Grow Your Own

  1. Assessing Your Garden Post Summer

    Assessing Your Garden Post Summer

    Take Stock of Your Garden Successes and Failures

    I know that New Year is the traditional time to stop and re-evaluate everything in your life but I reckon now, as summer ends, is also an ideal time to stop all that weeding, watering and worrying so you can look at your garden and decide what to do better next year. After all, you don’t need to rely on your memory if all your faults and successes are there, straight in front of your eyes.

    Here are my own garden assessments for this summer:

    Parsnip leavesNo more parsnips

    Keen followers of these blogs know the injuries that I’ve sustained in growing some pre

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  2. A Nasty Allergen Every Veg Grower Needs to Know About

    A Nasty Allergen Every Veg Grower Needs to Know About

    Danger in the Vegetable Plot

    The wonderful thing about gardening is that we all learn something new every day. And for your own safety, my current lesson needs to be heard by all.

    If you grow celery, parsnips, carrots or celeriac, please read on. Forewarned is forearmed. And you don't want to end up with forearms like mine.

    Phil's garden including his parsnip cropHere goes:

    The tale starts with a potential comedic line. ‘I was gardening in my shorts’ which elicits the response ‘strange place to have a garden.’ But seriously, due to the hot weather I was pottering and weeding in the veg garden wearing short

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  3. Growing a Pumpkin - A Tale of Obsession

    Growing a Pumpkin - A Tale of Obsession

    A Tale of Obsession

    What’s the first thing you think of when you wake up? Mine is ‘the pumpkin.’ My family have given up on me; they despair at the time I spend simply staring at the developing fruit. They have actually walked away when I’ve been in conversation about the beast with friends. They are appalled at my ability to turn any conversation, any, to pumpkin growing.

    ‘How are things?’, ‘Keeping well?’ and ‘How’s life treating you?’  are perfect opening questions for me. (My answers: ‘Pumpkin’s growing well’; ‘The pumpkin is’ and ‘Not as good as I am treating that pumpkin.’)

    However, ‘‘What do you think about Brexit?’, ‘Do you think Donald Trump should impose sanctions on Iran?’ and ‘What time is it?’ are slightly trickier opening gambits to steer to pumpkin chat, but I can. (

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  4. CuCon18 - We're Talking Cucumbers and Plant Care in a Heatwave

    CuCon18 - We're Talking Cucumbers and Plant Care in a Heatwave

    These are testing times my gardening friends. We all endured the long dark winter and spring kind of fizzled out until, pow, we hurtled headlong straight into a proper grown up summer.

    Every morning for weeks we have had blue sky and ever strengthening sunshine. And it’s playing havoc with my greenhouse and veg.

    Each day I am plying my toms, cue and aubergines with gallons of water. The peppers need less as I’ve found they prefer to be grown on the drier side of moist. And that's a sentence you rarely read. I hope.

    But there are steps you can take to minimise the impact of a heatwave on plants.


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  5. Meet John Harrison of the Allotment Garden

    Meet John Harrison of the Allotment Garden

    As we head closer to spring, thoughts turn to our Grow Your Own planning. What better place to do that growing than an allotment? All that dedicated space for your fruit and veg! With this in mind, we thought you'd love to meet John Harrison. He is the founder of the website Allotment Garden and author of accompanying books. He shares with us how he got started and some of his allotment growing advice.


    Why did you start 'Allotment Garden'?

    It started almost by accident! Back around 2003 I was working in web design and decided to put my gardening diary online and use the site as a test bed for developing software.

    How has Allotment Garden changed since it started?

    Well, people started visiting and following my diary. Then they started asking m

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  6. No Entry

    No Entry

    In the past few years I’ve grown a few bits and pieces for the local horticultural show. It’s a lovely event, full of friendly rivalry, good cakes and strong tea. I look forward to it. This year, however, the date clashed with another important event so I couldn’t make it. I had still grown my usual bits and pieces for the show but, for a change, they could all be used in the kitchen and house. Well, almost all...

    leek-seedlingsOur local horticultural society holds another tiny show just for leeks and onions. The idea is that back in April people buy a few seedlings of the same variety (all raised by one of the dedicated committee members

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  7. That Elusive Scarlet Pimpernel

    That Elusive Scarlet Pimpernel

    Actually, 'Scarlet Pimpernel' isn't exactly accurate.

    auberginesIn the novel and play written by Baroness Orczy, the Scarlet Pimpernel is a mysterious and hard to catch hero. My personal Pimpernel is no hero. I don't even know if it is scarlet. What I do know is it's eating my aubergines. It has to be a slug or a snail.

    Outside in the garden, there are many ways to control slugs and snails. Pellets, both chemical and those approved for organic use, are effective. As are biological controls and physical methods of deterrent. But in the greenhouse things get trickier. There are so many ways to get onto

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  8. Is it Really Worth it?

    Is it Really Worth it?

    Is it Really Worth it?

    A little bit philosophical but obviously I’m referring to celery.

    celery watering

    celery collar

    The thing is I hate the stuff. The taste repels, the smell revolts and the texture rebuffs any approach I make to the vegetable. However, I adore growing it.

    The thing about celery is it needs a lot of attention. From the moment you sow the seed or pot up the

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  9. Research Shows... Rosemary is the Answer!

    Research Shows... Rosemary is the Answer!

    Research Shows...Rosemary is the Answer!

    Doesn't your heart sink when you read or hear the words 'recent research shows that...'?

    Usually it’s followed by an earth-shattering scientific finding that turns your world upside down (or not). We've recently had it with bacon, roast potatoes, sugary drinks (earth and enamel shattering in this case) and diesel cars. Then there’s the eternal question: red wine - good or bad? Well, the latest research especially caught my attention as it concerns a lovely plant – rosemary.

    Research shows that rosemary can help students revising for exams to remember things.

    And apparently, health food shops are stocking up on the stuff. But the research shows it is the whiff of the rosemary that makes the difference. You don't need pills or potions - you just need plants. Now, I know that the average GCSE student isn't going to break off studying quadratic equations to bung a few plants in well

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  10. Tips for growing food from seeds

    Growing food from planting seeds can be accomplished by anyone with a bit of patience. The benefits include a wide range of plant options to choose from, the opportunity to practice 100% organic gardening, saving money compared to buying grown plants, and experience the joy of the gardening process. 

    Growing your own food 

    1. Choosing the seeds for your garden

    The first consideration is choosing plant varieties that will thrive in your local environment, unless the plants will be grown entirely indoors. The seeds you purchase will be determined by ideal soil temperature, water requirements, nutritional needs, light requirements, and of course, personal preference.

    2. Preparing the soil mixture for planting seeds

    Early in the spring seeds can be planted outdoors, but most have a higher risk of dying from cold temperatures or various plant diseases and insects that may be present in garden soil. To reduce the risk of loss seeds c

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