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Grow FC April 2015_GYO fc 20/02/2015 09:42 Page 1

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SOW YOUR SEEDS WITH OUR
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y
- ers
SIMPLE GUIDES FOR BEGINNERS
0
1 iv
n
April 2015 4.99 growfruitandveg.co.uk
an

WIN!
OVER
7,000

Grow
yourown
GARDENING ADVICE YOU CAN TRUST

WORTH OF
PRIZES!

n Garden vouchers
n Essential tools
n Raised beds
n Fruit bushes

The UKs best-selling kitchen garden magazine

and much more!

Top jobs for

50
SPRING CROPS to
Get set to harvest your
best fruit and veg

start today

n LETTUCE n CARROTS
n SPINACH n FRENCH BEANS
n SPROUTING BROCCOLI

EASY WEEKEND
PROJECTS

Make a handy seed


organiser & other DIY
growing gadgets

Anne
Swithinbank
reveals her
top squashes

Toby
Bucklands
veg to try
this year

Sarah
Raven
on sowing
courgettes

Plus THE GREAT BRITISH GROWING AWARDS WINNERS REVEALED!

GYO April 15 ROPs_Layout 1 20/02/2015 10:05 Page 2

Leader Qx_GYO new size 23/02/2015 09:23 Page 1

Welcome

Grow
yourown
GARDENING ADVICE YOU CAN TRUST

The UKs best-selling kitchen garden magazine

EDITORIAL
Acting Editor
Claire Holmes 01206 505 984
claire.holmes@aceville.co.uk
Acting Deputy Editor
Laura Hillier 01206 505 991
laura.hillier@aceville.co.uk
Group Editor Naomi Abeykoon

DESIGN
Art Director James Philp
Designers
Debbie Pratt & Leo Bond

PHOTOGRAPHY
CliQQ www.cliqq.co.uk

ADVERTISING
Advertising Manager
Teresa Tudge 01206 505 950
teresa.tudge@aceville.co.uk
Advertising Executive
Rachael Clark 01206 505 996
rachael.clark@aceville.co.uk
Group Advertising Manager Martin Lack
01206 505 940, martin.lack@aceville.co.uk
Promotions Manager
Liz Tuthill 01206 505 927
liz.tuthill@aceville.co.uk
Subscriptions Manager

Andrea Dickson
Subscriptions Helpline

0844 815 0030


Accounts
Anne-Marie Hartley 01206 505 902
Reprographics and Typesetting
Ace Pre-Press, 19 Phoenix Court, Hawkins
Road, Colchester, Essex CO2 8JY

Get growing!
Its time to celebrate...
spring is here!
his time of year is
always a joy for
growers spring is
in the air and seeds are in
the soil. Its also a
particularly exciting
month for the team at
Grow Your Own, as this
issue marks our 10 year
anniversary. Many thanks to everyone
who has supported us over this time
whether youre a reader, an
advertiser or a contributor, youve
helped us make the magazine what
it is today. To celebrate this milestone,
we thought it would be only right to deliver a bumper issue packed full of
expert tips, useful step-by-step guides and over 7,000 worth of fantastic prizes
for you to win. This includes some fruit bushes from Lubera, raised beds from
WoodBlocX and tools from Spear and Jackson.
The six packets of seeds were giving away with the magazine (digital issues
excluded) will also keep you busy. Weve got growing guides for each of these
crops, starting on page 27. Weve also got expert advice on growing Malabar
spinach, purple sprouting broccoli, sweetcorn, kiwi berries, French beans, summer
squash and more. If youre looking for other projects to get stuck in with at
home, try following Simon Akeroyds easy guide to constructing a seed box (page
76) or join Naomi Schillinger in trying no-dig potatoes (page 72).
This is also the issue where we announce the winners of our Great British
Growing Awards and I hope youll join me in congratulating all of our champions.
We wanted to celebrate the very best experts, retailers and
organisations in the gardening industry and weve found plenty
of worthy winners out there. Take a look at our special
awards section, starting on page 55, and read advice and
tips from the people you voted for.
SUBSC

Claire Holmes
Acting Editor Claire Holmes

Newstrade Sales
Marketforce Tel: 0203 148 3300
Printed in the UK

GET IN TOUCH
Post: Grow Your Own, 25 Phoenix Court,
Hawkins Road, Colchester, Essex CO2 8JY
Email: gyo@growfruitandveg.co.uk
Back issues: 0844 815 0030
Forum: growfruitandveg.co.uk/grapevine
MANAGING DIRECTOR MATTHEW TUDOR
PUBLISHING DIRECTOR HELEN TUDOR

ACEVILLE PUBLICATIONS Ltd

If youd like to
keep up to
speed with the
latest GYO
news and
developments
as they occur, why not
follow us on Twitter or
Facebook? You can
find us at @GYOmag
and facebook.com/
growyourownmag.
You can also join our
thriving forum at
growfruitandveg.co.uk

RIBE
TODAY...
And

receive a seed
tool worth 19.5 sowing
0! Turn to
page 74 for mor
e details, or
visit growfruita
nd
veg.co.uk/subs
cribe

GYO is proud to support the organisations


shown below. Their members write
regularly for this magazine, ensuring that
you receive the very latest top-notch
advice from industry experts its crucial to us that everything you read
on these pages can be trusted implicitly. Were also keen to protect the
environment and act responsibly in the garden, so will only list man-made
garden chemicals where organic remedies are not deemed suitable. Once
youve read this magazine, why not donate it to your local doctors or
dentists surgery? Failing that, magazines can be put out with your
recycling for collection.

growfruitandveg.co.uk

CONTENTS _GYO new size 23/02/2015 09:34 Page 1

24

80
37

101

Get online!

108

follow us on twitter @GYOmag or


join our forum at growfruitandveg.co.uk

Contents
Vegetable advice this month:

34 Year Round Potager


A run-through of how to produce
your own purple sprouting broccoli

37 Herb growing for


beginners: Mint

GYOs advice will help you spring into gear on the plot this April

Take a look at our informative


feature on this aromatic plant

6 This month

20 Plot Essentials

All you need to know about


the latest gardening news

Sally Nex shares the best trailing


chilli varieties and a new variety
of cucumber

38 Raised beds

10 Jobs on the plot C


The top tasks to complete
on the allotment

22 Edible exotics: Malabar


spinach

12 Celebrate April

Victoriana Nurseries' Stephen


Shirley explains how you can
accommodate this leaf crop
in your greenhouse

James Cox gives his advice on


the best ways to tackle frosts in
early spring

14 The Vegetable Gardener C


Anne Swithinbank discusses
different seasonal jobs including
how to sow French beans and
plant potatoes

19, 63, 70, 82, 99 Win!


We're providing a huge amount
of giveaway prizes to celebrate
GYO's 10th birthday
4

72 20

growfruitandveg.co.uk

24 Growing sweetcorn
We cover the whole process from
germination to harvest

27 Sowing your free seeds


Our guides demonstrate how to
get started with your free seeds

33 Pick of the crop


The best trowels and hand tools
for sowing and transplanting

49 Ask the experts


Your gardening questions are
answered by our knowledgeable
panel of pros

53 Sarah Raven's Garden Chat C


Sarah Raven reveals how to make
cut flowers last longer and her
pick of veg to start sowing now

Tips on how to make your own


and the best crops to include

AWARDS

40 Do it yourself: Gardening C
gadgets and handy tricks

55 Great British
Growing Awards

Useful ways to reuse everyday


objects in the garden

42 Show us your plot


An insight into the inspirational
plots of three readers, and their
best advice

44 Plug plants
Garden writer Elizabeth
McCorquodale outlines the
benefits of buying young crops

47 People and their plots


Phil McCann talks to a gardener
who wants everyone in her
community to start growing

We reveal the winners chosen by


you, along with their best tips

72 The Urban Gardener


Alternative growing techniques
and varieties to experiment with
from Naomi Schillinger

76 The Practical Gardener C


This month Simon Akeroyd is
making a seed organiser and
plant labels

78 Tried and Tested


Dave Finkle compares water
butts to decide the brands that
he reccomends for you

CONTENTS _GYO new size 20/02/2015 16:26 Page 2

YOUR FREE* SEEDS!


Grow carrots, celeriac, kale,
courgettes, and more (p. 27)
*excludes digital issues

GIVEAWAY OF GREAT
GARDEN GOODIES!
Longacres online vouchers
and other great prizes!
(p. 19, 63, 70, 82, 99 and 104)

92

34

49
64

44 14
80 Allotment Noticeboard
Information on rules and
regulations for allotments, plus
seasonal tasks

Smallholder Katy Runacres explains


the crucial jobs for hen keepers

84 The Fruit Gardener

104 Wish List

Lucy Chamberlain gives her advice


on producing kiwi berries and
training cherry trees

A range of great discounts and


giveaways for you

89 Grow like a Pro: melons

A selection of delicious asparagus


recipes for your harvest

Colin Randel from Thompson and


Morgan shares his expert tips for
growing this juicy fruit

90 Growing Help
The latest book, app and blog
releases, provided by Jane Perrone

92 Under Cover
Sally Nex discusses ideal
carnivorous plants and the best
passion fruit species to try

95 Plan your wildlife pond


Build a beautiful garden pond in
your garden with help from
Wildlife Trusts Sarah Buckingham

96 Garden Organic
Judith Conroy talks about the
main ways to keep your plot in
sync with nature

Subscribe today & save s!


Call 0844 815 0030 now!

101 Keeping chickens: Daily


tasks for a hen keeper

108 Seasonal Chef

114 Behind the Scenes... C


Toby Buckland shares his top
crops to try this year

SMART
GARDENING

P10

64 Smart Gardening News


The latest statistics and savvy
gardening news

66 Step-by-Step
Detailed instructions for
growing microgreens

68 Your Complete
Guide To... Crops to Impress
How to choose unusual veg to
grow and serve at the table

P14
P114
P53

P76
P40
C On the cover

growfruitandveg.co.uk

News April 15 Qx_GYO new size 23/02/2015 11:07 Page 2

February

This month...

A look at the latest news, events and opinions from


around the growing community

Heritage seed demand


Growers are enjoying heritage
veg so much at the moment
that some suppliers are
struggling to keep up with
the high demand. Real Seeds
in Newport is one such
company. A message on its
website says: Demand has
been increasing year on year
and were sending out more
than 12,000 packets a week.
As a small family business
weve made the decision we
don't want to get bigger than
this, and risk losing our ability
to supply really good seed.
We also want to make sure
we can send out orders
quickly. Because of this,
we've made the decision that
each week well only accept
as many orders as we can
send out within that week.
Once we have more than this,
we turn off the shopping
cart. If we need to do this,
itll be turned back on by
10am on Saturday.

Allotment holders who launched a successful campaign


to save their site are now trying to help others in similar
positions by starting up a petition for changes in
current law. If successful, this would make it
harder for developers to take over plots across
the country. Although current laws state
allotments can only be built on in 'exceptional
circumstances', cases like that of Farm
Terrace do raise their heads, showing that
this is not always the case. Find out more at
change.org/saveourallotments

The Lost Gardens of Heligan is celebrating the


25th anniversary of its rediscovery, so why not
pay this inspiring space a visit?
Have you visited the gardens? Share your pics by tweeting @GYOmag
or commenting on Facebook facebook.com/growyourownmag
growfruitandveg.co.uk

RHS gardens up and


down the country saw
numbers of visitors
throughout the year at
an all-time high in 2014.
This isn't a surprise,
considering the vast array
of fantastic courses, days
out and more the charity
offers. Here's to a recordbeating 2015, too! Visit
rhs.org.uk to see what's
going on near you.

However pesky some


of our garden visitors are,
it is never good to hear
about a species in
decline. Recent research
has revealed that many
of Britain's leaf beetles
are now listed as under
threat. Work is currently
being done by
conservation groups to
bring numbers back up.

Farm Terrace fight on

NEWS
in brief

News April 15 Qx_GYO new size 23/02/2015 11:07 Page 3

Over
to you
We asked our
twitter followers
what their most
successful crop
was last season.
Here is what they
had to say:

Diary
dates

Readers' letters
Cleaning your pots

April 2, 2015
What to do in your
garden this month,
National Botanic
Garden of Wales.
growingthefuture.co.uk

Before potting up in the spring I sterilize all


my pots in 'Milton' (baby bottle steriliser). I
find that this gets rid of any germs and pest
eggs that may have been lurking over the
winter months.
Lucy Travell, via email

April 13, 2015


Talk and tea with
James Wong, RHS
Hyde Hall. rhs.org.uk
April 14, 2015
Going organic course,
Garden Organic, Ryton.
gardenorganic.org.uk
April 14, 2015
Spring Fair, RHS, Greater
London. rhs.org.uk

@lindahallahan
It was my best year
for brassicas. Brussels
are still going strong
and kale is providing
chicken treats.

April 15, 2015


Smallholder course at
River Cottage, Devon.
rivercottage.net

@Som0712
My tomatoes. Loads
and loads it was
brilliant, I love homegrown toms.

Recycling of another kind


I'm a keen allotmenteer
who reads your magazine
cover to cover. When I've
managed to get everything
out of it, I pass the issues
to my friend. Her boyfriend
is also a gardener so he
has a read, too. It doesn't
end here, though my
friends parents live in
Malta, and her Dad loves

@jstpumpkin
Onions from sets,
plus runner beans
and sweetcorn
pollinated by our own
bees gave us a record
year of honey.
@jennybowring1
Sweetcorn, French
beans, tomatoes,
cucumbers, courgettes
and mangetout
'Shiraz'.
Follow us on twitter
@GYOmag and join
in the discussion!

Write to us

Share your GYO stories, pictures, community projects


and tips with us for a chance to win a voucher from
seed company Thompson & Morgan. Each readers letter we print will win a 10
voucher and our star letter will win a 40 voucher! Please note these will be
sent out by the end of the coverdated month. Email laura.hillier@aceville.co.uk or write
to GYO, 25 Phoenix Court, Hawkins Road, Colchester, Essex, CO2 8JY.

Organise your
plant supports
Now you have some of
your seeds started, its the
ideal time to look at
constructing your bean
frames. If you will be
making yours from
scratch, this is a great
activity to do with others
on your plot many
hands make light work!

April 18, 2015


Caring for ex-battery
hens at Humble by
Nature, Monmouth.
humblebynature.com
April 21, 2015
Herbs and hand-tied
bunches, Doddington
Hall. doddingtonhall.com
April 23, 2015
Introduction to botany,
Kew Gardens. kew.org
April 27, 2015
Talk on no-dig with
Charles Dowding, Bristol.
charlesdowding.co.uk

Top event
this month

April is great for...


Seed sowing
Now is the perfect time
to scratch that gardening
itch and get sowing! You
can find growing guides
at growfruitandveg.co.uk
as well as right here in
the mag. Also, this month
one of our giveaways is
for a fab seed organiser
from Eastons. Turn to
page 104 for details.

gardening. From time


to time my friend sends
issues to him and he
continues the trend.
I don't know if he passes
them further but I
wouldn't be surprised
if he did. That's what
I call recycling!
Helena Johnson,
via email

April 16, 2015


Managing your soil,
Garden Organic, Ryton.
gardenorganic.org.uk

Plant potatoes
Your main crop potatoes
should be chitting away
quite happily by now, and
towards the end of the
month it will be time to
get them in the ground.
This is also the last
opportunity to get the
remainder of your second
earlies planted for a
summer crop.

National
Gardening Week
Taking place between April
13 and 19, National
Gardening Week is back,
with even more brilliant days out going on across
the country. Keep your eye on the website to find
out what will be taking place in your local area
and, of course, get out into your growing space!
nationalgardeningweek.org.uk
growfruitandveg.co.uk

GYO April 15 ROPs_Layout 1 20/02/2015 11:16 Page 8

Veg intro page Qx_GYO new size 20/02/2015 11:36 Page 2

PRACTICAL ADVICE

Packed full of great growing tips!

A great selection of growing advice

Tips and tricks to get the best from your garden or plot this month
Malabar spinach

Beetroot

Purple sprouting broccoli

Page 22

Page 16

Page 34

Add a touch of the exotic to your plot


by growing this unusual veg

Anne Swithinbank gives her tips on


cultivating this colourful crop

A year-round look at the best growing


methods to produce delicious stems

Sweetcorn

Free seeds

Mint

Page 24

Page 27

Page 37

Great advice on how to start growing this


sweet and juicy crop with brilliant results

Take advantage of these packets and


start sowing a range of produce

This aromatic herb is versatile and


easy to grow. Well show you how

growfruitandveg.co.uk

YOUR COMPLETE VEG GUIDE APRIL

GYO VEG
THIS APRIL

JOBS ON THE PLOT _GYO new size 19/02/2015 11:33 Page 1

THIS MONTHS Essential checklist

APRIL

JOBS
ON THE
PLOT

The growing season really


cranks up a gear this month
and gardeners will be sure to
have their hands full with
sowing, planting and general
maintenance tasks. The
outside world is starting to
sing of spring and its an
exiting time to be out on your
veg plot. Some of the most
important jobs for this month
will be preparing your seed
beds for sowing and making
sure your ground is ready for
any young plants which
youre moving outdoors. You
should also dedicate some
time to looking after tender
young seedlings and making
sure theyre developing
happily.

OF THE M
M
These
E sap sucking
pests

TH:
ON

PROB
L

THE FRUIT GARDEN

of which there are


many different kinds can
have a severe impact on your
carefully cared-for crops,
causing weak and stunted
growth. Many varieties leave a
sticky honeydew on your plants
which enables sooty mould to
thrive. Cover your crops
with a mesh to prevent
an infestation.

A PH I DS

10

growfruitandveg.co.uk

CROPS TO...

SOW
n

Aubergines
Beetroot
n Cabbage
n Carrots
n Cauliflowers
(summer)
n Celery
n Celeriac
n Chicory
n Courgettes
n Globe
artichokes
n Kohlrabi
n Leeks
n Lettuce
n Peas
n Radishes
n Scorzonera
n Spinach
n Spring onions
n Swiss chard
n Squash
n Tomatoes
n Turnips
n

PLANT
n

Think about sowing tender crops such as cape


gooseberry under cover now. Thinly scatter
the seeds in a pot of compost, and transplant
to individual pots when large enough to
handle. Harden off and move to their final
growing position in late May or June.

Jerusalem
artichokes
n Garlic
n Potatoes
n Shallots
n Tomatoes

Keep an eye out for any pests and diseases


affecting your fruit trees and bushes and deal
with them accordingly. Be extra careful not to
spray any plants in blossom, though.

HARVEST

Continue harvesting any remaining forced


rhubarb stems and your unforced rhubarb,
too. To pick, gently twist and pull the stems
away from the base of the plant.

Be aware of any cold frosts that are forecast


and be ready to protect any trees or bushes
that are covered in flowers with
horticultural fleece.

Now is also the time to buy cold-stored


strawberry runners and plant out in a sunny,
sheltered site.

Asparagus
Cabbages
(spring)
n Cauliflowers
(spring)
n Leeks
n Kale
n Rhubarb
n Salad leaves
n Sprouting
broccoli
n

JOBS ON THE PLOT _GYO new size 19/02/2015 11:34 Page 2

The vegetable garden:


n When cracking on with jobs, bear

in mind that the weather in April


can be notoriously tricky to judge.
Keep protection gear close to hand
in case of cold spells and sharp
frosts and perhaps delay sowing
seeds straight outside until you can
be sure the conditions are right.
n To

increase your chances of


success when sowing outdoors,
warm the soil first with cloches
or polythene sheeting.

n Keep

an eye on weeds across


your plot and remove any
unwanted guests as soon as
you spot them.

n Start

sowing brassicas such as


calabrese, Brussels sprouts and
summer and autumn
cauliflowers, so that theyll be
ready for transplanting in a few
months time.

n Keep

planting out your chitted


potatoes you should be looking

to plant second earlies at the


start of April and maincrop
varieties at the end of the month.
n Stagger

sowings of crops such


as beetroot and lettuce so you
can prevent unnecessary waste
and ensure a regular supply to
the kitchen.

n If

youve got asparagus crowns


that youre yet to plant, make sure
you do it before the end of April.

Sow seeds of basil under cover, and then


prick out and pot on into 10cm containers
filled with gritty, loam-based compost.

Other herbs to start off indoors at this time


of year include rosemary, sage and thyme,
while chives, coriander and parsley can be
sown directly into the ground outside.

If youve not already done so, trim and tidy


up any perennial herbs you have in order to
start the new growing season in the right way.

n When

sowing carrots,
remember to check that there are
no stones or hard clumps of soil
in the ground which may cause
veg to fork or affect growth.

n Look

after any emerging


seedlings and thin out plants
when necessary to avoid
overcrowding and all the
problems this can cause.
Remember to handle young crops
by their leaves, not their stem, to
reduce the likelihood of damage.

ER:
V
O
C
R
UNDE

sure pots are clean


Before sowing, make
scr ub. This will
by giving them a good
disease.
help deter damping off

Pr ick out and po


t on emerging
seedlings when
necessar y.

Start sowing crops such as courgettes,


cucumbers and squashes under cover.

THE CONTAINER
GARDEN
4 Start sowing veg varieties which are
suitable for container growing such as
beetroot, spinach and peas.
4 Keep an eye on your pots and
ensure that soil doesnt become too
dry or waterlogged. Adapt your
watering regime to fit in with whatever
the weather is doing.

YOUR COMPLETE VEG GUIDE APRIL

The HERB GARDEN:

4 Dont let crops like tomatoes


become pot bound as soon as they
look to be outgrowing the space you
have given them, transplant them to
larger containers.
4 The same is true for containergrown fruit trees. If you can see roots
spiralling around the base, its time to
move them on to a bigger pot.

As the days get warmer, ensure your


plants are given plenty of ventilation
and can benefit from good air flow.
Tr y to keep any tender
young seedlings
protected and shaded
from harsh sunlight.

Start to harden off any sturdy plants


and get ready to transplant them to
their final growing positions soon.
Make sure that
undercover plan
ts are
kept moist but
not overwatered
.

d diseases
t for pests an ately.
u
o
e
ey
an
Keep
propri
ith them ap
and deal w

April focus on: Preparing your seedbeds


The quality of the soil in which you sow your seeds is key
to ensuring that young crops get off to the best start
possible. As the ground can still be a little bit chilly in
April (particularly at the beginning of the month), its a
good idea to warm the soil before you start sowing. Simply
cover the area with plastic sheeting or cloches a few weeks
before you want to start your seeds. Weeds will pop up as
the days pass, so when youre ready to start sowing, hoe
these off. Then, rake and sieve the soil so that it produces a
level area complete with fine, crumbly particles and no
stones or large bits of woody material.

growfruitandveg.co.uk

11

Celebrate left_GYO new size 19/02/2015 11:35 Page 1

YOUR COMPLETE VEG GUIDE APRIL


12

Frost rescue Masterclass

EXPERT INTERVIEW

SEASONAL ADVICE

PICK
OF
GYO
VEG
CELEBRATE
THE CROP

THIS
APRIL

James Cox from Yeo Valley shares his


action plans for late frosts

I would strongly recommend


investing in some horticultural
fleece its sold in various
weights per square metre

growfruitandveg.co.uk

EXPERT
James Cox
is the head gardener
at the Yeo Valley
Organic Garden
Hopefully you will have chosen a
site for your veg crops that is not
a natural frost pocket and offers
some protection from chilling
winds. Even if you have done
this, you should still always keep
an eye on the weather and check
the forecast daily, as it can vary so
much at the beginning of spring.
Also, make sure plants are not
being placed outside too early
and that they are hardened off
properly. Avoiding the use of
nitrogen-rich fertilisers early in
the season will help, too, as this
stimulates soft, sappy growth
which is especially vulnerable to
damage from any late frosts.
I would strongly recommend
investing in some horticultural
fleece its sold in various
weights per square metre, and
the heavier the fleece the better
protection you will get. The
material itself is permeable and
will let in water and light,
allowing the crops to grow
normally underneath. It can be
placed directly on top of the
plants for a short-term solution
without causing any damage.
Building a frame from plastic
hoops or timber to hold it up is
a better long-term idea, as this
helps to avoid any catches and
snags. Remember, though, this is
lightweight material and will be
blown half way across your
county if you dont secure it
down. You can do this by either
tacking or stapling it to your
timber frame or by using stones
and bricks to weigh the edges
down if you are using hoops. As a
more permanent fix you also
could dig a trench around the
crops and bury the edge of the
fleece in the ground. With this
method, you also get the added
bonus that the material will trap
in warm air and keep out pests!

GYO April 15 ROPs_Layout 1 20/02/2015 11:18 Page 13

Veg gardener anne April 15_GYO new size 20/02/2015 14:25 Page 1

EXPERT ADVICE Anne Swithinbank

THE VEGETABLE
GARDENER
This month Anne is sowing French
beans, planting potatoes and starting
sprouting broccoli in her plot
Can I sow
French beans
in pots?

Anne Swithinbank

To sow French beans in a


container, fill a generous tub
measuring 45cm across the top with
good compost and set half a dozen
plants in the top. Or have a
squash in the centre and
climbing beans around
the outside.

GYOs favourite contributor reports


from her Devonshire veg garden

This months crops


n French beans n Potatoes
n Summer squash
n Beetroot n Tomatoes
n Sprouting broccoli
Some crops produce a scary surplus if you
get the numbers wrong but there are
others whose abundance is welcome.
Lettuce is hard to use up in salads but
braised with peas, it disappears fast.
Spinach and chard make a leafy mass but
this is easily incorporated into fabulous
green soups. Other crops freeze well and
last winter, I missed having bags of
frozen, home grown beans. We didnt
grow enough to freeze, so Im
determined to make up for it this year.
Tomatoes (made into sauce) and
sweetcorn are good for freezing too.

Sow French beans


You cant grow too many French beans, as
almost everybody likes them and their versatility
means they can be used in all sorts of dishes.
When buying your seeds, look to see whether
they are a dwarf or climbing variety and if the
pods are flat or cylindrical. Then choose
between purple, creamy, flecked or plain greencoloured pods. I prefer sowing into modules
under glass but if your under cover growing
space is unheated you may need to wait for a
cold spell to pass. Unhelpfully, they often turn
up their noses at propagators, too, finding
them too warm and humid. Once up, plant the
dwarf kinds 20cm apart and the climbing sorts
around a wigwam. Once the weather perks up
in May, successional sowings can be made
outdoors and in this case I would space them
closer in case of failures 10cm apart.

14

growfruitandveg.co.uk

VARIETIES TO TRY
n Canadian Wonder: This is a dwarf, darkseeded bean giving heavy yields of wellflavoured oval to flat green pods. Kings
Seeds 01376 570 000, kingsseeds.com
n Concador: These compact plants are ideal
for containers, where the slender yellow pods
will be produced over a long period.
Thompson & Morgan 0844 573 1818,
thompson-morgan.com
n Purple Queen: These dwarf beans deliver
tasty purple pods which turn dark green
when cooked. Sow Seeds sowseeds.co.uk
n Borlotto Lingua di Fuoco': The 'tongue of
fire' climbing bean delivers creamy, red-flecked
pods and is a good all-rounder. Nickys
Nursery 01843 600 972,
nickys-nursery.co.uk

Start sprouting
broccoli for autumn
I never get tired of eating runner beans in
late summer but if I did, it would be
handy to have a big bed of tenderstemmed broccoli plants to
yield from late summer
through autumn. Most of
the varieties available are
hybrids between sprouting
broccoli and Chinese kale. Sow in
late April or May and set plants
45cm apart. It is important to cut the
main head while it is no bigger than a
small egg, because this stimulates
the production of succulent side
shoots from lower down. Also
remember that all brassicas need a
good but firm soil, so choose a settled bed
and plant firmly into a slight channel to
allow earth to fall in around the stems.

VARIETIES TO TRY
n Endeavor: The stems are softer than
purple sprouting and better for stir fries.
They have a sweet flavour and should crop
over a two month period. Marshalls
0844 557 6700, marshalls-seeds.co.uk
n Inspiration: This is a fast-growing
tenderstem with great flavour and long,
sweet tender stems. There is little waste as
everything is eaten. D.T. Brown
0845 371 0532, dtbrownseeds.co.uk

GYO STEP-BY-STEP Plant potatoes


Experiencing the texture and flavour of potatoes dug straight from the ground
and being able to choose from a wealth of varieties not available in the shops
are top reasons for growing your own. Buy good quality seed potatoes, plant
them at the correct time and you are almost guaranteed success. Remember
that in wetter, milder regions your maincrop potatoes could be badly affected
by blight unless you choose resistant ones. In years when slugs are bad, harvest
promptly or theyll come up riddled with holes.

