Practical Christmas present ideas for gardeners

Practical Christmas present ideas for gardeners. Gardening, Garden, Garden blog, Gardeners, Present, Presents, Christmas, Christmas Present, Christmas Presents, Christmas present ideas, Christmas gifts, allotment, allotments, growing, grow your own,

Whilst garden centres will have you believe that the ideal Christmas present for your gardening loved on comes in the form of a themed meercat statue wearing a Santa hat, those of us in the real world know better. Here are my practical Christmas present ideas for gardeners.

I was reading this month’s edition of Gardens Illustrated when I couldn’t help but laugh at the Christmas gifts section. I know the magazine is supposed to be aspirational but the recommended presents for the gardener in your life were a mixture of over-priced tat and impractical tools. Here’s my list of real present ideas that will be received warmly and genuinely.

10 Christmas Gifts for Gardeners

Plant labels

You can truly never have too many plant labels. I know there’s a move to remove plastic from our gardens (it really is everywhere) but I’ve yet to find an alternative that is reusable and actually lasts one growing season. If I don’t label every pot then I have no idea what’s supposed to be in it. For the allotment, I like the extra large labels so I can write in large letters and be able to read it from standing.

Practical Christmas present ideas for gardeners. Gardening, Garden, Garden blog, Gardeners, Present, Presents, Christmas, Christmas Present, Christmas Presents, Christmas present ideas, Christmas gifts, allotment, allotments, growing, grow your own,

Fine-tipped permanent marker

I tend to write my plant labels in pencil (partly because I can use a rubber to remove the writing and re-use them) but for things that need to be labelled for more than a few months, I prefer a pen. They need to have a fine tip as I write the whole latin name, variety, and date of sowing on the label. The felt-tip types just end up an inky mess.
Practical Christmas present ideas for gardeners. Gardening, Garden, Garden blog, Gardeners, Present, Presents, Christmas, Christmas Present, Christmas Presents, Christmas present ideas, Christmas gifts, allotment, allotments, growing, grow your own,

Hazel poles

Is it me or does everything need staking on an allotment? Next year I’ll have 2 types of climbing french beans, runner beans, tomatoes, peas, and maybe some sweet peas. Not to mention the netting. Why is it so difficult to source them? Nowhere does home delivery, I have a Citroen C4 which is not conducive to transporting 7-foot poles, and I cannot find a local supplier. This is the closest my online research has found;

http://www.coppice-products.co.uk/product-type/beanpoles-pea-sticks

Cloches

In order to extend the season, you could either cover the plot with fleece or see-through plastic or invest in some re-usable cloches. I would prefer the latter but I’ve yet to get my hands on some of these beauties;

http://www.lavenderandleeks.co.uk/shop/grow/clocheborder-hoops

Trays

I like to keep the greenhouse organised and part of that is having plants, seedlings, or pots of cuttings all gathered together for convenience. I use the odd plastic produce tray that I’ve managed to get from plant nurseries when buying plants. It makes moving plants, potting up, and reorganising the benches much easier.
Practical Christmas present ideas for gardeners. Gardening, Garden, Garden blog, Gardeners, Present, Presents, Christmas, Christmas Present, Christmas Presents, Christmas present ideas, Christmas gifts, allotment, allotments, growing, grow your own,

Outdoor speaker

I tend to listen to podcasts on my phone when I’m out in the greenhouse. I do find that my earphone wires get caught all the time and it’s only a matter of time before I snip through it with the secateurs. Having a Bluetooth speaker would be a little luxury.
Practical Christmas present ideas for gardeners. Gardening, Garden, Garden blog, Gardeners, Present, Presents, Christmas, Christmas Present, Christmas Presents, Christmas present ideas, Christmas gifts, allotment, allotments, growing, grow your own,

Gardening books for Christmas gifts 2017

allotment, amazon, andrea jones, Book, books, books for gardeners, bookshelf, bookshop, Christmas, Christmas gifts, Christmas list, Christmas presents, Cooking, Craig leHoullier, Garden Design, garden photography, gardeners, gardening, gardening books, genealogy, gift ideas, gifts for gardeners, harvest, heirloom, heritage, Jinny Blom, Nigel Slater, Produce, reading, RHS, tomato, tomato growing, tomatoes, Waterstones

Here are 5 gardening books on my Christmas List this year

I always put gardening books on my Christmas list. They’re the perfect gift for me, and for all gardeners. At this time of year, when the sun hasn’t come up when I go to work and has long since set before I leave for home, the opportunities for gardening become squeezed. With a book, you can visit other gardens, learn new techniques, and improve your own skills whilst the winter garden rests untended outside.

