All posts by grassman1957

Autumn and Winter Garden Maintenance

Autumn and Winter maintenance for Gardens

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Whilst the summer clings on for dear life, we’re definitely turning the corner into Autumn and that will be closely followed by Winter (and then Spring again, hurrah!)

As the grass cutting comes to an end (the last cut date can vary greatly -depending on the weather – last year, grass was still being cut into November) – it is time to ensure that your mower is cleaned, serviced and stored away safely for next year.

Other tasks that need attending to in the garden over the Winter are

  • Pruning (deciduous) trees and shrubs to keep them growing fresh for next year – once a tree or shrub has lost the majority of its leaves, it can be pruned back to encourage fresh growth next year and to stop it from getting too straggly.

If you have evergreen trees, these don’t generally need pruning in the same way – but you can trim them to maintain a nice tidy shape and remove any dead or dying branches.

 

  • Rake up and remove dead leaves from lawns and patios – as per our earlier blog post – this not only allows the ground to continue to live – but it also prevents a build up of dead leaves in drains and on patio areas.

 

  • Dig over any borders and/or around trees and shrubs. You should leave a nice brown soil for the winter – add a bark chip or manure cover to the border to allow both protection over the winter and extra nutrients for the Spring.

 

  • This is also the time to be planting spring bulbs – whether in borders or in pots – daffodils, tulips and crocus can show early signs of colour to help to cheer both the mood and the garden in the mid winter – you can get advice from your local garden centre on which varieties would be best for your individual situation.

 

  • If you have a pond, you should try to keep this clear of dead leaves and debris too – and particularly when the weather gets really cold, be sure to make sure that any resident wildlife can still access the water – you might need to break the ice regularly.

 

  • If you have an outside tap, you might want to ensure that it’s protected, as much as possible, from any hard frosts that might show their faces over the Winter – hessian sacking or something similarly robust can be tied around the outside tap to help prevent it freezing up. Check that your hosepipe is free of water before you put it away for the winter too.

 

  • Over the winter, it’s unlikely that you’ll need to water your garden – unless we have an unseasonal heatwave!

 

  • Of course, Winter is also the time to make plans for the garden for the forthcoming year – so if you want to extend a lawn area, or add in features of interest – a seating area, an arbour or a rose garden, now is the time to start planning where it will go, how big it will be and when you’ll start on it – all over a warm cup of tea – whilst you’re indoors!

Don’t forget we are happy to help you get rid of all those leaves and anything else you might need doing around the garden over the winter.

Just give us a call.

Chicken or Eggs

Chickens or eggs?

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As we all strive for a more natural, back to nature approach to our lives and a desire to eat local and free range products, chickens are an increasingly common sight in residential gardens – they’re no longer just for farmers!

 

So, if you have been considering getting chickens for your own garden, here is a bit more information to help you make up your mind –

How much space is needed to keep chickens?

Each chicken requires a space of 25cm Sq as a minimum for their sleeping area, and 3m sq for their exercise area – if your garden is big enough, you can get a chicken coop (pre fabricated, or DIY Build) for your feathered friends. However, if you love your luscious green lawn, Chickens are probably not for you – they will destroy it! This is equally true of your neighbours garden – so if you decide to get chickens – make sure that the dividing fence is secure and that your chickens won’t be able to get into their garden (it makes for much better neighbourly relations!)

 

Can I legally keep chickens in my garden?

You might need to check with your local authority – the rules differ between local councils. Before committing yourself to homing some chickens, you should ask the local Environmental Health team if there are any restrictions. You may also want to check the deeds for your property to ensure that no exclusion clauses exist in relation to the birds.

After that, it’s probably a neighbourly thing to do to check with your immediate neighbours that they have no objections to you keeping chickens.

If you intend to get more than 50 chickens, you’ll need to register with DEFRA.

 

How will you look after your chickens?

Whilst chickens are hardly high maintenance, they do rely on your for EVERYTHING they need. You will need to consider where you will purchase their feed from, how you will keep them safe from foxes, who will clean out their sleeping quarters? (regularly – to avoid complaints of smell!) If you have regular holidays, or weekends away – who will look after the chickens for you? You will also need to harvest the eggs regularly (if your chickens are happy!) – so another job to add to the list.

 

What sort of chickens should we get?

The answer to this question lies in not only the space that you have available but also what you want to achieve from your chickens – Leghorns need less space on the whole and produce large white eggs. Rhode island reds are prolific layers too – producing a brown egg. Orpingtons are another good layer – another (light) brown egg.

 

If this has piqued your interest in homing some chickens, more information and advice can be found on the British Hen Welfare Trust Website – http://www.bhwt.org.uk/

The Team

Your Team

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John Donaldson

John 21/05/1957

I have lived in Banbury 30 years, moving here to construct Cherwell Edge Golf Club for the Local Authority, I was a third generation Green Keeper and worked on golf courses for over 25 years.

Grass is my passion and always has been.

I started The Grassman some 21 years ago and have worked all over Banburyshire mowing grass to my hearts content.

I have been Married to Paula since 1989 and have two lovely teenage daughters.

I Have also play a part in local politics over the last 12 years, currently as Lead Member for Housing for Cherwell District Council and also a Banbury Town Councillor (past Mayor 2006) So life is pretty busy.

As my business grows I have added several people to the team, each bringing their own unique talents and skills to the team.

Hobbies: I enjoy watching Motor sport and if I get a chance to watch TV it would be Syfi or the Big Bang Theory. Will play golf a few times a year only if the sun is shining, I am also involved with many local charities and voluntary organisation.

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Sam Wooton

Sam 16/07/1987

I Have lived in Banbury all of my life. I originally went and study Forestry but when I left college I found myself trying to fill a gap while I was working out what to do next. An unexpected door open with the Grassman to join the team and 12 years on with a little break in between for me to pursue a role in a forestry opportunity I’m still here working with the Grassman.

I also have an active involvement working on a farm in the winter months when the season comes to a slow.

Hobbies: Tractors Vintage & Classic and more recently have taken up road cycling (Note I’m only a fair weather Cyclist)  Other Likes: Listening to music, Food especially Cake, I also like to moan about the weather.

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Carl Slater

Carl lives in Banbury with his partner and young family and is now in his third season with us. Another of our ex-greenkeepers Carl has a keen eye for detail and a keen interest in football

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Douglas Webb

Douglas has broad range of skills at his fingertips, as well as being one of our ex-greenkeepers he is a tree surgeon and undertakes all our fencing requirements

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Neal Carter

Neal is our treatment expert and has been with us for several years now and is an accomplished  Golf Course Manager