Monthly Archive June 2015


19.5 kg of food from my tiny backyard so far this year and it’s only the end of June

19.5 kg is a nice tidy amount so far and I am really chuffed. I was so gobsmacked I rechecked my figures. I’ve given up trying to find perennial alternatives to our usual annual veg and it shows in the productivity. I am however trying to use sustainable alternatives to the usual treadmill of buying seed, sowing it and then eating it which has within it no real sensitivity towards where seed comes from and the cycle of vegetable life. Read More


First proper crop (including a kilo of cherries) and why I am digging at the allotment

Late June is an exciting time to be a gardener – I’m reaping the rewards of all that hard work. Especially the allotment: the soil is somewhere between a loam and clay, the subsoil is hard clay so I might be benefitting from decades or even centuries of soil improvement. It used to be an orchard, before it became a working class housing estate and then I assume it was set aside for allotments. In many ways it is sad to see old gloucestershire’s indigenous agroforestry replaced by “leisure gardening” even though I am one of those leisure gardeners! Though my plot is on a north facing side of a hill the plot gets much more light than my back garden. It also (for this year anyway) gets plenty of manure, both chicken and horse, though I intend to make the allotment plot a closed loop garden – like my back yard – it will take a while to get the soil in a very fertile state and the support plants ready to support the nutrient cycling in perpetuity.

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Egyptian Onions, replanting topsets and annuals in what was supposed to be a perennial garden.

(Actually written on the 7th of June but forgot to publish). Egyptian onions are a perennial onion that is very similar to the welsh onion. Unlike the welsh onion though it generally reproduces by small bulbs (called topsets or bulbils) that form  at the top of a thick walled flower stalk. There are some flowers on the stalk but I am told they are infertile.  The flower stalk bends during the summer and the nest of topsets touch the ground rooting there and creating new onions that in their first year will behave like spring onions and will “flower” the year after. Instead of waiting for this to happen we can take charge of the situation and plant the topsets straight into the ground. You can split them up or plant the entire nest but it is important that you press them a few millimetres into the soil so their bums are touching good earth. This is a process I am doing now, even though the ornamental gardener in me wants to sit and look at these quite statuesque and exotic plants in their most interesting state. But food gardening is for food first. Read More

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