Gardening Tips

  • Take a look behind the scenes of our latest video

    WoodBlocX structures are renowned for looking good and are ideal to use in place of railway sleepers, wooden boards and even bricks.

    Looks aside, one of the main benefits that our customers find is our structures are really easy to build, enabling them to update their gardens quickly without having to spend hours with complicated parts and instructions and in order for us to get this across to our customers in the most effective way we have created a brand new short video.

    We found the perfect location to film the guide, not only is the garden stunning, it is also where the majority of the garden and plant photography is shot for magazines and newspapers.

    GAP Gardens in Essex is one of the UK’s leading gardens-and-plants picture agencies, it has a collection of more than 600,000 high-quality images used by magazines and newspapers.


    Our team installed a number of angular and rectangular raised beds to provide the backdrop for the video, being a permanent fixture in the garden now the planters are sure to be featured in new photography from the gardens so keep your eyes peeled for WoodBlocX in your favourite gardening magazines.

    This is us in action below on location at the gardens, we shot the new footage over three days and managed to enjoy a little bit of Essex sunshine too!

  • Sowing season is here

    Now that the cold snap behind us and spring is on its way (we hope!), its time to start looking ahead to the growing season.

    March is the month to make a start on sowing seeds, if it is mild enough where you are you can get to work sowing certain veg directly into the soil including carrots, radish, broad beans, parsnip, beetroot, peas, leeks and many more.

    Remember that the soil in a raised bed warms up much quicker than open ground, making them ideal for early sowing.

    For the seeds such as tomato, basil, peppers and lettuce that need a little more warmth than a raised bed can offer sow in pots either in a greenhouse or sunny windowsill.

    Our latest competition aims to get the growing season of 500 people of to a flying start. We have selected five varieties of vegetable and herb seeds from Mr Fothergills, all of which can be sown from March onwards. So if you’re new to growing your own food these starter packs are perfect for you.

    We’ve got 500 packs of five to give away worth £9.49 and to enter all you need to is click here, plus if you share the competition far and wide you will receive more entries, which means there are more chances to win!

    Included in each prize pack is:

    Carrots Nantes 5
    A Mr Fothergill’s Best Buy, this is a delicious early variety of carrots, the blunt ended roots have outstanding flavour, matures in 12 weeks.

    Lettuce Salad Bowl
    The lettuce that keeps on giving, pick the leaves as needed and this variety will crop all summer long.

    Radish French Breakfast
    One of the easiest growing vegetables, these radishes have a mild and crisp flavour and can be harvested from April – October.

    Tomato Maskotka
    The best way to grow Britain’s favourite summer vegetable is in containers, this bushy plant will give you plenty of sweet cherry tomatoes from July – October.

    Add a taste of the Mediterranean to your cooking using your home-grown basil, sow in doors from March to May or outdoors from May – June.

  • How to build a WoodBlocX raised bed

    Our raised beds are really easy to build because everything you need is included in your kit. All of the wooden components are cut to size so there’s no need to saw the wood and there’s no waste.

    The components are lightweight making them easy to move them from one side of the garden to other and this also makes building the structures much more relaxed.

    All of our kits are built in the same way so if you’ve ordered a raised bed, seat, pond or retaining wall kit this method applies to all.

    Your delivery will look similar to this. Everything you need here, wooden blocks, capping, dowels, angle plates and step by step instructions. All wooden parts are cut exactly to the sizes requested so there’s no waste at the end of the build.

    Once you have decided where your raised bed will sit in the garden carefully set out the bottom layer and make any adjustments to where you’re going to build it if needed. Refer to the instructions to check where the supportive buttresses and angle plates need to be positioned.

    Our clever dowel and wedge system holds the structure together, simply knock these into the recess holes, make sure you refer to your instructions to ensure you’re putting them in the correct places.

    When you’ve completed the first and second layers you will be on a roll. Work your way up the layers matching the first to the third, the second to the fourth and repeat.

    Angle plates need to be placed on the supportive buttressed for extra strength and on the corners of the final layer before you add the capping.

    Once you’ve reached the final layer before the capping is added, cut dowels half way down using dowel cutters or a saw and fit the capping using a protective piece of wood to ensure you don't damage your caps.

  • Fertilising your WoodBlocX raised bed

    Ensure your raised beds are ready and raring to go for spring by boosting the health of the soil.

    Good quality soil will help increase the crop yield of vegetables and promote healthier blooms in flowers; plus, the better soil structure builds up resilience to pests and disease. There are lots of composts and additives available and here’s a quick rundown of the most popular.

    Good quality compost can offer lots of benefits. If you’re planting directly into your raised bed a good multi-purpose version is the best choice. It can also be used for raising seedlings in pots too and when doing this we use a sieve to make a finer mixture which will save you buying a separate seed compost mix.

    Soil improvers

    Garden centres stock lots of different soil improvers which can be scattered directly onto the surface of the raised bed and gently forked in and left to do the work. Many are enriched with beneficial nutrients and micro-organisms to support root growth and keep working for many months.