YOUR COMPLETE VEG GUIDE APRIL

Veg gardener anne April 15_GYO new size 20/02/2015 14:26 Page 2

n Spike: This is a type of purple sprouting


broccoli but matures within five months of
planting and is ready to gather in the autumn.
The Organic Gardening Catalogue 01932
253 666, organiccatalogue.com

ch
Seeds to sow in Mar under
s Start winter squash

mpkin
out when there
3 Pu
glass ready to plant

frost.
is no more danger of
time to
l
Tomatoes Theres stil
es and
ato
tom
sow greenhouse
es.
on
or
start outdo
under cover
Sweetcorn Sow now
best of
the
ke
so plants can ma
er.
ath
summer we
swollen stems
Celeriac These tasty
season.
ng
wi
need a long gro
d Swiss chard
Perpetual spinach an
intervals for
cm
Station sow at 23
gs.
summer pickin
w Brussels
Winter brassicas So
ge, kale,
ba
sprouts, winter cab
ring
r/sp
nte
wi
broccoli and
er.
cauliflow

Step 1

Step 2

Ideally, you should have set seed pots to


sprout in a cool, frost free but bright
position around six weeks ago and by
now they will be furnished with
compact, dark-coloured shoots.

On beds of friable soil, plant potatoes


16cm deep. On rougher ground,
make trenches 60cm apart for earlies
and 75cm apart for maincrops, a
spade blade deep and wide.

Step 3

Step 4

Scatter some potato fertiliser along the


trench, then space the seed tubers
evenly along the base 30cm apart for
early varieties and 38cm for second
earlies and maincrops, or thereabouts.

Draw soil back over the trench to cover


the tubers with soil and then add a mix
of soil and compost to make a 10cm
ridge over the row. When the shoots
have appeared, earth up.

growfruitandveg.co.uk

15

Veg gardener anne April 15_GYO new size 20/02/2015 14:26 Page 3

EXPERT ADVICE Anne Swithinbank


Plant tomatoes

Sow beetroot
By February I had modules of
pretty beetroot seedlings (a mix
f colours called Rainbow Beet
from Thompson and Morgan)
germinated in my unheated
greenhouse. Im always eager to
make a start when the soil is too
cold and wet outdoors but I just

Beetroot
growing chart

Jan

Bolt resistant
varieties sown
under glass.
Bolt resistant
varieties sown
direct outdoors
Main crop of round
or long varieties
sown outdoors
SOW

16

HARVEST

growfruitandveg.co.uk

Feb

hope they wont bolt (run to seed).


Im only a recent convert to these
tasty root crops and I like to grate
their roots raw into coleslaw-type
salads as well as eating them boiled
and baked. Ill sow several seeds per
module and plant them out as one
when theyre 5cm or so high and
the soil is ready. By April the
weather is usually settled enough
to rake surface soil into a crumbly
tilth for direct sowings and these
generally work best for me. Sow
thinly in rows 30cm apart and then
thin seedlings to one per 8 to 10cm.

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Quite when we
dare plant
tomatoes in
unheated
greenhouses will
vary across the
country and depend
on weather. I generally
hope to have some in by the beginning of
April, even if Im fussing around them with
fleece on cold nights. They rarely fail here in
east Devon and I want the first fruits as soon
as possible. However, the laughter generated
by suggesting this to an audience near
Aberdeen is still ringing in my ears and it's best
to judge timings based on your own conditions.
The following will help your tomatoes take.
n Good-sized plants, 20cm tall and beginning
to make their first flowers, will do best.
n Make sure the roots are moist before planting.
n Bury the base of the stem slightly, as stem
roots will grow out and stabilise the plants.
n Rings placed on growing bags or soil beds
and filled with potting compost are great
for planting into.
n Buy in some fleece and have standing by
to billow around the plants on cold nights.
n Only risk a few early plantings.
n Staggered plantings into June give a long
cropping season.

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Veg gardener anne April 15_GYO new size 20/02/2015 14:26 Page 4

Marrows, courgettes, patty pan and other


summer squashes are closely related to
winter squash but their fruits dont keep
for very long. Start sowing into pots or
modules under glass mid-April as this will
produce plants with three or four proper
leaves ready to go outside in late May or
early June when there will be no more
danger of frost. If seed is cheap, Ill be
sowing two per 8cm pot and thinning to
one after germination. If they're expensive,
they will go one per pot or module.
During warm springs, they will germinate
out on the staging, but if it's chilly pop
them in a heated propagator shaded from
harsh light. Pot plants on if roots have
filled the compost but it is still too cold
for them to go out.
In the meantime, prepare planting holes
by dumping loads of well rotted compost
or manure where you want the plants. Mix
it loosely into the ground with a fork,
creating slight mounds. The compost will
begin to integrate with the soil and when
the squash are properly hardened off, plant
them into slight dips made in the tops.
Looked after like this, their roots will be
moist but not waterlogged while
establishing. Space bush varieties (the
majority) 1m apart and allow a little more
space for trailing types. Growing them
together in one area helps with pollination
and fruit setting.

Crops to harvest

Asparagus Look out for the


first
3 spe
ars piercing the
to late April.

YOUR COMPLETE VEG GUIDE APRIL

Summer squash
masterclass

soil, from mid

Spring cabbage If you didnt


give
3 plan
ts a nitroge
n feed last
month, do it now for lots of
leaf.

Salad onions From sowings


3 mad
e last

August, tasty scallions


should be ready to lift.

VARIETIES TO TRY
n Patty Pan Sunbeam: Golden
yellow, pie-shaped fruits with
scalloped edges will mature in 45 to
60 days so you wont wait long for
fruits with good texture and flavour.
Simply Seed 0115 727 0606,
simplyseed.co.uk
n Courgette Defender: It is always
worth including a basic, trouble-free
green-fruited courgette with an RHS
Award of Garden Merit in your
garden. Suttons 0844 922 0606,
suttons.co.uk
n Courgette Tondo of Nizza: Ive
not tried a round-fruited courgette
yet but this one, from Turin, sounds
tempting for pale green fruits of
sweet flavour, best picked at golf ball
size. Kings Seeds 01376 570 000,
kingsseeds.com
n Marrow Table Dainty: This high
yielding marrow produces plenty
of small, tender striped fruits so you
wont need too many plants.
D.T. Brown 0845 371 0532,
dtbrownseeds.co.uk

Purple and white sprouting


3 bro
ccoli The produc

tion of tasty
spears hits its stride this mo
nth.
Gather regularly.

liflowers Cauliflowers sown


GROWING
3 inCauApr
il last year will be
SQUASH IN POTS
producing much-appreciated

Hunt down smaller-growing varieties like


marrow Bush Baby or yellow courgette
Buckingham (both Mr.Fothergills, mrfothergills.co.uk) whose compact,
striped fruits grow on neat plants. Pick
small as courgettes or large, as
marrows. Set plants up in 30cm pots of
good, well-drained compost. Give them
a general purpose liquid feed when
established and a high potash fertiliser
as fruits start setting.

heads now.

Rhubarb Quick into growth


3 wit
even
hout forcing, stems will be
ready to pull until July.

Start sowing
into pots under
glass mid-April
growfruitandveg.co.uk

17

GYO April 15 ROPs_Layout 1 20/02/2015 11:18 Page 18

Win Qx_GYO new size 19/02/2015 11:36 Page 2

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71
19

PLOT ESS MARCH15_GYO new size 19/02/2015 11:46 Page 1

SPRING ADVICE Allotment jobs


GROWING TECHNIQUE:

Putting up bean supports

The Gardeners Monthly Reminder Calendar by Michael Littlewood,


11.95 from The Organic Gardening Catalogue, organiccatalogue.com

At last its properly spring, and you can get on with


sowing runner and French climbing beans. Sow one
seed per pot and germinate under cover where you can
keep an eye on them and protect them from late frosts.
The moment youve done that, get outside and put
their supports in place. Once your beans are ready to
plant the last thing youll want to do is fiddle about
with sticks and string, but with everything ready and
waiting all you have to do is plant.
Choose tall, straight poles at least 2.4m long. A simple wigwam is easy to
make sink five poles firmly into the ground in a circle, pointing the tips into
the middle. Then tie them together at the top with sturdy string.
For any larger bean crops, it is best to go for a traditional A-frame support.
Sink pairs of poles into the ground about 45cm apart, their tips crossing about
15cm from the top. Then take another pole and rest it on top before tying
uprights and crosspole firmly together, wrapping your string around in a
figure-of-eight and tying off securely.
Cut a
sli
across t halfway
c
weed ircles of
-supp
ressin
memb
g
ra
the ce ne, from
ntre t
o the
outsid
e
inexp edge, for
en
to slip sive collars
a
stems round the
o
cabba f your
ge cro
ps.

Garlic planted
at the start of
winter will be just
starting to swell
into bulbs. Keep
your crop well
watered at all
time to prevent
it from suffering
through drought.

Plant up hanging
baskets full of chilli
crops they adore
the hot conditions
of life at head
height, soaking up
the sun. Trailing
chilli varieties look
best try Basket
of Fire, Loco
or Cheyenne.

Plot Essentials April


THIS MONTHS JOBS ON THE VEGETABLE PATCH AND PATIO
Words by Sally Nex

PROJECT:

Harvesting salad leaves

Baby-leaf salads are the store-cupboard staples of the


veg garden. You need never be without them. Resow a
generous trayful every few weeks and theyll just keep
producing fabulous yields for you to pick.
Theyre ready to harvest once theyre about 10cm tall,
when theyll be growing on strongly and can bounce back
even after a fairly savage haircut. Bunch a fistful of leaves
gently in your hand and use ordinary scissors to snip them
away about 2cm above compost level this allows the
growing crowns to stay intact, so they can resprout with
new leaves in a few weeks time.
You can expect at
least three or four
pickings from each
batch of baby leaves
before they are spent
and turn straggly and
unproductive. But by
then youll have your
next tray coming on, so
you can carry on picking
without a pause.

20

growfruitandveg.co.uk

DONT FORGET:
SPRINKLE SLOW-RELEASE
FERTILISER
If youve been looking after your soil well and
digging in plenty of organic matter every winter
then you shouldnt have to add much extra
fertiliser. But a dose of slow-release nutrients
applied as your plants actively grow acts as a boost
just when they need it and itll carry on helping
for up to three months.
Other options include blood, fish and bone,
or bonemeal. Fork lightly into the top inch of soil
to help it start the good work.

PLOT ESS MARCH15_GYO new size 19/02/2015 11:46 Page 2

In association with

MUST-DO JOBS

Keep horticultural fleece handy to throw over


tender plants in a late frost.
n Earth up new potato shoots regularly to protect
them from frost and increase the crop.
n Plant out sweetpeas at the foot of wigwams,
two or three plants per cane.
n Start a regular weekly hoe-round to decapitate
weeds before they get a toehold.
n Cut asparagus spears at 10 to 15cm tall, slicing
them away just below the ground.
n Cover young brassica seedlings with horticultural
fleece to prevent a flea beetle attack.
n

HOW TO AVOID...
BOLTING RHUBARB

Spot an extra-thick stalk topped with a


bubbly flower bud and youll know all is
not well. If a rhubarb plant is flowering
it stops producing a leafy crop for you
to harvest and eat.
This process happens when its
stressed. Unseasonally hot, cold or dry
weather can do it, but its sometimes
just plain old age. They outgrow their
space after around five years, so if yours
is older split
and replant
next winter to
revive and
rejuvenate it
ready for the
next five years.

NEW VARIETY:
cucumber Jogger
This great new outdoor cucumber is
an American slicer which is longer
(up to 25cm) and more smoothskinned than your average outdoor
cuke. Its a perfect alternative.
They are slow to produce seeds,
so fruits last better on the plant
than most. This gives you a longer
harvesting time which can be
convenient. It also performed
particularly well in trials held
through a really lousy summer.
(thompson-morgan.com)

HERITAGE VARIETY:
CHICKPEA PRINCIPE
Its a mystery why chickpeas arent more widely grown in the
UK. Theyre as simple to look after as mangetout, and in some
respects easier as theres no need to fiddle about with supports.
They make bushy, free-standing little plants up to around 50cm
high and are also drought-tolerant. Chickpeas like relatively poor
soils, so are ideal for containers.
They are tender, but no more so than French beans. The
harvest is plentiful although you wont get the familiar nutty
beige seeds in the cool and damp of a UK climate. Instead, eat
the pods green, which are like petit pois and just as sweetly
crunchy and delicious. (chilternseeds.co.uk)

Growing herbs can


be infuriating if
youve got claggy
clay soil. Some dont
mind parsley, for
example, enjoys
being damp and
shady, and fennel,
mint and chives
will grow almost
anywhere.
However, shrubby
perennial herbs,
including
rosemary, thyme,
sage and
tarragon, hail
from the Mediterranean
where they cling to scrubby hillsides being baked
by the sun. In soggy, chilly conditions they just
shiver and rot.
The answer is to build yourself a state-of-the-art
herb bed, raised about 30 to 45cm off your sticky
soil, so you can fill it with the free-draining,
impoverished soil they prefer.
Position your bed in the sunniest spot you have.
Rectangular is simplest but it can be any shape you
fancy a hexagon, maybe, or a circle of bricks.
Then fill to the halfway point with stones and
hardcore and top off with a layer of garden soil
mixed half-and-half with grit. It may look hopelessly
dry and unwelcoming but fill it with herbs and
youll find the poor, gravelly conditions make them
feel right at home.

YOUR COMPLETE VEG GUIDE APRIL

Make a Mediterranean
herb bed

Grow your
own
sunflower
seeds
Its the year of the
sunflower in 2015, so
sow a few extra to
celebrate and fill your
garden with plants
topped with gorgeous
yellow blooms.
In case you think
Im urging you to hand
over good veg-growing space to
ornamentals, sunflowers are in fact deliciously edible.
Sprout seed on damp kitchen towel for intenselyflavoured microgreens, or scatter the edible petals in
salads. Or wait for the real treat at the end of the
season the fat, striped seeds, packed with protein
and vitamin E.
Once the petals shrivel and the head starts to
droop, the seeds are nearly ready. If you can, leave
them on the plant to dry in the sun for about four
days, but if its damp cut the head off whole and
bring it indoors to hang up somewhere sunny. Then
simply rub your hands over the head and the seeds
will pop free. Shuck the kernels out of the hard casing
and add to lunchboxes as a healthy snack, stir them
into risottos and salads, or bake into biscuits.

growfruitandveg.co.uk

21

Edible exostics left_GYO new size 20/02/2015 12:36 Page 1

Growing Malabar spinach


YOUR COMPLETE VEG GUIDE APRIL

PRACTICAL ADVICE
24C. When the seedlings are large
enough to handle, move out into a
growbag, planting three crops in each
space. Leave 23cm between each one. It is
not particularly fussy about soil type but
does not like to sit constantly wet.
Remember, because of its origin, Malabar
spinach loves a warm and preferably
protected growing spot. An area with full
sun is the perfect position.

Harvest regularly

Edible exotics:

Slugs can be a problem early on as they


enjoy feeding on the leaves. Also, as the
plant originates from the tropics, growing
outside in poor summers can be more than
troublesome. Ideally, it is best placed in a
greenhouse or polytunnel. Make sure to
keep up with the development of the crop.
Regular harvesting will encourage fresh
crunchy leaves older foliage can become
both thick and tough. Malabar spinach can
go grow to be three metres tall, so make
sure you provide supports using string to
keep the plant upright will be fine.
When used in cooking, these leaves
are great for adding to stir fries, but really
come into their own when used in the
classic Italian dish of spinach sauted with
garlic and chilli.

MALABAR
SPINACH

Stephen Shirley from Victoriana Nursery


explains the best way to grow and care
for this unusual crop

have been growing malabar spinach


for around 15 years. One of our
customers who originated from Asia
first recommended it and asked if we
grew it that got us thinking! Strictly
speaking, Malabar spinach is not actually
related to the spinach we are used to in
any way. It originates from Africa and
Asia where it is still widely grown and
used as a leaf vegetable.
This crop grows as a climber, the
leaves are larger, thicker and more fleshy
than standard spinach, but in terms of
taste it is virtually the same. It also has a

longer cropping season, plus doesn't


bolt, and the leaves stay palatable for
longer. One of the biggest benefits of
growing Malabar spinach is its space
saving ability. It grows up rather than
out, which means you can grow a whole
row of vertical plants!

How to grow
To have a go at growing this variety, sow
your seeds into modules or small pots
between April and May, covering with a
thin layer of compost. Seeds will
germinate at a temperature of around

This crop can grow to be three metres


tall, so make sure you provide supports
22

growfruitandveg.co.uk

About the author


Stephen Shirley is the
managing director of
Victoriana Nursery
Gardens a family-run
business in Kent which
has been growing the
exotic (and not so exotic)
for over 50 years. He is a passionate vegetable
gardener who loves to cook, and has been
especially interested in protected crops, such
as chillies, tomatoes, melons and aubergines,
as well as exotic crops since the age of 16.
Malabar spinach seeds are available to buy
from Victoriana Nurseries. Visit their website
at victoriananursery.co.uk

GYO April 15 ROPs_Layout 1 20/02/2015 11:19 Page 23

First Steps Sweetcorn Qx_GYO new size 19/02/2015 15:33 Page 1

VEG MADE EASY Sweetcorn


AT A GLANCE
Sow indoors: April May
Plant out: May June
Sow outdoors: May June
Harvest: July October
Conditions: A sunny, sheltered site
Skill level: Medium

A beginners guide to:

Sweetcorn
This sought-after veg is a great addition to your
allotment and tastes delicious in the kitchen, too.
Nows the time to sow sweetcorn seeds, so make
sure your crop is a success with our simple guide
Sown in April and looked after properly,
sweetcorn will thrive and come summer,
youll be enjoying tasty pickings of
beautiful cobs far superior in taste
and flavour to their supermarket
counterparts. A huge range of varieties are
available on the market, so if youre after a
sweet, snack-sized cob, a larger variety or
even a multi-coloured option theres
something for you.

The basics
Traditional sweetcorn varieties produce one
or two cobs per plant, so bear this in mind
when deciding how many to cultivate. You
can either sow sweetcorn directly outside,
or start your seeds indoors for transplanting
later. If sowing indoors, do this in April or

24

growfruitandveg.co.uk

May, and keep seedlings in a warm, sunny


spot until they are ready to be hardened off
and moved outside. Delay sowing directly
outdoors until mid-May when the risk of frost
has passed these plants do not do well in
cold snaps. When planting out or sowing
directly, remember that sweetcorn requires
plenty of sun, so look for a south-facing part
of your vegetable plot which will also be
sheltered from strong wind.
Planting in blocks is key to making sure you
get good quality, high-yielding cobs from your
plants. This is because they are wind pollinated
and kernels wont develop unless pollen from
the male part of the plant makes contact with
the immature heads of the corncobs (although
some miniature varieties such as Minipop are
picked before fertilisation so dont need to be

looked after this way). Plants are usually ready


to harvest from around July or August and
you could be getting cobs right through to
October. Eat as soon as possible after picking
as the flavour rapidly diminishes with time.
For our step by step guide on sowing
indoors, planting out and harvesting
sweetcorn, see right.

Potential problems
Wind damage: Because these plants can
grow quite tall, its important to make sure
you choose a sheltered site in order to prevent
them from being damaged in high winds.
Staking can also help.
Slugs: These slimy creatures will feed on
young seedlings, so make sure you have
control methods in place.
Birds: You may find that pigeons are
attracted to your developing sweetcorn
plants. If this is the case, consider placing
netting over your crops.
Mice: These little critters will munch on your
sweetcorn seeds if youre not careful, and you
may need to set humane traps around your
sowing area to prevent this.

First Steps Sweetcorn Qx_GYO new size 19/02/2015 15:33 Page 2

RHS Top

10

EXPERT

Jim Arbury, from RHS


Wisley lists his top
10 favourite sweetcorn

1 Earlibird F1: This earlymaturing sweetcorn is super


sweet with 20cm long cobs.
Jersey Plants Direct, 01534 871
113 jerseyplantsdirect.com
STEP 1

STEP 2

Around April or May, fill modular trays or pots


with quality seed or multipurpose compost and
water gently, so just moist.

Make a small hole with a dibber, about 2cm


deep, and then place one sweetcorn seed in
each pot, before covering with compost.

2 Lark F1: This is an early extra


tender sweet variety which has a
softer texture than the super
sweets. Kings Seeds 01376 570
000, kingsseeds.com
3 Mirai 0003 F1: This produces
small 15cm long cobs which are
well filled, extra tender and
suitable to eat raw or cooked.
Thompson & Morgan 0844 573
1818, thompson-morgan.com
4 Northern Xtra Sweet F1:
This is one of the earliest super
sweet sweetcorn. The cobs are
20cm long and plants are 1.5 to
1.8m tall. Kings Seeds 01376 570
000, kingsseeds.com

STEP 3

STEP 4

Water carefully with a fine rose watering can


and place somewhere warm (youre looking for
a temperature between 15C and 20C).

Your seedlings should appear in a few weeks.


Accustom these to the outside, avoiding frosts,
before planting out in May or June.

PLANTING OUT
Choose a sheltered, sunny position and add plenty of organic matter. Place your plants in a square
block arrangement, 45cm apart, in rows 60cm apart. Be careful when moving your seedlings as
too much root disturbance can have an impact on the crop. Once in place, water in and mulch. As
the plants grow you may need to stake them. When the male flowers open, tap the plant to help
pollination. Water consistently and use a high-potash liquid feed when your cobs begin to swell.

STEP-BY-STEP: Harvesting your sweetcorn

YOUR COMPLETE VEG GUIDE APRIL

STEP-BY-STEP: Sowing sweetcorn indoors

5 Ovation F1: This super sweet


type produces vigorous plants
tolerant of wet soil conditions.
The cobs are 20 to 23cm long.
vegetableseeds.net 01296 730 069
6 Seville F1: This is a mid to
late maturing extra sweet type.
It is vigorous and produces well
filled cobs. Unwins 0844 573 8400,
unwins.co.uk
7 Sparrow F1: This is an extra
tender type with sweet plump
kernels. The plants are vigorous
but compact. Seeds by Post 01827
251 511, seedsbypost.co.uk
8 Sundance F1: This is good
flavoured and reliable in
indifferent summers. The cobs are
18cm long with creamy yellow
kernels. Suttons 0844 922 0606,
suttons.co.uk
9 Swift F1: A popular tender
sweet type which is fast to
germinate and vigorous. The cobs
are 18cm long. Kings Seeds 01376
570 000, kingsseeds.com

STEP 1

STEP 2

When the tassels have turned brown, test the


ripeness of your crop. Peel back the sheath and
squeeze a kernel with your thumb nail. If the
liquid that comes out is watery, its not yet ready,
but if it is creamy the cob can be picked.

To pick, twist the cob sharply from the stem.


Sweetcorn is best eaten as soon as possible
after harvesting so head straight into the
kitchen and enjoy reaping the benefits of
all your hard work.

10 Mirai White M421: This is


an unusual extra tender white
sweetcorn and is delicious raw or
cooked. Jungle Seeds 01491 614
765, jungleseeds.co.uk

growfruitandveg.co.uk

25

GYO April 15 ROPs_Layout 1 20/02/2015 11:20 Page 26

26

growfruitandveg.co.uk

Seeds 5 pager_GYO new size 20/02/2015 13:27 Page 3

Sowing your free seeds

HOW TO SOW YOUR

FREE SEEDS
All the information you need to
grow fantastic produce

his month were giving


away six packets of seeds
that should certainly give
you some gardening inspiration.

CARROTS

Try this delicious


early variety for a
great supply of
summer veg.
Carrots are a
classic addition to
any veg plot.
Theyre easy to
grow, and will
reward you with
sweet and tasty
roots
throughout the
season if sown
regularly.
Theyre best
suited to light,
sandy soil but
if your plot is
not suitable for
growing
carrots, you can
always use a large container filled
halfway with compost.

EARLY NANTES
AT A GLANCE
Sow outdoors: March July
Harvest: May October

GROWING CARROTS
EARLY NANTES 5

Start digging over your soil in late winter


or early spring and remove any weeds
and stones. Regularly turn the soil to
ensure that it has a fine, crumbly texture.
One week before you sow your
seeds, rake a light covering of
general fertiliser into the earth.
Between March and July, water the
bed well and make shallow drills that
are around 3cm deep. Sow the seeds into
these spaces in a thin layer. Allow 30cm
between each row.
If youre sowing seeds between
March and April, protect them from
any late frosts with a layer of horticultural
fleece that can be bought from nurseries.
Once the seeds have germinated, thin
them out to allow 5cm of space
between each one.
Water your plants on a regular basis
to prevent dehydration during the
summer months.
Your carrots will be ready to harvest
12 to 16 weeks after they were sown.
Remove them from the ground as soon
as possible. If its difficult,
use a fork to help
persuade stubborn
If your plot
roots to lift free.
is not suitable
for growing carrots,
you can always use
a large container
filled halfway
with compost

2
3

n Its vital to remove all


stones from the soil as they
can cause your carrots to
fork and grow around them.
n If your crop begins to wilt in the
summer, water them thoroughly
every 10 to 14 days.
n Harvest carrots Early Nantes 5
when they are finger-sized to enjoy
the full flavour.
n To store your carrots, select only
the best, undamaged roots. Keep
them in a strong wooden box, in
between layers of sand. Make sure
the conditions are cool and dry,
and remove any that have started
to rot straight away.

GYO
TIPS

YOUR COMPLETE VEG GUIDE APRIL

PRACTICAL ADVICE

5
6
7

DISEASE FOCUS:
CARROT FLY
These tiny black-bodied flies are a
common problem gardeners face
when growing carrots. They are
most active between May and
October, and their larvae eat into
the roots of your veg. Symptoms of
an infestation include brown scars
along the roots and tunnels filled
with creamy-coloured maggots
which are visible when the carrot is
cut in half. To prevent this problem,
make sure you sow your seeds thinly,
as carrot fly are attracted to the
sweet aroma which occurs when a
large number of carrots are grown in
a small space. Insect-proof netting
can also work.

growfruitandveg.co.uk

27

Seeds 5 pager_GYO new size 20/02/2015 13:11 Page 4

PRACTICAL ADVICE

Sowing your free seeds

This plant
can do well in
heavy soil and
during poor summers
making it great
for the British
climate

PEST FOCUS:
SLUGS

CELERIAC SEEDS
AT A GLANCE
Sow indoors: March April
Plant out: May June
Harvest: August December

GROWING CELERIAC
MONARCH

Between March and April fill a seed tray


half-way with good quality compost,
make shallow drills and sprinkle in the seeds.
Keep the rows around 3cm apart. Cover over
with more soil.
Lightly water the compost and transfer
the tray to a propagator set between
10C and 12C. Make sure the soil is moist.
Once the seedlings grow large enough to
be handled, transfer them into individual
pots. Ensure the temperature stays between
15C and 18C.
Get ready to plant the crops outside once
they grow to be 5cm tall, between late
May and early June. Make sure that the
weather is mild if it seems too cold, you
may have to delay this. Harden your plants to
the conditions in stages by leaving them
outside for a few hours at a time. Place into
rich, well-drained soil and space them out
30cm apart, leaving 30cm between rows.
Always keep the soil moist and add a
layer of mulch to prevent weeds.
As the plant grows, remove any outer
leaves that may be covering the crown.
This will help the crop to develop.
Your celeriac will be ready to harvest
between August and December. Dig up
the roots using a garden fork and wash
them well. Roots can be stored in a cool
dark place if necessary.

2
3

CELERIAC
Celeriac is a hardy, disease-resistant
veg thats incredibly healthy and
nutritious. Sow this crop in early spring
for a bountiful harvest throughout winter.
Were giving away celeriac Monarch
seeds for you to grow at home this
month. This plant can do well in heavy
soil and during poor summers making
it great for the British climate. The
seeds are best sown indoors and
transferred outside once theyve grown
larger and have become more resistant
to the cold. Patience is key when growing
celeriac as germination can be patchy and
it will take around six months to become
ready for harvesting.

28

growfruitandveg.co.uk

5
6
7

After all your loving care, it can be


heartbreaking to see your plants
destroyed by pesky slugs. These slimy
creatures will happily munch
through your crop if given the
chance. Signs to look out for include
a silvery trail on plants, as well as
irregular holes on the leaves. Even
though they are a common problem,
there are several ways to prevent
any damage. Venture out into your
garden in the evening with a torch
to remove the slugs by hand. Collect
them and dispose of accordingly.
Another natural preventive method
is to encourage more birds to visit
your garden by leaving food out
they will feed the slugs to their
chicks. However, if you require an
alternative treatment, eco-friendly
slug pellets can be very effective.
n Cover your crops in a thick
layer of straw during the
winter months to prevent them
from freezing in the ground.
n Monarch grows to have smoother skin
than other varieties and succulent
flesh, making it perfect for salads.
n Celeriac can be stored in cool
conditions for several weeks.
n Celeriac is closely related to celery
but is more disease-resistant and
easier to grow.

