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Where to find food growing advice

Where to find food growing advice

Growing food is endlessly satisfying. It’s tricky, too, with ambitious slugs and stubborn seeds.

A little advice goes a long way. That’s why Garden Organic’s Master Gardeners are here to help in volunteer networks across England. Our mentors vary in growing knowledge and experience, but are united by wanting to share their passion for food growing to help others no matter the growing space.

We’re not about self sufficiency. Instead, we want to fill sandwiches and top up meals with fresh edible delights for people to munch.

In fact, most gardeners enjoy sharing ideas, tips, tricks, stories, seeds, plants and frustrations. They also share tea and biscuits if you’re lucky.

I’ve been gardening since age six, or potting bench height, and discovered gardening to be a generous hobby. A generous industry, too, as wonderfully described on the horticultural careers website, ‘Grow’, and on the agricultural/food sector website, ‘Bright Crop’.

My best wishes for your growing year,

Philip Turvil MI Hort

Master Gardener blogs
Coventry & Warwickshire, North London, South London, Norfolk, Medway, Lincolnshire and Somerset

Sign up free for 12 months growing advice from your local volunteer mentor

Free growing pack for MG mentored household

Top tips

Seasonal advice from the Master Gardener Programme

Garden Organicmonthly tips, free growing manual and membership

Crop by crop growing cards for vegetables, fruit, herbs, edible flowers & green manures
(latest UK crops here)

Step by step instructions for growing activities

Social networks

Lively websites

Crop planning by a school gardening club

More growing advice from the Master Gardener Programme

Posted in Edible flower, Featured, Fruit, Growing tips, Herbs, Herbs, Vegetables0 Comments

Watering ‘etiquette’ from Master Gardeners

Watering ‘etiquette’ from Master Gardeners

With the dry weather finally upon us, good crop watering makes all the difference to portion size.

Now is the time to manage your precious water reserve and apply to plants when they need it most.

 

 

 

Life cycle watering

Step 1

Good seed sowing starts off strong plants that’ll be more resilient in drier months. Ensure moist seed ‘drills’ for swift germination and then enough water for rows of emerging seedlings. The same goes for seedlings in pots and trays on the windowsill where small volumes of compost dry out quickly.

Step 2

Water your eager transplants before planting. If their rootball isn’t wet, water will scoot around the edges as the route of least resistance rather than wetting the rootball. Transplants cannot afford any such stop in growth if they’re to produce good roots quickly for summer resilience.

Step 3

Established plants in the soil are best watered in large amounts, but less often. This encourages deeper rooting and more independent plants. Watering little and often promotes shallow roots that will need more water in dry weather. Although do water crops in containers more often, as these can’t root as deeply as soil grown plants.

Top organic tips

  1. Water in the morning or evening (less water is lost to evaporation)
  2. Water beneath leaves to wet the soil. Wet leaves can be scorched in sunny weather
  3. Remove weeds as these compete with plants for water
  4. Water more often in windy weather as plants will dry out in these conditions
  5. Check if outdoor containers need water even after rain. Dense foliage and ‘rain-shadows’ from buildings can stop water getting to the soil
  6. Collect and use rainwater, eg install water-butts for sheds. This reduces the environmental impact and cost of using mains water.
  7. Conserve moisture by adding organic matter to soil, such as compost or leaf mould. Dig in, or spread over the soil surface as a mulch.

Garden Organic’s growing resources

 

Article by Philip Turvil

Posted in Edible flower, Featured, Fruit, Growing tips, Herbs, Vegetables0 Comments

Keep your plate full with succession sowing

Keep your plate full with succession sowing

Some vegetables are too eager. They race for maturity, but deteriorate if not picked, leaving you to eat a season’s quota of your favourite crop in one go.

Just too many radish.

The trick is staggering harvest times by sowing seeds little and often in ‘succession’.

You can keep your plate evenly full by growing young plants to replace those that have just vanished into the kitchen.

Crops suited to succession sowing:

Busy sowing

Impatient crops that have an ideal maturity and don’t store well. These chaps will sulk if not harvested, usually producing seeds or losing tenderness, so are best sown regularly.