As the proud owner of a gardening bookshelf that dwarfs our local bookshop’s offerings, you’d think I wouldn’t have space for any more titles. You’d be wrong. We’re building a new bookcase next year and there are so many books I’ve come across this year that I’ve made a gardening books Christmas List.

Previous Christmas gardening books wishlists

Gardening books for Christmas gifts 2016

8 Books for my gardening bookshelf Christmas 2015

Epic Tomatoes

by Craig LeHoullier

allotment, amazon, andrea jones, Book, books, books for gardeners, bookshelf, bookshop, Christmas, Christmas gifts, Christmas list, Christmas presents, Cooking, Craig leHoullier, Garden Design, garden photography, gardeners, gardening, gardening books, genealogy, gift ideas, gifts for gardeners, harvest, heirloom, heritage, Jinny Blom, Nigel Slater, Produce, reading, RHS, tomato, tomato growing, tomatoes, Waterstones

I’ve learnt about my namesake Craig LeHoullier from Jennifer Ebeling‘s (6ft mama) podcast – Still Growing. I’ve been listening and interacting with Jennifer for over a year now and I really like her interviews with interesting people. Craig has a wealth of experience growing tomatoes and is particularly involved in finding and breeding heirloom varieties that are in danger of being lost. Most importantly he’s clear on the merits of a tomato for different uses in the kitchen as well as ease of growing. I’m hoping to find a robust outdoor bush tomato to use the space on my allotment.

The Garden Photography Workshop

by Andrea Jones 
allotment, amazon, andrea jones, Book, books, books for gardeners, bookshelf, bookshop, Christmas, Christmas gifts, Christmas list, Christmas presents, Cooking, Craig leHoullier, Garden Design, garden photography, gardeners, gardening, gardening books, genealogy, gift ideas, gifts for gardeners, harvest, heirloom, heritage, Jinny Blom, Nigel Slater, Produce, reading, RHS, tomato, tomato growing, tomatoes, Waterstones

I heard about this book listening to Andrea on Peter Donegan’s Sod Show Podcast this year. I really like photography and I occasionally take to my garden with SLR in hand. It would be great to improve my amateur skills.

The Thoughtful Gardener

by Jinny Blom

This book on garden design has had some strong reviews so I’m keen to see what it’s like. I’m a big fan of Jinny Blom’s planting and it would be good to see how she plans, and implements, her designs.

RHS Genealogy for Gardeners

by Simon Maughan and Ross Bayton

I have the two other books in this RHS series of plant geekery. Latin for Gardeners was released in 2012, with Botany for Gardeners following in 2013. These small, beautifully illustrated, handbooks are the perfect thing for plant nerds to get a better understanding of the science and history of gardening. I’m hoping that Genealogy for Gardeners will be just as good.

allotment, amazon, andrea jones, Book, books, books for gardeners, bookshelf, bookshop, Christmas, Christmas gifts, Christmas list, Christmas presents, Cooking, Craig leHoullier, Garden Design, garden photography, gardeners, gardening, gardening books, genealogy, gift ideas, gifts for gardeners, harvest, heirloom, heritage, Jinny Blom, Nigel Slater, Produce, reading, RHS, tomato, tomato growing, tomatoes, Waterstones

Tender – Volumes I & II

by Nigel Slater

Now I know that, technically, this isn’t a gardening book. I’d say it’s gardening adjacent. I’ve had my allotment since April and I’m hoping for big things next year. The whole point of the allotment was to provide some fresh, seasonal food for us to cook and eat. I’ve mastered my sauteed Cavelo Nero with garlic and it’s become a staple in the weekly meal plan. I’d like to do more with what I grow and I’ve read some amazing reviews of these two books.
allotment, amazon, andrea jones, Book, books, books for gardeners, bookshelf, bookshop, Christmas, Christmas gifts, Christmas list, Christmas presents, Cooking, Craig leHoullier, Garden Design, garden photography, gardeners, gardening, gardening books, genealogy, gift ideas, gifts for gardeners, harvest, heirloom, heritage, Jinny Blom, Nigel Slater, Produce, reading, RHS, tomato, tomato growing, tomatoes, Waterstonesallotment, amazon, andrea jones, Book, books, books for gardeners, bookshelf, bookshop, Christmas, Christmas gifts, Christmas list, Christmas presents, Cooking, Craig leHoullier, Garden Design, garden photography, gardeners, gardening, gardening books, genealogy, gift ideas, gifts for gardeners, harvest, heirloom, heritage, Jinny Blom, Nigel Slater, Produce, reading, RHS, tomato, tomato growing, tomatoes, Waterstones

