Gardening Guides

  1. What to Do with Your Greenhouse This Winter

    What to Do with Your Greenhouse This Winter

    I love gardening and everything to do with greenhouses. However, I have to admit the best day of my greenhouse/ gardening life to date is when the team who put the structure up left and I was face to face, for the first time, with a beautiful wooden greenhouse. My beautiful wooden greenhouse. Completely empty. Walking in, closing the door and being enveloped by the evocative aroma of wood and luxuriating in the vast emptiness of the area is a memory that will never fade. Time to breathe, think and plan. The acres of benching, the glorious expanse of unfettered flooring (concrete slabs) and achingly clear headroom. No plants, no pots, no canes, wires or string. Just a dream.

    OK, it lasted a few hours before a couple of pelargoniums found their way in for their winter protection, a dozen bowls of bulbs were soon housed on the immaculate benching, and a back-of-an-envelope plan was scribbled out for five containers of tomatoes, three cucumbers, a couple of aubergines, chillies

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  2. A quick guide to making your allotment bee friendly

    As you sit in your shed with a welcome cup of tea after a tough session on the allotment, you might spare a thought for the humble bee. These days, bees are having it pretty tough and their numbers are falling dramatically. What has this got to do with you, you may ask? Well, bees play a crucial role in the natural world and without them it would be a very different place.

    The role of bees

    The importance of bees cannot be underestimated. They are pollinators and, as such, make an important contribution to the natural reproduction of plants and crops; meaning they are a vital link in the food chain. Without bees, about one third of the food we eat would not be available. In fact, about 70 crops in Britain depend on or benefit from the attention of bees.

    Bees also pollinate the flowers of many plants that are used to feed farm animals. It is estimated that the value of bees to commercial crops in Britain is over £200 million a year, with

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  3. A quick guide to managing your allotment all year

    Allotments are a fun and good way to supplement your larder with healthy, fresh food. But they are also hard work so you want to be sure of getting the best results from your efforts. The key is to plan ahead; and a great way to start is to sit down with a cuppa by your allotment shed with a notebook or calendar and prepare a to-do list.

    As you survey your allotment it’s important to remember that you must rotate your crops, preferably on a three-year cycle. Growing the same crop in one place year after year depletes the nutrients absorbed by that produce and encourages the spread of diseases particular to the crop. You should also stagger when you plant each crop to avoid having all of the same produce becoming ready at the same time.

    Here are some ideas on how you should plan your year to get the most out of your allotment:

    January
    Finish cleaning up and digging bare areas. Finish planting fruit trees and bushes. Plant onions.

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