For example (links open Garden Organic PDFs): Annual Spinach, Broad Bean, Leaf Beet, Calabrese, Carrot, Cabbage, Kohl Rabi, Lettuce, Pea, Radish, Rocket, Salad Onion, Turnip, Swede, Summer Salads, and Seed Sprouts.

Crops less is need of succession sowing:

Generous crops that can’t resist yielding for long periods, such as tomatoes and runner beans. These crops are best sown once. Likewise crops that like to culminate their season at about the same time every year, such as pumpkins and squashes.

Weather can ruin the best laid horticultural plans

A hot or cold spell can excite or depress crops sown at different times, letting them catch up with one another. So, a couple of useful tips to help buffer the effects of surprise weather:

  • Rather than follow a rigid sowing schedule – with new carrots every third Sunday, wait for the earlier sowing to grow merrily before sowing again.
  • Pick crops early, munching young plants as ‘thinnings’, leaving alternate plants to grow larger.
  • Speed up slower specimens by covering with a cloche or horticultural fleece for a couple of weeks. This will get them growing!

Going further

Succession sowing can continue for several months depending on the crop and, more and more, clever new varieties. Have a look at the Organic Gardening Catalogue.

Don’t feel obliged to grow young plants next to old so they compete in rows, or entertain large bare spaces with the promise of late season sowings…  So long as there are crops of different age around your growing space, then local tableware will be pleased.

Just after the thrill of eating own-grown produce, is experimenting with different veg at different harvest times. I find succession sowing, with the many caveats, one of most exciting of all horticultural delights.

Did you know that Garden Organic publishes a wondrous array of growing tips?

Click here to discover unusual crops (opens ‘Sowing New Seed’ project website)

Step by step growing activities…

Become a Garden Organic member…

What to do in the garden in June and July

Lively growing blogs by volunteer Master Gardeners:
Warwickshire, North London, South London, Norfolk, and Lincolnshire

Article by Philip Turvil

Posted in Featured, Growing tips, Vegetables0 Comments

How to grow your seed potatoes

How to grow your seed potatoes

Now is the time to celebrate the spud with Garden Organic’s National Potato day on the 26 and 27 January 2013 and other themed events this month around the UK.

 

 

 

 

Wake up your new seed-potatoes by ‘chitting’. This gives the keenest start.

  • Pop your seed-potatoes in a clean egg box ‘rose’ end up – the end with most buds.
  • Label the variety. Most spuds look similar to start with!
  • Put the egg box in a cool light place for four to six weeks.
  • The potatoes will grow sturdy green shoots ready to offer an earlier harvest.

Keen growers choosing choosing their seed potatoes at Ryton Gardens

Chitting tips

  • Keep your young spuds out of very bright sunlight – although not too dark, otherwise pale brittle shoots develop that easily break.
  • Chit potatoes that are already sprouting straight away. Otherwise leave in a cool, dark place until you are ready to chit them.
  • Plant your chitted spuds 15cm deep. Space ‘early’ varieties 30-50cm apart from mid-March for a June-July harvest. Space ‘maincrop’ varieties 35-70cm apart from April for a September-October harvest.

Potato growing advice

See below for potato growing instructions (scrolling PDF)
Click here for advice choosing varieties from Master Gardeners (opens webpage)
Click here to read about growing potatoes in containers (opens PDF)
Click here to read about growing potatoes no-dig (opens PDF)

Find out about Garden Organic’s National Potato day

Growing instructions for potato

Written by Philip Turvil, Project Manager for Master Gardener Programme

More growing advice

More about Master Gardener programme

Posted in Featured, Growing tips, Vegetables0 Comments

Growing for December: the perfect plate of festive food

Growing for December: the perfect plate of festive food

By Rubi Ingaglia

With the festive season approaching the thought of snuggling up with a mug of hot chocolate sounds appealing, but the December garden has lots to offer. A cold stint in the allotment won’t seem so painful compared to the tasting of fresh, organic ingredients that will compliment your Christmas roast delightfully.

Here are my favourite crops and growing tips.