GYO
TIPS

Seeds 5 pager_GYO new size 20/02/2015 13:12 Page 5

This tasty crop is


so versatile and
incredibly easy
to grow. Make
room for them
on your plot
and enjoy
plenty of tasty
rewards. We
recommend that
you sow
courgette
Zucchini
indoors between
March and May
for the most
reliable results,
but you can
also sow
directly outside
later on in the
year. Be sure to allow your plants plenty of
growing space once theyre placed outside,
as they can take up around 1m of your
plot once they are at their full size.
Courgettes are happy to grow in sunny
spots with rich, fertile soil. Two plants can
produce enough veg for a whole family, so
bear this in mind when planning your crop.

SOW INDOORS

ZUCCHINI
AT A GLANCE
Sow indoors: March May
Sow outdoors: April May
Plant out: May June
Harvest: July October

HARVEST

Courgettes are
Your
happy to grow in
courgettes
sunny spots with
will be ready to
rich, fertile soil. Two
harvest between
plants will produce
July and October.
enough veg for a
Start picking
whole family
the fruits when
they are small to
encourage a longer harvest.
Its best to take the majority of the
crop when they grow to be around
15cm long. Use a knife, cut the stem
and free the courgette from the plant.
This crop is best eaten fresh but will
last in the fridge for a few days.

2
3
4
5

Between March and May, carefully


fill small pots will multipurpose
compost. Using your finger or a dibber,
make small holes that are 1.5cm deep
around the edge.
Push the seeds into the holes. Cover
them over with more soil and water
them on a regular basis.
Place the pots in warm conditions
between 15C and 20C to provide
them with optimim growing conditions.
Introduce your plants gradually to the
outside once temperatures have
become mild.
Plant your crops outside between May
and June into fertile, well-drained soil.
Leave 60cm between each crop.

SOW OUTDOORS

Prepare the soil between April and May,


make sure it appears fine and crumbly.
Water well before making 1.5cm deep
holes and plant two seeds in each one.
Leave 60cm of space between each
sowing and cover them over.
Use a cloche to protect the seeds from
any late frosts. When the seedlings are
large enough to handle, thin out and keep
the strongest plant.
Water regularly and check for any
developing weeds.

2
3

YOUR COMPLETE VEG GUIDE APRIL

COURGETTES

n Water regularly to
prevent them from drying
out. Use mulch to retain
the moisture in the soil.
n Water around the plant instead of
directly onto the leaves to reduce
the risk of fungal diseases.
n Feed your crops every 10 to 14
days with a high potash liquid
fertiliser once the fruits begin to
grow larger.
n Leave the biggest courgettes to
grow for a longer period of time
and they can be used in the same
way as marrows.

GYO
TIPS

DISEASE FOCUS:
POWDERY
MILDEW
If left without enough water,
courgette plants can become
susceptible to this common fungus.
Symptoms of an infection include
white, powdery patches on leaves
and stems in more severe cases, it
will also affect the fruit. To prevent
this problem, water regularly and
keep mulch topped up. Removing
any affected areas of the plant will
reduce any further infection. No
chemical options are available to
treat powdery mildew, however,
plant or fish oils, or sulphur dust can
be used as a preventive measure.

growfruitandveg.co.uk

29

Seeds 5 pager_GYO new size 20/02/2015 13:12 Page 6

PRACTICAL ADVICE

Sowing your free seeds

SWEET
BASIL

This well-known herb is an aromatic


plant that would make a welcome
addition to any herb garden.
Sweet basil produces large, green
leaves that will provide powerful
flavour to your cooking. This annual
plant can be grown indoors all year
round, which makes it perfect for
beginner gardeners or those with a
small growing space. It thrives in
sandy soil which is well-drained.

GROWING INDOORS

KALE

Health fanatics have spent all year


talking about this mighty superfood.
Have a go at growing your own crop and
reap the nutritional benefits.
Kale is one of the most tolerant crops
of cold weather from the brassica group,
and its relatively safe from pests and
diseases. The mature Nero Di Toscana
plant develops attractive dark green
foliage that are long and strap-like in
appearance. The larger leaves are best
cooked, and are an excellent source of
vitamins A and C.

SOW INDOORS

1
2
3
4

Sow seeds thinly between March and May


0.5cm deep in a tray of compost.
Keep the soil moist and at a warm
temperature of around 15C.
Once the seedlings are large enough,
move them to allow 5cm between each
plant. Use extra trays if necessary.
Slowly acclimatise your plants to outdoor
conditions before planting them out
45cm apart between May and June.

NERO DI TOSCANA
AT A GLANCE
Sow indoors: March May
Sow outdoors: April September
Harvest: June March

SOW OUTDOORS

GROWING INDOORS TO BE
TRANSFERRED OUTDOORS

Prepare the soil, making sure that it has


a fine tilth, is well-cultivated and moist.
To ensure the ground is fertile, add plenty
of organic matter such as manure for an
extra boost of nitrogen.
Sow the seeds between April and
September in a bed into holes that are
1.5cm deep. You should allow 30cm
between rows.
After 14 to 28 days, seedlings should
appear. Once they are strong enough
to be handled and have grown to
around 7cm, move them to allow 45cm
between each plant this will ensure
plenty of room.
Keep the soil moist and make regular
sowings every two to three weeks for
a constant supply of produce.

HARVEST

1
2
3
4

Your kale will be ready to harvest from


around June to March.
Harvest young leaves using a knife
when they are 10 to 12cm long from
October onwards.
Take pickings regularly and spread the
harvest across all of the plants.
Store picked kale in the fridge for up
to 10 days it will also keep in the
freezer for up to six months.

n Use netting to protect your


kale from birds.
n Apply a thick mulch to the
soil and make sure that all
weeds are removed.
n When planting kale outside, choose
a sunny or partially shady spot.

GYO
TIPS

30

growfruitandveg.co.uk

In small pots of compost, sow the


seeds 0.5cm deep. This can be done at
any time of the year. Water well and
place the containers in warm conditions
between 15C and 20C.
After seven to 14 days, when
seedlings have appeared, ensure they
receive plenty of natural light.

After the seeds have germinated,


transfer your plants outside between
March and May. Make sure they have
become accustomed to the colder
conditions by hardening them off.
Plant the seedlings out into warm,
well-drained soil 20cm apart.

SWEET BASIL
AT A GLANCE
Sow indoors: All year round
Sow outdoors: March May
Harvest: All year round

Seeds 5 pager_GYO new size 20/02/2015 13:29 Page 7

Sow your seeds into the soil which has


already been watered. Ensure there is
10cm of space between each crop and
place the seeds into holes that are 0.5cm
deep before covering.
For a continuous supply of basil leaves,
sow seeds every two to three weeks.

DISEASE FOCUS:
LEAFHOPPER
These small insects feed on the sap
produced by the leaves. Theyre
easily recognised by their pale
yellow and grey markings. Key
symptoms of a leafhopper
infestation include mottling on
leaves, which can join into a large
patch if it is severe. The adult insects
should be visible on the underside
of leaves, and the nymphs are pale
and wingless. Unfortunately, the
only method of control is
insecticides make sure your chosen
product is suitable for edible plants.
New growth will normally develop
once the issue has been controlled.

LETTUCE

This little veg produces beautifully


crunchy salad leaves after a minimal
amount of effort.
Lettuce Little Gem belongs to the
cos family which produces crisp narrow
leaves that grow to form a tall head.
They are one of the earliest types to
mature, and prefer to be grown in a
sunny or semi-shaded environment.
Its maximum height and spread is
20cm, making it an ideal crop for
gardeners who are short on space.
Make sure to eat the heart as it has
the sweetest taste. RHS has awarded
lettuce Little Gem with an Award of
Garden Merit another great reason
to give it a try.

Little Gem is
of the earliest
types to mature,
and prefers to be
grown in a sunny
or semi-shaded
environment

n The harvested leaves taste


best when eaten fresh, but
they will keep in the fridge
for around a week.
n Sowing seeds regularly every two
to three weeks will ensure that you
have a constant supply.
n Hoe between the plants to prevent
weeds from growing in the space.

GYO
TIPS

YOUR COMPLETE VEG GUIDE APRIL

GROWING OUTDOORS

GROWING LITTLE GEM

Sow your seeds outside between


March and July 1.5cm deep in fine,
moist soil that has already been watered.
Allow 25cm between each row.
After seven to 14 days, lettuce
seedlings will appear. Increase the
distance between each plant to 15cm by
carefully pricking out and moving them.
Water well until the crops are
established and ready to be picked.
Harvest your lettuce between May and
October when a firm heart has
formed. Cut them away from the base of
the plant rather than pulling them up.

3
4

LITTLE GEM
AT A GLANCE
Sow indoors: March July
Harvest: May October

PEST AND
DISEASE FOCUS
The main culprits to look out for are
slugs and snails. They will eat
through your crop if proper
protection is not in place. Natural
methods including sawdust and
eggshell barriers can work well.
Humid conditions can encourage
grey mould to spread and cause
lettuce leaves to develop a light
grey fuzz. Pick off any infected
leaves and make sure that good
hygiene is practised on your plot.

growfruitandveg.co.uk

31

GYO April 15 ROPs_Layout 1 20/02/2015 11:20 Page 32

Pick of the Crop APR15 Qx_GYO new size 19/02/2015 15:10 Page 2

GARDEN SHOP Trowels

The best trowels and hand tools


for sowing and transplanting
1

1 Transplanting trowel
Greenmans tough and long-lasting transplanting trowel features
a long, narrow head which works easily around root balls. The
steel blade also has imperial and metric measurements allowing
for precise depth measuring and the handle is made from ash.
12.99 from Suttons 0844 922 0606, suttons.co.uk

2 Hand fork and trowel duo


Whether youre gardening in a large plot or cultivating your crops
in containers, this hand fork and trowel, manufactured by Darlac,
are ideal. Both tools are ergonomically designed and have a
rubber handle for extra comfort. 13.90 from Marshalls Seeds
0844 557 6700, marshalls-seeds.co.uk

3 Seed sowing trowel


This innovative little tool helps speed up the process of sowing
and gives you more control when distributing seeds. The
handle is made of bamboo and the head is made of carbon
steel. 9.55 from Two Wests and Elliott 01246 451 077
twowests.co.uk

YOUR COMPLETE VEG GUIDE APRIL

PICK OF
THE CROP

4 Short fat trowel

This strong and hard-wearing trowel by Sneeboer is just the


thing to use for transplanting your plants. The 15cm stainless
steel blade and smooth cherry wood handle make this an
attractive tool as well as a useful one. 35.95 from Harrod
Horticultural 0845 402 5300, harrodhorticultural.com

5 Fork and trowel set


This quality hand trowel and fork set from Kings Seeds
promises to be a great addition to your shed. The robust tools
have beautiful ash handles and are made of stainless steel.
15 from Kings Seeds 01376 570 000, kingsseeds.com

6 Carbon steel transplanting tool


This heavy duty transplanting tool can help make moving
young plants a breeze. It has a curved blade plated with
carbon steel with imperial markings and an ash handle.
Stock number 89100. Available to buy via online
retailers and local stockists. From Draper tools,
drapertools.com

7 Transplanter
This steel transplanter made by Burgon and Ball features
handy imperial depth markers, meaning that you can be
sure youre planting your crops at the right depth. The
blade is also forged at the optimum angle for digging and
accurate planting. 9.95 from Greenhouse Sensation
0845 602 3774, greenhousesensation.co.uk

growfruitandveg.co.uk

33

step by step potager apr 15 Qx_GYO new size 20/02/2015 12:13 Page 1

PRACTICAL ADVICE Purple sprouting broccoli

Purple
sprouting broccoli
is a must-grow crop,
offering high yields
while being relatively
simple to care for

THE YEAR-ROUND
POTAGER:

Purple
sprouting
broccoli
With its gorgeous,
tasty purple heads and
well documented
health benefits, this
is one crop truly
deserving of a place
on your plot

You can grow sprouting broccoli either


from seed or from plug plants, which can
be found at most garden centres. If you're
starting with seeds, sow in a tray filled with
multi-purpose compost, lightly cover with
a further sprinkling of earth, and water well.

Once the seedlings are large enough


to handle without causing damage
(usually once the first set of 'true' leaves have
formed) thin them out and transplant into
individual pots around 9cm in size to grow
on. Again, water these in well.

34

growfruitandveg.co.uk

Photography by GAP Photos

opular for its beautiful architectural


spears and high vitamin count, purple
sprouting broccoli is a must-grow
crop, offering high yields while being
relatively simple to care for. It will require
some protection from birds, as well as
regular watering during dry periods and
staking as it grows on but, if you have the
space to accommodate it, it's sure to
become a firm favourite with the patient
grower. Get your sowings made now and
you can look forward to delicious harvests
reaching your table in the winter months
an irresistible prospect later in the season
when once prolific veg beds are looking
a little more sparse.

Get your young plants ready to


transplant into their final positions.
This crop grows best in well-drained, fertile
soil. Hold off for a couple of weeks if the
weather is still cold and wet, as this can
cause damage to the young specimens.

Once the bed is prepared, mark out your


planting line. Dig a hole for each of your
plants, spacing them 50cm apart. Place the
rootball in the ground and firm the soil back
down, pulling some up around the stems.
Give them a good water at this stage.

step by step potager apr 15 Qx_GYO new size 20/02/2015 12:14 Page 2

Purple sprouting is the ultimate


brassica its easy to grow and
relatively hardy, with excellent flavour,
beautiful colour, subtle texture and a
cut and come again growth pattern.
This collection will spread your
harvest from December to May.

Tie your stakes in carefully, ensuring the


plant is given support, but that the string
isn't so tight that it will cut into or damage
the stem as it grows. Tying a figure of eight
can be a good way of doing this, giving
adequate space as the plant develops.

GYO READERS HAVE THE CHANCE


TO GET THEIR HANDS
ON TWO PLANTS OF EACH OF
THE FOLLOWING VARIETIES
WITH FREE POSTAGE
RED
ADMIRAL F1
A vigorous
hybrid variety
which matures
Dec/Jan
medium-sized,
dark purple
spears.

Remove any yellowing leaves, as diseases


can take hold of these as they start to rot
down. Provided they are not harbouring any
infections, you will be able to compost any
matter removed in the same way you would
with the rest of your green waste.

One of the main pests you need to look


out for is caterpillars. In mild cases these
can be removed by hand, but it is beneficial to
think ahead and provide a fine grade netting
to cover your crops. This will have the added
benefit of deterring birds, too.

REDHEAD
Attractive,
strong spears
produced
from a
vigorous plant
harvest midMarch to
mid-May.
RED FIRE F1
This variety is
similar to
Redhead, but
matures from
early March,
allowing you a
longer season.

CLARET
Large, vigorous
plant
producing
heavy, good
quality spears
harvest from
late March to
late May.

Once your broccoli is ready to harvest,


the spears will be well-formed, but will
not have opened too far and will still be
formed in tight heads. Cut them with a
sharp knife, starting at the main centre
spear and working your way outwards.

10

The plant will produce flowers after the


buds on the head have gone past their
best for picking, and will make the plant think
that it no longer needs to produce more spears.
It will instead concentrate on setting seed. This
means the heads have gone past their best.

TozerSeeds

TozerSeeds

As the plants continue to grow, you


will need to stake them, as they can get
rather tall and quite top-heavy. They are also
easily damaged by wind. You can build more
earth up around the base, too, offering
additional support in adverse weather.

Elsoms Seeds

YOUR COMPLETE VEG GUIDE APRIL

SAVE MONEY!
Purple sprouting broccoli
programme from Delfland
Nurseries Organic Plants

HOW TO ORDER:
EIGHT ORGANIC PLANTS can be bought
for 6.25 with free postage. Delivery
from July 6, 2015. Call 01354 740 553
or buy at organicplants.co.uk
growfruitandveg.co.uk

35

GYO April 15 ROPs_Layout 1 20/02/2015 11:21 Page 36

Bay - Mint Qx_GYO new size 20/02/2015 12:19 Page 2

Watch out for this


FO
disease that affects
C US
most varieties of mint,
as well as related plants including
majoram and savory. Its caused by
a fungus that forms abnormal
shoots in spring and orange lumps
on foliage. Areas of the plant may
die and the leaves can drop off. To
treat this problem, remove affected
areas straight away. However, if
the disease has spread across most
of the plant, its best to remove it
from the soil and dispose of it
accordingly. Move healthy plants
to another part of the garden to
prevent a reoccurring infection.

STEP-BY-STEP: SOWING MINT SEEDS


Mint

can be sown indoors or in a greenhouse


from winter to early summer. Sow in small pots
or containers filled with multipurpose compost.
Make sure that the soil is just slightly moist.
To encourage the seeds to germinate, keep
them in a propagator set between 21C and
24C, or alternatively, a clear polythene bag at
room temperature. Keep the soil moist by
watering regularly. After one or two weeks,
seedlings should appear.
Once your seedlings grow to around 7cm in
height, they are large enough to transfer into
7cm individual pots. Top these up with extra soil
once the mint has been planted.
After the risk of frost has disappeared, slowly
acclimatise your plants to the outdoors by
leaving them in your garden for a few hours at
a time this is a process known as hardening
off. After a week of steadily increasing this time
each day, they will be strong enough to
withstand the cooler temperatures.
Its best to keep your mint in containers to
control the rapid growth, but if you wish to
plant this herb in your garden, be sure to allow
plenty of space to accommodate it. This crop
will thrive in areas of full sun, or partial shade.
Harvest your mint in the early summer before
it starts to grow purple flowers. Remove the
leaves with scissors once picked they can be
stored, dried or frozen for use in the kitchen.

E
AS

f youre looking to grow your own supply of


herbs, mint is a fantastic crop to start with
and this perennial plant will continue to
provide tasty leaves year after year. This herb can
be very invasive, so its best to grow it in a
container to keep it from smothering other
plants. It can reach a height of around 30cm
once fully grown. Mint can be bought from
seed, or as a plant from many garden centres.
Spearmint (Mentha spicata) is the most
common species grown in the UK. However,
peppermint (Menthapiperita) and many others
are also available. There is a slight difference in
the leaves between these two main varieties
peppermint leaves grow from stems, and
spearmint leaves grow directly from the branch
of the plant. Taste is another feature that you
need to consider before buying your seeds.
Spearmint has a sweeter taste whilst peppermint
has more of a cooling sensation. Other varieties
that are available to buy in the UK include apple
mint, chocolate mint, ginger mint, pineapple
mint and grapefruit mint. They all provide
distinct differences in flavour, with the
characteristic scent of mint combined with the
ingredient mentioned in its name, so you can
have fun experimenting with different varieties.

MINT RUST

& DISE

This aromatic plant is


easy to grow and can be
used in a multitude of
ways. GYO takes you
through the whole
process, from sowing
to harvesting

PEST

MINT

YOUR COMPLETE VEG GUIDE APRIL

Herb growing
for beginners:

Only

harvest your
mint leaves as
necessary. Removing
all of the foliage from the
plant will affect its growth.
To propagate your mint,
cuttings can be taken from
mature plants in spring. Once
potted up, these can make
great gifts for gardening
friends, and will also curb
the rapid growth of the
original crop.
Once it is established, mint
requires hardly any care. Cut
back ageing stems in autumn
and make sure you place
container-grown plants in
larger pots every spring.

GYO
TIP!

growfruitandveg.co.uk

37

Raised beds Qx_GYO new size 19/02/2015 16:25 Page 1

BEGINNERS GUIDE Raised beds


EXPERT
Henry Blake is the
owner of raised bed
manufacturer
WoodBlocX. woodblocx.co.uk

What can I do to make my


raised beds last longer?

Henry says: Raised beds are susceptible


to winter conditions and the constant
freezing and thawing can have a
detrimental effect on the strength and
longevity of your beds. We have always
found that the corners of raised beds tend
to be the weakest point in most homemade raised beds, usually where they are
screwed together at the corners. My
recommendation would be to re-enforce
all the corners as much as possible, which
is what we do at WoodBlocX. This can be
done by building them with an overlap
similar to brickwork or adding an outer
skin of wood with a secondary set of
screws at the corner.

EXPERT
Andrew Downey is the
managing director of
Agriframes.
agriframes.co.uk

Will a raised bed work in a very


small area?

Andrew says: Absolutely! The timber


sides retain warmth, producing quicker,
earlier crops and you can position your
bed exactly where you need it. The raised
bed system from agriframes.co.uk is
perfect for small garden spaces with
neatly fitting polythene and micromesh
covers to provide the ideal growing
environment and protect your crops from
pests and weather. This will give you a
productive and easily maintained plot all
year round.

Raise your

VEG GROWING
to a new level

Raised beds provide a great way to grow fruit and


veg and theyre easy to get started with, too
The weather is starting to warm up now,
and its at this time of year that we fling
open our doors and start sowing outside.
While many growers chose to cultivate their
crops in ground-level beds, more and more
people are choosing to use raised beds.
These handy structures can really transform
your space and the way you work and are a
fantastic option for fruit and veg growers.
Put simply, raised beds refer to a growing area
that is above ground-level and which uses
edging made of materials such as wood or
bricks to keep soil enclosed. The earth
inside is dug over and top soil is added to
build up the bed.

Why use a raised bed?


Raised beds are particularly handy for
growers who suffer from less than ideal
conditions in their plot. Because of the way you
can fill your raised beds with the matter of your
38

growfruitandveg.co.uk

choosing, they can quickly turn a hard-tomanage, poorly-draining area with heavy, clay
soil into a productive plot brimming with fresh
vegetables and fruit. In this way, raised beds
allow you to create soil conditions which are
suited for all manner of plants. If, for example,
you would like to grow ericaceous crops, such
as blueberries, you can fill a bed with acidic
compost, while still maintaining alkaline-loving
veg in the bed next door.
Soil in raised beds is better draining than
ground-level soil which limits waterlogging and
means that beds warm up faster in spring,
allowing you to get on with direct sowings and
scratch that gardening itch earlier than usual.
Raised beds are easy to access, too, meaning
they are a good option for gardeners with
mobility problems and they limit soil compaction
as you dont need to walk over the surface to
reach your plants. On top of this, they can easily
be covered with netting and horticultural fleece

Raised beds Qx_GYO new size 19/02/2015 16:25 Page 2

Make sure that the pathways in between


your raised beds are wide enough for you to
push a wheelbarrow through and dont limit
your movements.
If youre building your raised beds on top
of a previously grassy area, remove the turf
and bury it in your beds as it decays, it will
enrich the soil.
If youre using old timber, be careful in
case it has been treated with a toxic
preservative which could harm your plants.
If youre worried that your wood may have
been treated in this way, line it with
polythene sheeting.

Buying raised beds

and make a crop rotational plan simple to


implement. With such a long list, its surprising
that not everyone uses raised beds!

Making raised beds


It is fairly straightforward to build raised beds
in your own garden or allotment. As with any
sort of structure for the garden, its important to
first think about what size and shape you would
like your raised beds to be and where you would
like to position them.
They can be made from all sorts of materials
including timber, railway sleepers and bricks.
Each of these have advantages and
disadvantages brick raised beds for example,
may be a bit tricky to construct but they are
sturdy and robust and last ages, while wooden
raised beds can be easy to construct and remove
as necessary. The best materials for you will
depend on your own circumstances.

Top tips for building raised beds:

When deciding on the width of your raised


bed, make sure that you can easily reach across
the area and access all the surface. In the same
way, when considering the best height for your
raised bed, think about whether you like
gardening sitting down, standing up or kneeling
and make sure your new structure enables you
to spend more time at this level.

If you find the thought of making your


own raised beds from scratch a little
daunting, dont despair. There is a huge
number of raised bed DIY kits available to
buy on the market and youll be able to find
options to suit your requirements. These
products are usually simple to construct and
come with comprehensive and easy-to-follow
instructions, making the process quick
and simple.

What crops are good for


raised beds?
Raised beds are ideal for lots of different
edible crops including soft fruits like
strawberries and raspberries, and vegetables
such as salad leaves, onions, tomatoes and
potatoes. Root vegetables will grow well in
raised beds, providing they are deep enough.
If youve only got a shallow raised bed, built
on a patio or other hard surface, its worth
sticking to shallow rooted crops.

Looking after crops in raised beds


Because of the improved drainage in raised
beds, your crops may need watering more
frequently. To ensure your bed has the right
nutrient levels, try using a mix of 50 per cent
sterilised garden soil or loam, 50 per cent
peat-substitute compost and slow-release
fertiliser in the first year. In the second year,
you may need to top it up with soil or
compost. Adding dressings of liquid feeds or
fertiliser should keep nutrient levels high and
you could apply a mulch in order to improve
moisture retention.

My daughter has a new


garden and Im looking for
a nice gift to give her. Would
you recommend a raised bed
and why?
Gill says: Whether its for a child or
an adult, a raised bed will help give
her control of her crop. Not only will
she will be able to choose the quality
and texture of the soil and ensure
good drainage, but a raised bed will
also provide easy access for tending
and harvesting fruit and veg.
Watering the crop can be done
without waste, too. If possible, I
would recommend choosing wood
for your raised bed as this will not
sweat and will keep an even
temperature throughout the soil,
which is beneficial for your plants.

YOUR COMPLETE VEG GUIDE APRIL

EXPERT
Gill Anderton is
from The Recycle
Works, a wooden
raised bed manufacturer.
recycleworks.co.uk

EXPERT
Peter Hughes
works for raised
bed manufacturers EverEdge.
everedge.co.uk

I would like to buy a raised


bed system thats really easy
to construct and can be built in
different shapes and sizes. What
should I be looking for?
Peter says: I would recommend
looking at a modular system, which
can be added to depending on the
size and shape of your garden. Our
EverEdge EasyBed, made from
painted galvanised steel, is an
example of one such product. The
unique hinged corner design of the
EasyBed allows for construction of
raised beds in just minutes and the
hinged corner also means that you
can quickly and simply join a number
of beds together to create different
shapes and sizes to suit any garden.
growfruitandveg.co.uk

39

DIY Gardening Qx_GYO new size 23/02/2015 10:11 Page 1

VEG MADE EASY DIY Growing tools

Do it yourself:

HANDY TRICKS
FOR BUMPER
HARVESTS
These quick and easy tips will save you money
and get you upcycling everyday items

STEP-BY-STEP
MAKE YOUR OWN
UNDERGROUND
WATER SUPPLY
Certain crops benefit from underground
watering tomatoes have deep roots
that may not absorb water from the
surface, and blackberry plants can suffer
from grey mould if their leaves are damp
during the summer. Using conventional
watering methods simply wont give
these plants the irrigation they need. Give
this clever trick a go and youll be giving
the roots a thorough soaking, whilst
reducing the risk of fungal diseases.

DONT TEAR YOUR


HAIR OUT OVER SLUGS

PEST PROBLEMS?

Slugs are one of the most troublesome garden


pests. Try deterring them from munching on
your plants by making a trip to your local
barbers ask for a collection of hair trimmings
and sprinkle around the plants that are
targeted by slugs. These insects hate travelling
over unfamiliar textures, and may get caught
up in the hair. As the hair decomposes, it will
also add a little boost of nitrogen to your soil.
As an added bonus, this practice may
encourage birds to your garden in search of
material of their nests and they might even
snatch a few slugs while theyre at it to feed
to their chicks. Another natural approach is to
save egg shells simply crush and scatter them
around any affected crops, as the rough
texture should be a useful deterrent. If you
want to include plants that slugs will naturally
dislike in your garden, lemon balm is a great
option. The fragrant aroma could keep these
slimy creatures at bay, and the leaves can be
used in many recipes, too.

STEP 1
Take an empty, clean 500ml plastic water
bottle and pierce holes around the
bottom. Vary the positions slightly so that
water can reach different depths. Use a
bradawl for fast results.

FORCE APHIDS INTO A STICKY SITUATION


During the warmer months, these tiny insects can invade many varieties of plants. Using this
simple trick, you can manage an infestation before it becomes a serious problem.

STEP 2
When youre ready to move your young
plant outside, bury the bottle next to it,
leaving just the neck exposed.

STEP 3

40

STEP 1

STEP 2

Wrap a few layers of duct tape around one


hand, making sure that the sticky side faces
away from your skin.

Dab your hand gently over plants that suffer


from aphids. After a few tries youll find that
the tape has collected dozens of these bugs.

growfruitandveg.co.uk

Every time the plant needs watering,


simply pour the liquid into the buried
bottle. This will provide moisture around
the deepest roots.

DIY Gardening Qx_GYO new size 23/02/2015 10:11 Page 2

MAKE YOUR OWN


WATERING CAN
Fed up of lugging around
this heavy accessory when
your plants only need a little
drink? Do you dislike the
rate at which the water
pours out? If youre
searching for an easy
solution, look no further
than your recycling bin. A
plastic milk bottle that holds
four pints is a perfect
alternative to the
conventional can. Be sure to
wash it out thoroughly and
dry it out before use.

Keep the
bottle
topped up
with fresh water and
wash out regularly.

GYO
TIP!

STEP 1

STEP 2

Carefully push a bradawl through a milk bottle


cap to make four small holes. Fill the bottle
with water and screw the lid back on.

Pour the liquid into a sink or over a plant to


test the speed at which the liquid comes out. If
you want a faster rate, make a few more holes.

