Thursday, 31 March 2016

Grow Gooseberry.

The easiest berries you can grow Gooseberry bushes thrive best when theyre neglected says MONTY DON making them the perfect plant for the time-poor gardener | Daily Mail Online

- There are over 150 cultivars to choose from (and over 3,000 have been recorded over the past 300 years) but
I have limited myself to ‘Invicta’, ‘Whitesmith’, ‘Greenfinch’ and the sumptuous red-fruited ‘Whinham’s Industry’.
For something a bit different try growing Gooseberry Langley Gage with a small transparent berry of exceptional sweetness.

- Once established, and as long as they have decent drainage, gooseberries thrive best on benign neglect.

- So I moved my ailing bushes to a new site, exposed to the wind that howls across my fields.
I added nothing to the soil they were planted in and began the practice of spreading the wood ash from our open fire around the base of the plants in spring.
This provides extra potash which does not aid the growth of green foliage (which is what the sawfly larvae love) but flowers and fruit (which are what I love).
I pruned my gooseberries carefully in March to establish an open goblet shape.
It has to be noted that the soft new growth that pruning stimulates is particularly attractive to rampant fungae and hungry caterpillars.
An old, unpruned gooseberry bush rarely gets troubled by sawfly or mould, presumably because it is too tough a mouthful.
But pests are so much easier to pick from an open, well-pruned bush.

- Sawfly hate wind.
A cordon shape – a single stem pruned back hard to spurs just a few inches long each spring – offers no shelter for them.
Wind has also helped keep at bay the grey mould (American mildew, Sphaerotheca mors-uvae) which used to cover the leaves by mid-summer.

- Now that the last of this season’s fruit has been picked it is a good time to prune the bushes lightly again, removing the floppiest of the new growth and ensuring that they remain open for the wind that does them so much good.

- Gooseberries grow well from hardwood cuttings taken in autumn from straight new growth, so leave the strongest new shoots unpruned.
Also pull up any suckers growing from the base of the plant; don’t cut them as it just encourages more regrowth next spring.

Grow your Own Figs.

Grow your Own Figs | Gardeners Tips


5. Daffodils | Wildlife |

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

How to grow your own kitchen garden.

Mark Diacono: How to grow your own kitchen garden - Telegraph
Choose plants that pack a punch
There is something very pleasing about growing your own food, and you can enhance every meal you eat with only five or six potted plants by the back door.
I call plants that are small in volume and large in flavour “transformers” for their ability to boost flavour in cooking.
Herbs, garlic and chillis are good examples.
My favourite transformer plants include Szechuan pepper, which has an amazing, powerful flavour;
Carolina allspice, the bark of which can be ground and dusted over pork or porridge;
and borage, which has a cucumber flavour that is great in cocktails or Pimm’s, but also perks up a salad.
Beat the supermarket
For me, growing foods that taste different from supermarket versions is important.
Asparagus, peas, sweetcorn, berries and baby carrots lose their quality quickly from the moment they are harvested.
If you grow these yourself you’ll find flavour that comes only from being home grown – the difference is remarkable.
The other beauty of growing your own is that you can seek out varieties that are hard to find in shops.
Jerusalem artichokes, Babington’s leeks, boysenberries, golden raspberries, International Kidney potatoes and Sungold tomatoes are all things I want in my garden that you seldom find in shops.
Plant in any place
Even if the only space you have is a balcony or a windowsill you can still grow your own food.
In many cases a plant will do as well in a pot of compost as it would in swaths of land.
The basis of all pots should be good-quality, peat-free compost, in which you should plant a rewarding perennial, such as a chilli plant, that can produce many fruits.
Or mix some grit into the compost and plant a satisfying Mediterranean herb, such as oregano or marjoram.
If you have small space in a sunny spot, buy a dwarf fruit tree; apricot, peach, apple and plum trees are among many possibilities.
A dwarf tree will grow to about 120cm tall, requires little pruning and can produce dozens of tasty fruits, plus great satisfaction.
Think about your harvest
I suspect most people have better things to do than tend a reluctant plant every day in exchange for a tiny harvest.
Choose plants that have a repeated harvest, where the more you pick the more you get.
Lettuce and salad leaves will quickly re-sprout if you cut them off 5cm from the soil.
Other easy foods to grow include courgettes, which are famously overproductive if you have the space, and perennial herbs, such as rosemary, thyme and mint.
Legumes, such as peas and beans, may be the most productive of them all.
Productive plants often need time and precision invested in the early growing stages, but then they will thrive with minimal intervention.
Make small successes
My advice to beginners is start small.
Choose a few plants that have a quick return.
Radishes, pea shoots, chives and micro-leaves are among the fastest to move from seed to plate.
Avoid types that take a long time to harvest, such as cabbages, as they will be in the ground for most of the year.

The rest is relatively simple: read up, talk to other gardeners and buy your seeds and plants from independent nurseries (I rate Pennard Plants) rather than DIY stores.

“The New Kitchen Garden” by Mark Diacono is available now (Saltyard Books, £25)

Trained fruit.

trained fruit | An Englishman's Garden Adventures

Perennial Vegetables.

Perennial Vegetables: Sow, Grow, Repeat Winter | Life and style | The Guardian
Plant list
Here’s a list of all the perennial vegetables mentioned in this week’s show

Mashua (Tropaeolum tuberosum)
Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris)
Oca (Oxalis tuberosa)
Ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria)
Welsh onion (Allium fistulosum)
Perennial leek (Allium porrum L)
Daubenton kale (Brassica oleracea (Acephala Group))
Leaf beet (Beta vulgaris var vulgaris)
Kale ‘Purple Flanders’
Perennial chillies (‘Alberto’s Locoto’ from Real Seeds)
Three-cornered leek (Allium triquetrum) (Please note, it is illegal to allow this plant to spread into the wild: read this PDF for details)
Daylily (Hemerocallis)
Bamboo shoots
Goji berry leaves (Lycium barbarum)
Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum)
Red valerian (Centranthus ruber)
Good king henry (Chenopodium bonum-henricum)
Chicory ‘Red Rib Dandelion’ (Chicorium intybus)
Nine star perennial broccoli
Perennial wall rocket (Diplotaxis tenuifolia)
Buckshorn plantain (Plantago coronopus)

- Anni Kelsey, author of Edible Perennial Gardening: Growing Successful Polycultures in Small Spaces.