Saturday, 27 September 2014

Time for a bit of late season sowing - Self Sufficiency

Although the leaves are starting to fall it dose not mean that the growing season is over just yet. There are still lots that can be sown in the garden at this time of the year to give a good autumn and spring harvest.
Now we will need to give some of the crops some protection from the weather either in the form of a cloche or fleece. A polytunnel would be the ideal situation but i don't have the luxury of one of them so a cloche it will have to be.
September is a great time to so seeds as the soil is still warm from all the summer sun (yes we did get some this year) and in a normal year we would have some rain to help them along not this year though. My intital plan was to sow a whole raised bed dedicated to all the winter crops this idea has been put on hold as i have not built the bed yet so plan B it is. Fill up any gaps i have left i the raised beds i did build and the rest in the open borders and some in pots that can be brought in the greenhouse when the worst of the weather hits. This way their (fingers crossed) should be something to pick in even the worst weather conditions. From the pots in the greenhouse a window ledge will be just as good if you have not got a greenhouse. What are we going to sow well it's mainly leafy salad crops that we can pick at through the winter months. It is also a good time to sow one last crop of green manure i am planting Phacelia from T&M which should over winter keeping any weeds suppressed. Phacelia is very good for adding humus to the soil and is good on poor dry soils which is ideal fro the bed where i intend to grow it. This will be dug in during the spring leaving enough time for it to rot down before needing to replant the bed.The green manure is just scattered over the bed, raked in and given a water.
Making drill for some Raddish
All the other seeds we will just make a drill with the how and thinly sow with the exception of the Lettuce as i prefer to so in module trays and then plant out. This is so i have some to plant in pots and the rest takes it's chance under the cloches.
Seeds sowed today where.

Lettuce 'winter density' from Suttons
Spinach 'Bordeux f1' from T&M
Spinach 'Perpetual' from Mr Fothergills
Land cress 'American' from Suttons
Mizuna from Mr Fothergills
Raddish 'bacchus f1 from T&M
Raddish 'French breakfast 3' from Aldi
Rocket 'Cultivated' from Moles
Lambs Lettuce 'Valeriana' from Franch
Pea 'Douce de Provence' from Suttons 

This will not be the last of the sowing for this year we still have Broad beans and another sowing of Peas. These will be sown in November to over winter so we have a (fingers crossed) good harvest in the spring. We will also be starting on the micro veg soon although they can be grown all year round. I do prefer to save them for the winter months when there is not a lot else to pick at and you also get to keep sowing seeds which is the best bit.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Video of the week

With the National Giant Vegetable Championships taking place this weekend. I thought it fitting for this weeks Video of the week to be a time laps of a giant pumpkin growing from seed to harvest.

New seed on the block

Last week while visiting GLEE which is the country s main Garden and Leisure trade show i came across i seed company i have not come across before. Bavicchi seeds they are an Italian seed company but they are by know means a new company. Bavicchi have been producing seed since 1896 in Italy there English distributor is G Plants from Preston.

They have a great range of vegetable seeds on offer 117 variety's of vegetables and 9 variety's of peas and beans. All packet are in lovely full colour packets with a nice glossy photo of the variety on the front with full growing instructions on the back. Now the Italians know how to produce good quality seed so you know you will be off to a good start. So look out for Bavicchi seeds in a shop near you and give them a try this year.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Mr Fothergill's New Catalogue