After leaving parsnips to sweeten after frost, it is time to lift their roots in anticipation of your Christmas dinner. For those with a sweet tooth, drizzle with honey and roast, or try coating them in parmesan cheese before roasting for a crispy, savoury alternative.
Red cabbage is a popular Christmas meal addition, which, along with hearted white varieties, should be cut before the frost. It can be easily prepared in advance, and try adding apples, sultanas, brown sugar and butter when cooking for a gorgeously caramelised dish.
Brussels Sprouts are perfectly timed for the festive season as they can be harvested as early as mid September, but they can taste better after a frost. To entice those who are perhaps not Brussels sprouts enthusiasts, add bacon or almonds for extra flavour and crunch.
Seed Sprouts can be sown indoors and harvested all year round. These nutritious fillings are a great addition to those Boxing Day leftover sandwiches.

 

Also on my menu

If you’re looking to start your post-Christmas diet early, after being planted in summer, celery and lettuce is ready to be harvested and make crunchy, fresh, low calorie snacks.
December is the time for planting your gooseberries, pears and rhubarb, but make sure you choose well-drained soil. For summer and autumn harvesting, these fruits will be ideal for scrumptious fillings of those homemade pies.
As for the herbs, it’s time to pick the leaves of sage, rosemary and thyme. For your plate of Christmas veg, add fresh rosemary to your roasted root vegetables to perfect your plate alongside butternut squash, sweet potatoes and carrots. Use sage for a traditional stuffing, or for a refreshing twist add thyme and lemon instead.

Rubi is a Christmas enthusiast and volunteer at Garden Organic. She’s looking forward to “food and festivities” this December!

 

Other festive favourites (links open growing cards)
Leek, Radish, Chicory, Cauliflower, Spinach, Swede, Sprouting Broccoli,   Winter cabbage

Garden Organic’s growing resources

Click here to discover unusual crops

Become a member of the UK leading organic growing charity, Garden Organic

Adopt a Veg – send a festive Christmas present

Read lively growing blogs by volunteer Master Gardeners:
Coventry & Warwickshire, North London, South London, Norfolk, and Lincolnshire

Posted in Fruit, Growing tips, Herbs, Vegetables0 Comments

What to do in November: food growing space

What to do in November: food growing space

As falling leaves smother fruit and veg crops, it’s a lovely time of year for quick outdoor jobs.

There are broad bean seeds to push in this month for a earlier crop in 2013. Although wait until February if your soil is already sodden. Read more growing tips here and visit the Organic Gardening Catalogue to admire their tempting varieties.

Garlic is worth reaching for your coat this month. They like the winter cold to properly develop next year. Select varieties for UK growing, splitting bulbs into individual ‘cloves’ for planting. Read more growing tips here.

What else?

Indoors, pea shoots are magic, where young seedlings on windowsills offer a nutritious snack from a small compost-filled tray. Read top tips here from our Master Gardener Alice.

And it’s a great time for seed sprouts such as mung bean and alfalfa. In a matter of days, damp seeds in a room-temperature jar offer delicious sandwich and stir-fry fillers. Read about seed sprouts here (links opens PDF).

Autumn cold protection: race against time.

What else  to do in the garden now: Garden Organic Guide.

November summary (links open PDFs)

 Plant Sow broad beans and garlic.
Lettuce
(under protection like cloches).
Fruit trees and bushes. Read Garden Organic’s free fruit manual here.
 Grow Insulate greenhouse and polytunnels from frost with bubble plastic.
Stake Brussels sprouts and kale; pull up soil around stems to lesson ‘wind-rock’.
Protect cauliflowers by snapping and folding leaves over flower heads (‘curds’).
Prune black and redcurrants and gooseberry bushes. Use suitable prunings as hardwood cuttings. Click here for how…
Put out food and water for birds. Read more here with RSPB.
 Eat Annual spinach, Brussels sprouts, winter and savoy cabbage, Jerusalem artichoke, kohl rabi, leaf beet, leek, lettuce, parsnip, salsify, swede, turnip.
 Others Drop hints for gardening vouchers as Christmas presents from friends and family.

Since the odd weather continues, my October summary too (links open PDFs)

 Plant In mild regions, sow broad beans, plant garlic, bulb onion, rhubarb.
Indoors, sow radish, autumn and winter salad, pea.
 Grow Collect fallen leaves to rot down to make ‘leafmould’. Click here for instructions…
Cut fruited canes of hybrid berries to ground level. Read Garden Organic’s free fruit manual here.
Cover bean plants with horticultural fleece to extend cropping.
 Eat Beetroot, carrot, Chiness cabbage, cauliflower, celery, kohl rabi, leaf beet.
Parsnip
and Brussels sprouts after frosty weather has improved flavour.
 Others  What are you still eating? Email me here to let me know!

