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Showing posts from 2013

Salad Days: Food for Thought

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When I started the 52 Week Salad Challenge 2 years ago it was because I was horrified at the proportional cost of our weekly bagged salad fix, when compared with the price of the likes of top quality steak. In the video above (click here to view if the embedded version doesn't work) Jane Perrone explains this consumption has surprising  political (to me anyway) as well as economic implications. Some food for thought going into 2014...

...December's mild weather means my under cover salad has continued to crop well. It's been interesting to note how the cos type lettuces ('Intred' in particular) are standing well in comparison to their looser leaved cousins. 'Salad bowl' has disappeared completely under its protective fleece and some of the 'Marveille de Quatre Saisons' have rotted off at soil level.

A spot of sunshine last week meant I was able to give everything a good airing and clear away any mushy leaves, which will help to keep things going. I…

An Unexpected Visitor

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Christmas is usually a time when unexpected, random things happen. Our share for this year occurred at 3.15pm yesterday afternoon when one of ash trees on the public land next door decided to hop over the fence for a visit.

Ironically, it was probably the last huge gust of yesterday's storm which brought it down. I heard a loud crack and then saw what at first looked like part of the roof falling past our bedroom window. It turned out to be the top of the tree brushing against the house on its way down. We were very lucky as there's only minor damage - just a small branch stuck in the gutter, plus my apple tree in the pot next to the house is no more.

The council's website says they'll respond to this within 5 working days. In view of the strength of yesterday's storm I suspect we'll be quite a way down their list of priorities, so I'm contemplating decorating it for Christmas ;)

Update 30th December: After a slight hiccup (the council initially said it was…

Merry Christmas

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!
One of my GNO pals put this fun ecard together. I've had such a giggle viewing it and I hope you do too.

Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Veg Plotting will be back briefly for Salad Days on the 27th and will then resume in January.

Michelle
xxx

Garden Scramble

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I thought it would be fun to devise a quiz for Christmas...

...can you unscramble the anagrams to find the hidden gardens?

The photos are further clues but aren't necessarily presented in the same order. All the gardens are found in the UK or Ireland and I've visited them all, but I may not have blogged about them.
Back lace boy (6,5)O! He must run (5,5)Half edit shoe (8,5) * Err yet warp (10)Hop to curt man (7,5)Rob nets wit (10)New dates (4,4)Axed gritter (5,6)Roy earns my talc (5,4,5) * = Wellyman has helpfully pointed out you need to add a 'u' to this anagram to find the solution. He suggests Leafiest doh uh (or perhaps Uh! Leafiest doh) for the full anagram experience. My apologies.
I've put the solution here, ready for you to check your answers. How many did you get before you had a sneaky peek?

Update:Tuckshop Gardener has a fun Christmas-themed garden quiz if you fancy another stretch of your 'leetle grey cells' over the festive period :)

Wordless Wednesday: The Last of the Red Apples

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How to Make My Wellies Happy

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Picture the scene. You've had a couple of busy hours up at the plot and you've driven home weary but refreshed from all that fresh air and exercise. What's the single thought you have in mind? Get the kettle on. What thwarts me from that act every single time? Yep, my pesky wellies.

So I was pleased when Rich from the English Lamp Post Company offered me one of their boot scrapers to review. Previously I've resorted to using our doorstep to help with my welly removal and it's not been a total success. As well as taking a while, the picture above shows the damage I've caused to our doorstep. This is now awaiting a good rub down and re-varnish next year. My wellies aren't that happy either as I often chuck them across the garden afterwards in a fit of bad temper.

As you can see, the scraper I received is a sturdy piece of kit. We have a lobby area inside our front door, so I'm keeping it there ready for whenever I need it. Bearing in mind Cally's rec…

GBBD: How Not to Look After Your Princettia®

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My offering for this month's Blooms Day is a sorry tale of how not to look after your Christmas Poinsettia. Mine is a called 'Princettia'®, a more unusual pink version of the traditional red seen at this time of year, which is available from Thompson & Morgan.

I acquired mine in a much happier condition at the Garden Media Guild Awards at the end of November, where they formed the centre piece of each table. I hope the blurry photo I took at the time is sufficient proof that I did at least start with a nice, healthy looking plant.

I now offer you a handy guide, which I think you won't find elsewhere...

