We were up in North Yorkshire at the weekend. Every morning, a heavy mist hung over the Howardian Hills, refusing to budge until well after lunch. In the morning, it was chilly enough for coats and fleeces, but when the sun broke through it felt as though there was a 10 degree increase in temperature. [...]
I’ve been on holiday, but the allotment isn’t taking any down time at the moment – despite some very chilly days last week, buds are bursting on the fruit trees, the spring cabbages under nets are swelling and tiny radish seedlings are getting bigger by the day.
The weeds are also flourishing – my plot is [...]
Last weekend it was hard to believe it was still March, with the temperature as high as 18C (although it felt much warmer on the allotment site, as we are sheltered on one side by trees and the other by houses. The warmth has triggered an explosion of buds on the fruit trees and bushes, [...]
When I started gardening seriously, about ten years ago, my main interest was growing great vegetables and flowers – mainly from seed, because it’s cheaper and, although more time-consuming, more rewarding. I spent ages on selecting varieties, on watering, on positioning, but ignoring the most important thing: the soil – just sowing straight into the [...]
We paid an early visit to Plot 35a on Sunday morning to take parts of a wooden playhouse I have bought for my daughter to play in while I get on with gardening. Tomorrow, with the help of a handyman (because we are hopeless at DIY and I want it to be safe), it will [...]
Yes, it’s March! It may be chilly but the sky is still light at nearly 6pm and shoots in the garden and allotment are getting taller. Birds are singing louder and building nests. I always feel a sense of excitement that the real gardening season is upon us now, mixed with a mild panic that [...]
No sooner than we impatient gardeners, spurred on by a bit of sunshine and buds on the trees, get ready for the growing season outside – rather than fiddle with propagators and potting on indoors – than there is snow forecast this weekend. With our capricious British weather, the absurd timing is perfect, coinciding with [...]
Whether you’re intending to grow tomatoes in a greenhouse or outdoors (like me), it is a good idea to start planning the sowing of this wonderful crop that can, if you get it right, keep you going until Christmas.
There are some gardening wimps out there who say you can’t grow tomatoes outdoors in Britain, firstly [...]
Every allotment needs fruit bushes and trees. Compared to vegetables, fruit is fairly low maintenance – once you sort out the pruning, nourishing with well-rotted manure and netting your harvest to keep the birds off.
I got my first allotment nearly four years ago – actually, about a week before I gave birth to my daughter. [...]
The other day, while covering the Wythenshawe by-election, I went to visit my friend Kate, who lives in Manchester with her husband Mike and their two sons. I took the traditional bottle of wine as a gift, but also, stuffed in my overnight bag, was a knobbly root of horseradish, freshly yanked out of my [...]
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