Gardening

Seed swap idea grows from localism

Localism. I’ve always lauded local. I love local: farm shops on holiday; the local delicacies. Yet this is the very word that was trained out of me when starting out in local journalism. “We don’t use it,” was the editor’s mantra “because if it wasn’t local we wouldn’t be talking about it.”

But “being local” is how we flourish as human beings. Even if we work a commute away, or an overnight stay away, home and its surroundings will be where we love being. It’s a big part of our social life, if we want to retain our sanity and not have to travel miles every time we want to visit friends. Its called a community.

Read More »Seed swap idea grows from localism
Old chimney pots are earmarked as future planters

Old chimney pots to be recycled as planters

They have languished in a dark corner of the garden, next to a fence where not even weeds – sorry, unwanted vegetation – have the temerity to grow.

There has never been a temptation to take these two feet tall pieces of masonry to the recycling centre. It would seem such a waste.

Maybe the recent purchase of sweet potatoes offers the opportunity of an answer to this long-pondered mystery of how to re-purposing them as something useful.

The rim of one of them has long since broken off, but that shouldn’t matter for what I have in mind.

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Should you line food caddies with magazine envelopes?

An ever growing number of organisations are sending us their magazines in eco-friendly packaging: namely 100 per cent compostable bags.

They look like plastic, but they are not. One I have just received says it is made from potatoes.

While the much-trumpeted packaging offers advice on the limits of what you should do with it, such as put it in your waste food caddy but not in the plastic recycling or general bin, it doesn’t detail how long it will take to degrade in your garden compost facility.Read More »Should you line food caddies with magazine envelopes?

Dandelion root

Is everything you want to remove a ‘weed’?

“Is this a weed?” my father used to ask my mother when I was small, having already pulled up the apparently offending piece of organic matter from the ground.

Some of the time, my mother wanted it there and was annoyed. Mostly, however, she was just annoyed that he’d pulled it out first. If she had wanted it, it was too late now!

The ‘evil weed’ is a not-so-secret term for cannabis, perhaps a reference to the fact it is illegal and could have various affects on you. The urban dictionary might define the term as a physically weak person, used as an insult particularly among children, based on a perception of a plant that is stringy, small and useless.

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My sweet new babies have arrived – now what?

Experimenting in the garden is all part of the fun – and my new babies have arrived!

A few years ago I had a go at growing a peach tree, or maybe it was a nectarine, in a pot, then planted it when it seemed mature enough.

These were what I bought several relatives for Christmas and are little bullet-sized compact bundles of seeds which, when they sink in and mature, will provide an area of flowers which are lovely by bees, a garden’s favourite pollinators.

This year’s experiment will be sweet potatoes. My wife went on a diet to minimise carbohydrates, calories and starch, so switched from eating potatoes to sweet potatoes. I’m not going to show her that advice I found on the internet which says sweet potatoes are high in calories and starch. What does that sign say in the doctors’ surgery? “Your Google search is no replacement for my seven years at medical school.”

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National Gardening Week: Is gardening like parenting?

The thought occurs that gardening is much like parenting – and that perhaps I should quit before expanding on that notion!

The similarities are easy to see: gardeners and parents want to: nurture, encourage and watch as growth occurs; create an environment where that can happen; eradicate the bad stuff; and bring the fruits of their endeavours to maturity without too many major dramas!

However, while there are many people who can profess to be experts in gardening (which I don’t, it’s just a hobby), you can merely be experienced parents. There’s no such thing as an expert parent: it’s an imperfect exercise.

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Growing need for garden centres to reopen

Incessant questions to the daily Government press conference about coming out of coronavirus lockdown are helping nobody.

It’s pretty obvious that the Covid-19 cases and death tolls are not sufficient to let us all back out to some sense of normality: into cafes, our social clubs and to congregate.

But there seems to be a sensible surge towards re-opening garden centres as an essential need for our well-being (it is noted that, in France, anywhere that sells wine, cheese or croissants is seen as an essential service provider, so they can stay open. Wine eh? Who would have thought that would be an essential service in a crisis?). 

Read More »Growing need for garden centres to reopen