Garden Organic’s growing resources

Click here to discover unusual crops

Step by step growing activities…

Become a Garden Organic member…

Lively growing blogs by volunteer Master Gardeners:
Coventry & Warwickshire, North London, South London, Norfolk, and Lincolnshire

Article by Philip Turvil

Posted in Featured, Fruit, Growing tips, Vegetables0 Comments

May: grow your own tips

May: grow your own tips

Crops are confused this month. We’ve had a mild winter, sunny March, and wet April so far.

But May is the time for catching up with sowing seeds and planting out your favourite fruit and veg.

Remember there’s still time to prepare quick growing harvest for your ‘Big Jubilee Lunch’ on the 3rd June 2012.

Also crops for shared salads and BBQs for London 2012 celebrations… Please click here to read how Master Gardeners are getting involved with the Games.

Seeds to sow in May

Sow these cold-hardy crops direct into your soil – or for more comfort if a little cold and wet, sow seeds in pots and trays instead. Tuck these away indoors or in a sheltered sunny corner to transplant later.

The following links open PDF growing instructions by Garden Organic:

Annual Spinach, Beetroot, Sprouting Broccoli, Pea, Radish, Rocket, Salad Onion, Pot MarigoldParsnip, LettuceCarrotCelery, Cauliflower, Kale, Kohl Rabi, (deep breath), Leaf Beet, Turnip, Swede, Spring and Summer Salad, and others…

You can also transplant energetic plants started off in March and April, moving them to their final growing space outdoors. This works well with Brussels Sprouts, Leek, Cauliflower, Calabrese, Summer Cabbage, and Sprouting Broccoli. Don’t worry if you haven’t sown these crops yet! There’s still time to sow and get large plants for transplanting in June or early July instead.

Nearly frost free…

There’s a collective horticultural rush during May. The South of England should be frost-free by the end of the month and soon after for the North and exposed sites.

So, now is the time to sow your cold-tender crops that like to be kept warm, such as Pumpkin and Squashes, Sweetcorn, Courgette and Marrow, French Bean, and Runner Bean. Start off these plants indoors on a clean, warm windowsill or in a greenhouse or polytunnel. Then plant outside after the last frost.

You can also move crops started off earlier in the year destined for a summer inside a greenhouse or polytunnel, moving your lovely Aubergine, Cucumber, Okra, Pepper, and Tomato. Although if growing these sensitive crops outdoors during summer, wait until after the last frost before transplanting.

Did you know that Garden Organic publishes a wondrous array of growing tips?

Click here to discover unusual crops (opens ‘Sowing New Seed’ project website)

Step by step growing activities…

Become a Garden Organic member…

What to do in the garden in May

Local growing blogs by volunteer Master Gardeners:
Warwickshire, North London, South London, Norfolk, and Lincolnshire

Article by Philip Turvil

Posted in Edible flower, Featured, Fruit, Growing tips, Vegetables0 Comments

Top MG tips for tempting seedlings

Top MG tips for tempting seedlings

We asked Garden Organic’s Master Gardeners for their top sowing tips to get you started growing food this spring. Here are some of their suggestions...

“Sowing seeds is like bingo: eyes down for a full-house!” Steve Penny

“When planting seeds with children, I recommend two seeds per hole to avoid those disappointed little faces.”
Helen Bronstein


Seed packets always describe perfect conditions for producing the best looking and biggest crops, but seeds can still grow perfectly well without matching these requirements and will give good yields at less than the recommended spacing.”

Derek Miller

“I sow in modular trays, pots or plugs as it is much easier to look after my seedlings when they are not sown in situ.”

Keith Wellsted

Seed packets often contain far more seeds than you use, so why not swap your spares with others to get a wider range of varieties? Also remember that as seeds get older, less will germinate, so sow larger quantities than you did when the seeds were fresh.”

Paul Sanders

“A good rule of thumb for how deep to sow: make a hole twice as deep as your seed.”

Alex Collings

“Sow some beetroot in groups and others spaced out. When they grow, you can choose a bunch of small beetroot or individual bigger ones.”

