Tag Archives: gardening

Saving Ryton Organic Gardens

It was very distressing to hear that Garden organic is selling Ryton gardens. I first went there nearly 40 years ago when I was recovering from a life changing illness. I decided to grow organic food and have never looked back. I strongly believe that ‘being organic’ and eating good food has helped me to survive and confounded the doctors who cannot understand why I am still here! There will be many similar stories.

The big question is how much will it take to save Ryton? There are rumours of £1.2m hole in the pension fund. They keep saying they are considering all options so why the rush to sell? There must be a way of saving the place.

Please sign the petition to halt the sale

Want to grow food but can’t wait 4-40 years for an allotment?

With the ever increasing waiting list for allotments there has to be an alternative to waiting 4 – 40 years to grow your own food. The average waiting list in many parts of the UK is around 4 years. In some parts of London it is 40+ years. But why wait when there is a way of achieving high yields from small beds?

That is the challenge taken up by Bakewell & District Organic Gardeners with the launch of the Micro Bed Gardening Project yesterday. The aim is to encourage more people to grow food by starting with small raised beds just 1m square. Following from successful trials over the last two years the project web site will help people replicate the amazing results achieved.

Newcomers will be guided through the whole process by a step-by-step guide and an online library of linked articles. There is information on all stages from selecting a site, creating beds, sowing seeds and harvesting the crops. Sample planting plans are provided.

If you do not have a garden you can grow food in containers. Again step- by-step instructions and continuing support will be available via the web site.

Although based in Derbyshire anybody anywhere can sign up and the first 50 people revive a 50% discount on the subscription.

For more details see  Quick easy square metre beds

Success and failure, another gardening year

It has been a mild and gentle autumn which means plants have been growing well including the weeds. We got the planning right this year and sowed winter salad crops in September. The result is a supply of fresh cut and come again leaves from the polytunnel. There are also over wintering hearted lettuce that look the best ever. The winter lettuce varieties we use are Erika, Valdor, Winter Density and new this year  Winter Gem (Vaila.)

As an experiment there are also a row of carrots in the tunnel. They germinated well but remain very small and I doubt they will come to much. The same happened to the spinach (Giant Winter) it is there but small.

We had looked forward to a huge crop of sweet corn this year but the warm damp weather caused most of the cobs to rot on the plants. The leeks (Musselburgh) have a lot of rust on the leaves but it does not seem to be affecting the harvest. This was yet another season of moulds and most of the autumn fruiting raspberries (Autumn Bliss) rotted on the vines.

In the rest of the garden the Brussels Sprouts are cropping well and since the first real frost they are sweet and delicious. In the same bed is purple spouting which also looks good. The bed is kept covered with enviromesh not because there are any cabbage white butterflies around to lay eggs but to keep the pheasants off as they totally destroyed the spouting earlier this year.

Talking of  cabbage whites some cabbage plants were transplanted into a bed with free space and not covered. After a few days they were attacked by caterpillars (worms in the US) and looked like they would not survive. The caterpillars were picked off and the bed covered with net. We are now eating the cabbage as the hearts are fine.

A similar thing happened with some cauliflower plants. They did not do well after transplanting and were just left in the bed but are now producing some very welcome late caulis. It just goes to show that you should never give up!

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We are picking  lettuce, leeks, parsnips, celeriac, cabbage, cauliflower and carrots as well as eating the frozen veg from earlier in the year and potatoes in store. There is a good supply of apples but some have scab. They do not look very nice but once peeled they are delicious.

Now is the time for seed catalogues to come out and plan for next year, who knows what that will bring as the weather is so unpredictable now.