FEBRUARY 2021 | MIDWINTER

FEBRUARY 2021 | MIDWINTER

Hello again and welcome to February.  The soil building focus continues.  So far I have not managed as much winter gardening work as I would have hoped because of the incessant rain, it isn’t good to stamp about on wet soil because it gets compacted.  It is wise to think about soil as a living thing – which it is. On the few dry days I have pruned two fruit trees and redistributed soil piles made of upside-down turves, and as the…

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JANUARY 2021 | ANOTHER STEP IN BUILDING A SOIL

JANUARY 2021 | ANOTHER STEP IN BUILDING A SOIL

Hello again in 2021. There is colour to be found, sparingly, in winter as the big picture shows – the brightly coloured twigs of Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’.  Remember last month when I focused on getting started with building a soil?  This time I am thinking about a useful second step on the same road. For me there is nothing better to counteract Lockdown ennui than building something, however small, for the future. | What benefit to be gained from a…

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DECEMBER 2020 – GROW YOUR OWN, THE ESSENTIAL FIRST STEP

DECEMBER 2020 – GROW YOUR OWN, THE ESSENTIAL FIRST STEP

At the Allotment | Vegetables are a lot more “hungry” and demanding of soil than a domestic garden and building a soil is the essential first step to growing your own.  As I have mentioned in previous posts I am currently building my soil and to do it I am using whatever I have at my disposal. I was too late this year to consider Green Manure.  This needs to be planted six weeks before the first frost so that…

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NOVEMBER 2020 | English monsoons?

NOVEMBER 2020 | English monsoons?

Hello and welcome back to my blog for urban gardeners in south east London.  Is there anything specific garden-wise about our particular area of London?  The major thing that springs to mind, as we are in the London basin, is that we are all mainly gardening on heavy clay and this month I start posts that focus, amongst other things, on building a soil.  The big picture this month is a fleeting shot I captured of a mackerel sky that lasted…

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October 2020 | What use grow your own without great recipes?

October 2020 | What use grow your own without great recipes?

Welcome back to my blog for suburban gardeners of south east London (and beyond).  The “big picture” this month is of my dessert apples on steroids that this year grew to the size of grapefruits despite having always been normal-sized apples up until now.  The harvest marks the end of the growing season and I am going to miss that lovely feeling of plenty when I arrive at the allotment to do my usual work stint and before leaving gather…

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SEPTEMBER 2020 | Late summer

SEPTEMBER 2020 | Late summer

Plant of the month| Trees for small gardens| Below is my garden’s Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) with it’s crinkled, dark and interesting leaves that make for strong impact in a green space.  I have trained it to go along the fence for some seven years or so now and not without difficulty as it is programmed to reach for the sky and grow directly upwards.  I am not taken with the very dark, dense tree that would be the natural growing habit…

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August 2020 | Height of summer

August 2020 | Height of summer

You Must See This | At the Allotment | As the sweet corn plants developed, seemingly healthily and robustly, first I saw one, then more and in the group I had sown of sixteen corn seeds about one-third seemed to be oddly affected.  I did a bit of research.  I had never worried about F1 seeds – apart from the issue that such seeds in developing countries would, by needing to be re-purchased every year, possibly put an insupportable burden on struggling…

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July 2020 | Soil Life

July 2020 | Soil Life

Big picture” this month is my Geranium x oxanium ‘Wargrave Pink’.  I have two areas of this easy to care for and all round excellent plant that fills the low-down areas of my garden with colour and keeps the weeds at bay although it is the only Geranium I currently have.   This is an old cultivar, from around 1850, and is a real garden stalwart.  I only realised just how useful it is when a couple of weeks ago, talking with a…

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JUNE 2020 | 3 Great Tips for allotment or vegetable garden

JUNE 2020 | 3 Great Tips for allotment or vegetable garden

Hi Everyone – welcome back, first of the month and here we are again.  The “big picture” this month is of a couple of roses that are just about to open from my garden – and I’ll add a few more.  June is the rose month and I did plan this year to go to a rose garden and see lots more but life hasn’t gone back to normal yet – I’m still limited to supermarket, pharmacy and allotment for exercise….

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May 2020 | Ne’er cast a clout . . .

May 2020 | Ne’er cast a clout . . .

  Hi Everyone! I always thought that the folk saying of this month’s title referred to there being a danger from frost until the month of May had passed.  Not so, the word “clout” that has been in use since the 15th century, apparently not only means a blow to the head but also used to mean clothing.  This bit of folk wisdom then is telling us not to discard our winter clothes until May has passed.  Wisdom indeed – after a…

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