• 4 ways to make the most of your garden this winter

    by Prohibition PR | Nov 11, 2019

    As temperatures drop and frost becomes a regular occurrence, the temptation to down tools for the season crosses every gardener’s mind, but gardens need a little TLC throughout all seasons and that definitely shouldn’t change in the run up to winter. With plenty of ways to keep busy over the cooler season, don’t leave your allotment empty or your borders looking neglected with these four winter tasks:

    Get growing

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    Don’t let harder ground and wet weather put you off, winter can be the best time to grow some of your favourite veg! There are some really resilient vegetables that can put up with British winters, and the colder weather can even enhance their flavours.  Brussels sprouts can withstand the harsh winter weather, and are ideal to have at the table this Christmas. Additionally, parsnips, broccoli, cabbage and leeks are resistant to the frost and often produce great crops in winter, with the cold helping to remove any bitterness.

    Plant your roots

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    Planting trees and shrubs is an ideal task to do during the winter months. Remember to check the area you choose to plant in is suitable and ensure you loosen the soil to a depth equivalent to the root length to improve drainage - trees will not grow successfully in an area where soil contains too little air or where soil moisture is either excessive or insufficient. And don’t forget about your other trees - winter is the perfect time for pruning to ensure re-growth the following year.

    Our top tip for fruit trees: Apple and pear trees benefit from pruning whilst dormant, once the leaves have fallen and before any new growth (usually between November and early March). Focus on creating an open centre to your tree to encourage more light into the canopy to ripen the shoots and fruit and help improve air movement to discourage diseases.

    Clear and repair

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    Perhaps not as glamorous as other tasks but just as important, cleaning out greenhouses, gutters and water butts are all essential garden maintenance. A clear garden makes it easier to control pests and disease, which is even more important when using an Irrigatia kit - for example, water left standing in water butts can become green with algae and may lead to water borne root rots. To make sure you’re cleaning out your greenhouse sufficiently, follow George’s top tips! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7OU9azNuZE

    Winter wildlife  

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    It’s crucial to help your garden wildlife throughout the winter, and you’d be amazed at how much wildlife can actually be help to keep your garden in tip top condition;  birds, toads and hedgehogs act as great pest control and protect your plants by eating slugs and snails. This is also the ideal time of year for ‘no dig’ gardeners to add a surface layer of compost to their beds, which worms will take into the soil whilst aerating, fertilising and enhancing the soils ecosystem as they go.

    Give something back by setting up simple feeding stations which can make a huge difference to your winter wildlife. Hedgehogs will appreciate fresh water along with any dog or cat food going spare, whilst birds will benefit from high-fat foods. You can also help the wildlife in your allotment by ignoring a little untidiness and leaving a few fallen leaves or rotting logs aside which animals can shelter in throughout the colder months.


  • How to completely transform your vegetable patch ahead of the winter season

    by Prohibition PR | Oct 24, 2019

    Your vegetable patch doesn’t have a lifespan that ends after the harvest season. Winter can prove to be the ideal time to get ahead and grow up your vegetable garden. Don’t miss out on making the most of your patch this winter with these four tips:

    Tidy up your patch

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    As the colder weather sets in, it’s time to start tidying up your vegetable patch. Begin by gathering any fallen leaves. Not only will this make your garden look more presentable, but it will save you time and prevent them from causing a nuisance with clogged ponds and slippery paths. Remember not to waste them; leaves are gardeners’ gold and work great for mulching, compost, and creating leaf mould. You should also remove any dead vegetation to prevent the risk of any disease or unwanted pests spreading to your fresh winter veg. Any healthy remains can also be added to your compost pile. You can also help any other vegetables you’re planting by adding a layer of compost or mulch (about an inch) to suppress any weeds and protect your soil.

    Choose the right crops

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    As temperatures start to fall and days become shorter, substitute summer plants with those that will survive the winter. Typically, root crops or leafy crops do best in cooler weather and the added frost can help to improve flavour – making vegetables like Brussel sprouts, leeks and parsnips sweeter. With plenty of options to spruce up your patch, you won’t be left with a barren vegetable garden throughout winter.

