Site security

I’m not a naturally frightened person. I deal with stuff as it comes and handle crises reasonably well. Some years ago, I came home to find my flat burgled. It freaked me out – not because of what was taken but because someone had invaded a world I thought was personal and private. They’d been…

Event: Garlic

  So, for the past n years I’ve been growing bog-standard, hardneck garlic, in what I now consider the mistaken belief that it has a better flavour. I forget the variety, I’ve been saving the bulbs for next year – apparently garlic ‘adapts’ to the local soil. I have no idea if that’s true. It…

Event: Peas are like Love

‘Peas will break your heart,’ a chap on my last allotment told me as I gaily sowed a couple of rows in my rookie year as an allotmenteer. Bob had a few choice other comments to make about my attempts as a gardener and although at the time I didn’t take them too kindly, I…

Squirrelled Away

Don’t get me wrong – I like to see a fluffy-tailed Tufty scampering about the grass as much as the next Event Gardener, but sometimes that’s not very much. In the summer the bunch in my garden seem to delight in smashing my favourite pots, uprooting box-cuttings and replacing tulip bulbs with monkey nuts. In…

Giant Autumn Roundup: Currants

A game of two halves. First the good news. The white currants ‘Blanka’ were stupendous. I had such an enormous crop of berries so sweet I ate them straight, not cooked, that they overtook me. At a time when work was particularly busy, to my shame I just didn’t have time to turn them into…

Great Autumn Roundup: TomTato/Egg & Chips

I’ll be honest – I don’t think I am the target audience for Tomtato™,  the potato-tomato crossbreed pioneered by Thompson and Morgan. Nevertheless, when I was invited to trial both the Tomtato and the Egg & Chips  (aubergine and potato) I was intrigued. I received two plants of each, which were grown as I suspect most…

Giant Autumn Roundup: Asparagus

My allotment is far from closed for the winter, but going up there yesterday I realised that it’s definitely slowing down. Now is a good time to take stock, take a virtual wander around the plot and be honest about what worked and what didn’t. I’ll do it bit by bit to avoid tedium… The Asparagus was…

This Year’s Tomatoes

I’m taking a chance this year and not growing my usual Ferline F1 tomato. My allotment site is very susceptible to blight, and I’ve previously favoured a crop of anything, however ordinary it tastes over a crop of nothing even if the label’s fancy. Thing is, that though Ferline is excellent for blight resistance and crops…

Growing Licorice

“When I was a kid thirty five years ago all the children in Pontefract chewed on liquorice sticks.” Farmer Rob Copley’s decision to plant the UK’s first commercial crop of liquorice for over a century is driven more by nostalgia than hard business sense.  He’ll need to wait another couple of years before he can…

Norwich’s Plantation Garden

“I don’t like the word ‘secret’,” says Roger Connah, chairman of the Plantation Garden Preservation Trust. “It implies it’s private. Henry Trevor wanted the public to enjoy it.” Public or not, the secluded Victorian paradise just outside Norwich’s inner ring road and left to sleep under a blanket of ivy for much of the 20th…

What I really use my shed for…

Okay, so here’s the thing. My allotment site doesn’t have a loo. Come to think of it it doesn’t have a shop or any other facilities, but the loo’s the main issue. On my old plot it was so bad I’d have to work loo breaks into the day, setting out twenty minutes before I…

Never Garden without Tea

Actually, that should read ‘never garden without tea and cake’ but there are the odd, occasional times when I’ve not baked and have to make do with digestives. I don’t see the point in not making event gardening an event in itself. I know plenty of plotholders who just come down to dig/weed/hose and then…