Two Wests & Elliott's GardenBlog

A garden blog from Two Wests and Elliott. Visit our site today

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Paraffin Heaters

Paraffin heaters are an excellent solution for heating a greenhouse or outhouse in the winter months and keeping your plants alive.

You can buy these popular heaters relatively cheaply compared to more expensive electric versions, which use more power and tend to take longer to get a room up to the desired temperature. You can buy decent sized paraffin heaters from Two Wests for £41.99 which will suitably heat most greenhouses at a reasonable cost for the fuel.

Paraffin heaters, although allowing you to quickly heat up a space, are a little tricky to use if you want to regulate the temperature which means you should keep a close eye on the heater and only use it when you are present to ensure the light doesn’t go out – which could fill the greenhouse with gas which causes all kinds of problems for your and your plants.

The downside to paraffin heaters is that you are relying on gas canisters or liquid kerosene for the power, which can be used up quickly if you are using the heater often. Gas canisters and kerosene can be bought cheaply from Two Wests and from many camping and caravanning stores to replenish your stores although if you use the heater sparingly you can make the fuel go much further.

Another way to get the most out of paraffin heaters is to make sure that your greenhouse is fully insulated so that the heat that is being produced is being kept inside teh greenhouse for as long as possible. You will need to monitor the temperature constantly to make sure that the temperature doesn’t get too high, but this is an opportunity to see how efficient your greenhouse is by judging the rate of heat loss.

As with any form of liquid fuel, care should be taken when replacing cannisters or refuelling the heater to ensure that the fuel isn’t contaminated or spilled. Always refuel the heater in an open space which is well ventilated to avoid inhaling the fumes which can be toxic.

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Greenhouse Heaters

With the weather becoming colder it’s about that time of year to blow the dust off of those greenhouse heaters you’ve been storing, or maybe look at other heating options for your greenhouse for the winter months.

Keeping your greenhouse at an optimum temperature is absolutely vital to allow your plants to thrive throughout the cold months. Cold nights and frosty mornings can be devastating to your young plants that grow in the winter months, but there are plenty of options for heating a greenhouse in winter to keep them alive!

Temperature control is one of the hardest things to master when considering the heating required for your greenhouse. It’s a minefield of potential harm, with plenty of room for error which can lead to your plants not surviving the winter. Set the temperature too high and your plants will be just as vulnerable as if you have no temperature regulation at all; set it too low and it will be a complete waste of time and money.

There are products available that have a thermostat on them that will maintain a constant temperature, making it a lot easier to judge and maintain the climate inside the greenhouse and means you don’t need to be checking the thermostat in the greenhouse every hour to make sure it’s still warm enough.

Greenhouse heating is notoriously tricky, with gas greenhouse heaters, electric heaters, generator heaters and a myriad of other products that all serve to keep your greenhouse warm. It can be difficult to choose the most appropriate product, but for whether you’re a seasoned gardener who has seen many harsh winters or a relative newbie to the greenfingered nature of growing, there is a heating product that will suit you.

Timing is yet another issue to consider when deciding on your greenhouse heating strategy. Some plants are much more robust than others and will be able to cope better with the cold, but others will need a constant level of heat to ensure they survive.

Buying a greenhouse heater with a timer as well as a thermostat will allow you to have more control over the temperature regulation, as you can set the heater to come at at particular times for a set duration at a set temperature of your choosing. You can have the heater on to maintain a temperature so that when the mercury dips below the required temperature it will kick in an regulate it.

See our range of greenhouse heaters at Two Wests and Elliot to get a better picture of the kind of products available.


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Misting Kit: The Advantages

A garden mister can be a handy tool to have for propagating your cuttings, providing a moist atmosphere in the greenhouse to ensure they have plenty of water to flourish.

The advantage of a misting kit over a traditional hosepipe is that it provides a much gentler watering solution, compared to a hosepipe that can be very aggressive and risks damaging more delicate plants or cuttings.

A misting kit will also cost you a lot less time, as you won’t need to go from seed tray to seed tray to water each plant or cutting individually. The mister will fill the entire room with water vapour which is easily absorbed by young plants and will leave you with plenty of time to do more green-fingered jobs!

Misters are also very easy to use and maintain. No more traipsing backwards and forwards to refill the watering can or to get a different hose attachment. A misting kit will allow you to set up the watering system then simply turn on the water to allow all of the plants in the greenhouse to be thoroughly watered.

