Christmas Gifts for Gardeners

It’s that time of year again, when you’re looking for Christmas gifts for gardeners but your local garden centre is packed full of dyed orchids, glitter sprayed succulents and other such abominations. There’s a mountain of seed catalogues through the post packed with offers but they’re all filled with superlative descriptions of twenty new varieties…

What do I want from Large Seed Companies?

At the heart of it, I’m an amateur home gardener with only a limited amount of free time to devote to the immensely satisfying pastime of growing my own fruit and vegetables. With this in mind, I spend a fair amount of time each year carefully selecting which crops and different varieties to grow to…

Climbing Bean – Blauhilde

There are plenty of good reasons why it’s always worth trying out new and different varieties of even the most traditional allotment staples. Different varieties can exhibit useful variations in flavour, colour, shape, productivity, disease tolerance and crucially suitability to your individual growing conditions. However, for the Blauhilde variety of climbing french beans it’s all…

Beans, Beans, the Musical Fruit.

I absolutely love growing beans; they’re super easy to grow, massively productive in only a small space and most importantly extremely tasty and versatile to cook with. In the few years that I’ve had an allotment, my love of growing beans has ballooned from sowing a few rows of the usual staples to devoting a…

How to Grow Hablitzia

Imagine such homegrown vegetables that you could plant once and then harvest a plentiful supply of tasty leaves, shoots, roots, flowers or tubers year upon year with almost no additional effort. Welcome to the wonderful world of perennial vegetables! One of my favourite perennial vegetables which has been a regular feature on my allotment for…

How to Grow Achocha

I absolutely adore peppers and they feature in plenty of our regular homecooked meals however I’ve never really had that much success growing them myself. They need a long growing season, plenty of heat and they take up all too precious space in the greenhouse. On the other hand; Achocha is astoundingly easy to grow,…

Growing a Giant!

Like most people, I’m always proud and perhaps even slightly smug when I harvest my carrots and find a particularly large specimen or even if by pure luck I have a single leek that actually has a reasonable thickness. However, I’ve never really had any interest in specifically growing giant vegetables. That is, until I…

How to Grow Shark Fin Melon

I’m always sceptical when any crop or variety is described as either rampant, vigorous or massively productive as these terms are all too often overused in certain seed catalogues. However, Sharks Fin Melon is without a doubt the most rampant, vigorous and productive crop that I have ever grown! What is it? Shark Fin Melon (Cucurbita Ficifolia)…

What I’m Growing in 2017

After many evenings perusing seed catalogues, afternoons excitingly coming home to find glorious envelopes of seeds have arrived in the post and taking part in the brilliant Twitter #SeedCircle16. Here is a lovely list of everything I want to try and grow this year on the allotment and in the greenhouse; Brassicas: Red Cabbage –…

How to Grow Jerusalem Artichokes

Despite the name suggesting otherwise, Jerusalem Artichokes have nothing to do with Jerusalem and have very little in common with Globe Artichokes! What they certainly are however is one of the easiest vegetables I’ve ever grown. Jerusalem Artichokes (Helianthus Tuberosus) are knobbly irregular tubers which have a wonderfully earthy yet also sweet and slightly nutty…

How to Grow Kiwano

Before I start planning for next year, I want to first do a quick summary of some of the more exciting and unusual crops that I’ve grown this year. As possibly the weirdest, I’m going to start with alien space eggs or Kiwano. What is it? Kiwano (Cucumis Metuliferus) is known by a variety of…

Planting Out Cucurbits

I’m pleased to say that my allotment is starting to look very much like an allotment once again! After spending the last few  months dormant and covered in black plastic sheeting, the majority of the vegetable beds are now filled with thriving young plants and future harvests. After a few days of leaving them outside…