    One precaution you should take is ensuring you plan your set up carefully. With shorter daylight hours, your plants will have less time to soak up and flourish in the sunshine. Consider planting taller crops to the north and shorter crops to the south to prevent them from being shaded and allowing them to enjoy the sun, improving their yield.

    Expand your garden

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    If you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to expand your vegetable garden. Consider adding raised bed, which can be built easily using recycled materials. You can increase benefits to your raised beds by creating higher walls on the northern side and lower walls on the south. The southern exposure will warm the soil and the higher northern walling will keep the cold air away.

    You can also maximise your space by squeezing a faster-growing crop into areas around slower growing ones. For instance, a tomato plant will ultimately need a square meter of land and may sprout to become 1.5-2 meters tall — but not overnight. Speedy growing little lettuce, Asian greens and radishes can be planted, grown and harvested before the tomato even realizes what's going on.

     

    Make your life easier

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    Whilst winter is the most beautiful time of the year, but it also means navigating darker mornings, frozen ground and slippery paths - but there’s no need to let these problems continue in your garden. Adding a layer of gravel, bark clippings, or even straw to all-weather paths alongside setting raised planks in place to keep your feet out of the mud when the wet weather arrives can make a huge difference.

    You can also prevent those unwanted wake ups by investing in a weather responsive SMART irrigation system, such as Irrigatia, which can detect the weather and alter watering according to the conditions and the season - giving you those extra hours of snooze you need!


  • 5 Eco-friendly ways to re-use your household waste in the garden

    by Prohibition PR | Sep 12, 2019

    Ahead of Recycling Week on 23rd-29th September, we’re bringing you our top tips on how to re-use your everyday household waste items in the garden – the perfect way to recycle, reduce your waste, and create an eco-friendly garden environment!

    Ditch the plastic pots

    1

    Plants will grow in practically anything, so there’s no need to continue hoarding plastic pots that break and snap in the green house anymore! There are plenty of other biodegradable options which will save you time and money; including old newspapers, toilet roll inners and egg trays. When you plant them out in the garden, you can bury the whole thing in the soil and leave them to compost down without damaging the environment and also helping to protect your plants.

    Repurposing items already available in your home can also add a unique aspect to your garden and allow you to get creative. Clean out and plant up household waste like tins, yogurt pots, cups, boots, milk cartons- whatever you can find. Get the kids involved as well by painting faces onto hollow egg shells, sprinkling in some cress seeds and putting them in an egg box on the windowsill - in a few days they will grow cress hair!

    DIY compost bin

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    Help your plants to thrive and keep your local landfill site happy by transforming your kitchen and garden waste into compost. Inexpensive and a natural process, compost is a slow release fertilizer which returns valuable nutrients to the soil to maintain its quality, improving plant growth and creating better yields. However, this can be done without splurging out on the latest in compost bin fashion.

    A great way to keep your garden eco-friendly and sustainable, you can easily create your own DIY compost bin using old pallets. Simply level out an area of bare soil, add a base of chicken wire (to protect against rats), tip four pallets onto their sides and secure them in place with strong garden wire. The gaps will allow the compost to breathe whilst staying protected from the wind, whilst any nutrients released through rainfall will be transferred into the soil below. Don’t forget- you can also compost unusual items including: tea bags, coffee grounds, eggshells and cardboard!

    Water

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    Reducing your water usage is good for the environment and helps save money on the bills. Rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling, collected through drainage from your sinks, baths and showers can be relatively clean – depending on how much you’ve lathered up. This can be easily stored through installing water butts which will provide water whenever you’re in need of it.

    Additionally, finding a way to get the water straight to the plant roots without the need for electricity or a tap can provide an eco-friendly way of watering your plants. Using a weather responsive SMART irrigation system, such as Irrigatia, can detect the weather and alter watering according to the conditions and the season. Not only does this provide plants with the precise irrigation they need to help them thrive, it also prevents water wastage in your garden.

