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5 Simple Ways to Keep Your Vegetable Garden Productive (DIY)

So much in our worlds is changing, when we should all be spending our long evenings in the beer gardens with our friends, we are now having distanced BBQ’s over our neighbour’s fences and getting dressed up to take the wheelie bins out. We adapt quickly, and instead of stressing about how to buy pasta and toilet paper at the supermarket, we look for ways to be a little more independent.

'Grow Your Own' vegetables is our current favourite trend. If it be the tomato plant that your kid brings home from school or you have been sowing your artichokes already, every little helps. As for some of us growing herbs and veggies is unfamiliar, we have listed 5 of our favourite tips and tricks for any level of Veg Grower!

Improve your soil:

The better your soil, the higher your luck in producing lots of veg. The reason why raised beds are so often used for veg beds is that the same soil that has grown your Hebes or Pittosporum just will not cut it for your veggies and raised beds are literally and figuratively, full of higher quality compost. A good compost with a balance of NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium) is the foundation for any crop production. Take a look at the back of your compost bags and seed packets and play a game of match pairs. High levels of Nitrogen will be great for your Cabbages, Rhubarb and Brussels Sprouts. Your Lower nitrogen compost can be put in the bed with your Carrots, Radish and Onions.

If spending your weekend shovelling compost isn’t your idea of heaven; then never fear! What about using legumes, these plants have special bacteria in their root nodules that can take Nitrogen from the tiny air particles in the soil and convert them to ammonia which begins the chemical reaction of the Nitrogen cycle. This can be another way that home-schooling may be a little less arduous for all parents out there! Ask your kids to find out why the veg bed of broad beans doesn’t need as much soil TLC??

If broad beans aren’t your only leguminous plants, vetch and clover will also fix nitrogen. When grown on mass in the off-season, they can add nutrients while protecting your beds from weeds, reduce erosion and provide green coverage when our veg beds often look like a mouldy carpet!

Squeeze them in!

Who says you need a dedicated space just for your veg. Herbs like Rosemary and Fennel have been used within our ornamental planting for years, why isn’t this the same with our brassicas and root vegetables? It under-plants your flower beds keeping the weeds at bay as well as adds a new texture and colour to our outdoor space. However, if you do have a specific veg bed, then don’t forget to stagger your rows! This can fit those extra few seedlings in your bed. The more you start with, the higher the hope that you won’t repeat last year’s veg crops of a single very lonely potato!

Get Nerdy!

The more you plan your veg beds, the less work they may begin to feel. Maybe plan when you are going to seed what, much like having a routine for watering your house plants. Setting aside TLC time can make a big difference. After all, it can be a nice family project; dividing up individual duties for each family member, buying your veg bed a calendar or setting up reminders on your phone. Keep everyone involved! Leave a veg bed for 2 weeks and you will be surprised how much weeding you have to do and how much the pigeons and mice have helped themselves to your dinner. It may be a labour, but certainly, a labour of love when at the end of the day you can sit with a glass of Pimm’s with homegrown strawberries and mint garnish!

If you feel like you still need to exercise your brain muscles even after you have colour coded and diarised your veg planting schedule, then don’t forget how much reading material the internet holds. Scientific journal and universities are constantly publishing experiments in ways to improve the environment and the productivity of plant growth. Studies in Africa are looking at planting milkweed amongst crops to reduce aphid infection. Fennel can even be grown in soil full of pollutes to uptake the heavy metals leaving the soil clean for agricultural use! Even if this doesn’t sound interesting, you could always use it to bore yourself to sleep as self-isolation is ruining all of our sleep schedules anyway.

Keep it light and airy!

Soil for your veggies needs to seem more like a fluffy cloud than the one is in the rest of our garden beds. This can be done relatively easily by not walking across the area and by turning and aerating your soil with a fork whenever the opportunity allows. Just like with the legumes, the air in the soil kickstarts many biological processes and allows you dig away at your vegetables without breaking your back.

Air circulation around your plants is also very important, the more aired flow, the stronger and more resistant your plants are to wind damage as well as mould or sooty mildew. The constant airflow makes it harder for pesky bugs to hold on. Fruit particularly benefits from this!

Keep it clean!

To prevent the continued spread of pest and diseases, keep your veg bed clean! Don’t leave infected plant material, even if it is dead, left on the ground. Remember to reduce, reuse and recycle. The composting process will kill most pests and diseases. Yet, if you still have some pest problems and are putting off climbing into your hazmat suit and spraying, why not to try companion planting? Some species are naturally gifted in deterring pests. Onions planted beside carrots will help deter carrot flies that have sensitive noses to strong smells. A great example of this is also planting mint leaves near your spinach to deter insect pests.

We hope you find these tips useful and let us know about your progress! However, if DIY gardening is not your cup of tea and you rather have more in depth advise and professional help creating and maintaining your vegetable garden, please do not hesitate to email emily@tonybenger.com or ring us on 01404 831844.