MAKE YOUR OWN BIODEGRADABLE SEED POTS FROM LOO ROLLS

YOUR COMPLETE VEG GUIDE APRIL

STEP-BY-STEP

IF YOURE GROWING
ON A BUDGET, THERE
ARE PLENTY OF WAYS
TO RECYCLE AND USE
SEEMINGLY USELESS
OBJECTS IN PLACE
OF DIFFERENT
GARDEN ITEMS
STEP 1

STEP 2

Draw four 3cm lines at one end of the


tube with a pencil. Make sure these markings
are spaced equally apart.

Cut carefully along the marks with a pair


of scissors. This will create four flaps which
will make the base.

STEP 3

STEP 4

Fold the cut pieces of cardboard towards


the centre of the tube to create a bottom
for the seed pot.

Fill them with moist compost and sow your


seeds. Keep upright in a container whilst
the seedlings grow.

Cardboard

tubes
from toilet roll can
be used as seed
pots while youre waiting
for your plants to
germinate indoors.
Once your plants are
ready to be moved outside,
place them straight into the
ground while still in their
pot. The cardboard will
decompose and allow the
crop to grow larger.
For another makeshift
option, try sowing your
seeds in egg shells filled
with potting compost. The
shells can be simply broken
away and the seedling
transplanted straight into
the soil outside.

GYO
TIP!

growfruitandveg.co.uk

41

Show us your plot_GYO new size 20/02/2015 16:45 Page 1

PRACTICAL ADVICE PLOTS


The most
important advice I
could give any budding
veg gardener is to grow
what you like to eat, and
grow lots of different
crops every year

SHOW US YOUR

PLOTS!

We take a look at three readers inspiring spaces, showcasing what is


possible whether you grow on an allotment or in a garden
Marks
Veg Plot
Mark Willis grows in
his beautiful back
garden in Hampshire,
and regular updates
can be found at his
blog marksvegplot.blogspot.com
I have only a small urban domestic garden,
but it includes a shrub border, some fruit
trees, a shed for my tools, three compost
bins and a highly-productive veg-plot. I am
proud of my space because I think it
represents a good balance between the
productive and the ornamental aspects of
gardening a hobby that gives me huge
amounts of pleasure.
I have seven raised beds in which I
grow a huge variety of vegetables
including beans, peas, asparagus, beetroot,
parsnips, cabbages, carrots, broccoli and
many different types of salads. I supplement
this growing-area with a number of big
42

growfruitandveg.co.uk

pots, in which I grow potatoes, blueberries,


herbs and my favourites chillies and
tomatoes. Elsewhere in the garden I have
two enormous tubs (made from an old
plastic water butt) in which I grow rhubarb
and cucumbers. The fertility of the soil is
maintained by the addition of copious
quantities of home-made compost.
One of the best decisions I ever made
was to remove all the grass from my garden
and replace it with shingle, in the midst of
which I put a paved patio, so I dont have to
spend time and effort on mowing a lawn.
The patio area is softened by the addition of
lots of potted plants, including ferns, lavender,
an olive tree, and two standard bay trees.

MARKS
GROWING TIPS

n The most important advice I could give any budding


veg gardener is to grow what you like to eat, (which
probably means not too many courgettes!) and grow
lots of different crops every year because if some fail, others will probably do well.
n It is also good to experiment a bit to see what plants are best suited to your site
and soil as this will vary.

Show us your plot_GYO new size 20/02/2015 16:45 Page 2

Kaz Brown is the


allotment holder
behind the
lottielandgirl.com blog
Five years ago, my
husband Stewart and I visited a local
allotment open day. It turned out it was just
around the corner from our house and we
fell in love with the notion of having a piece
of land to grow veg, fruit and flowers.
We put our names down on the
allotment waiting list, only to find we were
27th! After two and a half years, we finally
got the call about a free plot. Its only small,
but just what we needed. At the beginning
of our growing adventure, we thought wed
try a bit of everything and put in three raised
beds, which are now home to strawberries,
mint, flowers and chives. Plus pallets joined
together to make a tub to grow carrots.
Being complete novices, the help from our

KAZS
GROWING TIPS

n If you want to grow sunflowers on your plot this


year, plant them around your compost bin they
absolutely love it!
n To reduce the risk of your carrots being munched by carrot flies, screwing
pallets together to create a bed so theyre high up off the ground really helps.
n Companion plant wherever you can. I use nasturtiums to deter pesky
caterpillars from feasting on our brassica patch. You can use the flowers, leaves
and seeds in your salads, plus they look beautiful and the bees love them, too!

Lavender
and Leeks
Katie Lane is the
grower behind
lavenderandleeks.com
and gardens on her
Southampton allotment

I first started gardening when my Dad got


his allotment back in 2011. I was officially in
charge of the strawberry patch, but have
since moved onto my own little slice of
heaven. My plot measures 13x7m, which is a
third the size of a standard plot. Even though
its tiny Ive managed to fit lots in, including a
purple shed, a wildlife pond, a fruit cage,
three veg beds, two strawberry beds, a hazel
archway and a large galvanised trough! Ill
admit that my plot is a tad girly and my shed
stands out on the site theres a 1950s
kitchen cabinet, patchwork curtains and gas
cooker inside and youll often find me there
enjoying a well-earned cup of tea. I dont

allotment friends was invaluable. Theres


always something new to learn!
This year it looks like well be giving the
pollinators a fantastic feast. We love bees,
and our allotment has inspired me to help
them, so were learning to be beekeepers.
Having flowers on the plot helps us with our
crops and benefits these little creatures, too.
I love to sit and watch the busy bees at work.
If we could go back to day one, I think
the most important advice we could give
ourselves is not to be disheartened if
something doesnt work. There are so many
factors to consider when crops fail and it isnt
always because youre a beginner. Dont give
up and make sure you take five minutes to sit
back, look over your plot and think Ive
grown this, and boy I should be proud.
Theres nothing more satisfactory that eating
a meal knowing youve grown some of the
food yourself.

YOUR COMPLETE VEG GUIDE APRIL

Lottie
Land Girl

just see my allotment as a place to grow


food, its my little slice of heaven, a place to
escape everyday pressures and simply relax.
This year there are big plans I was
given the go-ahead to keep chickens and
theyll be moving in this spring, I just cant
wait! To make way for them Ive re-arranged
the veg beds and made room for a cutflower bed next to the run. Theres going to
be lots more flowers and different varieties
of veg to try out. Ill be introducing
companion planting, too.
Im extremely proud of myself and what
Ive achieved I do all the digging, weeding
and general jobs, like installing the pond and
making an archway from coppiced hazel.
Im currently in the process of opening
an online business with my Dad called The
Allotment Gardener. We specialise in handmade and vintage goods for gardeners,
including clothes, aprons, harvesting bags
and tools. A blog and YouTube channel
will coincide with the shop.

KATIES
GROWING TIPS

n Plan, plan and plan! This will save you so much


time in the long run. Use graph paper to keep it
to scale and you cant go far wrong.
n If you dont have much ground space, grow up! I have Munchkin pumpkins,
borlotto beans and sweet peas growing up my archway, and these are all
crops that I wouldnt have had space for otherwise!
n Be generous when sowing your seeds. One for the mouse, one for the crow,
one to rot and one to grow! Many a time I have sown seeds for them to be dug
up by mice and disappear.

growfruitandveg.co.uk

43

Plug plants_GYO new size 20/02/2015 12:15 Page 1

PRACTICAL ADVICE Plug plants


Growing in
this way makes sense
if you need to fill gaps
in the vegetable garden,
or if youre a new
grower who needs a
helping hand

PLUGGING
the GAP
Garden writer Elizabeth
McCorquodale discusses
the benefits of growing
from young plants

ntil recently only popular bedding


plants were available as plugs.
However, the choice has grown
considerably and now you can get hundreds
of different types both annuals, and
perennials in this form.
Growing in this way makes sense if you
need to fill gaps in the vegetable garden, or
if youre a new grower who needs a helping
hand getting started. But, there are other
economical reasons for using plugs, too.
Theyve been grown from seed in their
own individual cells, and are stronger than
seedlings of the same age which are started
off in trays, thinned and transplanted. Buying
plug plants not only means you bypass this
time-consuming process, but you could also
end up with hardier crops as well!

44

growfruitandveg.co.uk

The benefits of buying


pre-established seedlings
Many plants are so quick and simple to grow
from seed that at first glance it can be a bit of
a struggle to justify the cost of buying plugs.
However, for some difficult-to-germinate
varieties like sweet peppers and chillies (whose
seed can be expensive) or for plants that often
suffer from losses due to damping off at the
seedling stage (like brassicas and cucumbers)
growing from plugs can be a wise choice.
That said, its rarely economical to buy
large-seeded, easy-to-grow flowers and
vegetables like this. A collection of three
varieties of climbing French beans in plug
form, for example, will cost you around 9,
(or 75p per plant). If you buy the same mix
of cultivars as seed they will cost you a grand

total of just 3 (less than 10p per plant). Fortyfour beetroot plugs can be bought for 10
(22p each). The same variety of seed would
only set you back 1.75 for 250 seeds less
than 2p per plant, even taking into account
the less-than-perfect germination that is typical
of beets. So it is worth weighing it up.
On the other hand, collections of fast
growing, first-season-flowering perennials,
and large, value-for-money annual collections
are a very good deal, as long as you are
prepared to plant them into larger pots as
soon as you get them home.

Plug plants_GYO new size 20/02/2015 12:15 Page 2

Small space growing


I get a great deal of pleasure in planting
plugs, such as strawberries and tomatoes,
in hanging baskets. Their young root systems
grow out into the surrounding soil far better
than older, pot-grown plants and it makes

watering and feeding much easier and more


effective through the whole season. Also you
can grow them whatever space you have

Caring for your crops


Plug plants can be bought through garden
centres or via mail order, but whichever you
choose, make sure you are set up to give
them a good start as soon as you get them
home. Begin by giving them a long drink and
for the first few days keep them out of direct
sun, with no drips or drafts. Dont allow the
temperature at night to drop below 5C.
Plugs need to be moved into pots as
soon as possible after you get them home.
The smallest types (called value or miniplugs) just dont have enough soil in each

cell to keep the plants healthy for very long.


Once they have been planted on, begin to
feed them weekly with half-strength, allpurpose, liquid fertiliser. From then on,
transplant them to the next size pot
whenever they outgrow the old one.
Jumbo, large or garden-ready plugs,
which are available later in the season, are
bigger, with a root system that is sufficiently
developed to cope with garden conditions.
For all sizes hardening off is essential.
When temperatures begin to rise, gradually
acclimatise your plants to outdoor conditions
by placing them outside for longer each day
over a period of about 10 days, after which
theyll be ready to be planted out, to take up
residence in their permanent positions.

YOUR COMPLETE VEG GUIDE APRIL

Perennial wildflowers (brilliant for attracting


bees to the plot) are great candidates for
growing from plugs as they can be quite
difficult to germinate and establish from
seed. After hardening off, place the plugs
where they are to flower, then after two or
three weeks you can broadcast sow your
chosen grasses. In this way the blooms have
a chance to become established before the
more vigorous grasses take over.

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late blight damages or even kills
outdoor tomatoes, but these plants
resist the disease and produce tasty
cocktail-size fruit.
n Leek bumper pack 60 Pandora
leeks for 9.95. This pack contains
three times as many plants as the
nurserys standard pick and mix
pack and is good value for money.
Buy at organicplants.co.uk (for small
packs) or delfland.co.uk (for trays).
Prices include postage and packaging.

GARDENERS
KITCHEN
n Runner bean
Enorma. An easy
to grow variety,
producing masses
of heavy long pods
ranging from 3050cm long, you
really do get a lot
of one plant! Try growing sweet peas
alongside to help with the pollination.
n Sprout Icarus type. Arguably the best
sprouts on the market which produce,
beautiful, sweet-tasting even-sized
buttons starting from the bottom of the
stem right the way up to the top. They
hold well on the plant until harvest, too.
n Leeks F1 Verina. This is a giant variety
of leek, producing high yields of long
white stems and dark green tops. They
have great holding ability throughout
the winter and can be picked early to
be used as baby leeks.
GYO readers can enjoy free postage when
purchasing all three of these items at
gardenerskitchen.co.uk by quoting GYOGK.

BROOKSIDE
NURSERY
n Salad Alfresco
Mix. Such an easy
way to grow your
own with several
different,
nutritious varieties
in each plug, plus
the leaves regrow approximately
every three weeks to enable you to
cut and come again.
n Tomato Gardeners Delight. This
popular cherry type tomato, great in
salads. The plug plants from Brookside
produce heavy crops of small tomatoes
with a delicious, sweet flavour.
n Cucumber Femspot. This is a really
good F1 female variety, with a high
degree of disease resistance, as well
as having a superb taste. They are
ideal for home gardeners.
Buy all three of these products (10 Alfresco
Mix, five tomato Gardeners Delight and
five cucumber Femspot plug plants) for
14.99 including P&P (save 3.93). Use offer
code GY55 at brooksidenursery.co.uk
growfruitandveg.co.uk

45

GYO April 15 ROPs_Layout 1 20/02/2015 11:22 Page 46

46

growfruitandveg.co.uk

people plots_GYO new size 20/02/2015 12:37 Page 2

INTERVIEW Inspiring stories

PLOTS

Phil McCann chats to a Sheffield plot-holder who is


introducing grow your own to anyone who will listen

fter over 40 years in the


childcare profession and
suffering from a lifethreatening illness in her later
years, Dot Rodman realised it
was time for a change. That
change came about after
applying for a job at a local inner
city farm. Ive always had an
interest in growing my own food
as my grandfather was a keen
gardener, so my education
started in childhood. I used to
share an allotment with my
mum, two sisters and auntie and
I was always involved in plots
from an early age, Dot explains.
However, like so many people, a
massive workload eroded any
available leisure time and her
own plot had to be relinquished.
Once that workload ended
and Dots life was put back on
track, it was this job application
that opened another door.
I didnt get the job I went for
but the Heeley City Farm in
Sheffield thought I was suited to childcare, and after all that
time in the profession I guess I am. Now I help people of all
ages, from one-week-old to 93-years-old, in that city farm.
But thats not all Dot and her colleagues are now also
responsible for over 20 local school and community food
growing projects in Sheffield and the surrounding area.
Theyre also in charge of the cultivation of around 10 acres
of land that in turn produces over five tonnes of organically
grown produce. That lot comes from over 100 raised beds,
20 polytunnels or greenhouses and plenty of volunteers.
Once the participants and volunteers have cooked some of
the crops, the rest are either sold to local shops, cafs,
restaurants, co-ops, local farmers markets or the Heeley City
Farm Kitchen Caf.

What we help people


achieve is life changing.
Its the simple things like
helping children grow
some rhubarb then
harvesting and making a
crumble with it. You
should see their faces
when they taste it. It not
only feeds their
stomachs, but also their
enthusiasm. They
blossom. I take a couple
of toddler sessions per
week and we enjoy
sowing seeds, digging,
planting, watering and
harvesting. I think it
really makes a
difference. To be able to
help people grow fruit
and vegetables and then
show them how to cook
it, often produce they
havent seen or tasted
before, is fantastic,
she explains.
Dot and her colleagues offer opportunities for many
people in Sheffield. I see potential in deprived areas and
just because someone is out of work, stuck at home or has
special needs doesnt mean they cant be included. She
works with adults with learning difficulties, people with
mental health issues, children and families, young people
who are not in education, employment or training, older
people, refugees and asylum seekers, ex-offenders, school
children, black and ethnic minority communities and
dementia sufferers and carers.
All we want to do is to improve the social and economic
well-being of individuals in this area through growing food,
she says. And, it seems certain that Dot will continue to do
just that and more, with her energy, skill and perseverance.

YOUR COMPLETE VEG GUIDE APRIL

People & their

To be able to help people grow fruit and vegetables and


then show them how to cook it is fantastic
growfruitandveg.co.uk

47

GYO April 15 ROPs_Layout 1 20/02/2015 11:23 Page 48

READER OFFERS
Amazing Seed Bumper pack

SIV
U
L
C
EX

For GYO Readers


FREE PLANTERS!
3 FREE patio veg planters
PLUS super seeds bundle
worth 45.50 RRP
YOURS for only 22.20 plus P&P

Beetroot Boltardy 0.90 Superb deep red with no rings, good resistance to bolting
Beetroot Pablo 1.55 Perfect for any salad, sweet tasting flesh
Sprouting Broccoli Purple 1.15 The most popular of the sprouting family
Rudolph 1.20 Extra early producing large spears from late January
Brussels sprouts Evesham Special 1.25 A good all rounder
Cabbage Golden Acre 0.90 First rate quality and flavour
Cauliflower All Year Round 0.95 Good old standby variety
Carrot Autumn King 1.15 Heavy yields of long think roots
Courgette All Green Bush 1.35 Crops over a long period when harvested regularly
Cucumber, Telegraph improved 1.50 Long dark green roots, best results indoors
French Beans Blue Lake 1.15 Pencil podded stringless type
Royalty 1.95 Purple turning to dark green on cooking
Leek Musselburgh, 1.10 Very winter hardy, ready for December onwards
Lettuce Mixed 1.15 Good Mix of cos, crisp and loose leaf types
Pea Half Pint 2.25 Very dwarf making the plant ideal for containers
Runner Bean Hestia 2.35 Stringless bushy plants. Early to crop
Sweet corn Kelvedon Glory 1.45 High quality cobs with golden yellow kernals
Squash Butternut 1.15 Delicious baked, yummy
Tomatoes Red & Yellow Tumbling 1.95 & 1.95 Compact and perfect for hanging baskets
Salsify 1.05 Often referred to as the vegetable Oyster
Sorenza 1.05 Outstanding for flavour all though not the best looking
Parsnips Tender & True 1.10 One of the most popular varieties

ORDER FORM

Please send order forms (copies will be accepted) along with payment to:
Kings Seeds, Monks Farm, Kelvedon, Colchester, Essex CO5 9PG. Order by
phone 01376 570000 quoting code 19008.

PRODUCT
TWENTY TWO SEED PACK OFFER CODE 19008
INCLUDING THREE FREE VEG PLANTERS
TOTAL (Including 3.50 P&P)
I enclose my cheque for
Visa / Mastercard / Maestro card for
Card Number
Valid from

Expiry Date

POSTAGE PRICE ()
22.20
3.50

QTY
1

SUB TOTAL

made payable to Kings Seeds OR please debit my

Issue No.

(Switch only)

Security code

(last three digits)

MANDATORY INFORMATION
Name
Address

Signature
Postcode

Telephone No.

Email

Your details will be processed by Kings Seeds in full accordance with the data protection legislation. All entries will become the
property of Kings Seeds Ltd and sister companies may wish to contact you with information of other services and products we
provide. Please tick here if you DO NOT wish to receive such information by Post Phone Email SMS .
Offer closes 30th April 2015. UK mainland only

48

growfruitandveg.co.uk

Ask the Experts Qx_GYO new size 20/02/2015 13:13 Page 2

Expert advice

Ask the

experts

GREENHOUSE
PEST

masterclass

Your growing questions are answered


by our panel of garden gurus

EXPERT
Kate Nicoll is the senior gardener at
Attingham Park in Shrewsbury

What are the key pests to look out for


when growing in a greenhouse? Jill, Essex

Kate says: At Attingham we sowed the first seeds


of the season using soil-warming cables and a
propagating mat to bring things on. The first pests to
take an interest are the mice, moving in on the broad
beans and sweet peas as tasty snacks. Weve evolved
a technique of using upside down clear plastic storage
boxes (the shallow ones that fit under the bed).
These make perfect mouse-proof propagators!
Biological warfare is deployed on the ubiquitous
slug, who enjoys the warm and damp in a winter
glasshouse and moves in on the larger seedlings.
The nematodes we water onto the soil usually sort
them out. Its also really worth checking under pots,
and particularly between the sections of plastic
modules where they lurk. Just one fat slug can do
a huge amount of damage.

My greenhouse crops seem to be covered


in a sooty looking mould, alongside small,
white insects what are these and how can
I get rid of them without using chemicals?
Robert, Cardiff
Kate says: Once the weather warms up the aphids
move in, leaving a trail of sooty mould growing on
the sweet honey dew that they excrete. Soft soap
(available from garden centres) is the organic solution.
When sprayed on to the insects it blocks their pores
and they can no longer breathe. If that fails, the
natural parasite is Aphidius colemani, which is
available by mail order from various suppliers.

Last year my greenhouse had quite a severe


aphid infestation, can you give me any
advice of how to help ensure my new season
crops wont be affected? Viv, London

GYO
TIPS

Thorough cleaning of your greenhouse equipment as


well as the actual structure can help to minimise the
risk of pests and diseases that may have overwintered
from last year. This will include pots, tools and benches.
n Ensure that there is sufficient air circulation when you are
growing under cover. A stagnant environment will encourage
diseases to take hold and will allow pests to thrive.
n The key pests to look out for now are: aphids, spider mites,
whiteflies, leafminers.
n

Kate says: Prevention, as ever, is the key, but quite


hard to achieve. Giving the glasshouse a really good
clean out at the end of the growing season is always
advisable, as well as leaving it empty for a few weeks
so there is nothing for pests to feed on. With all those
enemies to contend with it is amazing we ever
manage to grow anything, but somehow a good
percentage of the seeds we sow survive to then
dice with death in the big bad world outside!

growfruitandveg.co.uk

49

Ask the Experts Qx_GYO new size 20/02/2015 13:13 Page 3

EXPERT
Lucy Chamberlain is a
fruit grower from Essex

Plum tree shock

Ive recently been given an established plum


tree. I replanted it last September and the
shock has obviously made it drop its leaves. It has
never been pruned and some branches are crossed
and touching, so how is the best way to do this?
Ian, via email
Lucy says: What a lovely gift to receive! It is likely,
given the young age of your tree, that it only requires
some light pruning to get it into shape (and dont
worry being deciduous the leaves will reappear this
spring). You are right to identify crossing and touching
branches as a target for your secateurs, and you
should also look for any dead, diseased and damaged
growth, too (fondly referred to as the three ds). Firstly,
though, decide upon a shape for your tree, as this will
determine how you train it. Plums can be trained as
open-centred trees, pyramid trees (with a clear central
stem) and fans. Check out a pruning manual to
establish which shape is best suited to your needs.
Then, while shaping your tree appropriately,
simultaneously sacrifice the three ds, along with the
crossing and touching limbs. You can either prune the
tree in sunny weather now, or wait until it has
finished cropping in late summer.

EXPERT
Pauline Pears is an organic
gardening expert

Protecting strawberries
from spider mite

I suffer with red spider mite on my forced


strawberries that are kept under glass. Im
keen to avoid using any chemicals, so what can
I do to keep my crops safe? Michelle, Kent

Pauline says: The most effective way to deal with


red spider mite is to introduce the biological
control predator Phytoseiulus persimilis. This is
another tiny mite, available by mail order from the
Organic Gardening Catalogue and other sources. It
needs to be used as soon as the pests appear
but as the temperature in the greenhouse must
not fall below 10C, and must reach 20C for some
part of every day, it may not be appropriate in
your situation.
The only other option is to ensure that the
plants you bring in for forcing are as pest-free as
possible. Move the pots outside, and remove all
old leaves and debris, after cropping. Make sure
the soil doesnt dry out, and dont overfeed with
nitrogen. Alternatively, only crop forced plants
once this should mean the pest does not have
time to build up to problem levels.
50

growfruitandveg.co.uk

Ask the Experts Qx_GYO new size 20/02/2015 13:13 Page 4

Expert advice
EXPERT
Nicola Bradley is productive
gardens supervisor at The
Lost Gardens of Heligan

Starting with salsify

I would like to try to grow salsify this


year, but dont really know where to
start what conditions does this crop like,
and is it difficult to care for? David, Bristol
Nicola says: Salsify is an easy, fool-proof root
crop that is a tasty addition to the winter
larder. Seeds are widely available and should
be sown direct now at depth of 1.25cm in
rows 30cm apart. Once seedlings have
established thin them to 15cm apart. We grow
salsify regularly and prepare the ground by
single digging the plot and then raking the
surface to a thin tilth prior to sowing. During
the season, keep the rows weed-free and
water consistently, as allowing the plants to
dry could encourage splitting. They are a light
feeding plant so fertilising is not normally
necessary. Harvest from October through to
January, taking care when lifting them as the
roots can be brittle. You can, as an added
bonus, keep a couple of the roots in the
ground and as regrowth starts, cover over
to force them and use as early chards!

EXPERT
Toby Beasley is head
gardener at Osborne
House, Isle of Wight

Thinning out

I am a brand new grower and got


a little over-excited sowing my veg
seeds! I know I need to thin the seedlings
out, but they are very close together. How
is the best way to go about this without
damaging the plants I want to keep?
Jo, Dunbar

Toby says: Im not sure if you have sown


seeds directly in the ground or in seed
trays. For those sown directly in the
ground there is no real delicate way of
thinning apart from doing it early when
the seedlings are very young and before
they have become too big. Carrots, for
example, are very easy to thin by just
pulling when they are just starting to form
their adult leaves. In seed trays you can be
very precise mainly because you can work
far more comfortably. Its the same process
but using something like a pen knife blade
can help with pulling up the seedlings you
want to remove.

Problems to look out


for in April...
The key issues to keep an eye
on this month
n WEEDS it isnt just our crops benefiting
from the improved weather, these
unwelcome guests will also be thriving. Stay
on top of weed control with regular hoeing.
n CATERPILLARS these little pests will be
on the lookout for an easy lunch this
month. Keep an eye on plants and if you
see any holes in leaves, or eggs, control
the problem quickly.
n SCAB get your controls in place to
protect trees against this fungus by pruning
any branches that may be affected. If you
are still choosing fruit trees, buying resistant
varieties is the best measure affected plants.

WRITE TO US AT
Ask the Experts, Grow Your Own, 25 Phoenix Court,
Hawkins Road, Colchester, Essex C02 8JY

EMAIL
experts@growfruitandveg.co.uk
OR GO ONLINE
growfruitandveg.co.uk/grapevine
Here at Grow Your Own we do our best to send a reply to all your
gardening questions. Unfortunately the huge numbers of emails
and letters we receive mean that a personal response cannot
always be guaranteed.

growfruitandveg.co.uk

51

Ask the Experts Qx_GYO new size 20/02/2015 13:31 Page 5

PEST FOCUS

PLUM LEAF
CURLING
APHID
Protect your plants
by following this
simple advice

These common pests feed on the


leaves of fruit trees (in particular,
plums). If you have noticed that the
foliage on your tree is looking
slightly distorted early on in the
season, then it is time to take action!

How is the damage caused?


These aphids will usually hatch at
the point that your new buds are
bursting into life after having
overwintered from eggs laid back in
autumn. These young pests fill up
on sap by sucking it from delicate
leaves. They will then excrete a
honeydew, which causes a sooty
type of mould to settle on your
plants. Any leaves developing in the
spring are most vulnerable to attack,
showing the signs right through the
summer months. Those growing
later are at lower risk. If you have a
severe infestation during the
summer you will notice insects on
the leaves, as well as the symptoms
described above.

RHS image library

Control methods

52

growfruitandveg.co.uk

With minor cases you can remove


and squash any aphids you see, safe
in the knowledge that natural
controls will take over later in the
season (for example, birds will love
to feed on these insects as nutritious
little snacks). However, some of the
creatures that enjoy an aphid lunch,
such as ladybirds, are not usually
around early enough in the year to
deal with larger attacks
taking place now.
Chemical controls
are available, but
be careful to
check that they
will not cause
damage to
beneficial insects
and that crops
will still be safe to
eat post-application.

Sarah Raven Qx_GYO new size 20/02/2015 12:34 Page 2

Expert advice

Garden Chat

SARAH RAVEN

This month Sarah reveals how to make cut flowers last longer
and also shares her favourite veg to start now
From the start of April we
will have tulips filling
almost every bit of the
garden and in amongst
these flowers, I love
to have wallflowers.
They really are the
stormtroopers of fragrance
and we pick them almost
daily in order to transport
their delicious old-fashioned
scents inside.
Cut wallflowers last well
if you sear their stem ends in
boiling water and put a slosh
of clear vinegar in their vase
before you arrange them.
Thats a good general rule to
follow for most spring
flowers. Newly grown, many
things have a tendency to
flop but searing increases the
surface area for water
absorption and helps them
Spinach
last better. Try it with
doesnt
like
blossom, bluebells, and
extremes of
hellebores, too.
temperature - but
As well as gradually filling
with flowers, our garden soil
April provides the
is now warm enough to sow
ideal climate for
straight into the ground. Its
it to thrive
the perfect time to start
beautiful annuals such as
love-in-the-mist, poppies and
marigolds. Place in a noughts and crosses grid, marked clearly with
canes, with the lines spaced a foot apart. These will quickly merge
into a block with no apparent lines and, if sown now, will be in
flower in early June.
In the veg garden, the same applies with spinach, which is an
ideal crop for sowing. Spinach does not like extremes of
temperature if it's too hot and dry, or too cold and wet it wont
grow, but April usually provides the ideal climate for it to thrive.
My favourite variety is Medania. This has small, tender leaves and
tastes good raw or cooked.

