Yearly Archive 2016


New Crops and Talk Talk being the worst phone company I have been with.

Sorry for not posting for some time, I have been a busy (and this year, successful) gardener, I just have been locked out of my broadband by my phone company: Talk Talk. Talk Talk are a dreadful company. My phone line went down and two months later they still haven’t sent an engineer to fix it. The customer service people that I talked to were all lovely but not one managed to achieve the objective of sending someone round and some didn’t achieve objectives such as ‘definitely, definitely’ calling me back. They often tried phoning me on a line that doesn’t work and texted me on my mobile to let me know that. When I phoned them back I was stuck with a computerised switch board that wouldn’t let me talk to anyone. I was continually told that there was nothing wrong with my line and I was getting 20m a second, but then I’d explain that I’ve got no dial tone and the wrong lights on my router. They’d then say that there was something wrong and they’d send someone. But they wouldn’t. Read More


Early seedlings update

Double cloche seedlings, early March

I’ve been practicing the intensive plant mollycoddling I have been learning from Americans. It pains me to have to acknowledge that our colonial friends may know a little something about growing veg. To the left is a photo (taken at dusk on a phone on 9th March 2016) of veg growing in late winter in the ground. I learnt from a couple of sources, all North American, that told me to use more than one cover (cloche) and that would markedly improve the conditions for the growth in winter of certain vegetables. It is very early and those peas (centre right top) are 10 inches tall. Read More


Bristol Seed Swap and Getting Started on the Allotment

Went to the Bristol Seed Swap at Feed Bristol which is a 3 or 4 acre plot on the edge of Bristol. They have a couple of polytunnels and some teaching facilities. One polytunnel I went into was very hot, much hotter than my greenhouse, and everything inside was growing nicely. Amongst the standard British annual veg there were a few more interesting (though not necessarily tastier) food crops including a mallow. Read More


Welsh Onions / Japanese Bunching Onions (the Same Thing)

Welsh onions and Japanese bunching onions are the same thing: Allium Fistulosum. They are recognisable from other onions because they have a round cross section when cutting through the leaves whereas the ordinary onion (Allium Cepa) has a ‘D’ shaped cross section. Read More


Perennial Kales (and Broccolis)

This category of posts exists so that the site can host a permanent knowledge base concerning those vegetables that are easy to save seed from, root cuttings from or divide. The reason for this is to reduce our dependence on garden centres and to make our gardens more self sufficient. Read More


More Winter Fun in the Garden, Celery Offsets Rooted

I’ve been enjoying the use of my greenhouse and yes I am already repairing it / fixing it properly so it doesn’t fall down in a light breeze. The gales we had a couple of weeks ago knocked out 4 panes of glass and luckily the only awkwardly sized one, one from the roof, landed unbroken in the soft black loam (if you believe that…) I have been cultivating underneath it. I had some spare panes so the job wasn’t all that tricky. I realised that I had only put a couple of spring clips in here and there so I basically doubled the amount of clips on the panes, realising that it would provide a certain amount of rigidity in strong winds. Read More


Worm bins and composting

It is deep in the winter and though it is not all that cold the garden is in the doldrums. I’m not wishing my life away, just the next two months. I’ve been subscribed to One Yard Revolution (on Youtube) for some time – I’m a fan – and his climate in the US is colder than mine here in blighty. Yet he is still growing leaf salads, even though his garden is under a foot of snow and he is doing this by using more than one cloche. Read More


Harvest for 2015

I found my notebook finally, it must have fallen behind something. I’ve entered it all into a spreadsheet and crunched the numbers. This sort of statistical thing really puts things into perspective as well as disperses any myths I have held about my garden. For example, I thought my winter squash harvest was about the same as my Sharks Fin Melon harvest. The SFM had double the weight of my more conventional squashes. Astonishingly it produced 13kgs from two plants and I don’t mollycoddle my plants (though I should). Read More


Final harvest of 86kg for 2015, Strategies for 2016. Oh and the Sharks Fin Melon is still alive despite the frosts

86kg is double what I harvested last year on my small urban plot. The final burst of 2.5 kg was from a squash that was hiding on my neighbours side of the hedge, as they do. An excellent year but obviously more to do if I am to really make this little patch of land productive. Limiting factors for me this (and every year) are slugs and not enough nutrients. I have taken steps today to remove all the mulch from my garden and bung it on the new compost heap. I will mulch with it again once it is fully composted. I felt it was not breaking down well enough and was robbing my plants of the nutrients they needed. According to Charles Dowding, the no-dig gardening guru, mulching with finished compost provides no hiding places for slugs and my own experience mostly bears this out. Slugs really are the number one annoyance for gardeners in this country (England). Read More

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