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The most refreshing summer herbs can be grown both on the terrace and in the ground, since they can easily adapt to pots, planters or any part of your garden. You can always have them at hand, as they are outdoor plants that can also be grown in the kitchen, provided they get plenty of light. Here are a few basic tips on the 5 easiest herbs to grow for your summer dishes. You will find out about their basic care, how to propagate them and to extend their production. Follow these tips to be able to infuse your summer recipes with flavour and freshness.

(C) Meghan Rodgers

Basil, the king of summer

Who doesn’t love a good pesto or a simple Caprese salad with tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil? Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is an annual plant, which means that it will die when the colder temperatures arrive and you will need to replant it the following spring. During the spring and summer, we will be able to enjoy its aromatic and scented leaves in a lot of different dishes.

Basil is an easy herb to grow
(C) Animus Invictus

We recommend that you cut the flowers when these start to appear,  in order to lengthen the life of the plant. Always cut them below the first pair of leaves from which the inflorescences are growing.

  • Sowing: In the spring: spread some seeds on the ground, without sinking them too deep into it. Cover them lightly with a bit of soil and water. They will sprout in a few days.
  • Transplanting: It is not necessary to transplant basil unless you used seed trays initially. If you have bought a pot with many plants in it, divide the root ball into 3 or 4 different parts, and transplant them separately. Each one of the small stems will grow into a single plant, and if there are too many in the pot, they won’t be able to grow and develop.
  • Location: Place it in a spot where it gets plenty of light, even direct sunlight, for a few hours every day. At the height of summer it will be thankful for some shade during the hottest time of the day.
  • Watering: keep the soil moist, without flooding it.  If the plant needs more water, you will notice right away, as its leaves will start to look weak and droopy.

Mint and spearmint, two of the most refreshing herbs

(C) Bon Vivant

You can easily grow new mint and spearmint plants, just by putting a cutting in water. In less than a week the roots will start to grow and you will be able to transplant them wherever you want.

Even though they both belong to the mint family, the aroma of Peppermint (Mentha spicata) is different from that of Mint (Mentha piperita). Still, they are both equally refreshing. Make no mistake: peppermint is the one used in mojitos, while mint is perfect for cold infusions, green juices and various recipes (yogurt-based sauces, cold salads, etc.).

  • Sowing: In the spring: their seeds are tiny, like dust, so they should not be buried. Spread them out on the ground and then water with a garden spray bottle.
  • Transplanting: Both mint and spearmint are very invasive plants, and they live for several years, sometimes losing their leaves in the winter. They grow underground stolons, which can sometimes reach quite far away from the mother plant, so it is recommended that you grow them in pots, planters, or in spaces enclosed by rockery.
  • Location: They love the sun, yet they will enjoy some shade during the hottest hours of the day.
  • Watering: Keep the soil moist, paying particular attention to the plant’s leaves. If they need watering, you will notice that the leaves start to droop.

Parsley

The 5 easiest herbs to grow this summer
(C) David Todd McCarty

Flat-leaf or giant parsley are more aromatic herbs than the curly-leaf variety (Petroselinum sativum var. crispum).

Parsley (Petroselinum sativum var. latifolium) is a key herb to a lot of British cuisine. A parsley and garlic mash is an essential ingredient in a lot of cold recipes, stews, and a whole lot of other dishes.

  • Sowing: Of all the herbs that we are covering in this article, parsley is the one that takes the longest to germinate, sometimes up to 4 weeks. Spread the seeds on the ground, cover them with a thin layer of soil, and water. Don’t forget about them: keep the soil moist until they begin to sprout.
  • Transplanting: In the ground or to a pot, leaving a separation of about 10 cm between plants.
  • Location: Partial sun or semi-shade.
  • Watering: Every two or three days in the summer, although it will always depend on the amount of sunshine it gets, as well as the size of the pot. If it is small and the plant has grown a lot, it may need daily watering due to the large number of leaves that it develops.

Coriander

Coriander is an easy-to-grow herb
(C) Lindsay Moe

The coriander plant is very versatile, as all its part can be used in the kitchen: the leaves, the seeds and in some recipes, even the roots.