Sowing under cover


Under cover, you want
to sow cosmos and
courgettes as well. With
cosmos choose a white
variety such as Purity
or the deep carmine
pink Dazzler.
I always aim to have
at least one plant of all
three colours of courgettes
mixed up together, they
look good on the plate.
Go for the healthy and
prolific Romanesco, as
well as Bianca which is
a lovely eau de nil, and
the bright yellow Soleil.
In a small garden,
courgette plants may take
up too much room, so
experiment with the
climbing courgette
Tromboncino which you
can train over a sunny
fence or shed.
Courgettes and
cosmos both have big
seeds and can be sown
into their own individual
pots. Once you've done
this put them somewhere
with a little bit of basal
heat from a propagator if
you have one. Their germination will be quick in these conditions
and you should see seedlings emerge in a matter of days. Plant
both courgettes and cosmos out once the risk of frosts is over in
about six weeks time to fill your garden with flowers and produce
right through summer and autumn.
Sarah Raven has been running cooking, flower arranging,
growing and gardening classes at her East Sussex farm since 1999,
and has presented on BBC Gardeners World. She also has her own
website (sarahraven.com), where you can purchase flowers, seeds,
kits and view a full list of courses.

READER OFFER
Grow Your Own readers can get 20 per cent of all Sarah Raven seeds until the end of April.
Simply visit sarahraven.com or call 0845 092 0283 and quote offer code GYO15APR.
*Offer valid until the April 30, 2015 and cannot be used in conjunction with any other
offer. Subject to availability. Offer cannot be used in the Perch Hill shop.

growfruitandveg.co.uk

53

GYO April 15 ROPs_Layout 1 20/02/2015 11:24 Page 54

GYO Awards 8 pager Qx_GYO new size 20/02/2015 14:36 Page 1

8 pages of growing advice from your winners

THE GREAT
BRITISH
GROWING

AWARDS 2015

The results are in!


It's the moment we've all
been waiting for...the
results of the Great British
Growing Awards 2015!

AS
VOTED
FOR BY
YOU!

Over the past few months you've


been busy nominating and voting
for your favourite gardening
organisations, retailers and
celebrities and we now have the
winners and runners up in each of
the categories to share with you.
Thousands of you got in touch to tell
us who you rate in the industry, and
we've asked some of your
champions to provide their useful
tips and advice to help you in your
growing quest.
This year's awards have been
sponsored by the Edible Garden
Show and we'll be presenting
certificates to our winners there this
year. The show takes place at
Alexandra Palace from March 20 to
22 and will showcase a number of
exhibitors as well as family-fun
activities, an advice centre and even
a pop-up city farm. The Potting Shed
is set to be a hive of activity, with
advice on growing from experts at
the National Allotment Society and
information about the new
nationwide search for Britains best
allotment which is being run by
Hippo. Plus, experts such as James
Wong and Pippa Greenwood will be
sharing their gardening know-how
with audiences at the experts
theatre. For more information visit
theediblegardenshow.co.uk

growfruitandveg.co.uk

55

GYO Awards 8 pager Qx_GYO new size 20/02/2015 14:38 Page 2

The Great British Growing Awards 2015

Favourite GYO
Contributor
Winner: Anne Swithinbank
Second place: James Wong
Third place: Alys Fowler

The staff and management of


Ken Muir Ltd would like to say
THANK YOU for voting for us in
the 2014 Grow Your Own Awards
Please write to: KEN MUIR LTD
Dept GYO15F1
Honeypot Farm, Weeley Heath,
Clacton-on-Sea, Essex CO16 9BJ

visit:www.kenmuir.co.uk

Anne Swithinbank has been a part of Grow


Your Own for many years and her monthly
pages are always a well-thumbed section.
As well as offering advice on popular crops such
as cauliflowers, parsnips and carrots, she is also
an advocate of more unusual veg. This month
shes advising growers to try salsify or
scorzonera. Both produce slender roots 38cm
or more long and if left in the ground, will
produce edible leaves or chards, she says.
Foliage is sliced off just above the top of the
root in autumn, soil pulled up into a ridge over
the stumps and in spring, leaves are blanched
and more palatable. Last time I grew
scorzonera, so this year Ill sow salsify. The
roots were tricky to lift, so Im going to
excavate a trench along the row and fill it
with compost. Then Ill station sow several
seeds 15cm apart in rows 30cm apart, then
thin to one per station. The roots can stay in
the ground through winter and have a nutty
rooty flavour.

Try
growing
salsify with
Anne!

Best Gardening Event


THE

ORGANIC
GARDENING
CATALOGUE

THANK YOU to everyone


who voted for us in the BEST
CUSTOMER SERVICE category!
dK'
bringing you the highest quality

^


'zKORGANIC
STARTER VEG SEED COLLECTION,

7.95 + 1.75 P&P.
'



d
Carrots, French Bean,
Z>>
:


01932 253666
www.OrganicCatalogue.comMo
56

growfruitandveg.co.uk

Winner: RHS Chelsea Flower Show


Second place: RHS Hampton Court Show
Third place: Gardeners' World Live

Use
flowers in
your veg
plot

This year, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show will take place from
May 19 to 23 and a packed series of events and highlights
are already planned. But, this event is not just for those who
grow only ornamentals. As Guy Barter from the RHS says,
allotmenteers can also use flowers to boost their plots. Cut
flowers are an excellent addition to the veg plot as they
harbour different pests and diseases, making them a useful
break crop as well yielding fabulous blooms in abundance,
he says. Dahlias, sweet peas, sunflowers and zinnias are
particularly rewarding. Many flowers also feed insect
predators, parasites and pollinators and will encourage them
to visit your garden. He adds edible flowers such as sweet
Williams and nasturtiums are easy and fun to grow, too.

Best Online
Garden
Retailer
Winner:
Thompson
and Morgan
Second place:
Suttons Seeds
Third place:
Marshalls

GYO Awards 8 pager Qx_GYO new size 20/02/2015 14:54 Page 3

Best Vegetable
Seed Range

Top
varieties
to try this
year

Winner: Thompson and Morgan


Second place: Mr Fothergill's Seeds
Third place: Suttons Seeds
Thompson and Morgan were
champions in five of our
awards, including the Best
Vegetable Seed Range category.
Here Kris Collins from the
company reveals his top five
varieties to try this year.
Strawberry 'Sweetheart' A
variety which combines
old fashioned flavour
with modern breeding.
Raspberry 'Ruby
Beauty' Perfect for
the patio or in borders
where space is tight.
Courgette
'Shooting Star' F1
hybrid A stunning
space-saving plant

when grown up a trellis or arch.


Onion 'Hylander' F1 Hybrid
A late cropper which is reluctant
to bolt.
Broccoli 'Sibsey'
(Bellaverde) F1 Hybrid This
is so sweet you can eat the
stems raw!

BEST GARDEN
TOOLS RANGE

Winner: Spear and Jackson


Second place: Fiskars
Third place: Wolf Garten

For many, a good veg plot starts with a good pair of tools and
it's really important to buy products you know you can trust.
However, choosing the right items is only part of the process
you also need to maintain them properly. The team from Spear
and Jackson share their advice on how to keep your tools in tiptop condition. Be sure to wash them after use to remove dirt
and soil, then dry thoroughly, they say. For cutting tools it is a
great idea to oil the blades and sharpen them regularly. Be sure
to store your tools away out of the elements, in a shed or garage.
Finally, always check handles of wooden tools for
shrinkage or loose joints. Soaking in water over
night will restore a tight fitting joint. So
remember wash, dry, oil, sharpen, store
and check.

Keep
your tools
in tip-top
condition

Favourite
Celeb Gardener
Winner: Monty Don
Second place:
Alan Titchmarsh
Third place: Bob
Flowerdew

Most Inspiring
Veg Garden
Winner:
Longmeadow
(Monty Don's
vegetable garden)
Second place: Lost
Gardens of Heligan
Third place:
Beechgrove Garden

growfruitandveg.co.uk

57

GYO Awards 8 pager Qx_GYO new size 20/02/2015 14:40 Page 4

The Great British Growing Awards 2015

Best Eco-Friendly Veg


Growing Product
Winner: Organic slug pellets from Growing Success
Second place: Natural seaweed fertiliser from Maxicrop
Third place: Nemaslug from Nemasys

Be an
eco-friendly
gardener

Maxicrop

Our seaweed makes the difference


First earlies, second earlies and main
crop potatoes need regular watering for
a plentiful crop. Remember to add
Maxicrop feed to your
watering can every time.

Organic
Lawn
Fertiliser

Plants do better with Maxicropnaturally

Available from most garden centres


(including Wyvales) and online at
www.capitalgardens.co.uk
58

growfruitandveg.co.uk

Winner:
Thompson and
Morgan
Second place: Ken
Muir
Third place:
Blackmoor
Nurseries

Winner:
Gardeners' World
Second place:
River Cottage
Third place: Love
Your Garden with
Alan Titchmarsh

BBC

Organic
Tomato
Feed

friendly gardening. However,


gardeners can do plenty more
to help the planet, such as
reducing water usage, they
say. Don't water in the middle
of the day when evaporation
will be at its highest, and make
sure that you have plenty of
organic matter in the soil to
absorb the water. If you don't
have enough home-made
compost to dig in, try mulching
with the new organic Growing
Success No Dig Soil Improver.

Most
Entertaining
Kitchen
Garden
TV/Radio
Programme

Thank you for voting for Maxicrop


as one of the best eco-friendly
veg growing products!

Organic
Garden
Fertiliser

More and more people are


opting for eco-friendly
products, such as the ones
commended in our awards.
The eco-team from William
Sinclair team who produce
the organic slug pellets which
were named the Best EcoFriendly Veg Growing Product
have lots of advice on what
you can do in your own plot.
Growing your own fruit and
veg is an excellent starting
point for environmentally

Best Fruit
Nursery or
Retailer

GYO April 15 ROPs_Layout 1 20/02/2015 11:27 Page 59

GYO Awards 8 pager Qx_GYO new size 20/02/2015 14:40 Page 6

The Great British Growing Awards 2015

BEST GARDENING
ORGANISATION
Winner: The RHS
Second place: The
National Allotment Society
Third place: National Trust
Marshalls would like to thank you
for voting for us in the
Grow Your Own awards
We are delighted that we have come third in the
Best Online Garden Retailer and Best Customer
Service categories.
Whatever you chose to
grow you can be sure to
produce an excellent crop
because we pride
ourselves in providing you
with only the best quality
seeds and plants. Whats
more, with our money
saving special offers you
can grow your favourites
for less.

Request New Marshalls catalogue today


at www.marshalls-seeds.co.uk
or call 0844 557 6788

Plant little
and often,
says Guy

The Royal Horticultural Society is a charity


designed to promote gardening and it offers a
huge range of advice for gardeners of all abilities. Here,
RHS horticultural advisor Guy Barter shares some tips for
beginner gardeners just starting out.
1 Dont be too previous if the soil is wet or cold it's
better to wait for ideal planting and sowing conditions.
2 Buying plants, especially tender ones such as
tomatoes and courgettes, is often a better strategy
than trying to raise your own. Windowsill plants in
particular are tricky to raise without elongated stems,
weak leaves and poor roots.
3 Beware of friends bearing gifts. Those raspberry and
strawberry plants from old established plantations are
quite possibly full of viruses and are out-dated cultivars.
Similarly, vegetable plants may harbour disastrous
diseases such as clubroot.
4 Plant little and often it avoids growing so much
that you cannot use it.

Best New Veg


Growing Product
Looking after gardens and gardeners has
been our mission for more than 80 years.
You can rely on us to provide you with
everything you need, from growing your
own produce, to dealing with pests and
planning new projects. We are great for
lawn care, still selling loose seed, plus all
the tools to make your spaces glorious, no
matter the size.

We would like to thank all those readers


who voted for us in the Best One Stop
Gardening Shop category. Were delighted
were continuing to get it right for you.
Visit

www.wilko.com
or pop into your local Wilko store
for all your gardening needs.

60

growfruitandveg.co.uk

Winner: Thompson and Morgan's TomTato


Second place: Crown Garden Products'
Get
Grow Bag Frame
bumper
Third place: HotBin's HotBin composter crops of toms
For those who haven't yet
heard of the TomTato, this
is an innovative new plant
which produces both toms
and potatoes through a handgrafting technique. Michael
Perry from Thompson and
Morgan has the following tips
for growers wanting to try it.
n Grow TomTato in a
greenhouse or sheltered
position outside in full sun.
For best results plant in a pot
which holds at least 40 litres
of compost, or a deep
container with a minimum
of 50cm diameter. You can
also grow TomTato plants outside in a sunny spot with well-drained
soil. Add plenty of well-rotted manure to improve soil structure and
fertility. Space plants 60cm apart.
n Plant with the graft union below soil level, burying the stem up
to the second tomato leaf from the base. Water thoroughly.
n Support TomTato as it grows and pinch out side shoots regularly.

and pots

Best for
Customer
Service
Winner:
Thompson and
Morgan
Second place:
Organic Gardening
Catalogue
Third place:
Marshalls

GYO Awards 8 pager Qx_GYO new size 20/02/2015 14:40 Page 7

Best Greenhouse or
Polytunnel Brand
Winner: Halls Greenhouses
Second place: Rhino Greenhouses
Third place: First Tunnels
Pete Monahan from
award-winning Halls
Greenhouses says its
important to clean
and maintain your
greenhouse. With a
soft brush go around
the surfaces and
crevices inside and
remove any dirt and
debris, he advises.
Using a disinfectant or a cleaning
solution diluted correctly, scrub down
the surfaces. Start at the ridge and
scrub the frame and glass. Make sure
you get out any dirt from between the
glass panels (a plant label can be helpful).
Dont forget to clean any staging or shelving, too. To tackle
outside surfaces, usually just a hose and soft brush is needed,
but stubborn deposits may need a scrub. It's a good idea to
clear the gutters of debris before cleaning the side glass, too.

Win
Winners
Winner
in rs
Bes
est Garden
es
Garden
Best
Tool
o Range
Rannge
Tool
2015

Look after
your
greenhouse

Best Gardening Blog

Best Kitchen
Gardening
Winner: John Harrison's allotment-garden.org
Book
Second place: Alys Fowler's blog
Third place: thehortchannel.com

With around 40 years of gardening experience, John Harrison has


certainly grown his fair share of fruit and veg and he has plenty of
advice for growers starting a plot from scratch. To grow good
crops, you need to choose a sunny spot, ideally south-facing, he
advises. If it's grassed over, remove the turves and stack them
grass-side down. In a year they'll become a wonderful loam.
Remove any perennial weeds including their roots. Invest in a soil
test kit. Most veg like a pH around 6 to 6.5, except potatoes who
actually do better on a soil around 5.5. You decrease acidity by
adding garden lime, preferably in the autumn. I'd always dig my
plot over to start with, too. This will loosen compacted soils and
enable you to see how deep the top soil is.

Winner: Grow
Your Own Veg
by Carol Klein
Second place:
River Cottage, Veg
Everyday by Hugh
FearnleyWhittingstall
Third place: The
Edible Garden by
Alys Fowler

you to
Thank you
everyone who
w
everyone
voted for us!

Create
your perfect
plot from
scratch!
For
For more information
information visit our
o website:
www.spear-and-jacksson.com
www.spear-and-jackson.com
or email: sales@spear-and-jackson.com
sales@spear-and-jackson.com
growfruitandveg.co.uk

61

GYO Awards 8 pager Qx_GYO new size 20/02/2015 14:40 Page 8

The Great British Growing Awards 2015

Best Community
Growing Project
Winner: Incredible Edible Todmorden
Second place: Feed Bristol
Third place: Sacred Heart School
Incredible Edible
Todmorden is a
community of
growers who have
turned their local
area into a space
for everyone to enjoy
seasonal harvests from
corn growing outside the police station, to strawberries
outside the college. Mary Clear, one of the minds behind Incredible
Edible Todmorden has the following advice on how to get started
if you want to turn your local area into a productive growing space:
n Make it fun, have lots of cakes and not too many experts!
n Grow food for bees and humans
n Most councils and businesses will love you to help transform a
grot spot to a sweet spot, so utilise their support
n Never, never underestimate the power of small actions
Diana Hudson who put the project forward had this to add:
The idea for Incredible Edible Todmorden had just started as my
son left the local high school and I became a school governor. I was
absolutely fascinated and over a few years I saw the excitement it
generated. Just seeing edible plants growing around town really
fired peoples imaginations.

Start your
own growing
project
today

Thank you to all of our customers past and


present who voted Halls Greenhouse Brand of
the year 2015.
Halls has been known for quality and value
home Greenhouses since 1936 and those
values still hold true today.
Visit www.hallsgreenhouses.com today to find
your nearest dealer and inspect the quality
Greenhouses for yourself.

www.hallsgreenhouses.com
mail@eden-greenhouses.com

Best
One-Stop
Gardening
Shop

At just 23 a year for individual members


and 2.50 per allotment association member,
joining the National Allotment Society gives
you access to a raft of benefits and the
satisfaction of knowing that you are helping
to promote the allotment movement and
preserve sites for future generations.
Legal advice n Supportive regional network
Discounted seed scheme n Horticultural advice
n Affordable allotment insurance and other
discounts n Quarterly magazine and e-newsletter
n Informative website
n
n

Many thanks to all who voted for us and many more


thanks to all the volunteers who work so hard to
protect our plots.

Joining details available at www.nsalg.org.uk


T: 01536 266576 E: natsoc@nsalg.org.uk

62

growfruitandveg.co.uk

Winner: B&Q
Second place:
Wilkinson
Third place:
Homebase

James
Wong, judge
of the
Volunteer of
the Year Award said:
"It was both the length
of service and
commitment in the face
of adversity that made
the winner stand out.
What a hero!"

Anne
Swithinbank,
the judge
for this
award category, said:
"I love the fact that
people of all ages take
part and the project is
continuing to evolve
and develop.

Volunteer of the Year


Winner: Eric Barnes, Garden Organic
Second place: Brian Hughes, Thrive
Third place: Craig Duffy, Warwickshire
Wildlife Trust
The winner of this award is a
volunteer at Garden Organic,
a charity which aims to
promote organic gardening
and growing. Marc
Hammond, who nominated
Eric for the award, had this to
say about his hard work and
dedication: Eric has been
volunteering at Garden
Organic for over 20 years and
despite health issues, gives up
two days a week to help run
our horticultural therapy
programme GROWTH. He is
a real friend and inspiration to
the students and recently, on
release from a week's stay in
hospital, he visited Garden
Organic to see the students
before he returned home! Eric
is also well known for helping

out the staff at Garden


Organic, whether it may be a
lift to or from work or a trip to
the shops. Eric is a star and
Garden Organic would
struggle without him.

Win Multiple Qx_GYO new size 23/02/2015 09:58 Page 2

WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN

UP FOR

GRABS!

PRIZ
WORTE
H

Get your hands on some brilliant prizes


to put to use in your garden this season

522!

WEED SUPPRESSION MATERIAL


If youre looking for an eco-friendly way to protect your crops from weeds,
Natural Organic WeedGuard cut sheets provide excellent suppression in
the form of biodegradable material. They are easy to lay out and cut
through to accommodate new plants and they eliminate the need for
herbicides. The material is also porous, which allows the plants to breathe
under the covering it will also provide the soil with organic matter. These
sheets slowly decompose throughout the season, making them perfect
for use on allotments, raised beds or small gardens.
Mulch Organic and GYO have teamed up to provide 19 lucky winners
with a set of five packets of WeedGuard cut sheets. Each pack contains
three sheets which measure 19cmx121cm, covering a total area of 3.3m.
The sets provided are individually worth 27.50. To enter, turn
to page 112, or go to growfruitandveg.co.uk/competitions. For
more information on this product, visit mulchorganic.co.uk

E
PRIZ H
T
WOR

264!

HEAT
HOLDER
PRODUCTS
Keep your feet cosy
while working on
the allotment with
these socks, which
have a 2.34 tog
rating. Heat Holders
are seven times
warmer than normal
cotton socks and are
designed to keep toes
warm no matter what
the weather brings. The
new Heat Holders neck
warmer with heat weaver
insulation liner holds more
warm air close to the skin,
keeping you toasty for
longer. The specially
developed yarn provides high
performance insulation against cold with
superior moisture breathing abilities.
Heat Holders is offering GYO readers the
chance to win one of 12 sets worth 22.
To enter, turn to page 112 and
follow the simple instructions, or go
to growfruitandveg.co.uk/competitions.
For more information on the range
visit heatholders.com

WORT
H
OVER

200!

ELEGANCE BEAN FRAMES


Agriframes is offering two GYO readers the chance to win one of these
beautiful frames worth 101 each. They have an attractive and practical
design, with solid steel arches and steel cross struts and are able to support
even the heaviest crop. Each pole is covered in a rust resistant protective
coating, meaning they can outlast even the most British of summers! In
an elegant sage colour, each supporting arch is topped with a solid steel
spiralling finial, so will also look beautiful on your plot.
For your chance to win this great prize, go to page 112 and follow
the simple instructions, or visit growfruitandveg.co.uk/competitions.
For more information on this and the other great products
Agriframes has to offer, go to agriframes.co.uk

growfruitandveg.co.uk

63

Smart gardening Qx.e$S_GYO new size 19/02/2015 11:39 Page 2

Scientific research New chillies Inside sowing

SMART
GARDENING
The only pages modern gardeners
need for brilliant growing

GYO spotlight

Cavolo nero could soon be known by


a different name after a recent survey
found that very few shoppers know that
it is a vegetable. While the leafy crop
(which is a close cousin to kale) is
popular among growers, research has
found that 60 per cent of consumers
have no idea what its name refers to,
with nearly half saying it was something Italian and 15 per cent
stating the name sounded posh.
To help end such confusion, the Lincolnshire farmers who grow
this crop in Britain want to drop its Italian name and rebrand it as black
kale. Alex Boughton from Discover Kale explains: Cavolo nero is a
close cousin to kale, which means it has the same great nutritional
profile and like its British counterpart, it is really versatile, easy to use
and great value. By renaming cavolo nero black kale, we are making it
really clear that it shares the benefits of kale and we hope that this will
encourage consumers to try this brilliant home-grown brassica.

LET US INTRODUCE YOU TO


Winter-hardy leeks
This British-bred leek variety will look
stunning in your winter veg garden as
the leaves change from blue-green to
a striking purple in the colder months.
Your crops can be harvested from
December until well into spring, too.
You can buy 50 seeds of leek
Northern Lights for 1.99 from
Dobies of Devon (dobies.co.uk).

Spaghetti chillies
This chilli Spaghetti (Capsicum annuum)
is really unusual and will certainly be a hot
topic of conversation among growers. It
produces impressively long and
unnaturally thin chillies that look like
spaghetti and taste quite mild. You can
buy 20 chilli Spaghetti seeds from Sea
Spring Seeds for 2 (seaspringseeds.co.uk)

64

growfruitandveg.co.uk

SMART
STATISTIC:

60 per cent of
shoppers have no
idea what cavolo
nero is

Starting up...

An inside seed sowing area


Whether its because youre short on outside space, or would just rather
avoid hours spent kneeling outdoors in the cold, youre not alone if you
choose to sow seeds in the comfort of your home. Of course, while this
may be a warmer and more comfortable option, it can be somewhat messy.
Here are our tips on making sure your seed sowing goes smoothly.
n Choose your work area. Ideally, this will be a table or surface at a
comfortable height, which is close to a tap
and located in a room with flooring which can
easily be swept. Theres nothing worse than finding
out youve trodden compost into a new cream carpet.
n Get everything you need close to hand. This will include
items such as your seeds, compost, pots or containers,
watering can, dibber and trowel.
n Cover your table or seed sowing area with old
newspaper. Even the most careful of gardeners can get
compost everywhere and its worth trying to
keep soil and seeds contained in a small
space. If possible use a potting tray these
products are shallow, box-like structures
with three sides and are designed to
keep compost in one spot.

Smart gardening Qx.e$S_GYO new size 19/02/2015 11:39 Page 3

HOT NEWS
Healthy research

A new study looking at the impact that


gardening tools and outside tasks have on the
physical health of gardeners has been launched
by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and
Coventry University. The research, which is the
first of its kind in the UK, aims to identify the
best gardening jobs for maintaining healthy
bones, muscles and joints, and to assess the
performance of a range of tools to see if they
can be redesigned to reduce the risk of injury.
Professional and amateur gardeners
visited the universitys state-of-the art motion
capture lab, where experts in the School of Art
and Design monitored them performing
activities such as digging and pruning. The
subjects were required to wear a Lycra body suit
fitted with reflective sensors (see below) to
allow researchers to calculate the loads in their
bodies during the activities.
Dr Paul Alexander from the RHS said: By
involving people of both sexes, different age
groups, different skill levels undertaking
different gardening tasks we hope to develop
our knowledge
across a broad
spectrum of
gardeners so that
we can better
advise them on
what is beneficial
for their health
and what might
be of harm.

ASPARAGUS
SALES RISE
Tim Jeffries from seed company
D.T. Brown is joining the likes of
Sherlock Holmes and Poirot as he
attempts to solve his own
mystery the rise of the
asparagus crown. Figures from the
company show that sales of its
asparagus crowns rose 400 per cent
in the period of August to
December 2014 (as compared to the
same period in 2013), but no-one quite
knows why! I know asparagus is becoming
increasingly popular with gardeners, and,
while it was once regarded as demanding,
more people now appreciate it is quite a
straightforward crop, but I am at a loss to
account for such an enormous increase, says
Tim. Id be interested to know if anyone
can spread any light on the mystery!

Buy the book!


Charles Dowdings latest
offering is just the ticket for
growers who want to start
a vegetable plot from scratch.
How to Create a New Vegetable Garden
provides straightforward and easy-tounderstand advice and takes readers through
the initial stages of clearing ground and
planting a veg patch. The book is published
by Green Books and is available for 19.99.
GYO readers can benefit from free delivery
and 30 per cent off the RRP of this book
between March 2 and April 30. Simply visit
greenbooks.co.uk/new-veg-garden and use the
code GYOAPRIL15.

GYO must-haves

Sunbubble

This fun-sounding
product is a fantastic
alternative to a
greenhouse. It has
plenty of room for
plants and staging,
and folds down in a
handy storage bag. It also has adjustable vents
and a strong, zipped doorway. Haxnicks
Sunbubble is available from UK garden centres
or online at agriframes.co.uk. Call 0117 934
1799 for stockists. Prices start at 199.

Moulton Mill potting scoop


April is a busy month for sowing seeds and
potting young plants. The Moulton Mill potting
scoop is ideal for scooping compost from
the bag and for mixing extra fertiliser or
vermiculite into the compost. The scoop
has an RRP of 7.99 and the Moulton
Mill tool range is available from all
leading garden centres.

Gardeners
journal
Want to plan and
record your gardens
growth this year? Then
this journal will be right up
your street. It contains 12
monthly sections with tips, a
weekly planner, weather log and photo diary, as
well as a planting plan and more. Buy online at
burgonandball.com for 14.95.

Microgreen sets
Produce your own mini-crops on your
windowsill in as little as two weeks
with this handy kit from
Johnsons. It comes complete
with a reusable growing tray
and three packets of seeds
to get you started and costs
just 4.99. For details visit
johnsons-seeds.com

Lubera has developed


six edible dahlia varieties
in its new and exclusive
DeliDahlia range. It says
the plants have a hint
of asparagus, black
salsify and nuts, with
some also showing the
flavours of parsley,
celery and fennel.

HAVE YOU GOT ANY SMART NEWS OR IDEAS TO SHARE? Email smart@growfruitandveg.co.uk

growfruitandveg.co.uk

65

Smart gardening Qx.e$S_GYO new size 19/02/2015 11:39 Page 4

SMART
GARDENING
SMALL SPACES:

Growing microgreens
Put your half-used seed packets to good use and grow
some mini leaves on your windowsill
GYO
TIPS!

Growing
leftover
seeds
as
microgreens is a great
way to use up surplus
packets, or those
which are soon to be
out of date.
n Remember to
moisten your compost
before sowing.
n When watering your
tray, use a fine rose
attachment and make
sure that you dont
allow the liquid to
puddle, which can
result in seeds or
young seedlings being
washed away.
n Experiment with
harvesting your leaves
at different points to
find out at what
stage of growth
they produce the
tastiest crop.
n Its best to use a
sharp pair of kitchen
scissors to harvest your
greens when they are
ready. Dont forget to
wash your pickings
before eating.

TOP TIP

Sow your seeds


thickly to achieve a
good yield, but try
not to allow them
to clump together.

