My Frankenstein garden
An Urban Veg Patch
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4d ago
A picture of my violets just because they are so beautiful  What is going on in my veg garden?  My laziness in the garden last year is producing some unexpected results in that some of the non-perennial plants have decided to regenerate and come back to life with renewed vigour. Hey, I’m not complaining!  I gave up on the garlic cloves planted last year; they just didn’t grow much.  Too shady, too wet, too warm? I don’t know.  Inexplicably, those same cloves started to grow again last month and currently stand at 10 inches of leafy growth. They seem to be beh ..read more
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Garden Watch: Mid August in the gardens
An Urban Veg Patch
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1M ago
What's happening in the garden this month ? Weeds, weeds, weeds!  That's what. And spiders ... so many spiders. And because it feels like the wrong time of year for spiders to be stretching across every plant in the garden, I'm crashing through them on a daily basis.  How is it with everyone else? Not surprisingly everything in my garden is responding to warm wet weather - not just the weeds. Everything tells me autumn is just around the corner but when did summer slide out of the picture? (Admittedly we are having a week of heat atm.) But I'm not ready to think about autumn until ..read more
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Back in the kitchen with foraged Elderberries
An Urban Veg Patch
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1M ago
  Can it be that time of year again already? I'm just finishing off my summer batch of elderflower cordial and yesterday, as I walked home, I saw that my favourite spot for collecting the elder tree's bounty was positively dripping with ripe elder berries.   I'm sure a lot of people would either not notice this beautiful spectacle or might think "lovely" and pass on by.  But not me.  I paused to 'see something of the beauty of nature' (to quote John Mortimer) then dashed home to fetch a bucket and secateurs.   Of course I left plenty for birds and other wildlife and ..read more
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Perfecting the art of growing big gooseberries in a small space
An Urban Veg Patch
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1M ago
This past week the last of the gooseberries have been picked (a bit later than usual, the weather has been so unhelpful this year) and now it's time to reshape the plants with a summer pruning.   This was supposed to be done in early July but I'm banking on everything being a bit late this year.  And, flushed with the success of squeezing two more gooseberry plants into my overstuffed garden, I want to make sure they're trained properly. In my gardens I have four red gooseberry bushes - one bush, two fans and one in a pot that's been ambushed by sawfly again this year.  Gooseb ..read more
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Carry On sowing! Crops for autumn, winter and beyond to sow NOW
An Urban Veg Patch
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1M ago
It's been a pretty disastrous year for veg growing in my patch and this morning, late July, it feels positively autumnal. (Not in a good way.) But I've been through my seed packets and found potential for quite a lot of late summer sowings. By taking advantage of the (relatively) warm and wet weather currently in play here in London, I'll have quick growing crops in the next few months, plus winter leaves and spring harvests. Just a small selection of what can be grown this autumn! I don't usually give much thought to late summer sowing at this time of year (there's usually plenty mo ..read more
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Prunella - weed or wonder?
An Urban Veg Patch
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1M ago
Once again, Prunella vulgaris, aka Self Heal, has returned to the veg patch with renewed vigour. It's a perennial, an enthusiastic self-seeder, low growing, edible, medicinal and a food source for bees. Sounds good, yes? Photo via Google Creative Commons licence from Wallpaper Flare I sowed seeds for this about ten years ago because of its appeal to bees and other pollinators and since then it has sporadically re-appeared over the years to fill cracks in the brick paths.   Initially I was drawn to the look of the flowers and their appeal to pollinators. Its flower stems sh ..read more
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Improving and re-nutrifying my clay based soil with PeatFree mulches
An Urban Veg Patch
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1M ago
Peat based composts will be banned for domestic markets from 2027 although trade growers can use peat based products until 2030, if they so wish. This is good news for peat bogs and the wildlife they support but would have been even better if UK's government had kept to their original deadline of banning peat products from 2024. Thankfully, there is now quite a range of good peat-free composts available to buy and I've been privileged to use several of them. A few years ago, peat-free composts were no contest for more traditional peat based ones but a lot of research has gone into improving ..read more
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GardenWatch: April in the Veg Patch
An Urban Veg Patch
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1M ago
After a winter that seemed to go on for ever, I've barely started sowing and it already feels like the summer solstice is drawing near! Let's see what's happening in the garden... Yep, it's blossom time again. The pear trees never fail. Now that we're half way through the spring months, the air temperature is warmer making it a real pleasure to potter around the garden as the plants put on some very vigorous growth.  I have two garden spaces that I look after here in my urban Eden - the veg garden which is languishing while waiting for sowing and planting to begi ..read more
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Revisiting an immune boosting tea from the herb garden
An Urban Veg Patch
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1M ago
  And, finally, there was tea ... It's probably a bit early for all the herbs in this tea to be available in the garden but as many of my friends and family have colds at the moment, it seems timely to revisit this delicious tea.   Some readers may remember this tea ... I initially wrote this as part of a look back at May 2020 in the garden - a time when we needed all the immune support we could get! So, if these plants are not flourishing in your garden yet (take heart, it won't be long), bookmark this post to come back to it.  And while the plants are available, pick an ..read more
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The How and Why of growing Jerusalem Artichokes
An Urban Veg Patch
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1M ago
Spot the real sunflower - most of these are Sunchokes (Helianthus tuberosus) My new discovery for the veg patch last year was Jerusalem Artichokes, also known as Sunchokes. I grew them for the sunflowers, little knowing of their many health benefits! I'd resisted growing Jerusalem artichokes until the day they were served up as a side veg at a particularly posh restaurant meal that I was invited to attend. First tastes didn't provoke a eureka moment but that smooth blob of puréed sun-chokes piqued my curiosity. Was this a useful addition to the veg patch? And was their reputatio ..read more
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