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

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

Apples Bakker UK Spalding

How not to garden

Ever looked through other people’s Facebook feeds and thought how their lives must be way better than yours? I reckon it’s something most of us feel from time to time.

But of course, for every immaculate beach sunset there were dozens of grey rainy days – it’s just that online, everyone tends to present edited highlights rather than a warts-and-all account of what’s going on. And this blog is no exception. …Read More

Tomato Harvest

Grow yourself healthy!

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

toms-and-Squash

To dig, or not to dig? Part 1

“Yippee” I thought, as the dark, freshly-turned folds of fenland soil presented themselves to me the first time I clapped eyes on my allotment just under two years ago. At first glance, the soil looked like the too-good-to-be-true ‘wonderloam’ my Aunty Jane used to moan about seeing on Gardeners’ World.
However, when I stuck my spade into it, I was in for a shock. This freshly-rotavated ‘wonderloam’ was in fact a …Read More

Tomato Harvest

An Edible Rainbow

When I wrote my first blog about tomatoes back in March it was the other end of the season; all I had were sappy little plants in a windowsill propagator, doing their best slow-motion tennis spectator impression, leaning this way and that as I constantly turned their pots around to help them grow straight.
In the warm September sunlight things are very different. I’ve got mountains of tomatoes of every colour …Read More

water-wallpaper-5-930x581

Watery Wisdom

The change over the last month on the allotment has been incredible. Where before was bare soil and neat little rows of seedlings there’s now a lush jungle. My sweetcorn plants have turned from squat little tufts of green into strapping great monsters taller than I am and the squashes have grown two feet in a week!

I love July – it’s the moment when you begin to lose control. The …Read More

Dwarf-Cherry

To Pot Or Not To Pot?

“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

Muck & Magic

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