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Having been let down by 3 previous landscapers we just want you to know how delighted we are with the results that have been achieved by your team working on our back garden. From the outset the attitude from your staff has been so professional.

Simeon, Angela, Fabian and Adam have given us a garden which we will enjoy and which can develop beautifully over the years. We have been so impressed with them for their commitment, attention to detail and the interpretation of our requests along the way. There is a pride in the work that was evident throughout as none of what has been achieved could have happened without them. Our scheme is small by many standards but has made a huge difference to how we now feel about our new home and garden .

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My first task (even before I pour myself a glass of wine!) is to say thank
you, the garden just looks so wonderful. Completely thrilled this end and I
am going to devote my summer to nurturing all the little treasures (well not
really, the gardener may be best at that).
Thank you so much.

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Your chaps were so good and worked really hard to get the job done with no access, fierce dogs and even fiercer weather. And more to the point, they made no mess at all. Brilliant.

Bengers are the best!

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The 3 guys you sent out doing tree work for us were fantastic.
They were polite caring and careful.
If all people were like that the world would be a better place.

- Anonymous

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We would like to commend Tom and Luke on the wonderful job they have done on our top level paving / stones and finishing. They have worked very professionally with a high degree of quality and diligence. They worked around the bad weather with no disruption and were always neat and tidy. They are a credit to Tony Benger's.

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Thank you so much for organising this - it really is a super job and you were
absolutely right about Nick being the perfect person to do it.
It was a pleasure to deal with him - nothing was too much trouble.
And the workmanship in the raised beds is impressive.
To say I'm pleased is an understatement. Without doubt [my husband] would be delighted that you have looked after me so well.
Very many thanks again

- Dee

'Very pleased'

We would just like to say that we are very pleased with how the garden has turned out and look forward
to seeing it develop over the forthcoming years. Thank you to you and all your staff.
Many thanks

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'The lads were excellent and very polite'

Just wanted to say a big thank you for the work today.
The lads were excellent and very polite, a credit to your firm to be fair.

- Richard

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We just wanted to drop you a line to thank you for our lovely new back garden - please pass on our thanks to Tony & Fabian too. We absolutely love it and christened it the first weekend with a bbq!

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'Amazing Job'

Thank you and all your men for the amazing job you did for me today.
It was such a pleasure to have such nice young men working for me.
They never stopped & no bad language - just politeness. I am very impressed. The work is exactly what I wanted.
Thank you again.

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'The importance of planting at the right depth'

I just wanted to thank you and your team for hosting me on Friday, they are a great bunch of guys and were really friendly.
I can now tell you that the area I am researching is the level of awareness within the industry of root flare depth.
I was really pleased to find that you and your team are fully aware of the importance of planting at the right depth so that’s great and please keep doing that!
Your guys seemed very conscientious and to genuinely care about the trees they look after and your nursery was doing its job right too.

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I am so delighted with the work. Jerry was absolutely the right guy. And the various other lads have been great as well. And I am so glad Penny suggested the grass! I am looking forward to seeing the plants settle in and grow. Lovely!

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Many thanks

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Thank you so very much - you have made us all so happy - we haven't sat in the house since you finished the garden!

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We would like to say how much we appreciate the work done by Richard and Tom on what has been a very challenging project.

There were both a pleasure to interact with and they left the garden surrounds better than they found them.

They are both clean and methodical workers with a good knowledge of their trade.

Their work gives us so much more usable space on a site that has very steep access.

We would welcome them back for any future work

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I want to say how pleased I am with everything so far. Jerry and his landscape guys are brilliant, and so is Dave. Their care and professionalism is terrific. I am so impressed!

Thanks a lot

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Just wanted to say thank you to the two guys who laid our turf yesterday. Really pleased with the outcome - a first class job!

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'Always professional and hard working'

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the workers for their time and patience on the job - which was at times quite taxing. Dan, Tony and the other two lads were always professional and hard working often staying long hours to finish a phase of the job. They never ‘slacked’ and I at no time felt the need to check up on them. Really dedicated, cheerful and hardworking.

Carl who oversaw all the works obviously from start to finish was second to none. Seemed to care so much about the job would come with ideas the next day after having worked late the day before- popped round whenever we had concerns - without hesitation. He showed such patience and understanding throughout.

I would definitely use Tony Benger Landscaping if we do further works and am recommending the whole team whenever the topic arises!

- Richard & Miranda

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Your team has just completed some remedial work on the drainage to our back garden and we would like to record our thanks for the excellent job Tony and Fabian have done over the last 3 days. It's lovely to see the garden looking tip-top again and we are delighted with the new patio and turfing.

