• Top tips for Gardening with Children

    If you’ve ever despaired at your children’s lack of interest in eating fruit and vegetables, why not try growing some with them? Following the whole process of sowing the seed to harvesting the crop, and then cooking it together, can really make children invest in their labours – they’ll want to try what they’ve spent all that time growing. Chances are they’ll suddenly discover that they do like carrots after all! For short attention spans, crops with quick returns are best. Micro-leaves offer the fastest harvest time, as they are just seedlings, and can be grown like cress – remember the cress ‘hair’ in the eggshell heads you probably made when you were a child? All sorts of salad crops can be grown this way, or just on a piece of damp kitchen towel, such as lettuce leaves, beetroot and radishes. Full grown radishes also offer a fast turnaround from sowing to harvest, and baby versions of mainstream crops such as carrots and parsnips are harvested sooner, and are often naturally sweeter too. Then it’s time to think about the crops that can be eaten straight from the plant – fruit such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and tree fruit (apples, plums, cherries) are all great choices. Peas can be eaten straight from the pod – or eat the whole pod with mangetout (literally ‘eat-all’) – when a vegetable is freshly harvested its natural sugars are at their highest level, and peas can be munched like sweets. New potatoes also offer excitement and learning opportunities – planting one potato results in many more, and digging for the harvest is like digging for buried treasure. Giving children ownership of their own growing space also means they are more invested in the outcome. A raised bed can be a great way to do this – a small space, contained and separate from your own flower/veg beds, so there is no chance of precious plants being trodden on, and raised off the ground to make it easier for them to reach. If blueberries are a particular favourite, a raised bed is also a great way to introduce the right soil – acidic – for these plants in a neutral or alkaline soil garden.

    In a 90cm by 90cm square bed, such as those offered by WoodBlocX, there would be space for:

    • A strawberry plant in each corner
    • A central sunflower – use it as a support for a climbing bean plant
    • A row of baby carrots
    • A row of peas
    • A row of first early (new) potatoes that once out, could be replaced with a pumpkin plant for Halloween (though this will probably trail out of the bed a bit as well).
    Alternatively, by going for a slightly deeper bed – 45cm as a minimum, such as the hexagonal 1.55m x 0.925m bed from WoodBlocX – you could go for the lower maintenance option of a fruit tree surrounded by herbs and flowers. Children love to try the different scents on the leaves: mints are great for this, coming in flavours such as strawberry and chocolate, and pineapple sage is another good option. Nasturtiums are a brilliant seed to sow with children as their seeds are large and easy to handle, and germinate relatively quickly and reliably.
  • Seans Allotment Garden

    Sean has been preparing his perfect gardening space for years and we had the opportunity to help him by installing some of our raised beds. Our video will give you an idea as to how versatile and cost-effective our WoodBlocX can be.

  • Making a Garden from Scratch

    A new garden – or a new determination to transform the garden – can be a daunting prospect. There are two possible approaches: do it all at once, or do it bit by bit.

    Doing it all at once, if you can afford to do so, is obviously an attractive proposition. You get the garden you want in very little time, and can enjoy it fully and properly as soon as it’s done. Doing it bit by bit is easier on the purse strings, and is also a good option if you’re not sure how much time you’ll have to devote to gardening as your plans can 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 that most of all.

    Either way, 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? 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?)? Then assess what you want against how much time you have to look after it, amend your plans as necessary, and then it’s time to design your garden.The design needn’t be complicated, but if the idea of working it all out fills you with dread, or even if you just want a second opinion, think about using a design service. Unlike many others, the one offered by WoodBlocX is completely free and puts you under no obligation to buy.

    Most garden designs will use some form of hard landscaping, but there is no need to be daunted by this if your DIY skills aren’t up to scratch! WoodBlocX can be used to build raised beds, planters, seating, ponds and edging, and all without a power tool in sight. They are all also guaranteed to last for at least 15 years.

    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: WoodBlocX will do all the calculations, and design specifications for you, and their strong interlocking construction method means complete peace of mind once your garden is finished.

    Front gardens and courtyard gardens are often neglected, but a few simple beds or some edging can really transform the look and feel of these spaces. Raised corner beds are especially good for small urban courtyards – WoodBlocX have single and multi-level options, or you can give them your specifications for a free bespoke design. Wooden planters are also a really good choice for courtyards or to flank a front door: they are smart, can be painted any colour you like, and will not crack or corrode.

    Whatever you end up doing with your outdoor space, remember that gardens are there to be enjoyed, not to be a chore!

  • What it takes to build an Award Winning Garden at the Chelsea Flower Show

    It’s that time of year again, the weather is warming up, the flowers are starting to bloom and the RHS Chelsea Flower Show opens its gates to showcase the best of the world’s garden design talent.

    Whilst we’re not exhibiting this year, WoodBlocX has been included in The Sun newspaper’s Flower Square Garden, which is a series of four 4m x 4m square floral exhibits based in the Grand Pavilion. Our BlocX have been featured in Lovania Nursery’s garden called ‘Room Outside’ designed by Rick McKeever.

    Rick has used WoodBlocX as an integral part of his design, incorporating four stacked tiers of painted BlocX for the Children’s Corner. There is something different to see on each tier, including a working a train set complete with a Lego model of London’s Tower Bridge, a fairy garden, a sandy beach scene with a lighthouse and the top tier has a cascading waterfall.

    Rick’s design shows the versatility of WoodBlocX and how the BlocX can be used in unusual ways to create different effects. The garden also includes a living wall, green roof and a central dining table featuring turf for placemats and garden trowels and forks for cutlery and a seating area made from wooden pallets.

    If this has got your creative cogs moving or if you would like inspiration for your own garden take a look at our website. www.woodblocx.co.uk

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