Terry Patterson

“Create a propagator with a takeaway container as a base and another plastic container as the roof. Place it in front of the telly to remember to keep the compost damp.”

Mike Wohl

“To grow scotch bonnet chillies, I use the seeds from fruit that I have purchased from a market or grocer. Wash the seeds in a plastic tea strainer, allow them to dry on kitchen paper; then germinate them on moist cotton wool covered in cling film. Pot up the sprouted seeds in compost and put on a windowsill to grow on.”

Phil Bannister

More top tips from Master Gardeners

  • “Sow peas early in the greenhouse in a length of guttering. You can then slide the peas into your trench without disturbing the roots.” Helen Kelly
  • “A heated propagator is a cheap and worthwhile investment, but pots on windowsills covered with cling film work well, provided you take this off once seeds sprout.” Adam Lee
  • “How about germinating seeds in the nice, warm environment of an airing cupboard? I tried it with aubergine seeds and it worked a treat!” Rosie Humphreys
  • “Only sow seeds when the soil is warm. Cover the soil with horticulture fleece or bubble wrap for a few days prior to sowing.” Ray Price
  • “For peas and sweet peas, soak the seed overnight and then sow them in paper pots which are particularly easy to plant out.” Maria Elena Brady

“Warm your filled seed trays in advance. Either in a propagator, airing cupboard, greenhouse, or on a windowsill. Then talk to them nicely after sowing! Grow seeds, grow” Ashleigh Rinchey

“Sow little and often. For vegetables that need to be harvested when they reach maturity like lettuce and cauliflower, sow small numbers but do sow regularly; two to three week intervals.” Paul Sanders

  • “Fill an empty cardboard egg box with compost. Put one runner bean in each compartment and spray with water. Close the box and look into it in three or four days. Monitor the moistness: not too wet, not dry. When you see the first shoots established, pot on or plant out.” Eulalia
  • “Always read the seed packets carefully. Not all vegetable seeds are best sown into pots or trays, for example beetroot, carrots and parsnips are very hard to transplant, so it’s worth waiting until your soil warms up in the spring and then sow directly into their permanent positions.” Karen Webb
  • “Jamaica Broad Leaf Callaloo: Sow in container and cover with cling film. Keep in warm conditions. When they reach 6cm, transplant to 7cm pots. When all risk of frost is gone, plant out 30cm apart.” Robert Samuda

For more tips and advice..

Article by the Master Gardeners, collated by Pauline Pears and Philip Turvil

Seed packets always describe perfect conditions for producing the best looking and biggest crops, but seeds can still grow perfectly well without matching theses requirements and will give good yields at less than the recommended spacing.” Derek Miller

“I sow in modular trays, pots or plags as it is much easily to look after my seedlings when are not sown in situ.” Keith Wellsted

Seed packets often contain far more seeds than you use so why not swap your spares with others to get a wider range of varieties? Also remember that as seeds get older, less will germinate, so sow larger quantities than you did when the seeds were fresh.” Paul Sanders

“A good rule of thumb for how deep to sow: make a hole twice as deep as your seed.” Alex Collings

“Sow some beetroot in groups and others spaced out. When they grow you can choose a bunch of small beetroot or individual bigger ones.” Terry Patterson

“Create a propagator with a takeaway container as base and another plastic container as the roof. Place it in front of the telly to remember to keep the compost damp.” Mike Wohl

“To grow scotch bonnet chillies I use the seeds from fruit that I have purchased from a market or grocer. Wash the seeds in a plastic tea strainer, allow them to dry on kitchen paper; then germinate them on moist cotton wool covered in cling film. Po up the sprouted seeds in compost and bring them on a windowsill.” Phil Bannister

“Sowing seeds is like bingo: eyes down for a full-house!” Steve Penny

“Warm your filled seed trays in advance. Either in a propagator, airing cupboard, greenhouse, or on a windowsill. Then talk to them nicely after sowing! Grow seeds, grow” Ashleigh Rinchey

“Sow peas early in the greenhouse in a length of guttering. You can then slide the peas into your trench without disturbing the roots.” Helen Kelly

“A heated propagator is cheap and worthwhile investment, but pots on windowsills covered with cling film work well, provided you take this off once seeds sprout.” Adam Lee