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'A Grand Job'

I wanted to say thank you so much for all your input with the garden problems, your lovely guys have worked so hard today and have completed a grand job, they were a pleasure to meet and great credit to your company. Many thanks and Happy Christmas

- Maureen

'Professional job'

I’d like to thank you and your team for the work that they’ve done on our rear garden. All of the men worked constantly over the four days and did a professional job.

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I would like to thank you and your team for a wonderful job. I can now enjoy my garden with my husband and family.

- Christine

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I am very pleased with the end result of all the work undertaken and would reiterate how polite and helpful all of the men were, working a lot of the time in foul weather conditions. They were a credit to Tony Benger Landscaping and Bailhache

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“I also wanted to let you know that the look of the Orleigh Cross estate has improved hugely since Bengers won back the garden maintenance: it all looks altogether tidier and healthier.”

- Anonymous

'What a great job'

I just wanted to say what a great job Dave and his team did last week on the wild flower banks. It's good to give praise and perhaps you'll pass this on to him

Don't put our prices up though!

- Sue


We are delighted with the garden!

It looks fantastic and has given Mum a noticeable boost.

Please pass on my thanks to your team & especially to Penny.

- Mike

'looking presentable again'

Thank you very much for sorting out our gravel areas and drive - we are very pleased to be looking presentable again, and you have been a pleasure to do business with.

- Trixie

'what a fabulous job'

I just wanted to say what a fabulous job the guys are doing reducing the hedgerows around Cranbrook. It is great to see some traditional laying down of the hedges which have been completed very sympathetically before birds start nesting. Give it a few years and these hedges will grow and thicken up and be a haven for birds again.

Well done to all.

- Alison


Andrew is, as always, superb, I am always amazed at the amount of work he does in a day, more than I'd manage in a month, and always with such care.

- Pam

'Absolutely amazing work!!!'

Thank you for this report. That is absolutely amazing work!!! Thank you so much.

I’ve passed this onto my colleagues for some feedback as well! There’s more coming your way I’m sure!!

- Andy Thorn - Property Manager - Residential Management Group Ltd

'Worked like Trojans'

Andrew and Stan worked like Trojans. The energy! They do so much in a day.

That superb gate and my arches and benches.

I always feel very humble.Will you give them a huge thank you for me and from H who loves the benches.

- Pam

'looking really good'

We are really pleased with the work Jerry has done on the pond. It has had a new lease of life and hopefully the frogs and newts won’t have been too disrupted. It’s looking really good.

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Tony, many thanks. We are thrilled with the result!

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I live very near Gunwharf Quays and am always walking through the area.

I have been particularly impressed this year with the lovely floral displays which I understand your company is responsible for.

The displays are so colourful and imaginative and enhance what is already a very attractive area. Thank you.

- Marilyn

'Sidmouth in Bloom'

In addition to the Gold Award we (and therefore with TB), won the cup for the best garden at Residential/Nursing Homes in Sidmouth. Huge thanks to all TB staff involved and on the next visit we’ll take some pictures with the cup for your records. Maybe not quite RHS Chelsea but ‘Sidmouth in Bloom’ have a pretty strong reputation regionally and nationally so all very pleasing.

- Rachel

'So Considerate'

I just wanted to take the opportunity to feedback how considerate your employees who are currently working in Cranbrook are. I often go for walks around the town and country park and when I do they stop what they are doing, turn off their machinery, and wait for me to walk past before resuming what it is they are doing. It is really nice and considerate of them and I hope you are able to pass on my feedback. Many thanks


'Refreshing to work with a company that keeps to its deadlines and budget'

I have had some reasonably significant tree work and garden landscaping work done by Tony Benger Ltd this year. I have been delighted with the work, the professional attitude, and the resilience and the skill of the workforce - who strived on in weather conditions that were less than ideal. Sam and Tony (Not Mr B, but another) have built us a fabulous stone wall and some raised beds. All in time for the spring planting - and we are delighted. Over the years, I have worked with many landscaping companies, and it is refreshing to work with a company that keeps to its deadlines and its budget, and which keeps it's standards high with regard to the quality of the work. I will continue to use Tony Benger Landscaping Ltd

- Adrian Fairbank - Director - Peristyle Properties Ltd

All so kind and courteous!

The garden looks amazing and a lot bigger, we are all so very pleased with the result. Rich, Sam and Dean worked really hard in the very hot conditions and they were all so kind and courteous, we wouldn't hesitate to recommend your services.

- Diane & Lesley

Very professional!

Really happy with the job. The whole experience has been very positive and you’ve all be very professional.

- Gareth

delighted with the way things are going!


I hope your company jolly goes well despite the grim weather due today.🥺

Just a note to let you know we are delighted with the way things are going. You have a great team there who work well and are nice guys to get on with. They work very cleanly and neatly and tidy up after themselves. I expected a lot more mess I have to admit.

We like to give praise where praise is due.

Thank the boys on our behalf

Have a fun day.

- Pat Lyon


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