Ever wonder if your cuttings are getting enough water? Do you think you run the risk of over-watering them, especially if it’s a plant you have never grown before? A misting kit will solve this problem for you as it will create the environment that allows the plant to draw as much moisture from the atmosphere as it needs, without running the risk of drowning them or flooding them.

Whilst misters work best in a greenhouse where you can control the amount of water used and the area you will be watering, there are also garden mister kits that give you the same benefits for your whole garden as well as just your greenhouse.

The only problem with this is that the elements may come into play, causing the water to be blown away from certain plants or rain to cause over-watering. Garden mister kits are useful for bigger plants that need plenty of water when there is a dry spell but care should be taken when using them in your garden with smaller plants.

You can buy a whole range of misting kit products at Two Wests and Elliot, browse our selection for all of your watering solutions.


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Potting Benches – Dedicated to Nurturing

Potting benches are the ideal place to begin to cultivate your garden, whether you have them in a shed or outhouse or if they’re out in the open.

The allow you to create a dedicated space where you can move seedlings over to their own pots, re-plant crops that have outgrown their current crops or even perform more delicate tasks that aren’t even related to potting, like taking cuttings from existing plants.

A potting table allows you to have a place where you can get lost in your gardening and completely immerse yourself in the experience, rather than having to clear a space at the kitchen table or worry about getting soil all over the place.

Another advantage of having a potting bench is the added storage it provides. Many potting tables and benches have cupboards or shelves underneath that are perfect places to store plant pots, bags of soil or even tools so that everything you need to work on your planting is in one place. No more rooting through the garage and shed to try and find the dibber or searching in the greenhouse for the trowel!

Potting benches come in many shapes, sizes and designs, with something to suit everyone. For the city gardener with just a small space to tend such as a rooftop or a small yard, it is possible to buy a folding potting bench Obviously this will not have the storage options but it will allow you to pot in peace and simply fold the table away after use – great for storing too.

For the gardener with a little more space, there are plenty of potting benches with large worktops and plenty of storage for your soil, pots and tools. Some even have backs to them which give you the opportunity to hang tools from hooks for even easier access.

Whilst many potting sheds will be used indoors, in greenhouses, shed or outhouses, some may prefer to have their potting bench outside in the open air. Whilst this allows you to get some fresh air whilst gardening, in the British summer it’s likely that you will experience some rainfall so a little cover is recommended, especially if you’re doing a lot of planting.

Potting benches are available in metal and wood giving you the option to choose which kind of style would benefit you. If you have a rustic theme going on then wooden potting benches are a good choice but for sturdiness and longevity it’s hard to beat a metal potting table.

Browse our range of potting benches online at Two Wests and Elliot to see what kind of potting area will best suit you.

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Fruit cages for protecting your produce

Fruit cages are a brilliant invention that creates a barrier around your produce to protect it from birds and other vermin that could destroy your crop.

Growing fruit is a great way to save money and provide yourself with some delicious home grown produce. If you have a bumper crop or a large allotment you could even make some money by selling the fruit to your neighbours and friends.

It’s also a great way to fuel your gardening hobby and is a rewarding past time in the summer months when the sun is shining and you can see your produce flourishing.

This is why it can be so devastating when a squirrel or a bird spies your fruit and decides to pilfer it, taking away your reward and often destroying the crop in the process.

Fruit cages protect your fruit by providing a boundary that cannot be crossed by vermin or birds, but still allows the plants access to the sun and rain to let them grow naturally, with different heights and sizes available to ensure that the plants never run out of room to grow.

There are many different kinds of fruit cage to choose from, some of which can be expensive. A heavy duty fruit cage can cost quite a bit, but if you have a serious rodent problem or you just can’t scare away the birds and have tried everything, they are a worthwhile investment to protect your plants.

Fruit cages are a worthwhile purchase for any keen gardener who doesn’t want their produce to be vulnerable to creatures, they can be used as a vegetable cage or even just to protect delicate plants that you have in your garden and don’t want to risk being trampled.

At Two Wests we have a large selection of our own brand fruit cages as well as fruit cage frames which allow you to build your own cage. If looked after properly, fruit cages can last for many seasons which makes them a popular investment for gardeners who are growing around the year and want to protect their plants at all times.


