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Here are some tips and tricks if you’re frustrated about not having enough garden space but still want to have the same level of greenery in your home.

Window box


Window Box is a really useful type of planter to have in your garden. Many choose to have them positioned hanging from a high point like a window or a fence, or they could be placed on a narrow balcony. If this is the case, make sure they are secured with hangers with good grip. Another advantage of window boxes is that you can mix and match lots of different types of plants depending on what suits you. Some beautiful flowers that go well together are:

  • Begonias, gerberas, busy lizzies, ivies, pansies, fuchsias, helichrysum, heathers, dwarf conifers, hostas and ferns.

Alternatively, you could also grow some gorgeous smelling herbs such as:

  • Chives, tarragon, parsley, rosemary, sage, mint, thyme, basil, parsley and oregano are ideal, as are low-growing fruit and vegetables. Try strawberries, bush tomatoes, salad leaves, radish, stump-rooted carrots and beetroot.

These plant work perfectly as they are shallow rooted and no not disturb one another. You can arrange them based on seasonality, where they are located in your space, and the level of care they would need.

Indoor – tomato plants

If vegetable growing is your particular favourite then there are a few options. Mostly microgreens grow best indoors, but we would also recommend growing tomato plants. They do well in containers and are then easy to keep an eye on to make sure they are healthy. Some of the best variations of tomatoes are Red Robin, Tiny Tim, Toy Boy and Florida Petite. They will thrive with the warmth of your home as they are sensitive to the cold, just make sure to put them next to a window that gets plenty of sunlight. Start off by sowing them in a tray. You can then transfer to a pot once the seedlings have grown to 3 inches tall. Then, fertilise every two weeks and water up to twice a day, depending on temperatures.

DIY Planters

DIY vertical garden which can hang on your wall.

In order to make the most of your outdoor space, you could also find or make your own planter.

Here are some tutorials on how to make them yourself:

Find out how to make a DIY planter box with a hose reel inside.

DIY vertical garden which can hang on your wall.

How to make your own out of pallets.

 

For more DIYs, check out these below:

Garden Design – Spring Garden Planter Ideas

DIY Indoor Planter – Self Watering

 

Is all you’ve avo wanted a beautiful and healthy avocado tree? Avocados are hugely popular for their high source of nutrients and the fact that they are a low carb plant friendly food. Plus, be-leaf it or not, they are super easy to grow with a bit of patience, love and care.

To grow your avocado plant you will need:

1 avocado

1 plastic cup

Water

3 toothpicks

For potting:

1 medium sized pot

Soil – enough to fill your pot of choice

Water

  1. Take your avocado and cut in in half to access the seed.
  2. Wash off any excess flesh for a super shiny seed.
  3. We don’t want to be the devils avocado but, one of the best way to ensure spouting is to peel off the seed’s outer skin to reveal the lighter layer underneath. This means that when the new stem is prepared to form the seed can crack when it’s ready.
  4. Making sure the seed is facing upwards, (the top is the more rounded and pointed side) stick in your 3 toothpicks about ¾ of the way up the seed at an upward angle.
  5. You should then be able to rest your avocado seed in the plastic cup.
  6. Fill your cup until it’s just over halfway up the seed and set it up on a window with lots of sunlight. Change the water every 5 days or so to prevent any fungus or bacteria growth.
  7. You should be seeing a sprout in around 4 to 8 weeks.

Potting method

  1. When your seed has begun to grow a stem and has reached at least 6 inches tall it is then ready to pot.
  2. In order not to damage the root system, make sure that your chosen pot is deep enough to hold your plant and its roots without separating them. Plan out where they will be placed before adding soil.
  3. Add a base layer of soil and then position your plant. Hold it steadily whilst filling in the rest of your soil until level with the toothpicks.
  4. Slowly pull out your toothpicks. If they are too stiff to remove you can also cut them at the base, it may sound pit-ifully wrong but it’s ok!
  5. Give it a light water with room temperature water, making sure not to over do it and just moisten the soil.
  6. Remember to water it regularly as it and give it a weekly feed of fertiliser, as well as keeping an eye on your plant to make sure it’s tall and healthy.