“How about germinating seeds in the nice, warm environment of an airing cupboard? I tried it with aubergine seeds and it worked a treat!” Rosie Humphreys

“Only sow seeds when the soil is warm. Cover the soil with horticulture fleece or bubble wrap for a few days prior to sowing. For indoors, save yogurt pots to sow seeds on a windowsill. Use kitchen foil backing to prevent plants growing leggy” Ray Price

“For peas and sweet peas, soak the seed overnight and then sow them in paper pots which are particularly easy to plant out.” Maria Elena Brady

“Sow little and often. For vegetables that need to be harvested when they reach maturity like lettuce and cauliflower, sow small numbers but do sow regularly; two to three week intervals.” Paul Sanders

“Fill an empty cardboard egg box with compost. Put one runner bean in each compartment and spray with water. Close the box and look into it in three or four days. Monitor the moistness: not too wet, not dry. When you see the first shoots established, pot on or plant out.” Eulalia

“When planting seeds with children, I recommend two seeds per hole to avoid those disappointed little faces.” Helen Bronstein

“Always read the seed packets carefully. Not all vegetable seeds are best sown into pots or trays, for example beetroot, carrots and parsnips are very hard to transplant, so it’s worth waiting until your soil warms up in the spring and then sow directly into their permanent positions.” Karen Webb

“Jamaica Broad Leaf Callaloo: Sow in container and cover with clingfilm. Keep in warm conditions. When they reach 6cm, transplant to 7cm pots. When all risk of frost is gone, plant out 30cm apart.” Robert Samuda

Posted in Edible flower, Fruit, Growing tips, Herbs, Vegetables0 Comments

Excited crops to sow in March

Excited crops to sow in March

Now is the time to sow seeds for tasty cropping from hardy and tender vegetables.

Get your plate ready for quick growing crops harvested from last spring – ideal for your ‘Big Jubilee Lunch’ on the 3rd June 2012.

Or keep the BBQ hot for summer harvests – ideal for London 2012 celebrations! Please click here to read how Master Gardeners are getting involved with the Games…


Hardy favourites

My seed-draw unleashed a flurry of hardy crops this month.

Sow these chaps direct into the soil – or if slugs are watching you, sow seed in snug pots or modular trays instead, placing indoors or in a sheltered corner.

The following links open PDF growing instructions by Garden Organic:

Annual spinach, Beetroot, Broad Bean, Brussels Sprouts, Leek, Pea, Radish, Rocket, Salad Onion, Summer Cabbage, Pot Marigold, bulb onion, Parsnip, Lettuce, Potato, Calabrese, Carrot, Cauliflower, Celery, and others…

Tender favourites

Seeds of tender crops are just as keen this month.

Start these off indoors on a clean, warm windowsill or in a frost-free greenhouse/polytunnel.

These chaps will be ready for transplanting into their final location indoors once larger enough, or outdoors after the last frost. This last frost is usually mid May in the south of England and London; into June further north.

The following links open PDF growing instructions by Garden Organic:

Aubergine, Cucumber, Okra, Pepper, Tomato, Pumpkin and Squashes, Sweetcorn, spring and summer salad, and others…

Click here to discover unusual crops (opens ‘Sowing New Seed’ project website)

Did you know that Garden Organic publishes a wondrous array of growing tips?

Step by step growing activities…

What to do in the garden in March

Local growing blogs by volunteer Master Gardeners:
Warwickshire, North London, South London, Norfolk, and Lincolnshire

Article by Philip Turvil

Posted in Edible flower, Fruit, Growing tips, Herbs, Herbs, Vegetables0 Comments

Cold weather tempts gardeners outside

Cold weather tempts gardeners outside

Home-grown veg needs a warm blanket as much as we do as cold weather covers the country…

Try a ‘cloche’ over your salad plants left over from summer and any new chaps sown in August or September.  Cloches distract the nastiest weather to prompt a few more weeks cropping from salads in their private micro-climate.

Click here to download how to make a cloche (opens PDF)

List of autumn salads with other veg (opens PDF)

Making lovely leafmould at Ryton Gardens

Looking under-foot

While you’re outside, cover bare soil to protect your valuable ‘surface structure’ from harsh rain. This protection also offers wildlife safer travel from one side to the other.

