Is Spring on the way?

Apparently according to ancient folklore the weather on Candlemas day (February 2nd) predicts whether the winter will continue or Spring is just around the corner.

If the 2nd of February is wet, cold and windy, don’t panic you’re in for a treat and Spring will follow shortly whereas if it’s mild and dry expect another month of cold and harsh conditions because winter is set to continue.

It may feel too early to be thinking about Spring but it is the perfect time for working in the greenhouse. Chrysanthemums, Geraniums and Sweet Peas are ideal to grow from seed and by early March they will start to germinate just in time for the improving light levels.

Cucumber, Tomatoes and Basil are the basis of any great Italian salad, they are simple to grow from seed and February is the best time to get them started in the greenhouse.

If you’ve missed your garden and are eager to get digging then you can sow early varieties of carrots such as Amsterdam Forcing, Broad Beans and Parsnips but you will need to keep them under cloches or in a cold frame, Shallots can also be planted out from the middle of the month and before you know it March will be here and then the work really starts!

So for this month get out in your greenhouse, sow a few seeds and enjoy the relaxed pace of gardening whilst you can!

Feeding the birds this Autumn?

Autumn Birds

Autumn is an ever changing season and it can be a very important and rewarding time to feed your wild garden birds. It is possible to attract a wide variety of species if you ensure they are happily fed and watered.

At this time of year, food and water will need to be put out on a regular basis to ensure freshness and once you have established a feeding routine; your birds will become familiar and visit your garden regularly. It is important to offer additional food as natural food sources begin to reduce.

Birds require high fat foods for energy during colder months to maintain their fat reserves to help them survive frosty conditions. It is therefore wise to use good quality food and scraps.

The best autumn bird foods consist of sunflower hearts, suet, nuts and sunflower seeds.

Providing the right foods and feeding your wildlife is only half the battle!  Making sure the environment is safe is equally important. Feeders will need to be checked for damage, ideally squirrel-proof bird feeders are essential to prevent foraging foreigners and it is essential to keep your seed and nuts fresh and dry, I would recommend a storage tin to keep naughty nibblers at bay.

Bird baths are great when filled with fresh, clean water and if you allow fallen leaves to build up under trees and shrubs this will attract insects, and provide your feathered friends with necessary shelter. Don’t despair if you have a smaller yard, bird boxes are perfect for providing warmth and shelter too!