Your tree should start to produce fruit in a few years depending on the type of avocado you’ve used. Avo great time planting!

 

Top Nine Low Maintenance Flowers

Top 5 Useful Indoor House Plants

 

At ManoMano, we admire those who MAKE. And it’s for that very reason that ManoMano supports makers and their projects by telling their stories in the series The Amazing Making Of. Join our celebration of imagination, creativity, hard work and eccentricity!

After the success of MadCow’s giant water slide in episode one, we present to you episode two!

In this episode we meet Gavin who shows us his crazy project on how he uses nature to grow furniture. In his 6 acres of field, Gavin grows chairs, lamps, tables… and maybe even one day, houses!

Find out how he does it:

 

The Amazing Making Of – Giant Water Slide

The Amazing Making Of – THE WINNERS

 

This is the ultimate guide to growing your favourite happy hour cocktails within the comfort of your own home – so that you’ll have the herbs you need at hand for whenever you feel like it’s about thyme for a beverage!

 

Home Growing

When it comes to growing herbs indoors, hydroponics is one of the best methods. This is because hydroponic herbs grow more rapidly from seedlings, are able to grow bigger volumes in a smaller containers,  and are known for having a heightened aroma which means – more taste!

Hydroponics will result in your herbs growing 25% to 50% faster than in soil, in a controlled environment where you won’t even have to bother with keeping them hydrated. No soil messiness and herbs all year round – it’s just mint to be!

 

Herb Cocktails

We’ve put together some of our favourite herb-y concoctions for you to give a go – they’re kind of a big dill.

 

Mojito

This absolute classic includes one of our all time favourite herbs and is super easy to make.

 

You will need:

 

Crushed ice – 1 cup

Soda – 50ml

Mint Leaves – 10, plus a few more for garnish

Fresh lime juice – 2 tablespoons

White rum – ¼ cup

Fine sugar – 2 tablespoons

 

  1. Stir together the sugar and lime juice until all is dissolved.
  2. Add the ¼ of the cup of crushed ice.
  3. Tear the mint leaves in half and add them into the glass.
  4. Stir, then add the white rum, rest of the ice and soda.
  5. Stir once again, and add the extra mint for garnish!

 

Dill or No Dill

 

This dill-icious cocktail may be slightly less well known, but is guaranteed to tickle your tastebuds!

You will need:

 

Gin – 50ml

Elderflower syrup or cordial – 15ml

Lemon juice – 1 teaspoon

Cucumber juice – 30ml

Dill – 2 sprigs, 1 to garnish

Salt – 1 pinch

 

  1. Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice.
  2. Sprain into a serving glass.
  3. Add extra sprig of dill to garnish!

 

Rosemary Gin Fizz

This recipe takes no time at all which may or may not make it even more addictive…

 

You will need:

 

Rosemary – 3 sprigs

Juice of 1 small lemon

Honey – ½ teaspoon

Gin – 35ml

Soda – 90ml

 

  1. Muddle together the honey, lemon juice and rosemary in a small drinking glass.
  2. Fill the glass with ice, pour in the gin and then top with the soda.
  3. Give it a swirl and you’re done!

 

Once you’re set up with your indoor herbs and alcohol, let the world of alcoholic herb-y beverages be your oyster! You’ll constantly be saying “chive never been so tipsy”! 😜

 

 

What is Hydroponics?

Indoor Herb Gardening for Beginners

What is a drip irrigation system?

A new way of effectively watering plants: a drip irrigation system! This is the ideal way to navigate and distribute the water used for your plants directly to their roots, as well as being able to leave your plants to become hydrated whilst unattended. So, in order to make your life easier – and especially as the holidays are coming up! – we’ve decided to show you just how easy it is to install.

