The opportunity of winter in the allotment garden

Winter can feel such a dreary and empty time for us allotment gardeners.

December brings the merry distraction of the festive period, but when the New Year has passed and the middle of winter sets in with cool temperatures, low levels of light and short days, we really begin to crave for the spring and the life and resurgence it brings.

To fend off the feelings of longing and despair, I have …Read More

The super fruits

They’re easy to grow, they’re incredibly good for you…. and yet hardly any of us grow them. When you think about the many other useful qualities of red, white and blackcurrants (such as the fact that they give enormous crops and they’re among the few fruit bushes to tolerate shade), this obscurity becomes all the more perplexing.

 

Certainly, if you do the maths, they are well worth growing. An established redcurrant …Read More

The scent of summer

It’s a wet and windy night – big fat raindrops are lashing the steamy kitchen windows as the last of May’s delicate flowers are swung wildly to and fro in the looming dusk. No idyllic sunlit shots of the allotment for Instagram tonight.
It’s the kind of weather that makes me want comfort food. For me, when I need to make something from the cupboard and not set a foot outside, …Read More

Rhubard Picking - Bakker Spalding-w850

The Secret Life of… rhubarb

There’s more to good old-fashioned rhubarb than meets the eye. Firstly, it has a somewhat shady back story. Don’t ask about the relatives – it’s part of a plant family that you just wouldn’t mess with: the knotweeds – Polygonaceae – which includes fearsome plants like Japanese knotweed and the equally fearsome (though not nearly as invasive) gunnera (Gunnera manicata ) – which I once saw recommended in a catalogue …Read More

get-ground-elder-while-its-still-small-930x698-w850

What to do this week

Ah the joys of spring – seedlings bursting forth, bulbs flowering and a cacophony of birdsong – all of which for me tends to bring a mix of heady optimism and mild panic. It’s such a busy time of year –  I always wish April was twice as long! Where to start? Based on past experience (both successes and regrets), here’s my April ‘bucket list’:

Plant summer bulbs – …Read More

Spring Soup Broccoli-w850

Spring Cleaning Soup!

If like me, you have eaten too much choccy just lately, and want to kick start the healthy eating again for summer. I have found a real health boosting soup that will spring clean you from the inside out! It is very simple to follow and should only cost pennies to make four portions.

What you will need….

2tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut …Read More

chamomile-tea-930x622-w850

Grow your own… cuppa?

 I’ve seen quite a few column inches devoted recently to growing your own tea. It’s a topic that’s naturally very appealing to our tea-loving, gardening-obsessed nation. Did you know that tea comes from a kind of camellia, not too different to those we grow in our gardens? Or that in the UK we drink 165 MILLION cups of tea every day?

It’s an attractive idea – step outside the …Read More

Olive Turtle-w850

Olive the tortoise!

Meet Olive! The newest member of our household. It’s no wonder tortoises live for so long, they have the healthiest diet of anyone I know! As a house of gardeners, we are keen to grow all of Olive’s food ourselves. Not only will this be good fun, it will also keep her as close to nature as possible. By doing this she will be following the seasons veggie delights very much like …Read More

Fuchsia-Berry-w850

Back to the fuchsia

Human beings are fickle creatures. Imagine if someone introduced a new bedding plant that gave unique, colourful flowers, bloomed for months on end and even grew well in the shade – it would set the gardening world alight.

And yet the trusty old fuchsia, which does all of these things, has steadily fallen from favour through no fault of its own. We’ve just taken it for granted and been distracted by …Read More