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resilience crops

Do you lie awake at night worrying about how society will cope with dwindling oil reserves? Don’t want to stress you out – google ‘peak oil’ and ‘transition towns’ – but the increasing price of oil is the major reason food is going up. We need to get ready with resilience crops, so let’s play …

Wildflower planting was THE trend at Chelsea in 2012.  Lovely bright points of flower head colour bobbing against a background of lush grass and leaves. You might try buying wildflower turf by the metre, as at the Lindum ‘Out of the Blue Garden’ (left), or go for a classy look using only white ragged robin, …

bocking 14

Diluted comfrey ‘tea’ is a mainstay of organic growing:  rich in potash (for flowers and fruits) as well as the two other macronutrients, nitrogen for leafy growth, and phosphate for root development. It also mines health-boosting minerals. It’s completely animal-free and as sustainable as you can get, fertiliser-wise: no miles and the residue is completely …

pumping pumpkin

see link here to my blog on project dirt – get sowing for Incredible Edible Lambeth’s October competition http://projectdirt.com/profiles/blogs/pumping-pumpkin-still-time-to-sow

April to May is the hungry gap – winter veg are over and spring sowings are yet to come online.  This is when perennial veg come into their own.  Asparagus is busting through right now, for example, with all the vitality of spring, having stored summer energy in its underground crown. Sorrel is a leaf …

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, …

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