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Boost Your Garden With a Propagator

Propagating is a great way to increase your plant stock by taking cuttings from successful plants and using them to grow new shoots and create a new plant. The best part is that propagating is free – all you need is the equipment to get started which you can find at Two Wests.

Depending on how much of a seasoned gardener you are you may already have the propagating trays, covers and garden supplies necessary to begin, but just in case you don’t then head over to Two Wests to browse our range of propagators.

Propagating is the process of using cuttings of a current plant to create more plants for your garden and is popular practice amongst gardeners, especially those who like to grow veg. Propagating is a great way to maintain your garden’s image and quickly expand it for free without having to buy more seeds or small plants.

It also helps you choose the strongest plants or the most fruitful. For a veg-grower, using a propagator to grow more versions of the highest-yeilding plant from the previous season is an effective way to increase the yield of your crop if the conditions are similar. It works the same with fruit, flowers or any other plant you are attempting to grow: just make sure you take your clippings from a strong plant to begin with.

A propagator is a useful tool that should be in every gardener’s arsenal. There are a range available, including a dedicated propagating bench or propagating tray that can be powered with electricity or you can even use hydroponics – the art of growing plants in a nutrient-rich chemical solution without water.

The art of propagating can take a while to learn as you need to know when the best time to plant your seeds are. For example if you are wanting to grow squashes like pumpkins then you need to prepare your seed trays three weeks before the last spring frost, but if you want more delicate plants like peppers you need to plant them six weeks before.

This is mostly trial and error but there is plenty of advice out there for help on when to get your propagating tray started. When you do know the appropriate times it is a good idea to write them in a calendar or diary so you will be able to remember for next year – otherwise you’ll have to do all the research again!




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Freshening up for Spring – From Raised Beds to Garden Arches

Now that we’re heading towards the end of winter it’s time to start thinking about freshening up your garden’s image, whether you’re wanting to completely re-landscape it or you want a bit of a restyle. We’ve put together a few hints and tips to give your garden a new image without the upheaval of a complete landscape:

1.Raised Beds

Raised beds are a great way to add some character to your garden, especially if you want to put in some new plants or perhaps even create a vegetable patch. A raised bed will also make it easier for you to manage things such as changing the soil composition or pH, as you can just empty the bed and start over.

To make your raised beds successful you could also buy accessories such as support frames, especially useful if you plan to grow climbers in them, or cold frames and covers so you can protect your plants in the winter months.

2. Garden Benches

A garden bench is a great way to improve your garden’s atmosphere whilst giving you a place to relax after a hard day’s gardening. Garden benches are best placed at the bottom of the garden or in a place where you are able to sit and admire your horticultural creation.

Garden benches come in a range of styles and there is something to suit everyone’s tastes. There are metal garden benches as well as the standard wooden bench seat as well as a variety of bench styles to choose from. You could opt for a romantic garden love seat to spend some quality time with your significant other or stick with a classic two seater, whatever you choose will add another dimension to your outside space.

3. Greenhouse

A greenhouse is a brilliant addition to your garden and will give you the opportunity to spend some time growing your own fruit and vegetable or cultivating flowers that need to thrive in a warmer temperature.

There are literally thousands of greenhouses available on the market including plastic greenhouses and timber greenhouses, each one ideal for its own purpose. Greenhouses are great because you can fill them with whatever you want, and there is so much potential in them for shelving or adding workbenches, even a mister or heater can be added according to the temperature and needs of the plant.

4. Potting Benches and accessories

Having accessories such as potting benches and a variety of garden accessories around the garden can add some charisma to your space and make it seem stylish whilst giving it an authentic feel, especially wooden versions. Potting benches can also come in handy for actually potting your new plants in sprint or transferring them to larger pots as they grow.

Although potting benches and other garden accessories make great ornaments and features for a garden, it’s worth remembering the amount of rain we have in the UK. If you are intending to leave your potting bench outside then try and ensure it will be somewhere relatively dry.

5. Garden Arches

Garden arches are great decorative pieces that will bring a touch of style to any garden, providing you have a pathway through the garden. The use of garden arches are perfect for separating different parts of your garden, such as a vegetable or flower garden and a section of lawn turf.

By coupling garden arches with small fences you can create an effective barrier between areas of your garden. Garden arches are also extremely effective frames for climbing plants and some amazing effects can be created by taking advantage of this with flowers such as roses or even ivy to give the arch a fairytale appearance.

Try all of these tips to freshen up your garden in time for spring.


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