The taste of Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) is certainly a matter of controversy: you either hate it or you love it. Yet it is an essential ingredient of the refreshing guacamole, as well as of a many other Portuguese, Latin American and Asian recipes, both for its leaves and for its seeds.

  • Sowing: In the spring or autumn, just barely burying the seeds, less than 1 cm into the soil.
  • Transplanting: To pots, planters or directly in the ground, with a separation of 10-15 cm between plants.
  • Location: Sun or partial shade, avoiding direct sunlight during the hottest hours of the day.
  • Watering: Keep the soil moist.

Seed discs are very practical, you just have to place them on the ground, cover them lightly with soil, and water them. When they begin to sprout, all you need to do is separate the seedlings, or eliminate some of them so that each of the remaining ones has space to grow.

(As usual) I will end with a tip learned from personal experience: it is a good idea to grow herbs in pots or planters that can be moved around as the weather changes from spring to summer. Mint, for example, can grow very well in full sunlight in the spring, yet in that same spot get scorched during the summer, no matter how much we water it.

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Easiest herbs to grow for summer dishes

Did you enjoy this article on the 5 easiest herbs to grow for your summer dishes? Why not read our vegetable gardening for beginners guide or even our mini-greenhouse buying guide?

Are you planting some easy herbs to grow? Share your finished results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway#manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

The last few days have been scorching, and while most of us enjoy the warmer weather, we remain on the lookout for ways to keep cool when the temperature goes up. Here are 5 handy tops to keep cool as a cucumber and stop your home from turning into a furnace throughout this mini heatwave. 

Keep cool at home
Keep cool at home

KEEP COOL AT HOME: WINDOWS CLOSED & BLINDS DOWN

To prevent heat from entering your home, remember to keep your windows closed and your blinds down. What’s the best way to stop heat from coming in? We recommend thermal blinds or heat reflective solar film. They protect your home from the sun and heat while allowing some natural light to pass through. When night falls, it’s a good idea to open your windows. This will create a draught and reduce the temperature so you can get a good night’s sleep in hot weather.

USE PLANTS TO COOL DOWN INTERIORS

Plants help keep temperatures cool

When it comes to keeping temperatures down, plants are an incredible asset. What’s more, they regulate humidity, which helps freshen the air. Imagine a dense forest, where temperatures are much more pleasant and comfortable. We recommend opting for plants that clean the air and are easy to maintain, such as philodendrons, azaleas, ficus, cactus, ivy and ferns. 

To get green fingers:

Browse our selection of fans and air conditioners to keep cool at home here:

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HANG UP WET SHEETS

When temperatures soar, we recommend putting wet sheets and towels on your windows. As the water evaporates, it will help keep your home cool. Another tip: if your floors are made of tiles, stone or concrete, we recommend wetting them. And if you have a paved garden area, hosing it down will help keep the outdoor area a bit cooler. And last but not least, try placing water—in a bucket or basin, for example—at different points around your home.

THE BEDROOM: CHOOSE LIGHTWEIGHT BEDDING

Keep cool at home with linen
(C) Beazy

To ensure a good night’s sleep in hot weather, replace your cosy winter duvet with a cotton or linen bedsheet. Do the same with pillowcases whenever temperatures rise. We also suggest spreading a damp sheet over your sofa to cool the space—just don’t forget to remove cushions, throws and other heat traps lurking in the living room.

UNPLUG LAMPS AND ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES

When it’s hot outside, you can stop electrical appliances—TVs, computers and ovens, for example—from overheating by simply unplugging them. The same goes for indoor lighting. And as days are now longer, you won’t need extra bulbs heating up your home. Keeping lights to a minimum is better for the planet too.

In the kitchen, avoid using appliances that generate heat and electricity. Instead of using the kettle, oven, cooker or microwave, why not have a refreshing salad and glass of iced tea?

Did you enjoy this article on how to keep cool at home this summer? Why not read our article on 5 outdoor living space design ideas or even our fan buying guide!

Are you going to give some of these tips to keep cool at home a go? Let us know how you get on via Instagram using the #mymanomanoway#manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

We are excited to share that we have partnered with the Instagram famous styling duo Style Sisters to create an exclusive Edit and 10 top tips for styling a child’s bedroom, featuring clever storage and multifunctional furniture.