     

    Help the wildlife

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    Whilst you’re out gardening, you’d be amazed at how much your local garden wildlife can actually be helping to keep your garden in tip top condition. Bees and other insects help to pollinate your garden whilst birds, toads and hedgehogs protect your plants by eating slugs and snails.

    Give them something back for all their hard work by using recycled materials to make your own bird box from salvaged wood pieces, hedgehog house from bricks and leaves, or an insect shelter by filling a clean plastic bottle or tin can with twigs, straws and leaves. You can also create feeding stations using old teacups, hollowed out pumpkins or pinecones and even a bird bath from old pie plates, casserole dishes and serving bowls – they’ll be singing your praises!

     

    Protect your plants

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    As we’re getting closer to the cold months ahead, keep your plants protected using recycled products. Plastic bottles are the ideal component to create mini-cloches which protect your seedlings from harsh weather, slugs and snails. Additionally, save on cold frames by building your own using discarded windows which will allow you to enjoy a longer growing season.

    You can also stop birds raiding your vegetable garden by hanging your old CDs and DVDs on a washing line across patches. Alternatively, recycled wind chimes made from makeshift items including cutlery or sticks can do this trick – but only if the neighbours don’t object!

  • Irrigatia’s top ten gardening hacks

    by Prohibition PR | Aug 29, 2019

    Our very own George from Irrigatia is here to give you his top hacks to make your most loathed part of gardening, the most loved one!

    1) Seasonal blossoms

    Irrigatia

    As the seasons change, it gets more difficult to take care of blossoms as shrubs get weaker or blossoms get bald inside. August is said to be a good month to give your summer shrubs some recharge by splitting them into spring and summer flowering shrubs. Dividing the plants into parts by digging the shrubs out with a spade or a fork will remove weak and withered root parts and the bald spots. The division should take place in such a way that the new locations will help the shrubs get back to its full bloom.

    2) Raking up leaves

    Leaf-raking is a dusty business so cover up, and put on some protective eyewear! Wearing gloves can also help in preventing blisters. Using a large tarp to collect leaves can not only cut your workload but also make the job easier in the long run by reusing it multiple times. Of course, the dream is to use a vacuum shredder to collect the leaves, which then shreds them into a bag ready for easy composting.

    3) Cleaning your gardening tools

    Irrigatia

    People run away when they hear the word cleaning, or dusting, but if it is done right then it is easy-peasy. People usually make the mistake of running tools underwater before cleaning it with a dry cloth, but instead, using a damp cloth (not a wet) makes the process faster and much cleaner than following a two-step routine.

    4) Trimming hedges

    One of the tactical jobs in gardening is trimming hedges. Buying plants slow-growing plants such as Taxus baccata can mean spending less time on trimming and more time on something else. Also, why not invest in a rechargeable battery-powered trimmer which can make it easier to cut without being tied down by a cord, they generally feel lighter and are also less noisy.

    5) Back Pain

    You might find yourself complaining about this a lot while gardening! Make sure you’re regularly standing up and stretching during tasks, performing easy backbends from the waist every 5 to 10 minutes.

    6) Garden pests

    Pests are one of the things gardeners fear the most, and even the healthiest gardens face pests at some point. By using methods like setting up barriers, crop rotation, organic pesticides and keeping the soil healthy, your plants will be fit for a longer period.

    9) Deadheading

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    Deadheading – you either love it or you hate it! Either way, it does lead to a neater and better-looking plant which produces healthier blossoms, so it’s definitely worth taking the time. We recommend starting to deadhead your flowers in the spring at the first sign of petals falling off, and do it little and often rather than letting it all pile up – and remember, not every plant needs deadheading so don’t make extra work for yourself!

    10) Watering

    Of course, the solution to your watering woes is installing a solar-powered Irrigatia watering system which uses weather responsive SMART irrigation to automatically water your plants. You can have a look at our products here

    Happy gardening!

  • Are you planning ahead for summer?

    by Aroonaa Sharrma | Jun 27, 2017

    We recently carried out a survey to see whether people were planning ahead for a dry summer in the garden, and the possibility of a hosepipe ban.


