Thursday, 28 March 2013

How much time does it take to grow your own vegetables?

I feel that we all have a right to dig. The shear pleasure of digging and growing our own food is part of humanity’s common make up. Each of us should have our own small area to dig.
However, for centuries there has been an ongoing struggle between those that have and control the land and those that have nothing. There are those of us who do not know the difference between:
·      What I want
·      What I need
What your need, according to UK allotment standards is:
11-pole plot per family. This area is considered adequate for a family to provide enough area of land for the growing of vegetables and fruit.
A pole, by the way, is an old English measurement being:
From the tip of the Oxen’s noise to the end of the plough handle. That is about; 181 feet/60 meters
Standard allotment size is 1/16th of an acre. Taking 1 acre, and dividing each side into 4 parts, you would end up with 16 allotments, and which makes some sense.
Taking all that aside and assuming that you have an area of land to work, the next thing is, and this is really the big one: Time.
A well- planned allotment can produce a lot of food. However, you must realize that this does not happen by itself. You must make it happen; this means putting in the hours.
Some say 3 to 5 hours a week should be enough; others can only give it a few hours at weekend.
For myself, I like the easy route. I use raised beds and make compost. Once I had set up my beds (which took a lot of work) little and often became my key.
How about 10-12 hours per year! If you want to learn about this method then follow the link below. It is worth it just for the ‘read’

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Symptoms of your garden

There is a serious problem with to days progressive  ways of gardening and that is that today’s modern methods depend on chemical fertilizers which do not replace the very wide variety of nutrients that plants need.

In a pervious post “How to deal with weeds”, I wrote about the problems of weeds and how this leads to infertile soils. If you follow traditional methods of gardening techniques, then you will only strive to fix the symptoms of your garden and not the cause.

There is a system of gardening where you just go out and do it without any fuss. Just follow the link below to read about it…go and enjoy and be pleasantly surprised

A better system of Gardening

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

How to deal with weeds

Think about your garden, your pride and joy.
I do not want to worry you, but lets take a look at one problem that can turn into a nightmare.
You have this lovely patch of ground that is your garden.
Row of beautifully vegetables of various kinds. In-between the rows there is bare ground. This is not good because nature never has bear ground. What will happen is that nature will try to colonize that bit of your garden.
Mother nature see that a place to start a new life form in your garden, because she cannot tolerate empty space. So what happens? Weeds start to grow.
So what do you as the gardener do? Why, you get your hoe out because you know that your hoe is your best friend.
After all this is what it says in the book: the how is the answer to the weed problem.
However, what you do with a hoe is create a new set of problems for your garden:
·      By turning the soil with a hoe, you start off more weed seeds.
·      Turning the soil will disturb the ecology. Your top layer of soil is (in the main) dry and structureless. When you hoe your soil, you put this topsoil underneath, thus widening the band of structureless soil.
·      Your soil is now generally drier and less able to hold moisture.  
·      You now have to water your plants.
·      In addition, structureless soil is unable to feed your plants so well.
·       You now have to buy in and use fertilizers
·      By using the fertilizer, you start to kill the soil biology.
·      Over time, your soil will turn into dead soil.
·      Dead soil lacks the correct balance of nutrients to grow your plants.

Therefore, by using your hoe you have bought the problem of modern day agriculture right into your veg patch!
To find out how to overcome this, take a look at the link below: 

Monday, 18 March 2013

Gardening Problems;

You get hold of any book on vegetable growing and you will notice that in the main, the book will focus on problems. This does not make it easy to start because you think; I have enough problems already without adding more!
There is a system of gardening where you just go out and do it without any fuss. Just follow the link below to read about it…go and enjoy and be pleasantly surprised
Gardening with out the Problems

Friday, 15 March 2013

Grow an organic garden

Grow an organic garden
We are told that growing our own vegetables takes a lot of hard work.
·   Digging
·   Weeding
·   Watering
·   Feeding
·   Planting
·   Composting
·   Rotations
·   Liming
·   And all the rest

It takes time and effect.  That is not the true story.  That is just what is put about by those who do not want to start and for some reason do not want you to start.

There is a way that you can have your own home grown vegetables in less time then it takes you to nip down to the supermarket and pay the earth for vegetables that are grown God knows where and God knows how.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Raised beds for vegetables

">Raised beds for vegetables:

The reason that I have raised beds is that my allotment is on a flood plan along side the River Thames. My plot has had 73 days under 64 cm of water (about 2 feet).

 The only beds that were out of the water were those that I had raised up above this level. The floods wiped out most of my vegetables.

The only one that did not suffer was my leeks, which I continued to harvest even when they were under water.

The water has since gone and I am setting about raising the rest of my beds. 

The way that I am doing this is to dig down to the sup-soil. Roughly two feet. I put the topsoil to one side. This leaves me with a hole two feet deep. I need to fill this hole to ground level.

 For this I use any organic material that I can get my hands on. It in bottom of the hole, where the roots of my vegetables are not going to reach; I put about a foot of old books, or cardboard.

 I collect the old books from friends (mostly old paper backs) and the cardboard I collect from local shops who are more then willing to get rid of it.

 On top of this, I have put leaf mould, which I got from a local college (I live in Oxford) they were more then willing to have somewhere to get rid of it.

 Then I put the topsoil back on top. I will leave this to settle before I plant my winter vegetables. This will be about four months.

 I know this works because I used this method two years ago and have grown good vegetables on the beds every since.

 It is a sort of Victorian Hot Bed with a 21st century twists i.e. the cardboard.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Rhubarb Patch

One great thing about vegetable growing is that it is all done and dusted inside a single season. You can enjoy your success and forget about what went wrong. However, this year I am embarking on a long-term gardening project that won’t bear fruit for at least two years – perhaps three. One of my joys of my rhubarb patch is that, every year it gives me breakfast for nearly 200 days and more importantly, it takes little effort to look after. Rhubarb is one of the few perennial vegetables. The plants die back into the underground crowns every winter and new shoots emerge in the spring ready to be picked and eaten. That is if you do not get flooded as happen to me this year. Old Father Thames broke his banks for 73 days and drowned all my Rhubarb and so I have to start from scratch. Rhubarb crowns will take two or three years to become productive and gain enough strength for the shoots to be harvested regularly, but once established they would crop for between 10 and 20 years. Rhubarb is normally bought as one- or two-year-old plants, which saves a lot of time when you are eagerly waiting for your first harvest, but they are not cheap. You can grow Rhubarb from seed, but I have never done that because there is another way, which is much quicker and more reliable. Rhubarb is a very robust plant and grows bigger year by year. In addition, after a few years the plant really benefits from cut in half with a sharp spade this is to our advantage. Go round you neighbors and ask them if they have any Rhubarb that needs dividing I, sure you can find a few. When you prepare your new rhubarb bed, dig it deep and make sure there is plenty of manure.