It’s a tad late in the year to sow green manures to cover soil, but you can still spread lovely leafmould up to 3cm thick over the surface. This is great ‘organic matter’ for improving your soil structure for better root growth next year.

Oh, and since leafmould is low in nutrients, adding it in autumn will not waste your valuable fertility through leaching. This is unlike high-nutrient compost and well-rotted manure which are better added in spring after winter rains and shortly before crops need the fertility.

Click here to download top tips for making leafmould (opens PDF)

You can also use newspaper to cover bare soil over winter – and clear a weedy patch ready for spring at the same time…  click here to download a guide (opens PDF)

Postpone until spring

Leave some dying shots from flowering plants. They offer a terrific wildlife homes for hibernating creatures that’ll eat pests when they wake up in spring.

Click here for more growing tips from Master Gardeners

Click here for Garden Organic’s seasonal growing thoughts…

Article by Philip Turvil

Posted in Growing tips, Vegetables0 Comments

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    Well now’s the time to decide big ones or little ones, or should I say fewer, but bigger? For there is always that choice to make when growing fruit you can have lots of littlies...
  • Could you be a Growing Buddy? Posted on 22 May 2016
    Now launching an exciting new volunteering opportunity in Breckland! We are recruiting volunteer ‘Growing Buddies’ to join our current network in Breckland. Growing Buddies...
  • Debbie Chessum Posted on 20 October 2015
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  • Heather Lowe Posted on 20 October 2015
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  • Spreading the organic growing message….. Posted on 2 September 2015
    I have lots of visitors to my allotment, some want to come and share tea and biscuits with me in my shed, some laze in deckchairs, some swap allotment tips while others stay for lo...
  • Forward Footing on Allotment 17b Posted on 26 August 2015
    On Monday 24 August I hosted a Wellbeing funded art project on my allotment! I was pleased that several members of Dementia Support South Lincolnshire attended, along with several ...
  • Lincolnshire Master Gardeners at Big Boston Festival Posted on 17 July 2015
    I was asked to make some creative interventions for the BBG festival site for the weekend of 4/5 July and also provide some activities on the day….I asked MG Tracy of Boston ...
  • Welcome to Our Newest Recruits Posted on 24 May 2017
    It was a weekend of sunshine and showers for our latest induction course in the wonderful setting of Leicester Botanical Gardens.  On Saturday, as the rain poured down, our six ...
  • Don’t let the weather get to you! Posted on 17 May 2017
    Master Gardener volunteer Radha Bellur has had a very busy week, despite the weather! I had various ‘gardening schedules’ this week and the bleak weather forecast did nothing t...
  • We’ve had our Contract Renewed and are Recruiting Again! Posted on 6 April 2017
    Hoorah!  Leicestershire Master Gardeners have been successful in bidding for the LCC Public Health food growing tender again.  In these difficult times, it’s a wonderful te...
  • The Power of Peas Posted on 22 March 2017
    Peas shoot salads have become a signature activity for the Leicestershire Master Gardeners.  These tasty pots of green goodness are incredibly quick and easy to grow on a windowsi...
  • South Leicestershire College Students Help to Develop Community Gardens Around Oadby & Wigston Posted on 10 March 2017
      Master Gardener Radha Bellur has been working with students from the South Leicestershire College to do some gardening in community growing spaces around Wigston:   ...
  • Welcome to Somerset Master Gardeners Posted on 21 November 2012
      Garden Organic is delighted to announce our partnership with Somerset Community Food to support volunteer ‘Master Gardeners’ to help communities grow their own f...
  • A fresh start Posted on 11 November 2014
      Trying to beat a drug addiction is a huge challenge. Trying to detox whilst serving a prison sentence can be even more complex. But sometimes the simple things in life can h...
  • Blogs coming soon Posted on 9 February 2013
    Our programme at HMP Rye Hill begins in spring 2013. Please visit back soon for latest blogs. In the meantime, please click here to read Master Gardener blogs from across the UK Ab...
  • Case studies coming soon Posted on 9 February 2013
    Our programme at HMP Rye Hill begins in spring 2013. Please visit back soon for latest case studies. In the meantime, please click here to read case studies from our Master Gardene...
We’re creating a model to establish custom networks of volunteer Master Gardeners in more UK areas. More information available here.

Photos on flickr