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    More than half of the 351 people surveyed said they had not prepared for a hosepipe ban, mainly because they thought it was unlikely to happen.

    We can usually count on the British summer to provide us with a good amount of rain, but the heatwaves we have experienced so far this year in May and June, have showed that the gardens can become dry very quickly.

    It is a good idea to invest in a water butt (or more than one) to collect as much rainwater as possible – this can last throughout the summer and is an excellent way of saving and recycling water.

    Our survey also found that more than 70% of people list saving water as a key priority, with 30% saying they dislike the task of watering the garden.

    An Irrigatia watering kit uses up to 90 per cent less water than a hose, and due to its unique automatic, solar-powered technology, it doesn’t waste a drop of water. Attach it to a water butt, and it is a very environmentally-friendly way of watering your plants.

    If there is a hosepipe ban this summer, using an Irrigatia watering kit is not prohibited, so you won’t have to worry. Because it is automatic, you can leave it while you go away on holiday, as it doesn’t need to be monitored like other irrigation systems.


    Irrigatia Automatic Watering Kits

     






  • Bloomin' Kinross is Saving Water with Irrigatia!

    by Aroonaa Sharrma | May 24, 2017

    The volunteers behind Kinross in Bloom, a local initiative that plants flowers and hanging baskets throughout the Scottish town of Kinross, have been able to save water this year thanks to smart, solar-powered watering kits from Irrigatia.

    Each year, a team of volunteers nurture around 3,000 young plants in a poly-tunnel, including begonias, petunias and fuchsias, which are then planted around the town to make it a brighter, more welcoming place for people to visit. This involves a lot of watering, around six to eight watering cans every day!


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    This year is different. Without a mains water or electricity supply, the Kinross in Bloom volunteers collect rainwater using water butts, which are now connected to three automatic solar-powered kits from Irrigatia. The kits water the plants every few hours, and will react to changing weather conditions, watering for longer periods on hot sunny days. This ensures that tender plants are kept hydrated without wasting a single drop of water.

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  • How will your plants cope while you’re on holiday this summer?

    by Aroonaa Sharrma | Apr 21, 2017

    There are certain things we always like to check before we go on holiday; no one likes to come back home to find milk past it’s sell-by date or dry, wilted houseplants in need of some TLC.

    But how much thought do we give to the well-being of our garden plants while we’re away on holiday?

    One solution is an automatic, solar-powered irrigation kit that will make sure your fruit, vegetables, flowers, containers and greenhouse plants are kept hydrated while you are on the beach.

    Powered by daylight – these watering kits will automatically adjust so that in warm, sunny weather they water for longer and when it is dull and cold, they water for shorter periods. The water is supplied from either an adjacent water butt or from a smaller reservoir, so that you can recycle collected rainwater.

    Irrigatia Automatic Watering Kits















    Irrigation kits can use up to 90 per cent less water than a hose because it drip-feeds water to the plants regularly, without wasting a single drop.

    It means one less thing to worry about whilst you’re on holiday, knowing your irrigation kit is set up ready to go, and your plants are getting precisely the right amount of water that they need to flourish.


  • It may be raining now, but it's time to plan your watering regime for the summer

    by Aroonaa Sharrma | Mar 08, 2017

    It may well be pouring with rain as you look out of the window and the water butts will be lapping around their tops but it won’t last! By mid-summer you may well be feverishly watering and hoping there is no hose-pipe ban. So, do something about it, now.

    The trouble with automatic and timed watering systems, particularly in glass houses, is that they do not take account of the needs of the plant. They plod on throughout the day delivering a pre-determined volume of water, regardless of whether or not the plant needs it.

    Irrigatia automatic watering system

    A NEW WAY TO WATER

    But times have changed – quite literally. Solar powered watering systems provide a unique and economic way to water such moisture demanding crops as tomato, sweet peppers, aubergines and lettuce.  Because they are powered by day-light, they automatically adjust so that in warm, sunny weather they water for longer and, conversely, when its dull and cold, the watering time is shorter.