How not to look after your 'Princettia'®... or any other Poinsettia for that matter

You should NOT...

attempt to squash it into the watering can goody bag provided so you can leave one arm free to deal with your overnight bagtake it to a very crowded pub for a few hoursrest it for a while in a dark corner at the Turkish restaurant across the road from the pubg…

Seasonal Recipe: Roasted Squash and Rocket Salad

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Most food bloggers are busy with festive recipes*, so I'm going against the trend today by posting a salad recipe for December. Earlier this week NAH and I found ourselves overstuffed from our respective Christmas parties, so we were happy to have a simple salad the day after.

I was inspired to create this recipe back in October, after finding a delicious squash salad on the menu when I visited the Yeo Valley Organic garden. Their version had butter beans which I don't have, so I substituted some mixed toasted seeds instead.

This recipe is still seasonal for December and is a great way of using some of my Bucket o'Squash and eking out my remaining winter salad leaves, such as the rocket I've used in this instance. This recipe serves two and accompanies our usual salad of mixed leaves, plus some grilled fish or meat.

Ingredients
1 'Jack be Little' squash (or equivalent), approximately 300g in weightA generous handful of rocket leaves (or whatever you have to hand…

Unusual Front Gardens #17: Chillies

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The houses by Regent's Park in London are extremely des res, but without much in the way of a front garden. Instead, planters and windowboxes with lots of tasteful topiary and clipped shrubs with the odd bit of lavender are the norm. I was photographing some examples to show you, then to my delight I found the planting at the last house contained a twist which elevated it to my Unusual Front Garden series.

I think the addition of luscious red chillies amongst the more usual heather, cyclamen and Skimmia gives the planters a festive looking touch too.

Senzeni Na?

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Last night amidst all the Christmas carols and mince pies, our choir sang Senzeni Na? to honour Nelson Mandela. We've performed this before as South African songs are a rich seam which we exploit with great passion and enjoyment.

The title's translation is What Have We Done? It's traditionally sung at funerals and is a protest song, so it's a fitting tribute.

The picture is from the opening ceremony at the Special Olympics in Dublin in 2003 which were opened by Nelson Mandela. He's a tiny dot because I was perched right at the top of the stadium. It was emotional to be in the presence of such a great man. You can read my account of that time here.

Great British Garden Revival

The nation's gardeners await with anticipation. I hope it's worth it!

Starts tonight on BBC2 at 7.00pm - every weekday evening this week + week beginning 6th January 2014 for another week. Full episode synopsis here.

Thought for the day: Interesting to see a TV trailer also published on YouTube...

Update 10th December: Last night's programme looks like it's been well received - I'll be catching up today as I was at choir last night.

NB The schedule has been altered slightly with no progamme tonight or tomorrow and a subsequent extension into week beginning 13th January. The above link has been updated to reflect this, so is worth keeping an eye on for any future changes.

Update 2: It's been amazing to see Twitter light up with reactions to the programmes as they're happening. I particularly enjoyed James Wong's tweets last week which showed further inspirational examples of roof gardens. It got me thinking: as so much of these programmes has let real gard…

Let's Kickstart Incredible Edible Todmorden

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I'm delighted Joanna Dobson from Incredible Edible Todmorden is writing a guest post for Veg Plotting. You may remember I've mentioned this amazing project before, especially when I've written about public planting. I've enthused so much about what's happening in Yorkshire, even NAH knows what I'm talking about! *

So I'm thrilled Joanna has offered to write a blog post, which will appear here in the New Year; it'll be great to have an injection of inspiration in the post Yuletide slump ;)


So why am I telling you this now?

I noticed from the links Joanna sent me that she's written a book about the project (along with her partner Julian), called Incredible! Plant Veg, Grow a Revolution and is seeking funds via Kickstarter in order to get it published. It needs £10,000 for them to do a 'proper job' of the publishing process and to finance the first print run. When I last looked (on December 5th), they'd raised £7,843.

The fund raising peri…

GMG Awards Sees a Fresh Perspective on Gardens

If the embedded video above doesn't work, click on this link instead.

There's been much comment this week on the viability of Amazon using drones for delivery purposes. If and when that happens is still some time away.

Last week I had the privilege of seeing the results of a drone actually in action at the GMG Awards. It introduces the romantic gardens at the fairytale Château du Rivau* in the Loire region of France.