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Top storage tips for a child's bedroom by The Style Sisters
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The Style Sisters have risen to fame by helping their clients to style and organise their homes and wardrobes. From smaller wardrobe detoxes and decluttering to full organisational home makeovers, the sisters are on hand to transform their clients’ homes.

The Edit

The Edit focuses on clever storage solutions and multifunctional furniture for a child’s bedroom. With the help of ManoMano, you can shape your world in your own vision and make the most of whatever space you have – from wooden bunk beds with drawers underneath and a cow themed storage stool to characterful home accessories.

  1. Wooden Bunk Beds £269.99
  2. Storage Animal Stool £79.99
  3. Chest of 5 Drawers £221.00
  4. Real Cow Hide Rug £153.99
  5. White Ladder Shelf £179.99
  6. Blayne Pendant Light £68.48
  7. Children’s Desk and Stool £86.16
  8. Wardrobe £359.99
  9. Knot Cushion £39.99
  10. Teepee Play Tent £42.99
  11. Storage Box £49.99

*Stock levels may vary and will be restocked throughout the year. Alternative products are also available on the website.

Top 10 tips: Styling a child’s bedroom

1. Choose furniture that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also holds plenty of storage! You want to make sure you’re picking pieces that are stylish, practical and functional. 

2. Beds with under the bed storage like the drawers in the bunk beds we have chosen are a great way to maximise space and storage. 

Under bed storage comes in handy to maximise space
Under bed storage and ottomans come in handy to maximise space

3. Ottomans are perfect for storing away items like toys and teddies, you can make them multi functional by popping a few cushions on top so it can also double up as seating. 

4. Think outside the box with storage especially in smaller rooms. Don’t neglect wall space! Use shelves to display and store items.

5. Think about purchasing furniture that can grow with your child rather than nursery furniture. Consider a chest of drawers you can add a changing topper/ mat to, so that you can simply take these off when the child no longer needs them, leaving you with a chest of drawers that still has purpose in the room!

Choose pieces of furniture that can grow with your children
Choose pieces of furniture that can grow with your children

6. Over the door storage is also a great solution for otherwise unused space. A great hack is to use over the door shelving (shoe pockets also work great and can be found inexpensively) – you could use them for teddies/toys! 

7. Desks don’t have to be big and bulbous! Choose one that has lift-up storage like we have used and consider placing shelves above to store craft items on. This way it takes up minimal space but hosts a cute creative corner for the children to use and love! 

Multifunctional desks with lift-up storage are a clever way to store more away

8. Slimline velvet hangers are perfect for a children’s wardrobe. They take up less space than other hangers and leave everything looking super stylish too! 

9. Sleek freestanding shelving displays are great to store books and toys. They make a lovely alternative to a traditional bookcase and are more narrow so don’t take up as much room. 

Try a ladder shelf for storing books & toys

10. Storage baskets are perfect for holding children’s toys. Choose baskets that match the style of the room and go as big as the space will allow. You can place them around the room to store the toys away – you can also bring the basket into other rooms when needed!

Gemma & Charlotte, The Style Sisters
Gemma & Charlotte, The Style Sisters

 “We’ve loved creating an edit with ManoMano and wanted to show what can be done to freshen up and modernise a kids bedroom. Our aim was to utilise space by selecting furniture with storage incorporated into it and we’re excited to show you the end result”, the Style Sisters.

Have the Edit & top tips for a stylish, multifunctional child’s bedroom inspired you? Share your results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway#manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

The UK has enjoyed 3 days straight of some much-welcome sun, and there is a renewed sense of optimism as spring approaches. Now is a great time to head out into the garden and plan a colourful and lively space for the summer months ahead. We’ve collected a list of some of the essential March gardening jobs to help spark some inspiration and creativity.