MAGNIFICENT MINI CROPS


They say the best things come in small
packages, and once youve sown, grown and
harvested microgreens youll be sure to agree.
Easy to look after and ready in a matter of
days, theres not much to dislike about these
flavoursome mini leaves.
Put simply, microgreens are just small
seedlings of plants which would normally be
harvested at a later date, when they are fully
mature. Crops commonly grown in this way
include herbs such as basil and coriander, as
well as fennel, spinach, cabbage, rocket and
pak choi, but even root crops like carrots and
radish can produce tasty microgreens. Its a
great way to utilise half-used seed packets,
particularly at this time of year when you might
have a surplus left after sowing. It only takes a

66

growfruitandveg.co.uk

week or so for these seedlings to produce their


first pair of true leaves, and this is generally
when theyre harvested to be enjoyed as
microgreens. Small and delicate, these leaves
pack a real flavour punch and taste delicious
sprinkled on top of nearly any dish. One of the
great things about growing microgreens is the
ease with which they are cultivated. Because
theyre harvested so early, you dont have to
worry about any pests and diseases which
might affect your crops as they develop. Plus,
all they need is a bright, sunny location to
thrive, so even if your growing space only
consists of a windowsill or a balcony, this is a
crop you can enjoy!
To the right is a step-by-step guide to
growing microgreens which has been taken
from The Gardeners Year, published by DK.

Smart gardening Qx.e$S_GYO new size 19/02/2015 11:39 Page 5

Clever ideas Tiny spaces

Step by step...
1

You will need:

How to do it

n Seeds

Step 1: Sow the seeds into trays or

n Seed

pots filled with moist compost and


cover with a dusting of more soil to
the depth given on the seed packet.
Place the tray or pot into a clear
plastic bag to help conserve moisture,
then place it on a warm, bright
windowsill. Check daily and

compost
n A pot or seed tray

What to grow
Most leafy vegetables and herbs can
be grown as microgreens, which is a
good way of using up surplus seeds.
For the tastiest leaves try:
n Amaranth, which has attractive
red leaves.
n Basil and coriander, which have
an aromatic favour.
n Beetroot, which is colourful with
a fleshy texture.
n Lettuce, which produces mini leaves
ideal for sandwiches.

remove the plastic bag when seedlings


start to appear.
Step 2: Seedlings grow quickly and
most types will develop their first
proper pairs of leaves just days after
germinating. Keep them moist at all
times, although there is no need to
feed them.
Step 3: Microgreens are ready to
harvest once they have grown two or
three pairs of leaves, or are large
enough to handle easily. Dont allow
them to grow any larger.
Step 4: To harvest microgreens simply
cut them off at the base just above
the compost and discard the roots.
You can then refresh the compost
and sow a new batch using the same
method.

Buy the
book!

This extract has


been taken from
The Gardeners
Year, which is
published by DK
and is available for
20 (dk.com)

growfruitandveg.co.uk

67

Smart gardening Qx.e$S_GYO new size 19/02/2015 11:39 Page 6

SMART
GARDENING
SMART
TIP:

Pick courgettes at
various stages of
growth and you
wont need to worry
about wasting a
glut.

SMART GUIDE TO:

GROWING CROPS
TO IMPRESS

Gardening expert Lia Leendertz reveals which homegrown crops can really create a stir at the dinner table

One of the great joys of growing your own food is


getting the chance to show it off. So what if its

smug to mutter all grown at my allotment, of


course as I serve my dinner party guests? I reckon
a few appreciative murmurs are the least I can expect
after a season of sowing, digging and weeding.
But it is slightly disappointing to have to point it out
at all. And this is the trouble with much home-grown
produce: it is not always obviously different to that
bought in the shops. If you grow maincrop potatoes
and onions you will need to attach big neon Grown
at the Allotment! signs in order for anyone to notice.
For all your efforts there is little to separate them from
shop bought veg, except yours are likely to be
sporting a few more slug holes. More and more I am
drawn to those crops that distinguish themselves on
the plate the type that are hard to buy, and that do
the showing off for you.

Unusual varieties
One of the simplest ways to mark your crops out as
home-grown is to choose some odd versions of your
favourites. It is just as easy (or hard) to grow multicoloured carrots as it is to grow orange ones, and
takes exactly the same effort to grow round
courgettes as long straight ones. Carrots and beetroots

68

growfruitandveg.co.uk

are among the first colourful crops I started


growing. I can recommend multi-coloured beetroots
if youre not keen on that just slaughtered
something in the sink look that you get when
preparing normal beetroots. Yellow beetroot such
as Burpees Golden, white ones such as Albino
and the beautiful concentrically ringed Barabietola
di Chioggia all taste just as beetrooty as the
kitchen-splattering kind. And they look great all
roasted together in a little vinegar and oil. None of
these are the beetroot to use if you want a deep
purple borscht, of course, but they do make
beautiful crisps, mandolined and deep fried and
sprinkled with sea salt.
Multi-coloured carrots were new to me but last
year I tried yellow Jaune Obtuse de Doubs and
Dragon Purple and both did well and looked
stunning in the salad bowl and the roasting tray in
among the orange types.
Ive also experimented with lots of colourful
mange touts. I like Shiraz which produces pods in
deepest purple (though you have to eat it raw or the
colour fades to green) and Golden Sweet, which is
a pale yellow podded pea. Mix with green-podded
mange touts, with straight up peas and pea shoots
for a salad of great beauty and summery elegance.

Smart gardening Qx.e$S_GYO new size 19/02/2015 11:39 Page 7

Unusual veg

Growing tips

Likewise in the grow lots of different types category


I would put courgettes. Grow one plant of each of the
following: Tondo di Toscana (round, pale green),
Lemona (yellow, long, slightly bulbous), Romanesco
(ribbed, long and pale green) and Venus (dark green, long
and thin) and every courgette dish will look like a vegetable
pick and mix.

Unusual timings
The other way to make ordinary crops extraordinary for
the table is to pick them at particular stages of their lives.
The shops will generally sell you these things when they
are mature, but as gardeners we can pick them whenever
we like, either when tiny and tasty, when flowering or
whenever they are loveliest, and this makes our crops
stand out from the rest.
Take courgettes, for example. I have always held with
the maxim that two or three courgette plants is enough
any more and you are glutted all summer. But last spring I
planted perhaps 10 plants, almost all of different types. I
then picked them either as flowers (delicious deep fried in
batter or even just fried in butter) or when the courgettes
themselves were just a couple of inches long, flower still
attached. I did this all summer and never had a glut, and
always had a beautiful array of tiny, various shaped
courgettes and their flowers.
Carrots are another crop that benefit from being
picked little. Pull them out of the ground early in the year
and you have sweet and tender thinning for your salads.
And there is a whole host of herbs that you can sow to
pick very tiny indeed as microgreens which offer tiny little
bursts of flavour to sprinkle over your dishes. Try basil,
coriander, celery, fennel sow them thick about 12 days
before your dinner party and then pluck them while they
are just small shoots. The taste is strong and fresh a
concentrated, cleaner version of the taste you will get
from the fully grown plants. Youthful nuts do the
opposite, having a far less concentrated taste than fully
matured nuts. I grow hazelnuts on the plot and love to
pick some early, when they have a mild taste and a
creamy texture that makes them perfect in salads. You
can do the same with almonds.

Unusual crops
Then there are the entirely unusual crops that you cant
find elsewhere, colourful, immature or otherwise.
Jerusalem artichokes fit very much into this category, but
you are a crueller person than me if you feed them to any
dinner party guests. It is a shame as they are so utterly
delicious and unlike anything else, but their
well deserved gassy reputation means this is
an unusual crop that is best kept for meals
for one. Far more sociable is the globe
artichoke, plants of which I am growing this

Carrots
benefit from
being picked
little

year so that I can steam the heads and my guests can


pluck the leaves and nibble their ends dipped in melted
butter. A messy and delicious shared snack or starter.
Other than that, my most unusual allotment plot
inhabitants are fruits, and I can personally recommend the
hybrid berries such as loganberry not madly unusual as
such but youd be pushed to find them in the greengrocer
as well as quince and medlar. Quince is a wonderful
thing but as easy to grow as an apple tree. The large, pale
gold, pear-shaped fruits need slow cooking to bring out
their honeyed flavour, but it is a flavour unlike any other.
Medlars are perhaps more of a challenge in the kitchen
(not in the garden) but certainly count as odd and
talking-point-worthy fare. Bake them and serve
them warm with a cheese course.
A few unusual crops, a couple of unusual
varieties, and an eye on the timings of your
harvest and your guests will be muttering
they must have grown this themselves
while you blush, demurely.

growfruitandveg.co.uk

69

Win Woodblox Qx_GYO new size 19/02/2015 17:20 Page 1

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This giveaway prize has the potential to
make your jobs on the plot a whole lot
easier. Assembling raised beds from WoodBlocX
is incredibly simple and requires no powertools,
drilling or screws, thanks to the wooden blocks
that fit without a fuss and are held together
with recycled plastic dowels and wedges. The
high sides of raised beds cause the soil to
become warmer from a more intense exposure
to the sun making it the perfect environment
for planting out young crops. They also reduce
the amount of time you'll spend bending down
to reach your veg, which is a common cause of
back pain for many gardeners. Plants that
develop deep roots or require well-drained soil

will thrive, which gives you the opportunity


to grow even better produce. The beds can sit
on hard or soft surfaces and can be
constructed to a size to suit you and your
garden choose from standard rectangles,
circular or triangular shapes that neatly fit into
corners. Simply fill this structure with topsoil
and you can grow fantastic yields of vegetables
such as carrots and parsnips this year without
the hassle of maintaining large areas where
weeds can spread.

HOW TO WIN
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70

growfruitandveg.co.uk

GYO April 15 ROPs_Layout 1 20/02/2015 15:19 Page 71

ICA MASSACRE
PREVENTS BRASS

growfruitandveg.co.uk

71

Urban Gardener MARCH 15 Qx_GYO new size 20/02/2015 13:20 Page 1

Naomi Schillinger
Urban grower Naomi Schillinger
shares her tips for compact
crops and city gardens

Naomis projects
No dig potatoes
n Mara des Bois strawbs
n

Looking back over the last few years,


Ive realised that April can be such a
changeable month for us gardeners.
Some years Im curling up with an
inspiring gardening book as the snow
continues to fall outside, while in other
years tulips have emerged looking
stumpy due to a lack of rain and
warmer than average temperatures.
However, whatever the year and
whatever the weather, as the days get
longer my excitement never wanes and
this spring Im itching to get
experimenting all over again. Most of
the vegetables that I grow are
effectively annuals and this means that
I have a thrilling blank canvas to fill
over the next few months. Theres
always some tried and tested
vegetables that I like to grow (such as
Sungold tomatoes, Freckles lettuces,
Green in Snow mustard leaf and
rampant Tromboncino courgettes),
but this is the perfect time to crack
open a packet of seeds to try
something
completely
new.

72

growfruitandveg.co.uk

THE URBAN
GARDENER
Naomi recommends some alternative
growing techniques and varieties to
experiment with this spring

SPRING EXPERIMENTS: TRY NO-DIG POTATOES


Once a week I spend a day gardening
with older residents on a housing estate
and this year were expanding our
vegetable growing repertoire to grow
Callalou. Its a spinach-like plant,
commonly grown in the West Indes and
Im looking forward to seeing how it
grows in our more northerly clime. Ill let
you know how we get on.
No dig potatoes was another spring
experiment a few years ago that
convinced me that this method of
gardening was the way to go. Earlier in
the year, Id visited Charles Dowding on
his farm and was very impressed with the
results of his no dig growing method.

By not digging, the structure of the soil


is kept intact and by regularly adding a
mulch on top of the ground, nutrients
can be topped up and the soil structure
improved, with worms doing all the
hard work for you.
At Easter time I had a few spare
early Charlotte potatoes and a
tempting empty patch of grass, so I
planted the potatoes there and then
on top of the fresh grass. I made a
small mound for each potato, about
45cm apart, and then covered them
with 20cm compost (with absolutely no
digging!). As they grew, I earthed them
a couple of times as I normally would

Urban Gardener MARCH 15 Qx_GYO new size 20/02/2015 13:20 Page 2

Urban gardens

GROW MARA DES


BOIS STRAWBERRIES
Another discovery I made a few years ago
was Mara des Bois strawberries. Homegrown fruit is always such a treat and tastes
far more delicious and fresh than anything
bought from the supermarket, and this
perpetual variety has to be the sweetest
and tangiest strawberry of them all.
Introduced by Jacques Marionnet in France
in 1991, this wonderful fruit is a hybrid of
cultivars that tastes like a cross between a
wild strawberry and a modern summer
fruiting variety. Unlike the latter varieties,
which produce an abundance of crops but for
a few weeks only, Mara des Bois plants
produce small crops of medium-sized fruits
periodically throughout summer and well
into October. I find this a huge bonus
when most other fruit is packed
up and finished for the year by
this point. By the way, Id say
it was well worth growing
autumn raspberries for later
fruits too try Polka for
huge sweet berries.

I bought my first plants when holidaying in


France at a market and also bought punnets
of Mara des Bois berries, which tasted
devine. With a little research I realised frozen
runners can be easily be bought in the UK
from March until late June and if planted in
spring, will fruit in the first year. These plants
are not that long lived however, probably
giving the best fruit in the first three years,
but they happily throw out runners, so you
can propagate new plants yourself in years
two or three.
Bare-rooted plants always look a little
sad and scrawny when they arrive, but give
them a good soak before planting, and as
soon as the weather warms up, theyll be
romping away. If your soil is waterlogged or
frozen, hold off on planting into the soil
and pot on into containers
until conditions improve.
Now is the perfect time
to order runners if youd
like to sample these
glorious fruits for
yourself later in the
year. You wont
regret it!

and then just left them alone. This was


back in 2012, which was one of the
wettest summers wed had in a while,
and while some gardeners complained
of their tubers rotting in the soil, mine
grew very healthily, with not a spot of
blight. In fact, I produced a very
pleasing 15lbs worth from the three
potatoes. I repeated the experiment
the following year and, while I
harvested a reasonably decent crop,
yields were down as the weather had
been much drier and I hadnt watered.
It was a lesson learnt for the future,
but a growing method Ill be following
for years to come. So if you have a
spare patch of soil or grass, now is the
time to experiment away!

growfruitandveg.co.uk

73

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from large beetroot and chard seeds right down to
tiny basil and celery seeds. It has six holes each spaced
fifty millimetres apart allowing gardeners to sow six
seeds at a time. SeedSava saves gardeners both time
and money by reducing seed wastage and the need

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disturbances to soil around the delicate roots of your seedlings thus
reducing the chance of disease and rewarding gardeners with
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The Practical gardener April 15 Qx_GYO new size 23/02/2015 09:59 Page 1

THE PRACTICAL
GARDENER
Make an organiser for your seeds, as well as great
growing tools this month. Simon shows you how

Simon Akeroyd
The plot of National Trust gardener
Simon is always bursting at the seams
April is when the sowing season really
steps up a gear, so I need to get myself
organised. Im making a stout box to keep
my seed packets in. My current storage
solution is an old biscuit tin, kept in a
draw, and all the packets are just flung on
top of each other. This new box is going
to have compartments and everything is
going to be stored in alphabetical order.
This should save me loads of time,
because Im always hunting through
my tin to find the variety Im after.
Not only do I want my box to be
practical, but I also want it to look good,
and the great thing about making your
own is that they can be decorated and
personalised. Im going to paste a sowing
calendar on the inside of mine to remind
me when I should be doing what. To
accompany my seed box Im making some
rustic-looking plant labels from recycled
prunings, and whittling my own dibber.
Then Ill be set for the new season!

MY HOME-MADE SEED BOX


Im really pleased with the look of this seed box
its a bit like a treasure chest, and suitably so, as it
will house my horticultural gems.
To make my seed storage box Im using 12mm ply
for the exterior structure, and 6mm ply to create
the individual compartments inside. These boxes
can have as many compartments as you like just
make sure that they are big enough to hold a
packet of seeds. Ive made 25 different sections

which Im going to put into alphabetical order,


using some for vegetable varieties and others for
cut flowers. My box is 50cm long, 25cm wide and
15cm high, meaning it can sit comfortably on my
shelf, next to all my garden reference books and
seed catalogues. Seeds should be stored in the
dark, so my box has a lid with hinges and a clasp
to hold it shut. Other personal embellishments
such as handles on the side or lid can be added
to suit personal requirements.

MINI PROJECT

GYO STEP-BY-STEP: Whittle while you work

76

STEP 1
To accompany my bespoke, home-made seed
box, Im whittling some labels and making a
dibber for sowing. Although plastic labels are
cheap and easy to get hold of, home-made
wooden ones (using branches from the
garden) look so much better and should last
for a few years. You can use most types of
wood, but Ive opted for hazel as it is white
on the inside which is easy to write on.

growfruitandveg.co.uk

STEP 2
Use branches with a diameter of 20mm
approx and 100mm in length. Use a sharp
knife to whittle the end section down to a
fine point, so that it can be easily pushed
into soil. Next, use the knife to cut off a
slither of wood for the top of the hazel stick,
cutting into about a third of the thickness of
the diameter. Ensure that the cut side is flat
as this will make it easier to write on.

STEP 3
Use a pencil or waterproof pen to add the
name to the flat side of the hazel stick. Next
year the labels can be recycled by cutting off
another slither to remove the writing. A
dibber can also be made from a short stout
branch. Take a piece of wood approximately
20cm long with 15mm diameter. Use a knife
to cut the tip to a bluntish point. You can
create carvings along the handle, too.

The Practical gardener April 15 Qx_GYO new size 23/02/2015 09:59 Page 2

GYO STEP-BY-STEP: Making a seed box

STEP 1
Measure and cut out the 12mm plywood
for the sides and lid using a fine toothed
saw. You will also need to mark and cut
the 6mm plywood to size that will form
the bottom of the box.

STEP 2
Glue the bottom and sides together to
create the box shape. Panel pins can be
tapped into the walls and base to make
it extra sturdy. Use sandpaper to smooth
out rough edges to avoid splinters.

STEP 3
Next, paint the box. Apply an undercoat
first, and allow this to dry, then cover with
a wood paint of your choice. Im
using an olive green to match the dcor
in my garden room.

TOP TIP
As these boxes can
be personalised,
they make great
gifts

STEP 4
Attach the lid to the back of the box. To
do this, use a pair of hinges. You will need
to ensure they are equally spaced along
the edge of the back so that it is secure
and easy to use.

STEP 5
Cut some more sections of plywood to create
the decorative panelling which will be
attached onto the exterior. Use a wood glue
to secure them to the box, and then paint
these in the colour of your choice.

STEP 6
To create the compartments the seed
packets will sit in, mark out the sections
on the 6mm ply wood. Use a fine toothed
saw to cut the lengths and widths that
will fit inside the box.

STEP 7
Cut sections out of these pieces of wood
so that they slot neatly and securely into
each other. This will create the slots that
will contain your seed packets once the
box is complete.

STEP 8
Attach a clasp to the front of the box to
enable it to be securely closed. Stretch cord
between the sides and the lid so it stays open
when grabbing a packet of seeds and doesnt
slam down onto your fingers!

STEP 9
Label the individual sections so its easy to
find the packets you need and stick any
sowing planners or other information you
would like to include inside. Finally place
the seeds into the relevant compartments.

YOU WILL NEED Half sheet of 12mm ply wood Half sheet of 6mm ply wood Screwdriver and screws Wood glue Panel pins (optional)
Small

hinge to fit on 12mm wood Clasp to close box Decorative cord Tape measure and pencil Fine toothed saw Sandpaper

growfruitandveg.co.uk

77

ON TEST Daves equipment QX _GYO new size 19/02/2015 15:30 Page 1

ON TEST

WATER BUTTS
Dave Finkle gives his verdict on some
of the water conserving products
on the market at the moment

Flexibility 4/5
Durability 5/5
Practicality 5/5
TWO-TIER WATER BUTT WITH PLANTERS (134LTR)
RAINWATER TERRACE 109
This is the new boy on the block and is creating quite a stir in the garden
industry as it takes a fresh approach to water conservation. The big
difference between the Rainwater Terrace and a normal water butt is
the fact it has the ability to be planted up to look more attractive. Each
reservoir has troughs attached to it that allow you to grow the plants or
herbs of your choosing as well as hold water. You do get a good choice
of colours and the flexibility of adding more reservoirs if you desire.
It is also nice to see that the system refreshes the water to avoid
stagnation in the reservoirs.
Rainwater Terrace 01937 845 176, rainwater-terrace.com

pring is fast approaching and the weather is expected to


smile upon the soil at this time of year. I have no doubt that
early sowings are progressing well in many gardens and that
plugs are developing nicely, patiently waiting to be planted. More
often than not, your young plants become the complete focus and
attention for the next few weeks, but dont forget that there is
another thing to consider water! April and May can be very tricky
when it comes to weather patterns. It goes without saying that April
showers bring plenty of rain, or does it? April can sometimes be very
dry and this does come with complications as new tender roots can
soon shrivel up, especially if there is no rain at all for a few days.
May has also been known to be unusually hot and this can easily
cause stunted growth to your young plants if you dont take care to
water them regularly. My point here is dont get complacent and
think that conserving water is only for the summer. After all it is
strong early growth that results in a productive crop later. Spring is
an ideal time to get water conservation products installed and filled
and with this in mind, this month I have a selection of water butts
that are very different in point and purpose.

WHERE TO BUY
Rainwater Terrace 01937 845 176, rainwater-terrace.com
Two Wests and Elliott 01246 451 077, twowests.co.uk
Harrod Horticultural 0845 402 5300, harrodhorticultural.com
Suttons Seeds 0844 922 0606, suttons.co.uk

78

growfruitandveg.co.uk

/5
Flexibility 4
/5
5
Durability
/5
Practicality 5
THREE-TIER WATER BUTT WITH PLANTERS (200LTR)
RAINWATER TERRACE 149
This is the same product as the two tiered option (see above), but I wanted
to see what it would feel like as a big brother in a terracotta colour. In my
opinion, it certainly is more pleasing on the eye and would sit well against
the wall of the house; however I do feel the bright green fast flow tubes
on the side are a bit coarse on the eye. The product is certainly solid and
firm and will last for a long time, so your investment will see a good
return. The system is very clever and really does give you plenty of options,
particularly if you like summer hanging basket plants cascading around
you, and it is self-watering! What more could you want?
Rainwater Terrace 01937 845 176, rainwater-terrace.com

ON TEST Daves equipment QX _GYO new size 19/02/2015 15:30 Page 2

BEST
BUY

/5
Flexibility 4
/5
Durability 4
/5
Practicality 5
COMPACT SPACESAVA WATER BUTT AND STAND (100LTR)
TWO WESTS & ELLIOTT 46.99
The compact Spacesava does what it says on the tin! It really is smart,
neat and well-shaped for sitting snugly into a corner I am sure there are
plenty of terraces and courtyards with planters crying out for such a thing.
Made of a fairly durable plastic, it is solid and well-made and come
complete with the relevant fittings. It is as basic and functional as it gets,
but thats the beauty of it! It has no bells and whistles it is just reliable.
The important part of the design is when it is on its base you can fit a
watering can under the tap. Personally I would hook this up with a
couple of tomato grow bags for the summer.
Two Wests and Elliott 01246 451 077, twowests.co.uk

Flexibility
5/5
Durability
5/5
Practicality
5/5
CASCATA WATER BUTT (245LTR)
HARROD HORTICULTURAL 155
This water butt not only looks really good and would bring a little
architecture to your garden, but it also has a few tricks up its sleeve!
Indestructible and solid in build, it manages to look delicately refined, too.
The terracotta finish really has you fooled into thinking it is a huge pot but
its much more than that. Something I liked is the fact there is a nice solid
plastic filter in the lid that allows you to remove any build-up of leaves that
get washed down the gutter. Another great finishing touch to the product
has to be the dual purpose lid. You have the choice of using it as a planter
or bird bath, which is a great idea. All in all, its well worth its price tag.
Harrod Horticultural 0845 402 5300, harrodhorticultural.com

Buying tips

Dave shares his advice for


gardeners looking to invest
in a new water butt

/5
Flexibility 3
/5
4
Durability
/5
Practicality 4
CHILD-SAFE WATER BUTT (227LTR)
SUTTONS SEEDS 54.99
This is very classic in its shape and appearance, but still remains a main
player in the market. Boasting a decent capacity of 227 litres, it is a regular
on the allotment. It is classical dark green and black in colour meaning it is
non-offensive and would look at home in most positions. The added
feature to this design is its child-safe lid. To be honest, it was safe from me!
But once you work it out, it isnt too taxing. The water butt is supplied
with all the fittings you need to get up and running and the section that
connects to your drain pipe fits virtually all known diameters. At less than
55 it is very affordable for its capacity.
Suttons Seeds 0844 922 0606, suttons.co.uk

Water conservation has become


a point of focus in
recent years. Low levels of rain
fall have led to a surge
of water butts being designed
and sold and companies
have taken on board the tradition
al look of water
butts and tried to come up with
both conventional
options as well as fresh new prod
ucts. With different
manufacturing techniques and
innovative self-watering
systems now available, there is
a solution for every
situation. Before buying a wat
er butt it is well worth
thinking about what you really
need, so consider the
following points before you spe
nd your sterling. There
really is a vast range of options
out there, so you should
be able to get very close to you
r perfect requirements.

Your budget

The aesthetics
and your desired look
Its functionality
and purpose
The footprint
and shape of the item
Its capacity an
d what you need it for
Any addition
al features, filters etc.
The products

quality and durability

growfruitandveg.co.uk

79

Allotment Noticeboard APR14 Qx_GYO new size 20/02/2015 12:52 Page 1

w
o
r
G
n
w
o
r
u
yo
U CAN TRUST
GARDENING ADVICE YO

A BOOST FOR
YOUR PLANTS

garden magazine
n
he
tc
ki
g
lin
el
-s
st
be
s
K
The U

ALLOTMENT NOTICE BOARD


The top spot for information and advice about growing on allotment sites

RULES AND REGULATIONS AT YOUR ALLOTMENT


EXPERT
Alan Horner is the NAS
Wales representative
Sometimes it can feel like a minefield
when it comes to negotiating the laws
of different allotment sites, but in
actual fact if you stay aware of these
key things, you should be fine.
Allotment tenancy agreements will
include a list of rules and regulations
that a tenant is expected to adhere to.
Many rules are common to all
agreements and may stem from
allotment legislation, for example, the
prohibition of commercial activity or
compensation for loss of crops. There
will also be guidance around plot
cultivation, like what percentage of

80

growfruitandveg.co.uk

Keep your crops happy and healthy


with the new products from Plant
Magic. These innovative fertilisers feed
micro-organisms within your planting
medium, before breaking them down
and giving the goodness to your crops.
This helps to increase vigour and yield
without using any synthetic fertilisers,
helping you on your way to a successful
season without worrying about what
youre putting into your earth.
Order five bottles from the new range
and get 35 per cent off the usual price
of 38. Quote code GYO5
and pay 25 including
p&p. This offer is
available on March 20,
exclusively for GYO
readers.
plantmagicplus.co.uk

WE ASKED

the site must be dug over or ready


for cultivation this does
vary around the
country. More site
specific rules will
be influenced by
environmental
legislation and
local by-laws
for example,
when or if
bonfires are
allowed on
site and
animal
welfare
concerns may
restrict the
keeping of hens
and rabbits.

OUR FORUM

How do you
control spring
weeds?

At this time of year, our plants are


waking up but so are nutrient and
ground-hogging weeds. So, how do
you deal with them?
Keep the ground covered until needed,
as well as soil around growing plants.
Either hand weed or hoe, depending
on the ground conditions.
lottie dolly, via the GYO website
The important thing about weeds is to
know which ones need the root getting
out and which you can hoe off and not
worry about. You should get rid of the
thick rooted types before you sow seeds.
alldigging, via the GYO website

Allotment Noticeboard APR14 Qx_GYO new size 20/02/2015 12:52 Page 2

Allotments
TREES FOR MEMO
RIES

A fruit centre in Kent has just


launched a Pledge a tree
project. Grow at Brogdales
new
scheme allows individuals to
purchase a tree and then
donate it to a school,
community group or anywh
ere
else. They might be pledge
d in
memory of a loved one, to
mark
a special birthday or for any
other reason. The pledged
trees
will be looked after by Gro
w at Brogdale, then deliver
ed to the
lucky recipients. Specimens
are selected to meet the crit
eria of the
environment, taking space
and soil type, among other
things, into
consideration. For example,
if a school will be receiving
the tree,
smaller rootstocks would be
selected so children can pick
from it
easily. The company has a foc
us on rare and heritage var
ieties, so
these types will be available.
Brogdale records the pledge
rs details
so that these details can be
passed to the recipient.
For more information, visit
brogdaleonline.co.uk

TOP THREE

jobs for April


If youre planning to plant directly into
the greenhouse or polytunnel, prepare
the soil by mixing in well-rotted garden
compost to create a good bed.
The tender tips of asparagus will soon be
pushing the through, so have one last
check to remove weeds in the bed. Take
care not to disturb the asparagus roots.
At this time of the year many seeds are
being sown directly into the plot. In order
to get neat rows use a string line, making
sure it is as tight as possible.
Advice from Martin Fish expert horticulturalist and brand ambassador for Moulton Mill tools.

