With only a few months' training under her belt, GardenSite's own Flori Bosnigeanu took part in this year's Great Birmingham Run, raising over £500 for the city's Children's Hospital.
To grow the biggest, scariest pumpkin in time for Halloween isn't easy as they take some time to mature and prefer a warm climate. To have the best chance of success Martyn Loach recommends sowing seed indoors during April and then planting out in late May or June.
Visit your local garden centre and you'll see a good range of pumpkin seeds on offer, some more suitable to our lower summer temperature, I've always found 'Jack of All Trades' is a good variety to choose.
Sow two seeds on their sides in 3" pots filled with good quality compost, the temperature needs to be about 20°C, so you may have to use a propagator.
Following germination, the seedlings that develop true leaves will be large enough to transfer outside after about a month. They should first be hardened off in a cold frame or by leaving them outdoors for gradually longer periods of time.
Pumpkins love moist rich soil, warm temperatures and a sunny sheltered position, so don't plant them out too early.
You can plant two to a growbag or, If you are growing them in your garden, you'll need to dig a large hole and fill it with a mixture of well rotted manure and compost with a general purpose fetilizer. Make sure that the soil is slightly raised to ensure good drainage.
Always keep the roots well watered and support the fruits off the ground to avoid rotting. Pinch out unwanted flowers and apply tomato feed every fortnight.
At Halloween, harvest by cutting the stem several inches away from the pumpkin to create a good handle. Then refer to our blog on how to carve the scariest halloween pumpkin in order to deter both evil spirits and trick or treaters.
Robert Hall, senior partner at GardenSite.co.uk has been elected to sit on the Garden Industry Manufacturers Association (GIMA) Judging Panel for 2017. The news was announced on 31st March 2017 on the GIMA website.
April, particularly if you are on holiday over Easter, is the time when gardeners, whatever their level of enthusiasm and skill, want to get into the garden. Andy Taylor looks at the gardening jobs that can be achieved this month.
With rising water temperature and kinder weather, April is a good month for pond maintenance and Dan Everton takes a look at the jobs that need to be done this month.
Pay attention to your lawn in the spring and Andy Taylor reckons you will receive dividends later in the year.