FLOWER GARDEN JOBS

Grow sweet peas in the garden in March
(C) Gemma Evans
  • Now that the soil has warmed up enough to be workable, this is a great time to mulch your garden beds. One of the top March gardening jobs, mulching helps to introduce new nutrients into the soil and discourage weeds. Before getting started, make sure that your bed has been thoroughly weeded. Dig a layer organic matter at least 5 cm deep into the soil. Ensure that you leave a gap around the stem of any plants.
  • By the last week of March you should be able to plant out any young plants that you have hardened off. When planting, gently tease out some roots to encourage the plant to get established.  If the ground is already moist you don’t need to water it in, but do give it a drink of water before you remove it from the pot.
  • March is the month to plant any summer flowering bulbs you have bought. Double-check that bulbs have sufficient drainage when planting, if not they may rot. Alliums, Begonias and Gladioli are all excellent summer flowering bulbs that bring a splash of colour wherever they are placed.
  • Tending to your roses is best done in late winter before new growth has started appearing. Although pruning techniques vary between different types of roses, these are some basic guidelines. Always wear gloves to protect against thorns and keep your secateurs sharp. Make sure to leave 5mm above a bud and angle angle the cut away from the bud. For this type of pruning you are looking to cut out dead, diseased, and spindly stems.

VEGETABLE PATCH JOBS

Essential gardening jobs in March
(C) Eugenia Romanova
  • If you are raring to go and want to plant seeds out as soon as possible, then take this opportunity to start warming up the soil. Cover your beds with sheets of black plastic or cloches to give it a head start. This covering technique can also be used to encourage an early crop of strawberries or rhubarb.
  • Once the soil reaches 6°C you can start sowing your first lines of seeds outside. For these initial seeds it is best to start with broad beans or sweet peas. Help your your sweet peas by soaking them overnight before you plant them. It is possible to start growing some salad now, but plants tend to grow better when the ground has been warmed up.
  • Shallots and onion sets can be planted out in suitably warm soil. Plant them in a warm, sunny area. If you are buying any bulbs from the garden centre, avoid ones that are already shooting as these are likely to bolt during summer.
  • Now that the weather is warming up, slugs are starting to come out in force. Take this opportunity to prevent slugs from invading and eating up your young plants. There are a variety of slug deterrents and pellets widely available, but you can also use a more natural approach. Beer traps can draw slugs away from your seedlings, or you can remove them by hand and dispose of them at your discretion. Alternatively, slugs do not enjoy crawling over broken eggshells or copper, these materials can be placed as a barrier around plants.

GREENHOUSE JOBS

(C) Curro Mali
  • This is a good time to turn your attention to potted plants and give them a pot upgrade. Move plants into larger pots, and give them a generous amount of compost. As you are potting out the plants, tease out the roots out to encourage them to get established.
  • While repotting plants, take the time to check for vine weevils. At this time of year the larvae start to hatch and become active, so taking action now can prevent a more serious infestation later on. Examine the rootball of plants as you repot, looking out for small maggots that are a white-ish, creamy colour with an orange head.
  • Starts seeds for celery, celeriac, french beans and cauliflower ready to be planted out later on. You can also try growing plant plugs to get a large number of plants for relatively low cost. If you haven’t managed to get yours seeds going in time, plant plugs are a good alternative.

Source:  ww.rhs.org.uk

Did you enjoy this article on essential March gardening jobs? Why not read our article on caring for your Monstera, or Swiss Cheese, Plant or even our guide on choosing a parasol or gazebo!

Are you gardening this month? Share your finished results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway#manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

Indoor plant care tips by By Ester Casanovas

Monsteras are super trendy right now: we see them daily in Instagram posts, Pinterest, clothing, prints, paintings, and of course, in everyday life au naturel.
Its beautiful leaves are reminiscent of its origins in the jungle. Here are a few tips on how to care for two of the most common varieties of this elegant and in vogue plant: the Monstera deliciosa and the Monstera adansonii

Monstera deliciosa

In the Eighties it was not unusual to see a Monstera everywhere, indoors, and in terraces and patios. My mother had hers in the patio where it received a lot of direct sunlight and watering was controlled, as the plant was placed under a roof that prevented it from getting wet when it rained. There! I just gave you two excellent clues as to the light and watering needs of this plant. But first things first:

Indoor plant care tips: Swiss Cheese Plant

Light

Monstera plants love light, but not direct sunlight. Their ideal location is a bright room or a corner in the terrace with only a few hours of sunshine every day.