Sit back and enjoy both a birds-eye and visitor level view of this garden; it gives such a different perspective on the provision of garden information. Later on at the Awards, Dr Hessayon** spoke about the need for conventional garden media to become more inventive; to be something which can't be found via Google. I think the bar has just been set particularly high for those writing about or photographing gardens.

My thanks to garden owner and designer Patricia Laigneau for letting me use this video. She simply showed me this on her iPad last week and I was …

I Love December For...

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... Carols

I've missed my last two choir sessions, so tonight I'll be singing Christmas carols for the first time this year. I particularly look forward to these, because they were the first thing I tackled when I joined up 6 years ago. They also mark my transition from "Bah humbug Christmas always starts too early" to "Awwww, peace and goodwill, everyone" ;)

To help celebrate the season we're embarking on our traditional tour of local hostelries in Corsham and Bradford on Avon (BOA) this week, starting with the Christmas lights switch on in Corsham. Here are the details:

Friday 6th Dec, 6.20pm singing outside the Town Hall in CorshamSunday 8th Dec, 3pm carols in Dandy Lion BOAMonday 9th Dec, 7.30 - 8.30pm in Pound Arts Centre, then to the Flemish Weaver pub for singing, beer & mince pies!Sunday 15th Dec, 3pm carols in George BOAMonday 16th Dec, 7.30 - 9.30pm singing, mulled cider & mince pies in the Pound Arts Centre (to be pre-ordered).Sunda…

GBMD: Roses in December

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A quick scoot around my garden this morning showed I don't need my memory this first day of December.

Icy blasts are forecast for later this week, so I shall treasure this fading rose while it lasts.

Gardeners' Question Time Live

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A couple of Monday's ago, I had the hottest ticket in the county when Gardeners' Question Time came to record at the Wiltshire Music Centre in Bradford on Avon. A quick exchange of tweets a couple of months ago meant I was there in the super company of Cally and Sara (of #britishflowers fame), thanks to Cally securing the tickets for us.

We met up beforehand at a local farm shop for coffee and cake to keep us going - doors opened at 5.30pm and recording finished just after 8.30. We puzzled over our individual questions, before gaining all round approval of their worthiness then agreeing that all of them were far too long and we stood no chance of posing them to the panel. Thus we took our seats at the top of the auditorium safe in the knowledge we could sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

How wrong we were.

Eric Robson called out my name, followed swiftly by Sara's, so we had to make our way down to the front row to sit ready to pose our questions. For me this came with t…

Against the Odds: Zauschneria californica

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I saw this Zauschneria californica (aka Californian fuchsia or Hummingbird's trumpet) at Bodnant last month, which was working very hard to brighten up a very rainy autumnal day. Judging by the other plants in this wall, I think this specimen must have been self-sown. It's clearly thriving in its chosen home.

Despite hailing from the warmth of California, this is a pretty hardy plant (H4), which can be evergreen or deciduous depending on where it finds itself. I first encountered it leaning over the garden wall of the Methodist chapel in Chippenham a couple of years ago, and since then its been on my list of plants destined for the terraced beds.

I'm now kicking myself for not picking up the 2 plants I saw on sale in Bodnant's plant centre. The garden has its own propagation unit and the staff there are producing lots of healthy plants at very reasonable prices. I'll just have to go back when I visit Karen again :)

The Great British Elm Experiment

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Happy National Tree Week!

I can't think of a better way of celebrating than by planting a tree as part of The Great British Elm Experiment. This Conservation Foundation project aims to find out why some elms survived the Dutch elm disease epidemic during the 1960s and 70s which killed 25 million trees (around 90%) in the UK. If the why can be explained, it also paves the way for this iconic tree to grace our landscape once more.

Over two thousand trees have been planted so far and height, girth, wildlife, signs of disease and other data are being recorded as part of this long-term experiment. The disease usually strikes when the tree is around 15 years old, so this is a long-term project.

Trees are free for schools and community projects/non-profit organisations and there's a small charge for private individuals and businesses. Note: these trees grow very tall, so they need lots of space.

A fab elm fact:

Terry at The Botanic Nursery has surviving elms in his nursery garden in A…

Salad Days: Hunkered Down for Winter

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It's been a long, slow autumn this year, which means I'm still picking plenty of salad leaves - enough for a couple of meals a week. Here's a 'warts and all' view of my allotment salad. It's also overrun with salsify which has self seeded itself into my raised beds. Time to get weeding!

