How to grow using no dig methods veganically, also known as “stock free”, without animal manures or other animal derived inputs.
Hasn’t the month passed quickly? I can hardly believe that it is August on Thursday. Today I’ve been enjoying more of an indoor kind of day, catching up with things at my desk and general chores, because it has – finally, oh joy! – been raining. I love sunshine and warmth, but it has been very dry for my garden and the polytunnel has become so hot.
May: such a magical month in the garden. The growth is incredible and each day the garden reveals new delights! When the first strawberries ripen we know summer is on its way.
Kale, a nutrient dense vegetable high in vitamins, is well known for its many health benefits. Easy to grow and winter hardy in the UK, it’s a fantastic plant for the hungry home gardener. Kale’s delicious leaves make a tasty addition to all kinds of meals cooked and raw, but did you know that you can also eat other parts of this cruciferous vegetable and that growing it benefits wildlife too?!
It’s spring and I am thinking of winter vegetables! Root vegetables are surprisingly easy to grow using no dig methods. Yesterday I sowed parsnips, carrots, radish, Hamburg parsley and scorzonera into a recently applied mulch of compost on top of my heavy clay allotment soil.
The Queen visited “my” work kitchen garden yesterday, so I spent time on Wednesday making sure it was all weeded and spruced up. Ok, so perhaps the purpose of her visit to Bruton wasn’t to gaze upon my herbs and veggies but it’s not every day that one of the most famous people in the world pops down my high street!
It was thirsty work, so I enjoyed a refreshing cup of tea sitting in the sunshine on the wide timbers of the raised beds.
The Queen was in Bruton to open a new music building at The Kings School, a public (ie: private and very expensive for my international readers) and celebrate 500 years since the school received its Royal Charter. HRH also took time to visit Hauser and Wirth Somerset – where I run the kitchen garden for Roth Bar and Grill – and local race horse owner, Paul Nicholls’ stables.
It has been a busy time since my last blog post and how the garden has changed! The weather has been typically British, from unseasonably warm to icy cold (for Somerset) and back again. Mornings are misty, deciduous trees almost entirely without leaves now and anything frost tender has died.
The polytunnel has frozen a few times now, I love the patterns on the frozen polythene, although it is still reaching 30˚C in there some days. I have electronic thermometers in the greenhouse and polytunnel and it’s so interesting to see the extremes of temperatures undercover, compared with outside in the garden.
This week began with the Autumn Equinox, the festival of Mabon, which starts on September 21st
As summer mellows into autumn, the allotment and garden is full of ripening vegetables and fruit.
The best laid plans do not always come to fruition! Gardening is a great leveller. Whether you are growing on an allotment, in a window box or own a huge private estate, nature always has the upper hand – and that is exactly as it should be.
Like much of the country, Bruton has been very hot and dry for weeks and weeks. Frustratingly all of the recent rains have missed my small town.
May is always a busy month for gardeners and it feels even more so this year here – is that the same for you?
Every year I mulch my no dig allotment with an inch or two of composted manure or homemade compost, but this year I am trying something different!
Every Monday I pour my morning coffee and plan my week. Last week was so busy with talks, writing, a course day on Saturday; there was little time for gardening at home, so I scheduled Sunday as a whole day of gardening at home.
Usually the end of February and early March heralds a dramatic increase of activity in the greenhouse – but the unusually cold weather means last week was more about snowing than sowing!
It feels strange to be writing about heat loving plants like aubergines as Britain is gripped by unseasonally cold weather. Kitchen gardening is about always thinking ahead, anticipating and planning for what is to come, so I have been happy thinking about warm summer days as I wrap myself up in layers of thermals and woollens!
I absolutely love growing aubergines. Incredibly versatile for so many different recipes, I love all of the different colours and shapes, how some are seriously spiky and of course the delicious taste.
In the bleak mid-winter, frost made the earth stand hard as iron, water like a stone. No problem for no dig gardeners – Charles and I decided to make another bed at Homeacres!
We are often asked to start no dig gardens and so Charles, the admin team of our Facebook group and I have come up with the Top Ten Most Frequently Asked Questions.
If we haven’t covered your questions, please ask them in the comments here (or on the Facebook group if you are a member) and we will answer them as soon as we can.
My allotment has been quite neglected recently. All of my travels (Yorkshire for a wedding, then Thailand and Laos, with a work trip to Ireland just 2 days after returning), my work and autumnal weather suddenly arriving after a mild sunny spell – quite a shock after Thailand for me! – has meant that I am not quite where I would like to be for November 22nd. Nevermind though, it will all get done and I have had a lovely time.