Last spring we saw lots in the media regarding our UK decline of bumblebee species. Many of which have been declining for a number of years. The main reason for this is the loss of their natural habitat through urbanisation and a steep incline in intensive use of agricultural pesticides. Historically, large proportions of our countryside was not cultivated due to it not being feasible or profitable for farm use. …Read More
When I was a kid, growing fruit from pips was a great passion of mine – and the results were sometimes as spectacular as they were varied. Early experiments with unwieldy avocado plants and spindly apples gradually gave way to some real treasures such as a beautiful loquat tree, clothed in shiny, foot-long evergreen leaves that grew to over 10ft tall.
One of my favourite pip-grown progeny, however, was a mandarin …Read More
Late this summer, I discreetly grew a small grove of giant triffids on the allotment. Until about the end of July they blended seamlessly into their surroundings; innocent-looking and all nice and vegetably. However…
Suddenly, almost overnight, when the ordinary sweetcorn plants decided to do the sensible thing and settle down to make a couple of cobs each, my plants grew another three feet and then put out huge …Read More
My cut flower patch has well and truly gone to seed. It has dried up, shriveled and in an unexpected way, it’s looking fantastic. Intricate golden seed heads glisten in the late summer sun and rustle in the breeze.
I grew three kinds of love-in-a-mist, which looked wonderful earlier in the summer and provided me with armfuls of cut flowers to give to friends. The real stars of the show, though, …Read More
If you feel like you’re not up to speed with your garden, take heart. April has a horrible habit of vanishing all too quickly – it tends to be full of such inconveniences as friends getting married and cluttering up weekends, Easter With The Family, etc etc. Last year it was building the chicken run which took up the majority of this most crucial of gardening months, this year it’s …Read More
1. Load up on lycopene
The antioxidant properties of lycopene may protect our immune cells from destructive free radicals, molecules that can harm cells and damage DNA. The best way to get lycopene—which is in the skin, and gives red tomatoes their rich colour—is through cooked or processed tomatoes (juice, sauce and paste). Cook tomatoes with a little healthy oil (e.g., olive or canola), which helps carry the lycopene into the …Read More
Autumn arrived with a bump last week. On Friday, as I cycled to the allotment to feed the chickens before work I noticed an unfamiliar chill in the air, and a rush of gold infusing the leaves of the ash trees along the railway line. Sure enough, a typical wet and windy October day followed, largely stripping the ashes of their brief flash of colour.
On the plot too, there’s been …Read More
Midsummer’s day came and went, much like England’s world cup dreams. For me the sadness of shortening days is tempered by the joy of much less chat about football. Now we’re in high summer; it’s all about the long drowsy days of Wimbledon (much more civilised) and – even better – most of the season’s hard work is done on the allotment. There’s lots to pick – everything’s growing apace …Read More
There’s something almost biblical about sowing seeds into bare earth. It’s a gentle, yet powerful act, silent yet significant. I feel as though it’s the moment in the gardening calendar when I connect with the earth the most. After a whole year of weeding, digging, raking, hoeing and pruning it’s one instance I give something back, and relinquish control for a bit.
It involves trust – that these little brown specks …Read More
Adrian and I were quite intrigued with these when we were introduced to them. For those of you who may not have heard of Fuseables® they are a unique method for combining plants the easy way. The latest innovation in the field of technology. They are a kind of coated seed pellet composed of several seeds which have undergone a special treatment, plus the addition of fertiliser.
Very easy to use …Read More