    The science is in the photo-voltaic panel that delivered the energy to the system and, just like the larger versions on house roofs, they harness the daylight and sun. The water is supplied either from an adjacent water butt or from a smaller reservoir that can be purchased with the solar kit.

    Now is the ideal time of year to start thinking about how you want to water your plants in the summer. It means one less worry knowing your irrigation kit is set up ready to go, and whether you are at home or on holiday, your plants are getting precisely the right amount of water that they need to flourish.



  • Vertical Gardening – an innovative approach

    by Aroonaa Sharrma | Dec 22, 2016

    Regardless of where you live, we believe you can take advantage of some of the many benefits vertical growing offers.

    Reasons to grow vertically:

    1. The advantages of vertical gardens (or living walls) really come into their own in small spaces.  They are an innovative way of adding decoration to walls, fences and even garden sheds effortlessly, and can really enhance the architectural beauty and aesthetic value of your home environment.   
    2. Vertical gardens are easy to mount and maintain.
    3. They allow you to grow more plants and really maximise the space you have.
    4. There are health benefits also.  Vertical gardening enables you to grow fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers without ever bending or getting on your knees - ideal for gardeners who suffer from back and knee problems!
    5. Saves time! Less work is involved when preparing vertical gardens - no digging is required.
    6. Uses less water because in many vertical gardens, water is recycled through the planting system. 
    7. When combined with an Irrigatia solar powered watering kit the main issue that used to be associated with vertical growing is overcome.  Irrigatia systems can water up to 5m in height and drippers are attached to the top row of pots, which then filters down through the drainage holes into the pots below.  Any excess water is then collected in the drainage trough and collected for easy recycling.
    8. Vertical gardens are an easier way to protect your plants from soil-borne pests.
    9. With vertical growing, you have the flexibility to move your plants to better take advantage of light and air circulation.
    10. Vertical gardening = higher yields.  Growing vertically increases vegetable production because of better air circulation and sunlight reaching more of the foliage.

    Vertical gardens clearly offer more than just space saving.  And even though its winter, it’s not too soon to plan your new vertical garden project for next spring.  www.irrigatia.com/vertical-growing

    Garden Picture Kit

  • DON’T LET IT RAIN ON YOUR PARADE!

    by Aroonaa Sharrma | Nov 01, 2016

    Getting your glasshouse ready for winter.

    The tomato, cucumber, aubergine and sweet pepper plants – all of them ideal for watering with the Irrigatia solar powered system – are now coming towards the end of their useful life so use this as a wake-up call to get the glasshouse ready for winter.

    After you have harvested your fruit and vegetables and lifted the plants, carefully remove the Irrigatia system and flush it with clean water then hang it up in the greenhouse for the winter. Leave the controller in place and switched on to number one to maintain a minimal charge in the batteries.

    Water butts and barrels should be thoroughly cleaned in January or February, after the autumn rains have washed rubbish off roofs, and whilst there is still plenty of rain to come.   Make certain the inlet filter is clean and properly in position, 10cm above the bottom of the barrel.

    Autumn/early winter is the ideal time to clean the inside and outside of the glass in the greenhouse.  Clear out plants, weeds, pots, trays and anything else that can harbour pests and diseases.   A hosepipe, brush and cheap car shampoo (no wax) does a good job inside and out.  Use a sprayer to apply dilute shampoo, brush thoroughly before rinsing with a jet from the hosepipe.  Remove moss with a wooden stick.   As an added prevention to infection from pests and diseases, you can spray interior and external surfaces with a dilute greenhouse disinfectant.

    In dry conditions try to stop leaks in the roof glass.  One way is to use a special clear, self-adhesive tape available from traditional iron-mongers.   If you have sliding doors, give the runners a spray of aerosol lubricant.

    Don’t use your greenhouse as a store cupboard.   Before you know where you are it will be time to be getting the seed trays out in readiness for the 2017 greenhouse crops all, of course, watered using the Irrigatia solar powered watering system.