The clatter of the letter box and the post comes tumbling through on to the mat. The girls rush to pick it up it's full of the normal rubbish Electric bills etc but at the bottom of the pile was the new Mr Fothergills catalogue.
It is packed full of all the Mr Fothergills favorites that you would always expect. But new in the catalogue this year starting with the Veg is the new Runner bean 'Firestorm' which is the first self fertile scarlet flowered runner bean. Beans will set in poor weather or in high temps is a good cropper and stringless.In the brassica department is Cauliflower 'Amsterdam F1' is a big mid to late season variety with pure white curds. Pepper 'King of the North' this is a great variety for northern growers or outdoors in the south as it is one of the best cool tolerant peppers well worth growing. Another new introduction in the pepper section is 'Sweet Sunshine F1' which is a unique trailing variety ideal for hanging baskets or your window box it is a sweet pepper but with the look of a chilly pepper ripens an orange/yellow colour.
There are some great new flowers on offer as well Aster 'Valkyrie mixed' with its quilled slender petals in a mix of pastel colours growing to 75cm (30") tall. Coreopsis grandiflora 'sundrops' is a new perennial that flowers in it's first year from sowing with it's lovely weather resistant bright yellow flowers defiantly worth growing in 2015. As it is the year of he Sunflower Mr Fothergills have many new variety's on offer as well as the old favorites. 'Infared F1' a lovely coppery bicoloured flowers growing upto 180cm (6ft) 'Buttercream F1' a multi branching variety with creamy yellow flowers ideal for cut flowers. there are so many more new variety's you need to get the catalogue to have a look they have the largest collection of sunflowers on offer out of any seed company.

To order your own copy just go to there website

Tel :- 0845 3710518

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Jayes Fluid Keeping Your Garden Clean

If there is one smell that reminds me of my Grandads shed then that is Jeyes Fluid. It's has got that distinctive smell that only Jeyes fluid has. It has been a long time since i have used Jeyes Fluid so it was great to be able to give it a try again.
The original Jeyes fluid has been around for years and was always the first choice for gardeners to use. Whether they where wanting to clean there greenhouse at the end of the season or for cleaning the drains when there was a bit of a smell. My Dad would always us it for cleaning out the greenhouse getting in to all the corners with a scrubbing brush to get it all clean before the new growing season. I have been using it on one of the drains by my house the one that comes out of the kitchen every so often it gives off a smell more that likely blocked food and fat. But since putting down neat original Jeyes fluid we have not had a problem with any smell and the drain seems to be flowing a lot better. I will defiantly be using Jeyes Fluid down the drain more regularly so that they always flow smoothly and not wait for the bad smell or blockage. 
Jeyes fluid also now comes in a ready to use bottle so no more measuring or mixing to be done. You can still use it the same as the original Jeyes fluid just with out the messy mixing but if you are wanting to clean drains you will still need the concentrate of the original Jeyes fluid.
Patio Power is new to the Jeyes fluid family designed to remove dirt, algae and mildew from all hard surfaces with out the need to scrub. Which is brilliant as most other patio cleaners require a degree of scrubbing it is also pressure washer compatible. It your pressure washer has a detergent bottle just fill it up with Patio Power and clean as you would do normally. Patio Power also kill's 99.9% of all germs so you could almost eat your dinner off your patio once you have cleaned it with Patio Power although i would not recommend it. Every house should have a bottle of Jeyes fluid in the cupboard ready for all your outdoor cleaning needs.

Jeyes have made lots of videos to show you how to use Jeyes fluid on their Youtube channel.

For more details on the Jeyes fluid range visit their website.

Available from all good garden centers and hard ware shops.

A New Gardening Bursary

Thursday was the launch of a new gardening bursary The English Garden Future Fund

You pick up the post and open a letter it's all official from a solicitor's office letting you know that you have been left some money. Now normally these type of letters are trying to con you out of some money but not in this case. It turned out that The English Garden magazine had been left a large sum of money in a Lady's will she left it to them as thanks for the years of enjoyment and knowledge that the magazine had given her. So what to do with all that cash that was the decision The English Garden magazine had to come up with. So The English Garden Future Fund was born it's a bit like the gardening X Factor for the gardening world but with out Simon Cowell sarcasm. 

Tamsin Westhorpe, Raymond Blanc and Stephanie Mahon
 The English Garden editor Stephanie Mahon said, “Gardeners are known for their incredible generosity, whether that’s giving away seeds or cuttings, or sharing their knowledge and experience. We wanted the generous donation we received to be used to help sow the seeds for new gardening inspiration, to grow and benefit the horticultural community now and in the future. We are really looking forward to receiving some exciting entries from the many horticultural heroes there are throughout the UK, who we know are bursting with fresh ideas that could really make a difference.”