Glasgow

PLOT SHOWCASE
Urban Roots, Glasgow
The Urban Roots community growing
site is working to create raised beds
and other growing spaces behind the
recycling centre in Prospecthill Circus,
Glasgow. Mini allotment plots are being
created for local people who want to
grow their own fruit and veg in even
the most urban of environments. A
dedicated coordinator has also been
approved and they will be available to
offer help and advice on any growing
issues, as well as provide guidance and
training for new gardeners.
The second part of the site is
designed to be a market garden, so
produce will be grown specifically for
sale, supplying local outlets such as
Fresh and Fruity a fruit and veg shop
in Mount Florida. The focus will be on
salads, but plans for other produce are
also in the pipeline. The site will
eventually become a Southside hub for
food growing and environmental skills
training, for education and volunteer
opportunities, and as well as all this it
will also offer huge benefits for the
whole of the local community.
For more information, visit the
website at urbanroots.org.uk

Mulches do the trick for me in my


garden and I find I have very few weeds
to worry about. Its a different story at
my friends house where the veg garden
was riddled with creeping thistle and
silverweed, so digging them out will
be the priority at this time of year.
Penellype, via the GYO website
I leave my green manures in the
ground over the winter, and only fork
them in a couple of weeks before the
bed is needed for growing my veg
crops. Phacelia in particular is really
good at crowding out most weeds.
WPG, via the GYO website

GO TO GROWFRUITANDVEG.CO.UK
growfruitandveg.co.uk

81

Win Harrod Qx_GYO new size 20/02/2015 11:34 Page 1

WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN

UP FOR

PRIZ
WOR ES
TH

960!

GRABS!
Add one of these gorgeous arches to your garden
with this brilliant giveaway from Harrod Horticultural
Harrod Horticultural is giving six GYO
readers the chance to get their hands on
one of the companys fantastic vintage
wire arches, which are designed and
manufactured in the UK. Each arch is made
up from four fully welded sections connected
using solid steel joiners which lock the parts in
place. This helps to make them sturdy and longlasting the perfect addition to a busy plot.
The vintage garden arch in natural finish is
supplied in degreased plain steel which quickly
develops an even rust coating and looks really

lovely. It is also available in powder coated matt


black. The arch carries a reassuring 10 year
guarantee, ensuring years of life without the
worry of structural failure caused by corrosion
(which is so often the case with thin walled
tubular products). The arches can be secured
with galvanised fixing pins (available separately).
The frames are available in three sizes (1.2m
wide x 2.21m high, 1.5m wide x 2.36m high
and 2.0m wide x 2.61m high all measure
0.5m deep) so can fit into whatever space you
have, creating a charming, rustic focal point.

HOW TO WIN
Harrod Horticultural is giving six GYO
readers the chance to win one of these
beautiful arches. To enter, follow the
simple steps on page 112 or visit
growfruitandveg.co.uk/competitions.
Go to harrodhorticultural.com to
see the full range of brilliant products.

WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN
82

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Fruit Gardener Qx_GYO new size 20/02/2015 12:43 Page 1

THE FRUIT
GARDENER
Her fruit trees are pinpricked with the most beautiful
blossoms, and Lucy cant help but feel motivated at
this inspiring time of year
Lucy Chamberlain
Her Essex garden keeps grower Lucy in
delicious fruit for most of the year

This months projects


Prune cherries
n Try kiwi berries
n Apply mulches
n

Its here! At last, spring has landed on the


plot, the sun has some real warmth against
my skin and buds everywhere are bursting
into life. If youre anything like me youve
got a definite glass-half-full attitude come
April. Sure, there are bound to be a few
tasks youve still got to finish (hopefully not
winter pruning or planting) but the reward
for tackling jobs through the winter is that
you land yourself in fine fettle for spring
and you can forgive yourself for feeling a
bit smug just for a second. In all honesty,
Ive not been too ambitious this winter as I
have before when Ive inherited a new
garden. The veg garden is coming first, and
then Ill tackle fruit planting in earnest this
autumn. Still, I have bought a few
gooseberry and blueberry bushes, oh and a
rhubarb crown or two

Top job for April

84

growfruitandveg.co.uk

If youre
anything like
me youve got a
definite glass-halffull attitude
come April

BEE SAFE
I always make a warning at this time of
year not to spray your fruit crops (or veg
ones for that matter) while they are in
flower and 2015 is no exception. If youve
ever been lucky enough to stand under a
cherry or apple tree in full blossom, youll
appreciate what I mean, because the air
around your ears will literally be buzzing
with bees and other beneficial insects. For
these invaluable pollinators to be harmed
by indiscriminate use of insecticides would
be terrible and is avoidable. Weve all
been made acutely aware of the dangers
of the neonicotinoid types of pesticide,
yet surprisingly, these are still some of the
most widely used worldwide. At least we

can take a responsible view in our back


gardens and plots and not use insecticides
at these critical times. Youll notice that Im
suggesting non-organic gardeners can use
one of two pesticides to control pear
midge at this time of the year (see the
problem of the month) but its imperative
that this is applied well before the flowers
open. At such a time the blooms arent
revealing their pollen and nectar so bees
wont be visiting them to feast on (there
arent many pests I recommend spraying
against anyway, only those that can cause
a total crop failure like this pesky little
midge). Once the buds have opened,
however, these sprays will be a no-go
and alternatives will need to be used.

Fruit Gardener Qx_GYO new size 20/02/2015 12:43 Page 2

April fruit garden


GYO STEP-BY-STEP: Apply mulches
Firstly, I need to clarify what I mean by the
word mulch. Here, Im not talking about black
plastic sheet mulches occasionally laid around
the base of plants to keep weeds down.
Instead, I mean organic mulches deep, rootinsulating layers of well rotted organic matter
such as garden compost or farmyard manure.

These useful protective blankets have multiple


functions they retain soil moisture, keep
roots cool, smother weeds and can add
nutrients, too. Theyre incredibly useful for
all fruit crops, but it's important to lay them
down at the right time and in the correct
way. Heres how to do it:

GROW KIWI BERRIES

Step 2 The success of your mulch is directly


related to its thickness. A layer 6-8cm deep is
ideal, whereas 2-3cm is not sufficient. Theres
no need to lay thicker than 8cm, and many of
us wouldnt have enough to do this anyway.

Step 3 Fertiliser-rich matter can scorch


emerging shoots, and woody ones can lock
up nutrients, so aim for it being at least six
months old. Avoid using chalky mushroom
compost on acid-loving crops such as
blueberries and raspberries.

Step 4 Gently fork your mulch around your


crop to the spread of the canopy if possible.
Avoid heaping it up around the stems or trunk
of your plants because it can sit heavily against
them and encourage rotting. Any weeds that
do appear within it can be easily removed.

bud stage which is


when your pear flowers
are still in bud but just
FO
C US
beginning to swell, so that
little glimpses of the white
petals can be seen beneath the
protective green sheaths. Use
insecticides containing
deltamethrin or lambdacyhalothrin, which will kill
the female flies as they try
to lay their eggs on the
unopened buds. Nonchemical control consists
of picking off the
damaged fruitlets before
they fall to the ground.

This tiny midge attacks the developing


pear fruitlets, causing them to shrivel, turn
black and fall from the tree. Consequently
no fruit develops. If you pick up a fallen
fruitlet and break it open, youd see the
midges larval stage orange-white
maggots half a centimetre long. Yuk.
Youll read that Im mentioning the
importance of not spraying blossom with
pesticides, and this
certainly rings
true for this
pest. But to
control it, you
may choose to
spray at what
we call the white

Three hardy kiwis to try:

& DISE

E
AS

Pear midge

PEST

Step 1 Only lay down your organic mulch


once your soil is in good order. Laying over
frozen or waterlogged ground will just lock in
these conditions, so wait. Conversely, if your plot
is very dry, give the earth a good soaking first.

I was introduced to these walnut-sized relatives of


kiwi fruits about five years ago, when the kind
people at Suttons Seeds sent me a sample plant
to try and it romped away. Ive just moved house
and didnt take it with me it was doing so well it
seemed a shame to disturb it and I hope the new
owners get as much enjoyment out of it as I did.
But Im certainly going to buy a new one its
such an easy plant to grow and was just
beginning to crop well, the crunchy hairless fruits
being produced far more readily than their larger,
more tender cousins. The plant (Actinidia arguta)
grows as a deciduous perennial vine, but its
nowhere near as vigorous as a kiwi fruit (A.
deliciosa) and is much hardier, too. One variety,
Isaii, also has the advantage of being self-fertile,
so you only need one plant to obtain a crop this
is all great news if youre space-strapped.
Give it sunshine and a well-drained yet
moisture-retentive soil and it will be very content.
Either allow it to ramble unchecked or spur-prune
the vine in late winter, much like you would a
wisteria, and also in summer (this essentially
means that you cut back any long, straggly
stems). The fruits ripen in September or October,
hanging in clusters a little like grapes. Once in the
swing of things, one plant can give you hundreds
of fruits. You can get red- and green-skinned
varieties, each prettily flecked on the outside and
filled with the characteristic white core and black
seeds. They keep for an incredibly long time in
the bottom of the fridge.

Isaii This is the most widely available


variety, producing incredibly generous
clusters of mid-green fruits. Self-fertile.
Pomona Fruits 01255 440 410,
pomonafruits.co.uk
n Jumbo The one to choose if youd
like larger fruits. As the name implies,
the green-skinned kiwis are well-sized.
Victoriana Nursery Gardens
01233 740 529, victoriananursery.co.uk
n

Kens Red This eye-catching variety


bears ruby skin and flesh, really making it
stand out from the crowd.
Suttons 0844 922 0606, suttons.co.uk

Both Jumbo and Kens Red are


best pollinated by a male variety such as
Weiki to get a good crop.

growfruitandveg.co.uk

85

Fruit Gardener Qx_GYO new size 20/02/2015 12:43 Page 3

DONT FORGET
Cut back
raspberries If

Use this
method to train
your trees

you planted new


raspberries this
autumn or winter,
cut them back now.
The canes will be
starting to sprout
fresh leaves
stimulate them to
produce bush growth
by cutting them
down to 10cm or
so above soil level.

Prune trees

TRAIN YOUNG CHERRIES


A friend of mine has just planted three new
cherry trees in her garden, and I promised
her Id help to get them off to a good start.
We chose self-fertile varieties as this makes
pollination dead simple one tree will set its
own crop. We positioned them in a sunny,
sheltered spot in autumn, staking each tree
and applying a good mulch to protect their
shallow roots. Because shes got limited
space we chose a dwarfing rootstock
Gisela 5 which will give us a tree roughly
3m tall (you might also come across Colt
which is slightly less dwarfing). No pruning
was carried out at that time because cherries
and other stone fruits become vulnerable to
silver leaf fungus and bacterial canker if cut
during winter. Now though, as the weather
becomes more settled, is a great time to
assess the trees shape and make pruning
cuts that will set them up for life.

Maximise harvests
Shes chosen to grow her trees as fans
against a wall, which is a great space-saving
way to get maximum sunshine to the
ripening fruits and boost those all-important

sugar levels. If you have the room, you can


also train your plants as free-standing
pyramids or open-centres trees. This makes
netting against birds a little more
complicated, but does give you bigger yields
20-35kg per tree as opposed to 10kg with a
fan. Cherries crop best at the base of one-yearold wood, and along the length of two- and
three-year-old stems. This is why growing them
as a fan works well because you splay the
branches out against a wall or fence. Once
established, you just cut out a proportion of
the oldest wood each summer after harvest.
Now we need to ensure strong right and left
arms develop because these form the main
framework. We removed anything that was
too low or poorly placed. Were securing the
arms to bamboo canes, and tying the canes
onto wire supports so that they can be lowered
into place as they mature a 30-45 degree
angle is ideal. As any new shoots develop off
these well splay them out and tie them gently
into place using soft twine. These will
eventually bear fruit. Any shoots growing
either directly into or out from the wall will
be rubbed off before they get too big.

Three dessert cherries


to try:
n

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Cherokee A self-fertile variety yielding


heavy crops of large fruits, almost black
when ripe. Good for wetter areas as less
prone to skin splitting than other cherries.
Ken Muir, kenmuir.co.uk
Summer Sun This RHS Award of Garden
Merit winner crops reliably even in poorer
summers. Self-fertile and compact, it has a
lot going for it.
Ken Muir, kenmuir.co.uk
Sweetheart Cropping quite a bit later
than other varieties often well into
autumn this self-fertile cherry is useful for
extending the picking season.
Pomona Fruits, pomonafruits.co.uk

Young fruit trees


planted in the
autumn or winter
can be pruned to
shape now. Wait for
a warm, sunny day
and totally remove
any of the limbs that
spoil the shape you
are trying to create
youll be left
chastising yourself
for years otherwise.

Sow melons
There arent many
fruit crops you can
grow from seed in a
year, but melons are
one. Sow one seed
per pot, in a
propagator, and
move to a warm,
well lit spot once
germinated. Train
them up twine, two
per grow bag in
a greenhouse.

your eyes peeled


given half the chance early
pests can quickly get a hold
on crops undercover. Aphids
and red spider mites are the worst
offenders. Check over plump, sap-filled
growing shoots regularly.
n Uncover figs if you insulated your
fig tree with straw, wadding or other
material during the colder months its
now safe to remove it. Let light and air
get to the branches so that the large
leaves can unfurl unhindered.
n Pollinate strawberries gently brush
your hands over the open flowers of
strawberries forced under cover. This
delicate shaking motion will help to
set fruits in the absence of pollinating
insects this early in the spring.

GYO
TIPS

n Keep

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GYO April 15 ROPs_Layout 1 20/02/2015 11:31 Page 88

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Grow like a pro Melons Qx_GYO new size 20/02/2015 16:41 Page 2

Expert advice

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Colin Randel is the vegetable product manager at
Thompson and Morgan in Ipswich. He has worked
in the horticultural industry since leaving school,
predominantly in the vegetable seed trade.

GROW LIKE A PRO:

MELONS

Thompson and Morgans Colin Randel


provides his expert advice on sowing
and growing this impressive fruit

anteloupe melons are the most


reliable type for gardeners to grow in
the UK, this includes the Charentais
and Galia varieties. They can be grown
outdoors (if youre lucky enough for a
prolonged hot summer), or under cloches, in
a growbag or large pot in the greenhouse. I
suggest both Outdoor Wonder (a Galia type
and probably the earliest fruiting variety), and
Alvaro (a Charentais type), both available
from Thompson and Morgan.

Getting started
Sow your melon seeds during April, 1.5cm
deep in a pot or small tray using moist, good
quality compost, ideally in a propagator
between 20C and 24C. Place the seeds on
their edge to minimise rotting if the soil is too
wet. Protect emerging seedlings from direct
sunlight to avoid scorching a sheet of
newspaper is ideal for this job (and also
works on tender veggies sown at this time,

including tomatoes, peppers, courgettes,


aubergines, French and runner beans).
If youre growing in the greenhouse, one
plant per 30cm pot or three plants per
growbag will give your crops a good amount
of space. Remember to make sure they are
well supported.

Planting on outside
Pot on individual seedlings into 7.5cm pots
of compost which has been kept barely
moist (to avoid stem rot), and maintain a
temperature of about 20C. Plants that will
go outdoors will need to be hardened off
gradually make sure to wait until the risk
of frost and biting winds have passed.
For optimum results outdoors put down
black polythene or mypex type membrane
over rich, well-cultivated soil and plant into
this allowing a minimum of 75cm between
crops. I suggest covering with fleece until
they are established, especially if chilly winds

threaten. Pinch out the growing point when


four true leaves have formed to encourage
laterals (which need pinching off at six leaf
stage). This keeps the plants more compact,
but you can leave them to trail, or erect some
support with canes and netting and carefully
tie in the plants until they establish.
Flowers will form more reliably on the
laterals which are usually pollinated by
insects. You can do this yourself using a male
for up to four females. The genders can be
differentiated by checking for a bump under
the petals, if you find one, then it is a female
plant. Ensure regular watering and feed with
a high potash fertiliser. Place a straw or a roof
tile under ripening fruits to keep them warm
and help speed up the process.

Harvest
Ripe fruits should give off a delicious aroma
and come away easily from the stem aim to
harvest your first melons from early August.
Under-ripe yields can be cut and brought
indoors to develop from late September or
when frosts threaten. These freshly picked
fruits are delicious just eaten as they are,
but served with Parma ham are a delight.

READER OFFER
For more information, or to buy your
melon seeds using T&Ms reader offer of
free P&P for melon Edonis F1, melon
Outdoor Wonder and water melon
Anguria Valentina F1, separately or as a
collection, go to thompsonmorgan.com/GYB29

growfruitandveg.co.uk

89

Growing Help_GYO new size 19/02/2015 15:08 Page 1

Growing help
Jane Perrone walks us through the latest
releases to inform and entertain gardeners.
Visit Janes personal blog at perrone.blogs.com

Book

From plot to plate


Gardening and cooking crossover books are now so
common they almost count as their own mini-genre, with
the likes of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Sarah Raven
leading the way. But the provenance of Kew on a Plate
with Raymond Blanc is so good that this is a worthy
addition to the field. The book accompanies a new TV
series chronicling the creation of a walled kitchen
garden at Kew, with the Le Manoir chef overseeing
operations a useful mix of horticultural history, glossy
recipes and sound growing advice.

Kew on a Plate with Raymond Blanc by


Sheila Keating (Headline, 25)

Keeping track in the garden


Can you remember when the last frost hit in 2014?
Me neither. If you struggle to keep track of what
needs doing when at this busy time of year, the
GardenCal app could be your saviour. The simple
calendar format can be downloaded from the
Apple store. Once you're set up, you can search
for a particular event when you harvested your
spuds, for instance and set reminders for tricky
scheduling such as successional sowings.

GardenCal costs 1.49 and is available


from the iTunes store

App
MORE
RESOURCES
Check out the exquisite
photography in Wonders of the Plant
Kingdon: A Microcosm Revealed by
Wolfgang Stuppy, Rob Kesseler and
Madeline Harley (Papdakis, 19.99)
Urban food growing scheme
Capital Growth's flagship site is
on Twitter follow them at
@CG_Allotment

Perennial crop inspiration

Blog

As someone who loves growing but lacks time for the annual tasks
of seed sowing, pricking out and so on, perennial vegetables are my
salvation. Alison Tindale's blog Backyard Larder shares her discoveries
as a small-scale grower and seller of perennial veg. She looks at how
to grow them and how to eat them, too. There's a perennial
planting plan for small gardens that's ideal for anyone wanting
to try edible landscaping but doesn't know where to start.

The website can be found at


backyardlarder.blogspot.co.uk
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Under Cover Qx_GYO new size 20/02/2015 11:19 Page 1

How to avoid: sun scorch


Believe it or not, there is such a
thing as too sunny this month.
Early spring sunshine might be
feeble outside, but concentrate it
under glass and it has the power
to shrivel seedlings to a crisp.
If seedling leaves turn
anaemic, sometimes with dead
brown edges, or they start
drooping lifelessly when you
know theyre well
watered, use a minmax thermometer
to find out just how
hot theyre getting.
Most plants begin
to suffer at
anything over 27C.

You can easily bring the


temperature down temporarily, by
opening doors and windows, but
shade is what they need. Avoid
shade paint, as the weather is up
and down like a yoyo at the
moment and you could end up
cutting out what meagre light
there is on gloomy days too. For
a quick fix, its often enough to
cover your trays with
a single sheet of
newspaper or shade
netting laid gently
on top both are
easily removed if
the weather turns
cool once again.

Dos and donts


DO transfer baby tomatoes into a

UNDER COVER
What to do now in the greenhouse and polytunnel
Words by Sally Nex

larger pot the moment they outgrow


their current one, as that breakneck
growing pace will stop dead if they
start to get rootbound. Check them
every fortnight by knocking them
gently out of their current container.
If you see lots of white roots, theyre
ready to go up a size.
DONT plant tender greenhouse

seedlings straight into grow bags youve


just bought from the garden centre.
Theyre likely to be freezing cold and
your poor little babies will spend their
first few days shivering in chilly compost.
Instead, let them warm up in the
greenhouse for a few days before
planting for a shock-free start.

MUST-DO JOBS
Prick out
seedlings into
individual
7.5cm pots
once they
form their
first pair of
true leaves.

I spect
n
greenhouse
plants carefully
every day for
early warning
signs of pests
and other
problems.

t the
Pinch ou ips of
t
g
in
w
gro
basil
chilli and to
s
seedling e
g
encoura wth.
ro
bushy g s
lp
e
This h
oduce
r
p
m
e
th
uit.
r
f
more

Allow
c
plants itrus
used to get
t
outdo o living
o
leavin rs by
g
outsid them
e
longer for
daily on a
basis
.

SOWING NOW: SUMMER SPINACH


Theres no denying it, growing spinach
is a challenge. It bolts whenever you
turn your back, flowering (and
stopping leaf production) the second it
gets too hot, too cold, too wet or too
dry. But its worth the agony, for

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theres simply no substitute for good


quality spinach. Leaf beets may be
bullet-proof reliable, but spinach is
the best choice for delicate texture
and punchy, full-bodied flavour.
The trick is to keep spinach cool and

well-watered no matter what.


So choose a shady spot in rich soil
and never let it dry out. Stop sowing
through the heat of mid-summer, and
use cloches if theres a cold spell, or
shade tunnels if it turns hot.

Under Cover Qx_GYO new size 20/02/2015 11:20 Page 2

Under cover
HOW TO:
Use carnivorous plants as biological controls
When youre battling flying insects in the greenhouse, companion plants are
invaluable. However, theres one less conventional option available which not
only captures insects, but eats them. Keep a few carnivorous plants in a corner
and your greenhouse becomes a pest-free zone all season long.

Despite their popularity, Venus


flytraps arent ideal for greenhouse
pest control as they dont catch as
many insects and are tricky to grow
well. However, sundews (Drosera
capensis), produce sticky insecttrapping droplets on every stem.

Carnivorous plants thrive in lownutrient acidic composts such as coir


(buy ready-formulated carnivorous
plant compost from specialist
suppliers). Keep constantly moist,
sitting plants in a saucer kept filled
with about 2cm of rainwater.

GROW
YOUR OWN
PASSION FRUIT
Sometimes, kitchen
gardeners get to have it all.
Passion flowers have the
most dazzling blooms in the
garden, producing great
Catherine wheels of purple,
white and green all
summer long. Theyre
mostly grown for the
flowers only but in good summers they
produce a spectacular finale of big golden fruits.
Unfortunately, theres a catch. Though all varieties of
passion flower produce edible fruits, those of the most
commonly grown and hardy garden passion flower,
Passiflora caerulea, have a rather poor, bland flavour. If you
want the plumpest, sweetest fruits, youll need to turn
tropical and plant Passiflora edulis.
This exotic-looking vine will survive down to around
1C, so you could risk it outdoors in milder microclimates as
long as your soil is free-draining. Elsewhere, though, youll
need to make space in your greenhouse where you can
keep it frost-free.
Once established, passion fruits gallop up to 3m or
more and become extremely jungly so if youre planning
to grow anything else in the greenhouse make sure you
restrict its growth by planting it in a roomy pot. Youll also
get more fruits if you dont let it produce too many leaves.
Keep well watered and use a high-potassium feed like
liquid tomato fertiliser every couple of weeks through
summer. The sweet, juicy fruits are ripe when they turn
purple or yellow and come away easily from the vine.

SOLAR
POWER YOUR
GREENHOUSE
This unusual variety of companion
plant is perfect if youre experiencing a
problem with white fly. Sundews will
make light work of these pests and
they will attract most flying insects and
trap them with their sticky secretion.

Theres no need to feed this plant


the insects do that for you! As the
days cool in late autumn they begin
to die back naturally. Theyll survive
winter in a frost-free greenhouse or
on a bright windowsill.

THREE TO TRY
Bordeaux variety is
a handsome of spinach,
with arrow leaves tinted
burgundy and wine-red
veins. (thompsonmorgan.com)

Reddy
is perfect for picking as
baby-leaf salads. As it
grows like topsy, sow
thickly and snip at 10cm
tall. (suttons.co.uk)

Amazon is the one to


pick for super-high yields,
growing into lush thickets
of glossy, dark green leaves
its slower to bolt, too.
(marshalls-seeds.co.uk)

Greenhouses put us
gardeners in something of a
dilemma. You want to grow
your own food to reduce
your carbon footprint, and
greenhouses extend your
range of veg and the
seasons so you produce
more. But then you end up
using precious energy
powering automatic
watering systems, lighting,
fans and heating.
You dont have to do without to stay green ease
your conscience by solar powering your greenhouse.
Sunshine, after all, is what greenhouses are all about.
You could argue that the greenhouse itself is a kind of
solar panel, concentrating the energy of the sun and
using it to grow plants.
If youre good at DIY, simply connect a 10W solar
panel (available for about 40) to a caravan battery via
a voltage regulator and you can power most equipment
through summer. Add a heat sink (a set-up which pumps
cold air through a pit of heat-absorbing gravel), and even
in low winter light you can expect to keep your
greenhouse frost-free.
If you prefer an easy life, invest in a kit. Youll find
easy-to-install solar irrigation systems (irrigatia.com), solar
powered extractor fans (twowests.co.uk) and solar
lighting (glow.co.uk). If money is no object, buy a
greenhouse glazed with solar glass
(solarpvgreenhouse.com), which also powers your house.
growfruitandveg.co.uk

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Wildlife_GYO new size 19/02/2015 11:25 Page 2

Wildlife gardening

Plan your

wildlife
Pond

These wonderful garden


features bring in frogs and
toads that will eat many
pests. Wildlife Trusts
Sarah Buckingham explains more
Ponds support a greater diversity of life
than any other garden habitat, and are
one of the best ways to attract wildlife.
However, before you begin to build your own,
there are a few things to consider.

Frogs and
toads will find your
new haven under their
own steam. You will be
amazed how quickly
creatures can take up
residence in a new
habitat

Choose a good spot


Think about how this new feature relates to
other wildlife habitats in the garden. Log piles
and long grasses provide cover for shy visitors.
Nearby trees will drop large amounts of leaves,
so avoid putting your pond too close to
overhanging branches.
Next, consider the amount of sun and
shade different areas of your garden receive
throughout the day. Plenty of sunshine will
warm the water and encourage plant growth.
Semi-shaded conditions are fine too, as it
prevents the growth of excessive algae, as well
as giving nearby cover for visiting creatures.
You might want to put your pond close
to the house, so it can be viewed from inside.
Always allow for an overspill make sure that
any excess water can drain away without
causing a problem.

What size?
The larger the pond is the better, although any
size will be useful. The deepest point should
be at least 75cm this will allow hibernating
amphibians and invertebrates to survive the
coldest winters when the water is frozen over.
There should be a shelf about 20 to 30cm deep
to place emergent plants on. Include a gently
sloping shallow area for bathing birds and to
allow wildlife to get in and out. If a sloping
side isnt possible, provide a ramp.

Create your pond


Dig a hole about 20cm deeper than required
to allow for sand, matting and liner.
n Calculate the size of the liner as follows:
Length = length of pond + (2 x maximum
depth) + 1m edging
Width = width of pond + (2 x maximum
depth) + 1m edging
n

Spread a layer of sand approximately 5cm


thick in the hole. This will protect the liner.
You may wish to lay special protective matting,
which can be bought with your purchase.
Alternatively, a piece of old carpet or
underlay will do just fine.
n Lay the liner across the hole. Handle it gently
and weigh down the edges with bricks or
pieces of paving slab.
n Fill the pond. As the water level rises, the
weight will pull the liner into the contours
of the hole. Do not cut off any excess
material around the edges until the pond
is completely full. Then cover the border
with turf or paving slabs.
n

Plants to include
Submerged oxygenating plants These
are the least spectacular, but very important
for keeping the water clear, well oxygenated
and low in nutrients. Go for water starwort,

hornwort, water milfoil and curled pondweed.


Plants with floating leaves that are rooted in
deep water include white and yellow
water lily, broad leaved pondweed and
amphibious bisort.
Emergent plants For planting in shallow
water you can use flowering rush, greater and
lesser spearwort, bur reed, water plantain,
yellow flag iris, water mint, water forget-me-not,
brooklime and water violet.
Plants for the edge Meadowsweet, purple
loosestrife, ladys smock, gipsywort, ragged robin
and marsh marigold.
When deciding on plants, try to use native
options as much as possible, as exotic species
could be invasive. Ones to definitely avoid are
Australian swamp stonecrop, curly water weed,
floating pennywort, parrots feather, water fern,
water primrose and Canadian pondweed. These
will soon take over and suffocate your pond.

