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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Helping bumblebees!

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

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From root to fruit!

Whether you have acres and acres of countryside, or a high-rise balcony, we all have space to grow our own strawberries! As the nation’s favourite fruit to grow, you really are missing a trick if you haven’t given them a go!
I inherited mature strawberry plants in my little village garden, they are now hardy enough to withstand the snow and take no maintenance at all. I have decided that this …Read More

New chooks on the block

The memorial service was short – just a couple of dozen well-wishers and a brief eulogy from a local Archbishop. RIP Battina the ex-battery hen. Joking aside, I was really quite surprised how attached I’d grown to ‘Batty’ as she was called for short. For creatures without much brain, chickens have rather a lot of character. Batty was queen bee of my trio of hens that were rescued from the dog …Read More

Roasted Vegetables

Roast Vegetables, a guide to getting them just right!

Roasted vegetables are a simple, delicious healthy dish. Using a mixture of different vegetables (home grown if you can!) will give a good balance of flavours to be eaten on their own or as a side dish.
Prepare butternut squash by chopping off any tough skin. Scrub or peel root vegetables like parsnips. You can also use other vegetables such as carrots, squash, celeriac and sweet potatoes. The more the merrier!
A …Read More