 So if you have a great great gardening idea whether you are an individual or a community group with a gardening idea they want to hear from you. They have up to £5000 to give away every year for the next 5 years to the best gardening project they can find. Chris Beardshaw has made a short video to tell you more how the Fund will work.


Want to apply application forms and full details are available in Octobers and Novembers issue of The English Garden Magazine.
There is no time to waste, as applications close at the end of November 2014 then the public has the chance to vote for the project they think has the gardening X Factor. The winner will be announced at the end of February 2015.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

The Big Village Veg Off

Today was the annual Brington Flower Show where the battle for champion grower is decided the battle field was the Reading rooms Great Brington. I was not sure if i was going to make it this year as an early morning Ballet lesson was sprung on me. I should point out the Ballet lesson was for my daughters and not me i don't look good in a Tu Tu. Preparation for the show started the night before with lots of digging and washing of the veg. I even made a last minute trip back out into the garden at 11.30pm with a torch in hand to get some better runner beans. 
 We got there 15mins before the doors closed for judging as soon as you entered the hall there was a real buzz in the building with everyone running round putting there entry's in and last minute tinkering. It did not take long to put my entry's in as i had done a lot of preparation the night before. With the veg neatly arranged and the tickets left under them it was time to go home and have a cup of Tea and leave the judges to make there decisions. 
After a cup of tea some lunch which consisted of leek soup from the rejects and a bit of food shopping we returned to the show at about three. The car park was packed so we had to park down the road the tombola was the welcome in the car park with all the money going to Owl conservation. We ended up with a bottle of pinot noir and a vibrating chair.
Inside the hall it was packet full of villagers all keen to see who had got all the red cards. Well i managed to get a first with blanch leeks which where the variety 'Pendle' and first for runner beans a T&M variety 'Snowstorm' so the late night trip out in the garden was worth the effort. The collection of veg came second this consisted of Blanch leek 'Pendle', Onion 'Kelsea' and Pepper 'Britney' from Suttons  and second for any other veg and third for shallots and red onions both from De Ree so not a bad result for the day.
I should point out that there was other exhibits not just veg although that is the important bit. there was some fantastic fruit and loads of tasty cakes and one class that i normally hate is the floral art. But i was very impressed with the birthday cake class where the exhibitors had to make a cake out of flowers if only you could eat them.
The silver ware was handed out and the hall was cleared for another year with every one excited about getting growing again for next year's show.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Bees Doing There Work

T&M New Catalogue

It's that time of year again when all the seed catalogue's start dropping through the door. Dare i say it they are the Porn Magazine's for the gardening world many a gardener has spent the night drooling over the latest flower and veg introductions. Longing for spring when they can dust off there dibber and start sowing there seeds. The first to fall on my door mat this year is the Thompson and Morgan catalogue.

It is packed full of all the usual T&M favorites and lots of new releases for 2015.
The front cover features the new Nasturtium 'Phoenix' which has taken over 10 years of breeding to produce it's unusual flower shape. They come in shades of orange and red and will add a splash of colour to any garden they have also named it flower of the year for 2015.
2015 is also the Year of The Sunflower so they have two full pages packed full of sunflowers. everything from variety's suitable for hanging basket up to real giants reaching 4.2m (14ft) tall with flower heads up too 45cm (18in) wide. There new Sunflower 'Helios Flame' is exclusive to T&M lovely bronze/orange bi colour flowers on stem's up to 1.8m tall (6ft) tall.

There is also some great new veg on offer Runner bean 'Jackpot' this is a British breed dwarf bean ideal for growing in pots and containers. with red, white and pink flowers followed by a good crop of string less beans. Colored carrots have become popular over the last couple of years T&M have got some limited stocks of Purple Sun F1 which has an intense purple colour flesh all the way through. With good disease resistance and great flavor what more would you want. It is also believed to be a favorite of the Prince of Wales so if you want to keep up with the royals then this is the carrot to grow in 2015.

There are so many many more new introductions to wet you appetite so why not order your own copy today. 

Tel :- 0844 573 1818