Yesterday was Earth Day 2020, a time for thinking about nature and our planet. No dig gardening is an earth inspired way of growing which protects the soil, soil life and environment. There’s been a phenomenal increase in interest in no dig gardening, which is fantastic!
Now is the ideal time to sow many different kinds of vegetables and herbs, for cropping through the winter and into next spring, and beyond!
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
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!
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.
This is the third blog of my series of blog posts, explaining how to grow vegetables and herbs which can be sown now to see you through the winter and spring – no hungry gap in 2018!
I have added the category No Hungry Gap, so you can find all of the blogs easily using the search facility.
I’ve mostly been concentrating on my at home garden, so it was a real pleasure to be able to spend some time at my allotment, getting ready for everything that will be planted there over the next week or so.
I’d let the brassicas go to flower for the wildlife, but now needed most of the space for new plantings.
Winter is the ideal time for mulching , making the most of some physical work during the shorter days when the beds are mostly clear. Ideally, I have all of the outdoor mulching finished by the end of January, but of course gardening doesn’t always go according to plan!
We have had some hard frosts here in Bruton, with temperatures falling well below zero (that’s cold for for Somerset, I appreciate that elsewhere it would be considered rather mild weather!) Although not frost free, the polytunnel offers a lot of protection from the winter weather, in particular icy winds and rain, enabling me to grow a far wider range of food year round.
Last week (December 6th) I took some photos of another of my work places, so here is a mini-tour of Charles Dowding‘s no dig market garden at Homeacres.
We have been experiencing some horrible weather here in Bruton, due to Storm Angus: high winds and torrential rain causing damage and flooding .
When my house was built around 1930, rural social housing for those on low incomes was designed to include a garden large enough to feed a family. The people must have worked amazingly hard, tending their gardens after long working days.