These plants prefer warm temperatures and a humid environment. In the Mediterranean region they can be left outside all year round, as they withstand minimum temperatures of 5ºC. In colder areas, they are usually grown indoors.

Substrate

It is essential that the substrate have good drainage. We can mix a universal substrate with some perlite, which will prevent waterlogging and rotting of the roots.  Every two years it can be transplanted to a larger pot, renewing part of the substrate and removing dead roots.

The Monstera deliciosa is a plant that can grow very tall, and its leaves can reach 30-40 cm wide. If you grow it indoors and don’t have a lot of space, do not transplant it immediately to a larger pot. The more space it has to develop, the bigger it will grow.

Watering

This is an undemanding plant in terms of watering, even though how often you water it will depend (as it always does) on the average temperature and the size of the pot. If the plant is in a small pot, it will require watering 1 or 2 times per week in the summer, and once every 10-15 days in the winter. Make sure that the substrate is dry before you water it. For this you can use a moisture meter or just dig your finger into the soil to assess its moisture.

If it is growing in very dry conditions, the plant will appreciate it if during the summer you regularly mist it with water. Another option is to give it a good shower in your bathtub once in a while, which will provide the perfect opportunity to clean its beautiful leaves.

Fertiliser

It is recommended that you fertilise it every 15 days with a fertiliser specific for green plants. You can use a liquid fertiliser or fertiliser nails, which are inserted into the substrate. They dissolve slowly and gradually, providing the plant with all the nutrients it needs.

Usually, fertilising is suspended during the winter, to then start again in the spring.

The leaves of the Monstera and their development

Swiss cheese holes

We love this plant precisely because of the beauty of its leaves. And there are a few things to keep in mind regarding its exquisite leaves:

  • Some of the new leaves of your Monstera plant might not show its characteristic swiss cheese holes. These only appear when the leaf is fully developed. Be patient and wait for the leaves to fully grow.
  • Clean the leaves with a cloth dampened in water. Or, as we mentioned above, give it a good shower in your bathtub with your shower hose or head.
  • If you manage to store rainwater, mist the plant with it to prevent small white dots from appearing on the leaves. These specks are lime, which leaves a residue when the water drops dry. If you can’t store rainwater, then you might want to use weak mineralisation bottled water. 
  • If the tips of the leaves turn brown, it could be due to overwatering. Make sure the substrate is completely dry before watering again.
  • But if they also have a yellowish tone, it could be due to overwatering or lack of fertiliser. Think carefully about which of the two options it could be.
  • Bear in mind that the leaves and the stems of the Monstera are toxic to humans and pets, but only if ingested.

Monstera plants are climbers. Air roots will grow along its stems, allowing you to easily guide it as well as propagate it.

In order to guide it, take a coconut fibre climbing pole and carefully tie the stems of the plant to it with garden wire or twine. Do not press the plant stems against the pole: put them next to it so that the air roots can start to grow and support themselves.

Allow the air roots to grow new plants

You can use the air roots of the Monstera to propagate it and grow new plants. All you have to do is cut one of them and put it in water.

Monstera adansonii or Swiss Cheese Plant

This variety is usually grown indoors as it is less tolerant of the cold. It prefers locations with higher humidity and without drafts.

Since I have limited space in my flat, I decided to grow a Monstera adansonii. Although it has grown quite a bit, it is still much smaller than its “delicious” sibling. I have put it on top of the cabinet and let it hang down.

This specific variety grows leaves with small openings that gradually become huge eyes as the leaf grows. This characteristic, as well as its reduced size, makes it totally different from the Monstera deliciosa, with fully opened leaves in the form of ribs (which is why it is sometimes also known as “Adam’s Rib”).

Did you enjoy this article on caring for your Monsteras? Why not read our article on identifying what’s wrong with your plants or even our guide on creating a living wall

Are you loving your indoor plants this winter? Share your results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway, #manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

By Ester Casanovas

Ester is the author of the Spanish website PicaronaBlog. A self-taught vegetable gardener, she teaches urban gardening workshops, collaborates in specialised media and in 2014 published her first introductory manual: “Hortelanos de ciudad”.