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Phacelia: pherny and phlowery. Or it would be if I hadn’t just cut it down yesterday.  Sown in September, now left to wilt and melt into the soil, it’s going to provide a lovely green manure for my drying beans, making them extra nutritious and successful. Phacelia is a nitrogen-fixing legume. Nodules on the roots …

quinoa

Elsewhere I’ve written about preparing to have resilience crop-wise (drying beans, brassicas), and in this spirit I decided to grow quinoa this year. It’s a high protein grain and stores well. I find it really tasty and often have it for breakfast with avocado and a ginger, coriander oil, tamari and lemon dressing.  It’s a …

pollination station

Honey bees and bumblers were gulping down nectar at Victoria (plum) central today. Hover flies and plain black flies were also hanging around. We have three trees close together and crops are always sensational. Victoria plums are self-fertile but, as most top fruit, they crop more when there’s additional pollination from another plant. Even when …

mulch

Harvesting the compost is a job that happens two or three times a year. Sifting, sorting and putting the lovely crumbly black stuff around plant roots. Mangetout peas, baby bramley and plum benefited this time.

At the Sivananda Yoga Centre in Putney the garden had become a bit tired and congested, with some shrubs not thriving so well or become outsized. The beds had become infested with mind-your-own-business and other weeds, and lavender and rosemary had succumbed to rosemary beetle.  In addition, the soil was heavy and had few earthworms, …

drought – 7 tips

I was asked, in the light of the drought and hosepipe bans due to come into force at the Easter weekend in south east England, which vegetables require little water.  I had to bite my tongue as there’s not a crop that doesn’t require regular watering. It’s much more about using basic sustainable practices in …

pretty potager

A potager, or kitchen garden, has a geometric design of easily maintainable beds with hard paving around them.  I’ve had a lot of fun lately working with pattern for a potager for a very nice early Victorian villa.  Thank goodness for computer-aided design, making and remaking design options. Selecting veg varieties with ornamental value is …

solanaceae

I’ve just plugged in the propagator. Tomatoes and peppers originate from central America; aubergine from the Indian subcontinent. These plants need a lot of heat and light to grow and for the fruits to ripen, so an early start under cover is important. Could have been earlier, but what can you do?! After last year’s …

bean feast

That’s what I’m planning for this year: a bean feast.  Shortly before Christmas my (dare I say it) best present came in unassuming brown envelopes inside a padded envelope:  six varieties of drying beans from Garden Organic’s Heritage Seed Library. Phaseolus vulgaris – the bean of the people.  And a source of vulgar humour, but …

winter salad leaves

Thanks to the mild winter leaf crops are still harvesting well with only protection from pigeons, Miss Haversham style under fine white netting. They are looking very pretty on the plate and tasting very nice on the palate. L – R: Lettuce ‘Valdor’ (sweet), blood-veined sorrel (sour), radicchio ‘Rosso di Treviso’ (bitter), lettuce ‘Lattughino’ (also …

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