This week's colder weather means re-growth at the plot and in my home based cold frames has slowed right down. As I have plenty snuggled under protection, I'll still be able to pick lots of salad for a few more weeks, but now is the time to start my indoor sowings of pea shoots in readiness for leaner times.


I've been really pleased with this new lettuce variety 'Intred', which is providing a colourful addition to the salad bowl. It's thriving under a cloche, producing plenty of tasty leaves beneath a protective layer of tougher outer ones. My lettuce 'Marveille de Quatre Saisons' and chicory 'Treviso Rosso' seed tape leaves sown in Augus…

In Horatio's Garden

Horatio's Garden has just released a short film which explains what the garden is all about. It's beautiful and I guarantee you won't fail to be moved.

Horatio's Garden isn't just the wonderful garden in Salisbury any more. It's all about having similar gardens at every spinal unit in the country.

One down, eleven more to go...

 If the embedded film doesn't work, try this link instead.

Seasonal Recipe: For the Love of Quinces

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Last week I received just the kind of email I like from my friend M:

Are you going to choir tonight? it read, because I have a bag of quince for you.

And so it came to pass, a large bag of golden treasure was handed to me later that evening :)

For me, quince summons up happy memories of long leisurely lunches taken outdoors on my project in Mallorca. Manchego cheese topped with membrillo was an extra special treat for us to have before we cleared the table to examine the invertebrate samples we'd caught in the morning.

There were no freshly caught invertebrates yesterday, but freshly made membrillo - aka quince cheese or quince paste - is definitely on the menu along with the poached quince and cake I mentioned yesterday.

I still had fruit to spare, so I decided to roast a couple. We had roast chicken for dinner and there was just enough room in the oven to slide in a dish of quince for NAH and me to have for dessert.


Ingredients


2 small quinces, washed well so all the fuzzy stuff …

Book Review: Two for Vegetable Growers

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Do not judge this book by its cover, well the front one at least. For once I'm showing you the back as well as it's much more representative of the overall content.

What lies inside is a charming pictorial tale of life on Caroline Deput's allotment in colour drawings. Quite a lot of the narrative is in colour too.

This is a very inventive and humorous account from 2010 through to early 2012, packed with the trials and triumphs of allotment owner 'Floss'.

Amongst the usual allotment plans, lists of things to do and harvests achieved, there are exquisitely drawn details, such as the badger who's trashed the tayberries*. I particularly enjoyed the tale of 2010 told via a snakes and ladders board and the bindweed wars cartoon, which reminded me so much of Karen's comics**.

This is a positive allotment tale, which doesn't shy away from when things go wrong. In the process of drawing Plot 19, life is depicted in a much more realistic way than most allotment m…

GBBD: Cute Cyclamen

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Each year I'm pleased to see the return of my Cyclamen hederifolium in the front side garden. It's a bit of a miracle they survive really as my neighbour always covers them with several thick layers of leaves with his leaf blower. There were about triple the number of blooms on view, until the leaf blower made its first annual appearance at the weekend...

On the whole I don't mind my neighbour's antics as my border is benefiting from some more Compost Direct as outlined last week. However, I did worry at first my cyclamen wouldn't survive owing to the timing of their cover up. Now I see I can relax as I've spotted at last they're beginning to spread out from the spot where I planted them 10 years ago.

I don't usually go that much for pink flowers, but these are a delicate sugar pink which looks just right and helps to light up the shady spot I've given them. This morning's low slanting sunlight suits them rather well too.

We've enjoyed a mi…

Unusual Front Gardens #16: Derelict

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Whilst on holiday in Ireland, it took me a while to realise these 'houses' were derelict. The brightly painted windows and doors plus the flowers in front with the lush vegetation behind had disguised them. This was right in the middle of the village close to where we were staying, so it was a very prominent spot just a few yards from the entrance to Mount Usher gardens.

Quite a few derelict buildings in County Wicklow sported the painted treatment, but I saw no others with flowers.

I Love My Job

Last year I attended the RHS seminar Horticulture a Career to be Proud Of which looked at the skills gap crisis in horticulture and why it's rarely highlighted as a viable careers option in schools.

As a follow-up they produced a very good report earlier this year called Horticulture Matters. However, I think their latest offering of 10 short videos from young people working in horticulture under the #ilovemyjob banner is far more powerful. Watch John talk about his own business as a nurseryman and you can't fail to be won over.