Let wildlife move in


Once you have filled and planted up your pond,
just wait. Wildlife will move in quickly! Avoid
transferring frogspawn from elsewhere in spring
as this can spread diseases. Frogs and toads will
find your new haven under their own steam.
You will be amazed how quickly creatures can
take up residence in a new habitat.
For more information on caring for wildlife
in your garden, visit wildlifetrust.org.uk
growfruitandveg.co.uk

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GO guide April 15 Qx_GYO new size 19/02/2015 11:31 Page 1

Garden Organic

Masterclass
...Gardening for wildlife
Judith Conroy looks
at the perks of
growing your own
in tune with nature
Over recent decades, our natural landscape has
seen drastic change and important habitat
continues to be lost to intensive agriculture and
urban expansion. Though often overlooked, the
UKs gardens and allotments have become a
significant haven for nature, forming a network
of green spaces through towns and cities. As
gardeners, we each have a patch of the natural
world to look after and the opportunity to
really help wildlife thrive.
This type of gardening doesnt mean letting
nature take over. Its about understanding and
working with the life that shares your plot.
From the tiniest soil organism to more obvious
song bird, every creature plays a part. By
allowing as many species as possible to thrive,
we can assist a natural equilibrium that will
contribute to the health of our crops. Pests
will be present, but everything is food for
something else if the balance is good,
nothing should get out of hand.

IN THE GREENHOUSE
Pests will often enjoy the protection of a greenhouse,
just as plants do. You can get a head start on aphids
by growing some early flowers to encourage hoverfly
whose larvae devour them. Sown under cover in
September, poached egg plant and calendula in pots
will flower earlier than those outside and can be
placed near the greenhouse door to coax in hoverflies
and other helpful predators.

A LITTLE UNDERSTANDING
By understanding more about the life cycles
of the creatures that share our gardens and
allotments, we can be more considerate of
these natural allies and work together..
n Worms, fungi and millions of micro-organisms
are at constant work, improving the structure
of our soil. We often interrupt this by overcultivating, so avoid digging on all but the
most compacted or heavy ground.
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Nettles
n It is important to let dead flower stems stand

until early spring. This is because during


winter, they provide seeds for birds, shelter
for helpful insects like ladybirds and help
protect dormant plants from the elements.
n You should wait until birds have finished
nesting before you cut back any hedges to
allow them to rear their young in safety
and without disturbances.

You dont have to grow nettles but they are


great helpers. As well as supporting several
butterfly species, they provide a double treat
for garden birds. In autumn they bear edible
seed and in the spring, they host early insect
species that keep birds fed until crop pests
like black bean aphid appear. Nurturing the
wild edges can end up being just as
important as caring for the main plot.

GO guide April 15 Qx_GYO new size 19/02/2015 11:31 Page 2

Green gardener
BUILDING A HABITAT
By providing a variety of habitats youre likely to attract
a wider range of life to your growing space:
n Long grass Just a few strips left to grow along
boundaries will host all sorts of creatures like slugscoffing ground beetles and hunting spiders. You may
also be surprised by the wildflowers that appear.
n Compost heaps As well as producing food for the
plot, beneficial creatures like centipedes, hedgehogs
and slow-worms can make their home here. Take care
when turning your heap and check for these guests.
n Trees A medium sized tree can support hundreds of
species. Dead wood is also very rich in life, so a log pile
really does help if you have the space.
n Ponds These are probably the best way to boost
the biodiversity of a garden. A fantastic range of new
creatures will soon move in and old friends like bees
and birds will benefit from a water source as well.
n Man-made habitats Bird boxes and insect houses
can be used to supplement natural habitat and there
are plenty around to buy, but why not make your own?

HEDGES
Hedging provides fantastic habitat and
food for birds, hedgehogs and insects.
Theres no reason it cant be edible
for people, too elder, blackthorn,
hawthorn, wild rose and
blackberry all go wonderfully in
mixed hedging. If hedges are
not an option, consider
making small holes in fences
to allow hedgehogs to pass
through they need to
cover large distances to find
food, and will eat into your
slug population as they go.

Useful contact

FLOWER POWER
It may seem like wasted growing space,
but flowers make the vegetable patch a
healthier place, adding variety and breaking
up swathes of crops, disguising them from
pests like carrot root fly. Flowers also entice
predators and pollinators, really boosting
the biodiversity of your plot.
n Break up beds using herbs. Most perennial

types have flowers that are a great food source


for pollinating insects.

n When incorporating green manures like

vetch or crimson clover, let a few plants


remain so they can flower.
n Self sown weeds like field poppies or viola
take up little space for food, so allow some
to flourish on your plot.
n Most vegetables are biennial, producing seed
in their second year. By leaving a couple of
parsnips or rocket plants un-harvested you will
add more blooms to the mix. Carrot family
flowers are particularly good at attracting tiny
parasitoid wasps that prey on aphids.

Garden Organic, the UKs leading


organic growing charity, is dedicated
to promoting green gardening in
homes, communities and schools.
Using innovation and inspiration, the
charity aims to get more people growing
in the most sustainable way. The
charity believes an organic approach to
gardening can help build a sustainable
future for people and the planet. To make a
donation or to find out about becoming a
member, call 024 7630 3517 or visit
gardenorganic.org.uk. Alternatively, you can
support the charity by shopping with The
Organic Gardening Catalogue. Call 01932 253
666 or visit organiccatalogue.com for information
on courses, campaigns and membership.

Where to buy
The Organic Gardening Catalogue
01932 253 666, organiccatalogue.com
growfruitandveg.co.uk

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Win Omlet Qx_GYO new size 19/02/2015 15:07 Page 2

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anyone interested in keeping chickens or bees
If youre thinking of purchasing hens or a
swarm of honey bees then this prize duo is
a brilliant opportunity to get your hands on
some excellent equipment. In this giveaway
worth 1,028, Omlet has provided two prizes
for GYO readers one Eglu Go Up Chicken
House and one Beehaus, a safe and practical
home for busy pollinators.
The chicken house is a suitable size for up to
four hens. It comes with a two metre run thats
protected by a strong steel weld mesh and a set
of wheels, which makes it easy to move the
coop around your garden. The nesting area is
elevated from the ground to keep your chickens
safe and a ladder is provided for easy access.
Your birds will be kept warm in the winter and
cool in summer with the well-insulated walls of
the shelter, and the nesting area sits on a slideout tray, making it simple to keep the enclosure
clean. The original price is 499 and the house

measures 74cm x 41cm x 81cm,


whilst the whole enclosure sizes up
at 113cm x 144cm x 218cm.
The Beehaus is the perfect option
for any first-time beekeeper. The
broodbox has an entrance at either
end with enough space to
accommodate two colonies in 22
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from all weather conditions, whilst
still providing good ventilation. A beesuit,
gloves, hive tool and liquid smoke are included
in the package to provide everything you need.
The Beehaus is originally priced at 529 and
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To see the rest of Omlets impressive
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The Chillington Tool Company


has been supplying the
agricultural and construction
industries with quality hot forged
Hoes and Forks for over one
hundred years. Using high carbon
British steel, Chillington sets the highest standard for quality
worldwide. All Chillington products are recognised as the
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Or ring for a brochure on 01902

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826826

Chickens Qx.e$S_GYO new size 19/02/2015 11:22 Page 2

Livestock
Ask the expert:
Ian Water man
Ian is the proprietor of Heritage
Turkeys a company dedicated
to halting the decline in
traditional turkey varieties
(heritageturkeys.co.uk)

What are the key signs to look out


for when checking the health of
your chickens?
You should handle and inspect your hens
regularly so that when something is wrong you
can spot it immediately. Always be on the
lookout for birds that are keeping themselves
away from the main flock and are hunched or
fluffed up. Individuals that are unwell lose
weight very quickly so be sure to keep an eye
on this. Look at the eyes and nose for
discharges, and around the vent area which
should be clean.

What are the best ways to protect


your hens from predators overnight?

KEEPING CHICKENS:

Daily tasks for a


hen keeper
Smallholder and chicken expert Katy Runacres provides
her top tips to follow when caring for your birds
Morning tasks
There are a few quick things to remember to do in
the morning when putting your chickens out for
the day. This is often fun in good weather as they
come charging out of their houses, but when it
looks miserable outside it's best to make this as
swift a manoeuvre as possible.
n Open up the chicken coops and
houses. Count your hens to
check they are all fit and well
and check that their feather
condition is good. This is also
a good time to watch for any
odd behaviour.
n Give them fresh water in
their drinkers. I use three so
one is always in rotation. If the
weather is bad and there has
been a frost you will have to
remove the ice in the drinkers or
melt it by adding a small amount
of warm water.
n Put out their food container we use
layers pellets as they are easy to store.

Alternatively, you can make up layers mash with


water which thickens it.
n In addition to layers pellets, in the winter we
tend to give our hens a cup full of corn to share
and scratch over in their enclosure.
n Lastly, have a quick look over the pen or the
free range area you use to check for predator
attempts and any wear and tear that may have
happened overnight.

During the day


n If we are at home we will check for eggs later

in the day and collect them from the nest


boxes in the coops. They are then taken
inside the house and stored.

Evening
As the days become longer in
the approach to summer,
your hens can be left
outside for a longer
period of time. When
it's time to put them
away, there are a

Predators will work away at poorly maintained


housing until they get in, so keep all forms of
protection well looked after and make regular
improvements. Placing electric fencing around
the coop and pen is an excellent deterrent but
keep it well looked after and free from
encroaching vegetation at all times.

Is there anything that can be done


to make chickens more comfortable
in their housing?
Keep your poultry happy by providing an
enclosure of appropriate size for the flock,
sufficient perches to rest on and nest boxes to
lay in. Maintain the coop to ensure it is
waterproof, well ventilated but draught free, and
secure against predators. Combine that with
regular cleaning and you will have happy hens
and a good supply of eggs.

few things to remember to do.


n Check all your chickens have put themselves
to bed and then secure the doors to their houses.
n Take in the food container keep it away from
rodents and protect it from the outside elements
to avoid a loss of supplies.

Weekly tasks
n Clean out your chickens by removing any

droppings in and around their housing as well as


near the food and drink area this will ensure
good hygiene practice. Then sprinkle a layer of
Bio-Dri which is great for keeping coops and
houses dry and clean. A layer of hemp bedding
will absorb any moisture and helps give the
enclosure a clean, fresh fragrance.
n Top up the grit bowl and drain if water sodden.
Katy Runacres is a small holder based on the
Suffolk coast. She has recently featured on Mel
and Sue's chat show on ITV and is part of the
Suffolk Smallholders Society Committee. For
more information about her work and lifestyle,
visit thegoodlifeinpractice.wordpress.com
growfruitandveg.co.uk

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Swithinbank
reveals her
top squashes

Toby
Bucklands
veg to try
this year

Sarah
Raven
on sowing
courgettes

BRITISH GROW
ING AWARDS WINN
ERS REVEALED!

Acting Deputy Editor


Laura Hillier
01206 505 991
laura.hillier@aceville.co.uk

AVAILABLE ON YOUR DEVICE NOW!


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103

wish list Qx 2_GYO new size 20/02/2015 12:09 Page 1

Aprils
Wish List!
Your chance to win a bumper bounty of prizes
to keep gardens and plot productive

Up for grabs!
Spear

and Jackson tools

worth 527
organisers worth 557
bushes worth 477
Moshi tools worth 250
Neudorff worth 250
Seed

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SEED
ORGANISERS

WIN
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LUBERA BUSHES
Lubera is offering 15 GYO readers the chance to win two fourberry 'Black Saphir' bushes.
This new hardy crop can grow happily in almost any type of soil and reaches a final height
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For your chance to win, simply turn to page 112 and follow the instructions, or
visit growfruitandveg.co.uk/competitions. To find out more, go to lubera.co.uk
All offers subject to availability. Offers valid from March 6, to April 2, 2015 unless otherwise stated.
104

growfruitandveg.co.uk

If you enjoy growing plants from


seed, you'll really appreciate
Eastons seed organiser. Not only
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pockets are also available), a sowing
calendar, a free gardening gift and,
last but not least, some gardening
jokes to make you smile!

wish list Qx 2_GYO new size 20/02/2015 12:09 Page 2

Giveaways
Moshi tools

Neudorff

National charity The Conservation Volunteers


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WIN
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WIN
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growfruitandveg.co.uk

105

wish list Qx 2_GYO new size 20/02/2015 12:09 Page 3

Aprils

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growfruitandveg.co.uk

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GYO Subs Sept Single page_Layout 1 20/02/2015 16:33 Page 1

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Seasonal chef APR15 DPS Qx_GYO new size 23/02/2015 10:02 Page 1

Chef
Seasonal

Get creative with


your harvested
asparagus using
these inspirational
recipes

SERVES TWO
(as a starter)
For the toppings
6

asparagus
spears,

Light

olive oil,

68

halves of
oven-dried
tomatoes (see
recipe method),
or sun-dried
tomatoes

Bases

of the
asparagus stalks,
finely chopped

Rhubarb
6 Greek
and
custard
olives,
pitted

100g ricotta
SERVES
SIX
Handful
of jelly
For the
rhubarb
basil
leaves
1.5kg rhubarb, cut
For 2cm
the base
into
pieces
200g
chickpea
150g
caster
sugar
(gram)
flour
13g gelatine
1 tbsp extra
For the
custard
virgin
olive oil
600ml
1 tspdouble
dried cream
oregano
or herbes
1 vanilla
pod
de Provence
8 egg yolks
Salt and pepper
200g caster sugar
200ml water
11g gelatine
1 tbsp of light
olive oil, plus
more for the
tomatoes

108

growfruitandveg.co.uk

Socca pizza
with chargrilled
asparagus, olives and ricotta

1
2
3
4
5

Light the barbecue and allow the coals to turn


white hot and then to cool a little. Alternatively,
place a griddle pan over a high heat.
Chop off the bottom 23cm or so of the woody
ends of the asparagus spears and save them to
add to a stock or a soup.
Roll the spears in the light olive oil, salt and
pepper, then place on the heat. Allow to blacken
just slightly, then turn to char the other sides.
To oven-dry tomatoes, preheat the oven to
110C. Halve as many tomatoes as you have
available and scoop out the seeds.
Place the tomatoes, cut-sides down, on a wire
cooling rack, with a baking sheet underneath to
catch drips. Cook in the oven for three to five hours.

To make the socca base, mix the chickpea


flour, extra virgin oil, dried herbs, salt and
pepper together with 200ml of water, whisking
until you have a smooth batter. Preheat a grill
on its highest setting.
Heat a large ovenproof frying pan with a little
light olive oil. Pour in the batter and swivel
the pan to spread it out like a thin pancake.
Cook over a medium heat until golden brown,
then flip carefully with a spatula and fry until
golden brown and a little crispy.
Place on the toppings (except the basil) and
put under the hot grill for five minutes, until
its hot and bubbling.
Season the pizza well. Tear over the basil and
serve piping hot.

7
8
9

Seasonal chef APR15 DPS Qx_GYO new size 23/02/2015 10:03 Page 2

Eat seasonally
Asparagus and mackerel
sashimi, pickled ginger,
orange and soy dressing
SERVES TWO
(as a starter)
Asparagus spears
Extra

virgin olive oil

Chilli

flakes

orange

mackerel
fillets, skinned
and pin-boned

Pinch

of
pickled ginger

AT A GLANCE
Sow: Inside February, outside March-April
Plant: Crowns in March
Harvest: Two years after planting, between
April and June
Conditions: Well-drained soil enriched with
organic matter, in a sunny or partially shaded spot

For the dressing


tbsp tamari or
soy sauce

tsp raw local honey

Wasabi,

to taste

Give the asparagus a quick rinse. Using a


vegetable peeler, slice off ribbons of asparagus
until youre left with just the woody end (save this
for a stock or soup).
Finely chop the last tender bit of the spear with
a knife as it is difficult to peel and add it to a
bowl with the ribbons.
Dress the ribbons and finely chopped asparagus
with a little extra virgin oil and season with salt
and a dusting of chilli flakes.
To make the dressing, mix all the ingredients
and taste, adding more wasabi if you like it hot.
Peel the orange with a knife, removing the pith
and skin, then slice it into rounds, flicking out
any seeds you find as you go.
Cut the mackerel fillets lengthways, down either
side of the spine, discarding the central piece
with any remaining pin-bones that may be lurking
there. Now cut each half into 4cm lengths.
Arrange the fish, orange and asparagus ribbons
on the plates. Coat each piece of fish with a little
of the dressing, then drizzle it over the rest of the
ingredients sparingly. Scatter with pickled ginger.

2
3
4
5
6
7

How to harvest
Your crops need to be
cut two years after
you first planted
them cutting too
early can weaken
the crop and
reduce harvests.
Start

taking your
asparagus from the
ground from midApril and continue
regularly for six
weeks.
To harvest your
spears, cut them
when they are
around 12cm long.
Use a serrated knife
7cm below the
surface of the soil.
In warm weather,
you need to do this
every two to three
days in order to
have the best
quality veg.

BRITISH ASPARAGUS IS WORLD


RENOWNED FOR ITS FRESH,
SAVOURY FLAVOUR AND TENDER
TEXTURE. AS THE SEASON IS SO SHORT IT
PAYS TO KEEP IT SIMPLE BY GRIDDLING OR
ROASTING THE SPEARS AND SERVING WITH
A SIMPLE HOLLANDAISE, BARNAISE OR AIOLI
ON THE SIDE FOR DIPPING. OTHER GREAT
PAIRINGS INCLUDE CRAB, POACHED EGGS,
LEMON AND BACON.

GYO
TIP!

NATASHA LOVELL-SMITH,
EDITOR OF GREAT BRITISH FOOD
(GREATBRITISHFOODMAGAZINE.COM)

Recipes taken from The Natural Cook: Eating the


seasons from root to fruit by Tom Hunt (Quadrille
Publishing, photography by Laura Edwards)

growfruitandveg.co.uk

109

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p111-112 GYO April 15 Classifieds_Layout 1 20/02/2015 14:50 Page 111

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p111-112 GYO April 15 Classifieds_Layout 1 20/02/2015 14:51 Page 112

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Available from most garden centres (including Wyvales) and online at www.capitalgardens.co.uk

COMPETITION FORM

To be in with a chance of winning one of our fantastic


prizes, correctly answer the question below by ticking the
corresponding box then send us your completed form. You
must also tick the boxes to indicate which giveaways you
wish to enter. You may tick as many as you wish, but entries
must be received by April 2, 2015.
One photocopied or handwritten form per person is
acceptable. Alternatively, you can enter online at
growfruitandveg.co.uk
Which crop features on page 24 of the April issue
of Grow Your Own?
Turnips Sweetcorn
Melons (Please tick).
Send your entries to: Grow Your Own,
PO Box 443, Ipswich, Suffolk IP2 8WG

HARROD HORTICULTURAL ARCHES


WOODBLOCX RASIED BED KIT
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growfruitandveg.co.uk

Title

Forename

Gardeners Market Classifieds

The Grazers Family

Effective against damage from major garden pests

Surname

Address
Postcode
Telephone*

Email

Favourite feature this issue


Male

Female

* To receive deliveries entrants must provide a daytime contact telephone number

Date of birth DD/MM/YY


Your details will be processed by Aceville Publications (publishers of Grow Your Own) in full accordance with data protection legislation. All entries become the
property of Aceville Publications, publishers of Grow Your Own. Aceville Publications Ltd. and sister companies may wish to contact you with information of
other services and publications we provide which may be of interest.
Please tick here if you DO NOT wish to receive such information by Post Phone Email SMS .
Aceville Publications will share details with WoodblocX and Omlet. Please tick here if you DO NOT wish to be contacted by Post Phone Email SMS .
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
This competition is open to all UK residents aged 18 or over, excluding employees or agents of the associated companies and their families. One entry per person. The prizes detailed in each
competition cannot be exchanged for goods, or towards the purchase of goods at any retail outlet. Entries must be on the coupon provided or online at growfruitandveg.co.uk/competitions. It
cannot be exchanged for cash, or replaced if lost or damaged. Illegible entries and those that do not abide by these terms and conditions will be disqualified. Prizes must be taken as stated and
cannot be deferred. The decision of the judge is final and no correspondence will be entered into. CLOSING DATE: April 2, 2015. Winners will be notified by post, a list of winners will be available in
writing on request from Rachel Tudor, 21/23 Phoenix Court, Hawkins Road, Colchester, Essex. CO2 8JY

p113 GYO April 15 Website Directory_Layout 1 20/02/2015 14:52 Page 113

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113

Behind the scenes with... Qx_GYO new size 20/02/2015 16:34 Page 1

Last word

Behind the scenes with...

Toby Buckland
The TV gardener talks about
his upcoming festivals and his
top crops to grow this year

I have a nursery at Powderham Castle in


Devon and it always seemed to us that
there was a big gap in gardening shows
in the area in spring. We wanted to do
something that would fill that space for the
whole south west peninsular and thats how
the garden festivals were born. We had quite
small ambitions and the amount of interest
grew and grew. It was hugely supported and
kind of ran away with itself!

Getting started
I asked myself how you give a festival
personality and make it different to shows.
Festivals have a different kind of vibe to
standard shows, so I wanted to recreate that.
I like company, good food, drink, great music
and plants. Combine all of those things and
put plants and horticulture at the centre and
you really can't go wrong. We've included
loads of great musicians playing between the
nursery stalls, which means it becomes like a
magical pop-up shop for plant lovers.
Both of the festivals (Powderham Castle
and Bowood House) have been really well
subscribed with nurseries, we will be knocking
200 exhibits by the start in May. We've got a
really good range of plants stuff you
can't get anywhere else. The key
thing at events like this is
the conversation, the
chat between the
owners and
people buying
the plants which
means you get
the best
information on
growing those crops.
114

growfruitandveg.co.uk

The Powderham festival will be themed loosely


around herbs, so we'll have some medieval
herb-based street theatre, as well as a teepee
restaurant and food all over the place. We
have great speakers, too Christine Walkden,
Jim Buttress and Bob Flowerdew, who are all
very engaging.

Seasonal tasks
Coming back to herbs, they are a great place
to start for growers, as well as one to re-visit if
youre experienced. They aren't difficult to
grow, but the range of flavour on offer you
can't buy it. They are good looking and great
to eat. I always think of herbs as a group of
plants that are like a trojan horse you get a
couple of them on your windowsill and the
next minute you are looking at your whole
garden thinking 'I could do something with
that'. It gets you engaged.
Planting is one of the key tasks at this time
of the year and theres any amount of
different things to start, as well
as switching from hardier
crops to more tender veg.
The key to achieving a
long cropping season
is getting stuff out
in the ground now,
then covering it up
with fleece if there are
any late frosts forecast.

TOBY'S TOP CROPS


Tomatoes
You get new types created to be resistant to
pests and diseases, and some of them have
fabulous flavour, like 'Polperro' or 'Sweet
Million'. But go back to the older ones and
the reason theyd fallen from favour was the
fact they had softer flesh or thinner skin and
don't transport well. That affects the flavour,
as it means cells rupture when you eat them,
so youre getting more complex flavours.

Chillies
I wouldn't ever be without chilli peppers I
love them. 'Aji Limon' is one I really like
because it's fruity and has a delicious citrussy
twist. 'Cayenne' is a good pepper, too,
because it's not so hot on the tip, but much
hotter at the shoulders and they dry so well. I
do really like super hots 'Bhut Jolokia' and
Naga types. They have an earthiness to the
heat and a rounded, complex flavour.

Parsley
I love parsley. As a garnish it's okay, but it's
just lovely if you blitz it up with garlic and a
bit of oil into a paste. Then you can use it for
cooking on fish or chicken. Or use it as a dip
with pitta bread. It's like spring on a spoon!

GYO April 15 ROPs_Layout 1 20/02/2015 10:06 Page 115

GYO April 15 ROPs_Layout 1 20/02/2015 10:06 Page 116

GYO Wrap April 2015Qx_Layout 1 23/02/2015 10:33 Page 2

FREE FOR
EVERY READER
*

TOMATO PLANTS

+ SEEDS AND FERTILISER

HOW TO ORDER:

Credit/debit card HOTLINE: 0844 573 1686


Open 7 days a week 8am-8pm (for orders
over 10 only please) quote ref GYB28

To order by Post: Complete the order form, fill in your details and send the
form along with cheques (postal orders, cash and stamps NOT accepted), to:

GROW YOUR OWN FREE* TOMATOES OFFER, GYB28, PO BOX


162, IPSWICH, SUFFOLK, IP8 3BX
If paying by cheque, please make payable to Thompson & Morgan and write
your name and address on the back. You can also pay using your debit/credit
card please complete your card details on the form below.

Order online: www.thompson-morgan.com/GYB28


PLEASE NOTE: Your FREE* tomato, seed and fertiliser set will be dispatched from
April 2015 onwards and offers are all subject to availability and delivery to UK mainland
addresses ONLY. All orders will be acknowledged by email or letter with a separate
dispatch note.

WORTH

27.52!

We all know that a fresh, sweet,


home-grown tomato in a salad or
eaten straight from the vine is one of the best taste
experiences. This red-skinned cherry tomato produces
excellent yields of delicious, bite sized fruits. Tomato
Sweet Aperitif has a high sugar content and just the
right amount of acidity which combine beautifully for a
sweet, but refreshing flavour.

CODE

Product

Price

Qty

Sub total

TCC59865

6 FREE* Tomato plants + seeds


+ tomato fertiliser for every reader
worth 27.52 (Offer limited to
1 per household)

FREE*

*5.65
(postage)

TCK14261P Raspberry Glen Moy 6 canes

14.99

TCK14262P Raspberry Glen Moy 12 canes


- save 9.99

19.99

TCK99537P Full Season Blueberry Collection


- save over 26

29.99

TCK13899P Full Season Strawberry Collection


12 bareroots

14.99

TCK99560P Full Season Strawberry Collection


36 bareroots- Save 9.98

34.99

TCK14277

24.99

Fig Brown Turkey One 3 litre


potted bush

SUB TOTAL
TCC18009

BONUS OFFER My order totals


20 or more - therefore please
add 100g Incredicrop fertiliser
pack (worth 4.99) to my order
for JUST 1.99

Code: GYB28

In this bumper growing kit youll receive:


6 x tomato Sweet Aperitif plug plants
5 x packets of Thompson & Morgan vegetable and herb
seeds to grow alongside your toms
1 x 100g packet of specially-formulated Chempak
tomato fertiliser

Grow more with these other great offers from


Thompson & Morgan for Grow Your Own readers:

Raspberry Glen Moyearliest fruiting raspberry


This variety produces an
abundance of firm fruits from June
to July on virtually spine-free canes,
which make harvesting a pleasure.
Good resistance to virus-carrying
aphids. Bare-root plants are hand
graded and carefully selected
before packing.
BUY six canes 14.99 OR 12
canes 19.99 - and save 9.99!

Closing date for application for any offers is: 15th May 2015

SAVE
UP TO
9.99!

SEE REVERSE FOR MORE GREAT OFFERS

1.99

TOTAL

I enclose a cheque for the amount of .................................................


made payable to Thompson & Morgan and with my name and address on the
reverse, and along with my ORDER FORM
PLEASE charge my Visa / Mastercard / Switch
Card Number __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __
Start Date __ __ / __ __
Expiry Date __ __ / __ __ Switch Issue No______
Signature ................Date:................................
PLEASE COMPLETE YOUR DELIVERY DETAILS IN BLOCK CAPITALS:
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Terms and conditions and your data protection preferences:


All orders must be received by 15th May 2015. If in the event of unprecedented demand this offer is oversubscribed, we reserve the right
to send suitable substitute varieties. Please note that your contract for supply of goods is with Thompson & Morgan, Poplar Lane, Ipswich,
IP8 3BU. All offers are subject to availability (terms and conditions available upon request). This offer is open to all UK residents aged 18 or
over, excluding employees or agents of the associated companies and their families. The offer is: 1 x FREE* Tomato growing kit, (including
5 x packets of veg seed and 1 x fertiliser pack) per person, per household, with postage fee of *5.65 and will be dispatched from April
2015 onwards. Strictly no multiple applications allowed. Products cannot be exchanged for cash, or replaced if lost or damaged. Entries
for this offer must be on the coupon provided (no purchase necessary). Illegible entries and those that do not abide by these terms and
conditions will be disqualified. No responsibility will be held for entries lost, delayed or damaged. All entries become the property of Aceville
Publications Ltd. No correspondence will be entered into by Aceville Publications Ltd.
Delivery to UK addresses only and subject to availability. Thompson & Morgan reserve the right to substitute any varieties for others of
equal or greater value. Payment accepted in sterling only.
Your details will be processed by Thompson & Morgan/Aceville Publications Ltd (publishers of Grow Your Own magazine) in full
accordance with data protection legislation. Thompson & Morgan/Aceville Publications Ltd and sister companies may wish to
contact you with information of other services and publications we provide which maybe of interest. Please tick here if you DO
NOT wish to receive such information by Post
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GYO Wrap April 2015Qx_Layout 1 23/02/2015 10:32 Page 1

MORE GREAT OFFERS


Full Season ion
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