quick sweep and steam clean keeps them so hygienic. You can always jazz them up with rugs if you want a bit of extra colour but I don’t bother as again rugs get grubby so easily.

So for me give me tiles or wooden floors for preference with laminate as runner-up and keep me away from carpets and rugs.

Of course, we all have our own circumstances and tastes so I would love to know how you choose flooring for your home.

 

 

 

 

 

Winnettes