I like to think that there are very few real pests in the garden and the greenhouse. Most of the issues the gardener faces are ephemeral, a passing phase and more a meal for a larger predator than a real problem. That to me is the secret in pest control; find the creature that feeds […]
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The strong urge to push on with the growing year only increases if you have a greenhouse at your disposal: surely – we think – I can get everything going nice and early and be ahead of the game? Be harvesting when everyone else is just planting out? Have ripe tomatoes in June? We might […]
Locally adapted varieties, UK-grown seed, and a company owned by growers and gardeners: a new venture aims to future-proof our seed supply by bringing it all back home. It’s always struck me how smaller seed companies, often those with the most colourful and engaging tales to tell, have the dourest of seed packets. I’m not […]
Okay I admit of all glasshouse and conservatory plants Ficus benjamina might be considered one of the less flamboyant. Indeed this is just a foliage plant, mind you what lovely clean glossy foliage and on such delightfully neat shrubs. Tough and reliable benjaminas have long proved popular with gardeners and indoor decorators just because they […]
The Best Beloved has made a declaration. Apparently I have 91 named snowdrops that need planting and 30 of these are bedded into part of the vegetable bed, his vegetable bed, and “they will need planting first” he intones with great authority. I have acquired these treasures in the last few months, from various sources, […]
March is the month of seed sowing, especially in the vegetable garden. Start preparing your seedbeds beforehand by raking the ground to a rough level and covering it with clear or black polythene to warm the soil. Clear polythene is preferable, as it encourages weed seeds to germinate which can be hoed off beforehand, so […]
Yes you can, they are easy to grow, something a little different and a great way to get the kids interested in gardening. Far from being a new super food, tiger nuts were actually a mainstay in the war and post war era, a slightly sweet treat that offered something a little different for the […]
Consider the global air pollution crisis alongside the desperate need to conserve resources and there’s only one possible conclusion: it’s time to extinguish the tradition of the garden bonfire. As a boy, I was pretty whiffy. Out in the garden until dark, I would eventually come indoors, a noxious plume in my wake. A bath […]
If you have made good use of your greenhouse for starting off winter vegetables last spring and summer you will be feeling pretty smug about the so-called veg crisis right now. Even me saying ‘so called’ is pretty smug, but as all good gardeners know, this is not really a veg crisis at all but […]
“Why are you growing houseleeks in your greenhouse?” said a friend looking at some Echeverias I had around the base of a Bougainvillea. An easily made mistake for these are a fine example of parallel evolution. Houseleeks are temperate plants designed to survive conditions as harsh and impoverished as crevices of dirt on rock-piles or […]
Stand your potatoes rose end upwards in a bright, frost free spot. From February onwards, it’s time to sprout (or ‘chit’) new potatoes, to me, it is the first big signal that starts the gardening year. Put your potatoes in a tray or egg box with the ‘rose’ end, where all the buds are, at […]