    Make your own
    Putting fruit and veg peelings, egg shells and cartons, tea bags, grass clippings and other garden waste into a compost bin and not the wheelie bin is a great feeling, right? They say good things come to those who wait, and homemade compost is one of those things. Remember to turn it regularly to allow air to get in. If the bottom layer looks like soil, it's ready to use. Spread it throughout your raised bed instead of shop-bought compost for a BIG nutrient boost.

    Get ready for the growing season

    Our raised are ideal for growing and make a beautiful addition to the garden. Use our calculator tool to check your measurements and work out the cost of a raised bed for your garden. If you have a bigger project or just need some advice contact our Design Team who can create a free design bespoke to your garden.

  • Top crops to grow now

    It’s January, the weather is gloomy and there’s not a great deal going on out in the garden; but don’t let that stop you being productive! Here are four easy to grow and useful veg that can be sown between now and the end of February, either directly in your raised bed or indoors.

    Garlic is a wonderfully versatile ingredient with the addition of some great health benefits. If you are keen to grow your own make sure you use the cloves from a bulb that is specifically for planting as those sold in the supermarket for cooking may not be suitable. Plant individual cloves in a sunny spot directly in the soil.

    A square, rectangular or even circular raised bed is ideal for growing garlic and vegetables.

    A fresh leek pulled straight from the soil is tender and tasty and a million miles from the supermarket leeks. Use in soups and stews or smother in cheese sauce. Leeks can be planted directly in the soil or in seed trays, but remember if you’re planting them directly to leave a good space between them.

    Raised beds are perfect for growing leeks and other root vegetables, plus weeding and watering is made so much easier due to their height. A classic rectangular raised bed is a great choice.

    Tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetables (or fruits!) to grow at home. Sow indoors towards the end of February in a warm windowsill or heated propagator to get them off to a flying start. Remember to gently remove the new leaves as they sprout in order to keep the plant focused on developing the fruit and growing new stems.

    If you prefer growing tomatoes in the greenhouse, the low-level large rectangular raised bed is a popular choice to install, and bespoke lengths are also available

    Broad beans are another versatile and easy to grow vegetable; simply sow in pots or undercover to begin with and then transplant into well-drained soil, making sure you leave plenty of space between them. Have some canes at the ready to train the plants to grow upwards.


    The long stepped planter is ideal for growing beans, climbing veg and fruit canes, and with different compartments it’s the perfect height for tending and harvesting.

    Growing your own fruit and vegetables takes time and perseverance, but it does give you complete control over the whole process, allowing you to grow organically or choose the fertilisers and pest control products that suit your preferences.

    WoodBlocX raised beds are ideal for vegetable growing, being raised up from the ground means they warm up much quicker than open soil, plus the wood used doesn't contain any harmful residues that could leach into the soil making the kits a great alternative to railway sleepers which are often treated with chemicals.

  • Planting Late Summer Seeds… Choi Sum

    There are a whole range of remarkably cold hardy oriental greens. They are ideal to keep your plot going through the depths of winter, particularly if you don't have the space or time for traditional winter veg like brussels.

    Many are good both in salads and cooked - try Pak Choi, Mizuna, Chinese Cabbage, Mibuna, Tatsoi and Mispoona, all of which can be sown from the end of June through to end September (you can keep on sowing through into the winter if you have a polytunnel on you raised bed to).

    Choi Sum (Brassica parachinensis) is a member of the Mustard family is also referred to as a flowering pak choy or choy sum. Its green leaves are juicy and tender. If allowed to mature and bolt, yellow flowers will shoot and the plant becomes sweeter and more succulent. The whole plant is edible, which is why we are such a fan!

  • Successional Sowing: How to Get The Most From Your Raised Beds

    Sometimes less is more, so whether you have an allotment, a large kitchen garden or just a single raised bed, you should use successional sowing to ensure a steady, regular and appropriate supply of vegetables throughout the growing season, rather than experiencing a glut all at once. Basically, using the principle of little and often, it involves extending your harvest by sowing a row every few weeks or so. Quick growing crops such as French beans, peas, spinach, salads and carrots lend themselves to this way of cultivation. In this way you can ensure a regular, fresh supply of vegetables that otherwise would perish quickly under storage conditions.

    Other varieties that are prone to bolting (growing less leaves and moving into flower and seed production) such as rocket, spinach, broccoli, cilantro, basil, cabbage and lettuce especially need to be sown successionally.

    If you sow the longer fruiting crops such as courgette, cucumbers and runner beans and sweet corn in two batches, spaced a few weeks apart, you can optimise produce availability well into the autumn.

    There are four key methods for successional planting.

    1) Same crop, staggered plantings.

