Saturday, 17 February 2018

Strawy Manures

Strawy Manures

Manures With Straw in:
Cattle and horse are the most commonly used manures and they are the most available. They come mixed with straw that is used as bedding.
The analysis of the plant foods in these manures contain may make them look rather useless in comparison with a bag of bought fertiliser, but this is no reason to reject them, because it is not the whole picture.
Straw manure is applied to the land at much higher rates then bought fertilisers and their value is not limited to the plant foods they contain. Straw manures are particularly good for soil structure because they add bulk.
Fresh straw manures should not be used directly on the garden for four reason:
Unless the manure is from an organic source the straw is more then likely to contain residues of week killers and pesticides.
Nitrogen and potassium are easily washed out of fresh manure. This is a waste and could cause pollution.
Fresh straw manure contains nitrogen in a forum that is instantly available to plants; so, if you put in on the ground in the winter you will lose most of the goodness.
Fresh manure contains nitrogen in a form that can burn tender leaves.
Therefore, if you can get some fresh straw manures it is best to store in a heap for a year before digging it in the soil.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Kale: Why is it good

 Kale : Why is it so good.

This hardy versatile brassica has no need to justify its self as a supper veg. It is so rich in vitamins A,C and K folate and manganese and is also a great source of calcium and dietary fibre.

The problem, one finds is how to use it.
You can use the kale raw in salads, however you must any tough stalks, then shred the leaves finely and dress in advance to soften.
The kale is just as happy when it is cooked by adding chopped leaves to sups , curries and stir-fries, or blanch in salted water and saute quickly in oil and butter for an easy side dish.
You can also make kale crisps : tear 150gr leaves and toss with 1 and a half tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt, spread over 2 baking trays and bake for 10-15 mins at 180c turning halfway through.


Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Good Weather

Good Weather:
Every garden or plot has its own weather and a real sense of not being any where else. I always judge the weather by what I wear on my feet.
Welles: Bad weather because it is wet, muddy, cold, or flooded.
Big boots: meaning not too wet.
Light weight shoes: a perfect day.

I would never go bare foot, as I have seen some gardeners. Because you never know what is in the soil: glass, snakes etc. 

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Five Points for Organic Gardening

Five Points for Organic Gardening
Organic gardening is not something that is new, it is centuries old. The important thing to remember is that it is the soil that holds the key. Feed it with bulky organic materials to keep the microscopic soil-living creatures happy and you will creative a soil to grow healthy crops without the use of chemicals.

There are a few principles that make up an organic garden and they are:
Number one; no chemicals. Everything that you use must be of an organic nature. This is not as difficult as it sounds!

Number two: only grow plants that are native to the area, or best suited to the garden. So no bananas in Canada please!

Number three: This is the important one…feed the soil and not the plant. This means supplying plenty of organic materials for the soil to make an environment that will foster the growth of healthy and vigorous plants.

Number four: return to the soil more then you take out in the form of crops. This can be done by using compost and green manures.

Number five: promote diversity among you crop by following a simple plant rotation plan.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018


Swiss Chard: 
I grow Swiss Chard on my allotment because it is a bit like growing two vegetables for the price of one.
Chard can be sautéed whole and when the chard is a bit older, you can cook the leaves and use the rib in a stir fry.
Although Swiss chard can be seeded straight into the ground, I prefer to so mine in plugs and plant them out after a few weeks. I sow them the first week of april and plant them out the third week of may.
I place the seedlings about a foot apart and grow four plants, this gives us enough produce for the kitchen.
Leaf miners usually show up in the first week of june and can ruin young tender leaves. I deal with this problem by removing the spoiled leaves and wait for new growth. Because leaf miners have definite life generally means if one flush of leaves is infested, the successive ones will not be. In fact I find in some years, I have no trouble at all. 

By mid-june when the leaves reach 4-6 inches long, you can start harvesting young leaves  at the base of the plant of the ribs so that plants continue to grow. Do not forget to separate the leaves from the ribs before cooking.

You will find that Swiss chard will put up with sever temperatures, so that you can enjoy fresh chard right the winter. 

This continual harvesting of chard means that I usually avoid dealing with the huge size leaves that you will find in the supermarket. It can be, however that you sometimes end up with large chard leaves. That is fine because you can cook the leaves and ribs separately.

Chards high water content means that the crop will not store very well. So when I have some in my fridge for a few days, I thoroughly wash it by dunking it up and down in a sinkful of luke warm water. This seems to do the trick.

How I decide to use the chard depends on its age.

Chard which has rubs with less than half inch wide needs nothing more than a quick wash in water. Anything bigger than that, I cut off the stem and use separately.

When the ribs are more than one inch, I not only cut off the leaves but also trim some of the heavy ribs that run up the back of the leaves. I also peel large ribs like celery. Taking a knife, I start at the end of the ribs, cut slightly into the flesh, and pull slowly down-- the strings peel off. .

My favorite way to cook chard is to saute the whole baby leaves and ribs together. You will find that older chard seems to darken when cooked.

I nearly always steam my chard.    

Saturday, 27 January 2018

How do you learn to garden?

How do you learn to garden? 
It was the custom for gardeners to invest their labors and achievements with a mystery and secrecy which might well have discouraged any amateur from trespassing upon such difficult ground. 

"Trade secrets" in either flower or vegetable growing were acquired by the apprentice only through practice and observation, and in turn jealously guarded by him until passed on to some younger brother in the profession.

 Every garden operation was made to seem a wonderful and difficult undertaking.  If you are a beginning  you will not do just as well as the experienced gardener. However, you can lear by talking to other growers.
This garden business is a matter of common sense; and the man, or the woman, who has learned by experience how to do a thing, whether it is cornering the market or growing cabbages, naturally does it better than the one who has not. Do not expect the impossible the first time, look and learn.
This time of year, you need to make a plan.
What do you want? Better food, better health, better living--all these the home garden offers you in abundance.
Write down what you eat and read about times of sowing etc and get on with it.

A word of warning: Do not grow too much...only you know how much time you have.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Summer Garden

In summer the garden is in the zenith of its glory. The geraniums and salvias blaze in the autumn sun; the begonias have grown to a small forest of beautiful foliage and bloom; the heliotropes have become almost little trees, and load the air with their delicate fragrance.

However to-night--who knows?--grim winter may fling the land with a heavy frost which will advance across the land, by every roadside and into every garden-close; and to-morrow there will be but blackening ruins with strong winds.

Our gardens are in the mid winter: bare and bleak.

So what should you do?

Jan. Send for catalogues. 

       Make planting plan.       Order seeds.