Monthly Archive December 2013


Looking back at my gardening year, 2013

So, what have I learnt from the past year? Well, as usual my gardening year hasn’t provided the sort of yield I wanted, or if gardening magazines are to be believed I should expect. I don’t know why I should expect my gardening abilities to be as great as Monty Don or Geoff Lawton, especially only being 5 years in, I am a beginner. I do of course hamper myself with ridiculous rules like not importing fertility, especially as I am practically guaranteed to have awesome crops if I dump half a ton of horse manure on the allotment. Read More


Is it called sheet mulching cos it’s, like, sheet?

Sheet mulching2Mrs SVG wasn’t at all convinced that dumping half a ton of poorly composted vegetation, cardboard and mouldy pumpkins all over the garden was a good idea. It doesn’t look at all great, except in my minds eye where I see hidden worms turning it into humus and where I see┬áthe soil that this sort of soil building helps make. I have a love/hate relationship with mulching because there is no doubt that mulching recycles all the nutrients in the mulch into the soil, a trick that composting in a heap doesn’t do – much compost nutrients are washed away well before it is dug into the soil. But thick mulches are the perfect hiding place for slugs and snails and I will not tolerate their presence. I have learnt the hard way that clean soil is the best way to keep slugs away and so I don’t mulch during the spring, summer and most of autumn – I compost. Read More


Overwintering African Blue Basil, Comparing Squashes and Testing Compost

My African Blue Basil cuttings which I took in October are romping away now in their tiny modules on my kitchen window sill. They were taken as an insurance policy against my basil bush dying. The African Blue is a perennial basil and a plant you can overwinter here indoors in the UK but I always find the lovely big bushes I buy always die in the autumn. I know it is easier to keep cuttings alive and this seems to be true in this case, they are doing well so far. Read More

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