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
Following on from last week’s guide to mollusc-bashing, here are some more ways to banish slugs from your garden.
The War on Slugs has three fronts. The chemical (poisoning with pellets), the physical (barriers and traps) and biological (employing slug-eating animals).
This week it’s the turn of the physical. Physical barrier methods rely on making the surfaces around the plant difficult or unpleasant for the slug to cross. Based on personal experience …Read More
Years ago, working on a programme about superfoods for BBC Gardeners’ World, I was shocked to learn just how deeply our notion of which foods are best for us is shaped by the food industry, rather than scientists. Blackberries, for example are hugely good for us, packed full of vitamin C, antioxidants and fibre – yet we routinely overlook them for blueberries, which have been more heavily marketed.
Whatever the rights …Read More
Herbs are the icing on the gardener’s cake. They’re that ‘little extra something’ that you don’t really need, but yet… they’re one of the types of plant that almost everyone tries to grow. After all, what would roast lamb be without mint sauce made from leaves that were growing in the garden not two hours ago? What would roast pork be without sage and onion lending their subtle depths of …Read More
“Can I grow it in a pot?” is possibly the gardening question I get asked most frequently of all. As gardens get ever-smaller and people get ever more keen to do a bit of grow-your-own, patio plots become ever more popular.
There are plenty of reasons why growing vegetables and fruit in pots makes sense. Not only can you fit more in to a tiny space, but growing in pots …Read More
Ah April… the days suddenly stretch out, the sun gets stronger and stronger and everywhere you look, green shoots burst forth from the rapidly-warming soil. But among the hostas, the primulas and the tulips, something sinister lurks…
Just as our precious garden plants stir into life, so unfortunately do the weeds. In the vegetable garden, so the old adage goes, only sow outdoors once the weeds have started to grow. And they’re definitely growing! Ground …Read More
I have a confession to make. As a ‘professional gardener’ I haven’t used good old-fashioned farmyard manure in years. No trailers of stinky muck have been deposited on the driveway, there have been no sorties to stables with a shovel.
Now, if you read old gardening books this would be something of a heresy. After all, I love growing vegetables and roses. Victorian gardeners used to order manure not by the …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
February is a cruel month. More often than not (and I have a feeling that this year will be no exception) it taunts us with promise – buds bursting, early bulbs poking through the soil, a few sunny Sundays. We think that spring is finally underway – only to have a week of snow flung in our hopeful faces.
Time then to banish winter blues, retreat to the fireside with a …Read More
February may seem like a strange time to be thinking about growing fruit, but it’s actually the ideal moment to get going if you fancy a summer full of luscious juicy berries.
There are lots of reasons to grow your own fruit. First and foremost (for me, anyway) it’s about taste. Nothing, repeat, nothing prepares you for the first home-grown strawberry you taste, properly ripe and still warm from the sun. …Read More