    Here you need to space out your plantings of the same crop, to around every 2-4 weeks, or when the plants from the preceding sowings are well developed, with four true leaves for leafy crops, or are around 5cm (2 inches) high in the case of peas or 10cm tall (four inches) for beans. Many vegetables put all their effort into producing a first flush of produce and then fade throughout the season, giving smaller and weaker yields. By employing a staggered approach, sowing more seeds as the first plants start to fade, you will ensure a regular supply of optimum produce over a longer period. Harvest mature, whole plants once they reach their peak. This will get light, water and space to neighbouring plants and make room for more sowings.

    2) Different vegetables

    Some crops like peas have a short growing season, so the area that they previously took up can be used to grow a later season plant like aubergine.

    3) Shared space

    Many a vegetable can be grown side by side quite well, and may even help to control pests. Try growing quick maturing radishes, which loosen the soil, ready for late sprouting carrots. Plus growing leeks or spring onions next to carrots may help to deter carrot fly. If you are really short of space, why not sow some veggies between your flowers in the borders. There are no rules to say you have to keep them separate and a few lettuce plants can look very good interspersed amongst the flowers

    Variety is the spice of life and if you want to keep a regular supply of salads going throughout summer, choose a range of varieties for continuous cropping. Lettuce ‘Little Gem’ and ‘Red Gem’ variety ‘Dazzle’ and carrot ‘Marion’ are ideal for successional sowing, and the later maturing varieties are also capable of being sown little and often. Once mature, they will also remain in good condition for longer.


    If sowing outdoors, sowings can be made every one to four weeks, from mid-April through to late summer. Indoors spring sowing can begin in March.

    Sow seeds thinly, in short rows, and if the seed is very fine, use shallow drills, watered first, prior to sowing. Don’t forget to label your rows, and space apart according to the instructions on the seed packet. By keeping an eye on how well the seeds are growing, you can work out when to re-sow. Don’t forget to keep your plants well-watered.

    WoodBlocX raised beds are ideal for sowing short rows in succession, and make for easier harvesting too. As with any sowing, ensure the soil is well dug in with organic matter (except for carrot sowing, as it makes them fork and grow into weird shapes).

    For the smaller sized wooden planters that WoodBlocX offer, use baby varieties such as carrot ‘Atlas’, an early maturing type that has round smooth roots that can be harvested at 2-3cm diameter. It grows well in any soil and has a good fungal resistance. ‘Baby Beet Action’ is a very sweet and tender variety, which still retains its round shape if sown quite thickly, and they can be harvested when they are about one inch in diameter.

    Wooden planters are also ideal for growing salads on a ‘cut and come again’ basis, harvesting the larger leaves by cutting them as required, leaving the smaller leaves to continue growing for cutting later on. Then sow another crop about three weeks later.

    Some cultivars do not need to be sown successionally, such as aubergines, peppers and tomatoes because they produce fruits over a long period, so are hence self-regulating. Similarly, those that store well, like onions and garlic, do not need to be sown successionally either, and neither do varieties that need longer to mature, like sprouts and leeks, which are best left to over-winter in the ground for picking as and when required.

  • Top Tips For Designing Your Dream Garden

    A new garden design – or a new determination to transform your garden – can be a daunting prospect. Caitlin McLaughlin, the RHS Young Designer of the Year 2016, gives us her take on what makes a successful garden design in the above video.

    Below are some tips on things to consider when preparing to design a garden.

    Before you start, spend some time thinking about exactly what you want the garden for. Do you want purely ornamental planting, or productive areas as well? Your plans might have to be amended as you go along to accommodate different circumstances – adding lower maintenance areas for example, or including more veg-growing space because you’ve discovered you enjoy cultivating plants for the kitchen. WoodBlocX can be used to build a wide range of raised bedsplantersseatingedging and even ponds – in a variety of shapes and sizes and all without a power tool in sight.

    Another consideration is how much, if any, lawn do you want – do you need to supply a sports pitch or play area for the children? What about seating and entertaining areas and storage - where’s the lawnmower going to live? Even the most difficult-looking of gardens can be transformed with a bit of thought. A steep slope can be terraced to create a stepped garden with flat beds and paths. Front gardens and courtyard gardens are often neglected, but a few simple beds or some edging can really transform their look and feel. Corner beds are especially good for small urban courtyards – WoodBlocX have single and multi-level options, or you can give them your specifications and receive a free bespoke design.

    After assessing what you want against how much time you will have to look after it, amend your plans as necessary. Once these decisions have been made, then it’s time to design your garden.

  • How to deal with Creeping Buttercup

    The Creeping Buttercup is a low growing perennial weed which prefers wet heavy soils. Creeping Buttercups spread with vigorous creeping stems that run along the ground rooting at intervals with a very fibrous rooting system.


    You need to make sure you remove all the fibrous roots as well as the main part of the weed, as this tricky weed will just keep coming back if any is left behind.

  • The Benefits of Crop Protectors

    When we spend so much time helping our carrots, cauliflowers and cucumbers to grow it would be a real waste to let the pigeons get in there for the first bite!


    Crop protectors allow you to defend your veg against invaders, but make sure you choose a net that matches your needs.

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