  • Love Your Garden

    by Aroonaa Sharrma | Jul 25, 2016

    We were delighted to donate an Irrigatia system to Love Your Garden.  The team headed to Bolton to surprise 39 year old RSPCA officer, Caroline Hall, and transform her garden into an animal friendly retreat.  We hope Caroline will enjoy the benefits of using a solar automatic watering system to naturally deliver to her plants their liquid needs.

    http://www.itv.com/hub/love-your-garden/2a1173a0046

    https://loveyourgarden2.wordpress.com/suppliers/suppliers-episode-4-tuesday-19th-july-2016/

  • Top Award for Leeds Allotment Society

    by Aroonaa Sharrma | May 05, 2016

    Many congratulations to Leeds Allotment Society (sponsored by Irrigatia) for picking up a TOP award at the Spring Harrogate Show.  Leeds Allotment Society were awarded Premier Gold for their show garden with the theme being VE Day Celebrations.  As part of this they displayed a ‘Dig for Victory Allotment Garden.’

  • It’s show time!

    by Aroonaa Sharrma | Apr 07, 2016

    Preparations are in full swing as we gear-up for the Harrogate Flower Show (21st – 24th April 2016) where for the first time we will be displaying all our new vertical garden systems.

    The Irrigatia range of innovative vertical gardens are ideal for adding decoration to walls, fences and even garden sheds, whilst also increasing the amount of plants that can be grown in small areas.

    We will have some fantastic vertical garden displays on show including the Picture Garden Kit, Vertical Fruit & Veg Garden and Vertical Herb & Flower Garden, plus we will be offering 20% discount for show purchases – so don’t miss out and visit us on stand C12 (just inside the blue gate main entrance and in front of Picnic Piazza).

    We hope to see you there!

    Harrogate
  • How to create a weed free bed to sow your seeds in

    by User Not Found | Dec 18, 2013

     

    What you need:

    • A suitable patch of ground – a raised bed is good!
    • A length of geotextile that fits your bed or the area you wish to use
    • Weights – we used bricks
    • An Irrigatia Sol-K-12 pump system with additional seep hose kit
    • Water pipe
    • Netting – we used scaffold netting as very little gets through (although carrot flies do sadly!)
    • A nearby source of water – a rain water barrel is ideal.

     

    Step 1: Choose your bed!  We chose one which had manure put on in autumn and covered with geotextile. We made a series of grooves in the rotted manure layer about 2inches wide, 1.5 inches deep and about 8 inches apart.

     

    farmyard manured bed

     

     Step 2: Starting at one end lay the geotextile and anchor it down with some weights. Push it into the grooves. Use a weight to stop the geotextile being pulled back out of the formed grooves - moving it along as you work.

     

     starting to lay geotex

     

    Step 3:  Tuck the sides neatly into the edge of the bed.

     

    Step 4: Set up your Sol K-12 pump unit and attach the inlet tube to a nearby water butt – ours goes into the integral water reservoir underneath the bed. From the pump outlet lay a header tube with 12 drippers lined up with the end of each groove. 

     

     

     

    Step 5: Add a length of seep hose onto each dripper (no more than 1 metre long). Add a stopper to the other end and stake down next to the side of the bed.

     

     

     

    Step 6: Cover the seep hose with compost and sow your seeds.  Don’t forget to label them!! Give an initial water with a watering can and set the pump system running.

     

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    Step 7: Cut your water pipe to make hoops to stretch across the bed and push them firmly in (you can use a piece of bamboo or a thin metal pipe to slip them over if you like).

     

    scaffold netting put on

     

    Cover the hoops with scaffold netting, weighted at each end with bricks and fix it to the sides of the bed.

     

    Hook only velcro fixed to the side of the bed using a staple gun.

     

     

     

    Additional ideas:  We sowed lots of seeds for later transplanting, but also sowed alternate rows for plants to be cropped in situ so they should fill the gaps when the transplants are taken out.

     

    And finally!
    Here are the germinated seedlings which have been well watered and protected from most flying insects and other pests by the scaffold netting!

     

    Picture above was taken on 5th June - now see the picture taken on 19th June - amazing   results!