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Sheepdrove Herb Garden, Lambourn Berkshire

These short videos are tests really, but give you a flavour of a really nice garden we visited last year called Sheepdrove near Lambourn in Berkshire. It was designed by the Herbmeister Jekka McVicar. Read More

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Propagating Leeks Without Seeds

A cool way to propagate leeks is to let them flower in May of their second year. As the pic on the left shows (sorry a bit blurred) very often the flower head produces mini leeks instead of flowers.┬áThis was May last year by the way, it’s taken me this long to get round to posting this. The mini-leeks are called Pips or Grass, depending on who you listen to. I’m going to call them pips (cos I like the word) and I ought to mention I learnt how to do this via the interwebfacepage when I first saw the strange things on my leek flower heads. I’ve tested this process by doing it and I’m now eating the leeks. Google leek pips if you want to learn more. I should add on the informationspacesuperhighwaypage the real pros delay the growing of the pips until next year (by keeping in the shade I think) and then growing on quickly from spring onwards to make normal large leeks. Read More

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Lost Onions

Egyptian Walking Onions dividing, clumping and forming bulbils

Egyptian Walking Onions dividing, clumping and forming bulbils

In October of last year I planted my Elephant Garlic, Egyptian Walking Onions, Shallots and Banana Shallots. At home I am used to overwintering alliums, and indeed in the back garden my walking onions grew over winter, retaining and even tillering, their green leaves. Tough old plants you would think. All the other alliums in my back garden lose their tops and shrink into their bulbs over winter but not the walking onion and it wasn’t just this year either, the same thing happened last winter. I ate all the old walking onions last summer, these are the bulbils from the top of the plant that I planted straight away and which grew on. Read More

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A Sustainable Gardening Manifesto

We’re on the cusp of spring, Monty Don is back on the telly, my peas are warm in their cold frame and after long months of a British winter I reckon I’ve got it sorted for this coming year in the garden and allotment. And yes, I say that every year.

I have a plan that I reckon will work and though I thought I was a permaculturist it involves annual vegetables, digging and composting. On the face of it, those things aren’t what you would normally associate with permaculture, but for an urban gardener growing organically, without outside fertilizers (closed loop) and with very limited space to grow Read More

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New Perennial Leeks

My Poireau Perpetuel (Perennial Leeks) from France have arrived (took 4 days to arrive). So have my Sand Leeks (took about a month to arrive from Chiltern Seeds, Ouch!). The sand leeks are also described as Rocambole, however the ┬álatin name suggests it is the Sand Leek which is sometimes described as Rocambole but isn’t the Rocambole garlic the French think of when they hear of the name. The sand leek is another perennial leek with a pretty blue flower that you cut down to the ground and regrow. Should it be the French Rocambole then I don’t mind either, because they are sustainable as well. Read More

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Just Ordered Perennial Leeks From France

Now that I have approximately 20 minutes of daylight after work and my allotment is 300 yards from said work I am in a frenzy all of a sudden. I’ve been double digging. Yes, I know and I call myself a permaculturist. My wife says it is typical of me to be obsessed with not doing something one minute and then doing the opposite. And not just the opposite, the hardest to do version of the opposite. Read More

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Indian Forest Garden

 

First off, I must declare an interest. This is my father-in-law’s home in Coorg, India. I came for a family visit, the last time 15 years ago, and to me then it appeared surrounded by rainforest. Since I have learnt about sustainable gardening, that rainforest chaos has rearranged, in my eyes, to one of order and productivity. Read More

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Alliums Without Buying Seeds

Of course you can get seed at a garden centre or onion sets at Wilko’s, but for the sustainable gardener we want to be self sufficient and to reduce inputs into our plots – yes the diesel the lorry used to deliver your seed to B&Q is an input. So, does that mean letting my onions bolt so I can collect seed for next year? Read More

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Sustainable Gardening

In a truly sustainable gardening system you must produce most of your fertility on site. Buying fertilizer from B&Q uses up fossil fuels and isn’t organic, using horse manure shows up the daftness of agricultural land turned over to the playthings of the better off and mulching with seaweed (unless you live next to the sea) robs an environment that you are in no way a stakeholder of. Read More

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