If the above embedded video doesn't work, try this link instead.

NB if there are any teachers reading this, students currently studying horticulture at my local college have their pick of 5-6 jobs when they qualify. Not all of them are on low pay either. Here's a link to the Grow website which has lots of information about the wide variety of careers available in horticulture.

Here's the full playlist of 10 videos:

Breaking the Rules: Compost Direct

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Look at any list of gardening jobs published for this month and I bet most of them - if not all - will have 'make leaf mould' on there. Now leaf mould is a very good thing, but the problem is I have more leaves than my leaf mould bin can take. And like many urban gardeners with a modest plot, I've run out of space to build another one. Besides, when I come to empty it next year, there'd only be a thimble full* of lovely crumbly stuff to use.

This year I've decided to learn from my shady borders in my front and back garden. They're beneath the trees on the public land, so they quickly get covered with a thick layer of  leaves in autumn. It means I never have to mulch these borders and all the plants get snuggled down for winter with very little effort on my part.

So I've decided to extend this principle of 'compost direct' to other areas of the garden. Many of my plants - like my dahlias - need mulching in the autumn to protect them from winter'…

A Bargain Offer and a Book Giveaway: Counting Steps

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This is a very fine book written by Mark, my fellow Chippenham blogging buddy. I'm proud to have a signed copy with the message "in friendship" written inside.

If you like your reading thoughtful, funny, sad, memoir, raw, landscape, family, nature and a whole host of other things, then this is the book for you. This is writing which defies a single classification and stays with you for a long time afterwards.

This week there are two ways in which you can enjoy Mark's book for free...

The first way

Free download of Counting Steps - this week only
... for those of you who have a Kindle or the Kindle App and it's available for the next four daysonly on Amazon. 

There are no catches - just a free download instead of the usual £4.49. There's even an extract to read online. 

Giving away free copies might seem counter intuitive, but it's an established technique publishers use to rise up the rankings - and the impact on later sales is evidently positive. It costs…

And the Winners Are...

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Many thanks to everyone who took part in my socks giveaway. NAH has delved into my special terracotta pot to reveal the winners as follows:

Heat Holders wellie socks

Anna (Green Tapestry)
Dobby
Esther (Esther's Boring Garden Blog)
@plantaliscious

Workforce socks

Colleen (Rus in Urbis)
Flighty (Flighty's plot)
Katie Skeoch via Facebook
@prwilson101

Congratulations! I'll be in touch shortly to make arrangements to send your prize to you :)

Stay tuned for my next exciting giveaway...

I Love November For...

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... this Blog

Today I can quote A.A. Milne and say 'Now we are six' as it's my blog's birthday. However, unlike the poem, Veg Plotting won't be staying six for ever and ever, and the more I learn, the less I think I'm clever.

Thank you for your continued readership and thoughtful comments - it's like having my own team of cheerleaders :)

The picture is of me reading my blog in a new way  - to me anyway - in the garden. More on that to come...

GBMD - The Best Time to Plant a Tree

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National Tree Week is 23rd November to 1st December this year.

20 years ago I and around 30 other volunteers celebrated National Tree Week by helping Professor Martin Haigh plant 1,000 trees directly into a coal spoil heap in south Wales. This is a land reclamation technique pioneered in Bulgaria, which they found is more successful in stabilising the land and kick-starting soil formation than the grassing over we're more familiar with.

Martin was trying to find the right combination of native trees for the UK which would replicate the Bulgarian results. We planted alder and willow which could withstand the soggy, claggy material, plus Scots pine and oak. The idea was the first three species were sacrificial and would help protect the oak; this would then grow on to form the mature woodland.

In 1993 we planted in the snow - as well as having the odd snowball fight - and these trees went on to grow more rapidly than those planted in previous years. I like to think the harsher condi…

Unusual Front Gardens #15: Halloween

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The Lle Hari restaurant in Llanrwst has had a lot of fun decorating its windowboxes along seasonal lines. They've also made a haunted hotel video to really get you in the mood!


Across the road they've continued with the Halloween theme by creating a pumpkin graveyard. I particularly like the wellies. It would be great to go back to see if the pumpkins are lit up at night - spooky.

Karen, Dobby and I had a lot of fun exploring all the features of these unusual front gardens on our way back from Bodnant a couple of weeks ago. But the biggest smile of all was on the face of the elderly lady we saw in a wheelchair, who was totally captivated by the scene.