 

The controller

The heart of the system is the irrigation controller. This is installed on a tap near the garden or vegetable patch and is responsible for opening and closing the flow of water according to what you have programmed in. There are many different models and prices available to satisfy the needs of all: from those that control two different areas of the garden (image 1) to those that you can control over the internet via an app (image 2). The controller is battery operated and can be left outdoors at all times without a problem.

It allows you to control two variants:

– the frequency of watering (in terms of hours or days)

– the duration (in minutes or hours)

It would be recommended to start off with a kit such as the one in this image. It contains everything you need to get started and you can always expand your collection by purchasing further parts which are sold separately.

Besides the controller, there are two types of tubing in the kits (image 3): a 16mm diameter tube (which acts as the main one) and a 4mm one, whose job is to channel the water to specific areas or to each plant pot.

These tubes are completely watertight, although some come pre-perforated (with small holes in them) or are exudative (porous along the entire length). They also are available in various lengths if you prefer to buy them separately.

 

Parts needed to install a drip irrigation system

  1. Irrigation controller
  2. Irrigation controller programmer
  3. Irrigation kit
  4. Tee connector
  5. 4-way connectors
  6. Elbows
  7. End caps
  8. Stopcock
  9. Dripper
  10. Dripper stakes
  11. 2 port manifold

Connections are made using various plastic pieces (also included in the kits): these come in the shape of a T (image 4), of an X (image 5), elbows (image 6), end caps (image 7) and even stopcocks (image 8) to be able to open or shut off specific sections according to your needs.

Start by connecting the controller directly to the tap. The pressure reducer, filter and main hose (also included in the kits) should be positioned below this.

Design your own drip irrigation system

It’s a good idea to start off with a small map of your garden or vegetable patch. Sketch out where you would want the water to go and take measurements to check how many metres of the main tubing you will need. The kits usually come with around 25 metres of 16mm tubing.

Begin by uncoiling this tubing and spread it over the selected area. It is essential so that you don’t fold or twist it at the corners. To help avoid this, use the elbow shaped pieces (image 6) which allow the water to flow more easily rather than ‘choking’ it.

The tee pieces (image 4) will help you to cut off towards various plots you may want to avoid, you close off these ‘branches’ by using the end cap (image 7) which was designed for this purpose.

If your plants are on the ground, you can pierce this tubing directly with the punch and install the dripper (image 9) above it. However if the water needs to reach plant pots or planters, it would be recommended to use the smallest tube (4mm).

Here is an analogy I like to use to make it easier to understand: the thick tube is like the arteries of this circulatory system that you’re installing. And the narrow one is like the veins that reach every corner of the body!

To gain maximum control over the amount of water that reaches your plants, drippers are used. These can be adjustable or can even be shut off completely. For plant pots I like to use drip stakes (image 10), because these are easy to jab into the soil.

As mentioned at the start, all of these items are available separately: tubes, laterals, elbows, drippers, stopcocks, connectors… But we also want to highlight a type of ‘splitter’ that turns your single tap into a double one (piece 11). This allows you to connect the drip irrigation system to one outlet, while keeping the other one for your normal garden hose, or just as a tap. Note that if you’re looking for something like this, they also come with 4 outlets.

A few tips before you install your drip irrigation system:

  1.      Don’t leave it all to the day before your holidays. Give yourself plenty of time to test how it works and make adjustments to the length and frequency of watering.
  2.      If you’re installing your system on a terrace or balcony to water pots, make sure that the minimum length of watering that can be programmed is 1 minute. If your plants need it, it’s a good idea to program the system to water them twice a day rather than to waste water because you can’t water for less time.
  3.      If you need to pierce the tubes to insert the connectors, try to make these holes as straight as possible and insert the pieces all the way in to ensure a good seal. If this is too difficult, heat up the tube a little with a lighter or hot water. The parts will then slide in more easily.

Until next time!

 

Check out our other how-tos!

How to Prevent Plant Pests

DIY Pergola Tutorial