A Bird Feeder Make for Wild About Gardens Week

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Inspired by my recent foray into the world of Sugru and to celebrate Wild About Gardens week, I made a couple of simple bird feeders on Sunday. This used up my second little packet of yellow, plus a couple of left over posh pudding glass dishes and some spare tapestry wool.


The above pictures should give you an idea of how I went about it. I used a metal skewer to make the holes through which I threaded the tapestry wool - allowing a day for the sugru to harden before the threading.

These feeders won't withstand the kind of weather we had over the weekend and yesterday, but they make an attractive addition to the garden on calmer days like today. I'm considering replacing the wool with some garden wire to make a more robust feeder.

The apples you can see in the top picture are Herefordshire russet, a variety with a superb flavour. They're late to pick this year and I'll be leaving those on the hard-to-reach branches as a tithe for the birds. They seem to like their fl…

Giveaway Time: Socks Appeal

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The outdoor footwear of the season is boots or wellies, so today's giveaway complements them perfectly.

I have 4 pairs each of Heat Holders wellie socks and Workforce Ultimate Comfort socks available. The wellie socks are for women (boot size 4-8) and Workforce for men (boot size 9-11), but those of you with small or large feet may like to choose accordingly. I could have done with a pair of these to keep my toes all toasty up at the allotment today!

All you need to do to enter is to leave a comment below saying which socks you'd prefer. Please make sure I can contact you, should you be a winner. You can also make extra entries if you tweet a link to this blog post (please mention @malvernmeet so I can pick up your entry), or write on my facebook wall.

I'll draw the winners next Monday morning (November 4th), so good luck!

Giveaway T&Cs

Sorry, this prize draw is only available in the UK.Entries close at midnight GMT on Sunday, November 3rd.Up to three entries are allow…

Salad Days: Lattughino verde

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As my salad challenge is Mastering Lettuce this year, I was surprised to find a completely new form (to me anyway) at the Yeo Valley Organic Garden recently. This is 'Lattughino verde', which looks more like a giant wild rocket than a lettuce. Its flavour is mild, so it's one for adding bulk and visual appeal to a salad.

Most of the online information - unsurprisingly - is in Italian, but I have managed to find it in the Organic Gardening catalogue. They've put it in the loose leaf category and describe it as 'an Italian finger lettuce'. They have another of this type which looks tempting called 'Catalogna'. It's described as 'slow to bolt, hardy and quick regrowing' - sounds like an excellent candidate for the picking method.

I've added both varieties to my list of new leaves to try for next year along with the 'easy watercress' (aka Cardamine raphanifoliaEmma Cooper found at the Edulis nursery last weekend. She says it's…

Wordless Wednesday: Bucket o' Squash

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Breaking the Rules: Apple Pruning

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In honour of today's Apple Day, I'm returning to last month's study day at Waterperry Gardens, where we learnt lots about the summer pruning of trained apple trees such as cordons and espaliers. Note this pruning does not apply to apples grown as bush or standard trees; their pruning is confined to the winter period.

Summer pruning is carried out on the shoots growing out from the main branches. This is to increase the number of fruiting spurs on the tree for the following year and to let the sunlight through to ripen the current year's crop. The RHS guidance says that this pruning is best carried out in the third week in August in the south and around 10 days later in the north.


This guidance also says the pruning should be done when the bottom third of the new shoot is firm and woody. This timing is judged according to the tree's vigour, its location and the weather conditions at the time.

We found out this latter guidance is more important, rather than the Augu…

In the Footsteps of Plant Hunters: Evolution Plants

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Yesterday was extraordinary. A new plant nursery was launched right here in Wiltshire and after a tough couple of years for the garden industry, it's great to have some unexpectedly good news to tell you. On a personal note, I'm pleased to have another quality specialist nursery so close to home.

Evolution Plants is owned by Tom Mitchell. He's a plant biologist by training, who like me languished in the world of banking until he woke up and saw sense. Well, he did admit his 'waking up' was whilst suffering from clinical depression, and all the people he consulted along the way to help make his business work said 'DON'T'.

But when a passion takes hold and no matter what the head may tell you, sometimes you have to follow your heart.

So, Tom became a plant hunter and travelled the world for 5 years collecting seeds from 3,000 plant species, some of which - including at least one new Genus - have yet to be named. Those precious seeds are now being grown on…