Garden Update 18th November 2017

Garden Update 18th November 2017. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog, Chard, garlic, Mulch, autumn, crop rotation, greenhouse, astrantia, cavelo nero, romanesco, cuttings, plug plants, leeks, tulips,

Garden Update 18th November 2017

I have a week of annual leave with which to make some progress in the garden. The seasonal tasks of cleaning the flagstones and packing away the garden furniture need to be done. It’s not all chores though, I’m also making preparation for next years display in my Garden Update 18th November 2017.

Previous Updates

Garden Update 4th November 

Garden Update 9th September

Allotment Update

We’eve had some slightly colder weather here in Devon but it’s done nothing to stop the progress of the plot. Aside from the sweet potatoes, which have blackened and retreated, most of the plot is looking great.

My leeks are starting to get some momentum behind them. When they went in they were spindly grass-like plants. I was supposed to wait until they’re pencil-thickness but I’m impatient. They’re doing fine though.

Garden Update 18th November 2017. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog, Chard, garlic, Mulch, autumn, crop rotation, greenhouse, astrantia, cavelo nero, romanesco, cuttings, plug plants, leeks, tulips,
Leeks

My brassica bed is starting to produce crops and there’s plenty to come over winter by the looks of it. The leaves of the Romanesco and Purple Sprouting Broccoli are looking extremely healthy. I’m sure they benefited from being netted when young.

Garden Update 18th November 2017. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog, Chard, garlic, Mulch, autumn, crop rotation, greenhouse, astrantia, cavelo nero, romanesco, cuttings, plug plants, leeks, tulips,

We’ve been harvesting the Cavelo Nero for weeks and a full handful will do one or two meals (as a side) for the two of us. The plants don’t even look like they’ve been touched after taking just the lower leaves. In the end, I’m expecting to have bare stems as the plant continues to grow up.

Garden Update 18th November 2017. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog, Chard, garlic, Mulch, autumn, crop rotation, greenhouse, astrantia, cavelo nero, romanesco, cuttings, plug plants, leeks, tulips,
Cavelo Nero

The colourful chards are growing well at the front of the allotment and the Pak Choi are looking healthy in the bed that had the legumes this summer.

Garden Update 18th November 2017. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog, Chard, garlic, Mulch, autumn, crop rotation, greenhouse, astrantia, cavelo nero, romanesco, cuttings, plug plants, leeks, tulips,
Pak Choi Vibrant Pink

Greenhouse Update

The greenhouse is taking to its new role as a store for plants over winter. At the beginning of the year, it’s full to capacity with seeds and seedlings. Later on, it becomes home to yet more seeds, seedlings and cuttings. At this time of year, it has tender garden refugees huddling and sheltering together. The chilli plants are getting the benefit of the doubt and coming inside to see if they’ll perform better next year.

Garden Update 18th November 2017. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog, Chard, garlic, Mulch, autumn, crop rotation, greenhouse, astrantia, cavelo nero, romanesco, cuttings, plug plants, leeks, tulips,
Buddleja globosa cuttings

I’ve taken Buddleja globosa cuttings which I rooted in water. These are to be given to my cousin who’s creating a new border in their garden.

I’ve taken delivery of some plug plants from J Parkers. Some Verbascum I ordered myself and some bare root Astrantia plants which were a gift.

The Verbascum are a set of three types of Verbascum phoenicum. I have Rosetta, Violetta and Flush of White. Even though I love Verbascum I have a rubbish track record. However, I’ve decided to give them another go.

My lovely gardening aunt bought us some Astrantia major ‘Florence’ to celebrate the birth of our daughter this year. These will eventually go into some pots that are pride of place in the garden and also contain some honeysuckle plants (also gifts).

 

Garden Update 18th November 2017. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog, Chard, garlic, Mulch, autumn, crop rotation, greenhouse, astrantia, cavelo nero, romanesco, cuttings, plug plants, leeks, tulips,
Astrantia major ‘Florence’ bare root plants

Garden Update

The action in the garden has been a little dull this week. I’ve pressure-washed all the flagstones to remove 2 years of accumulated algae. They’re now safe to walk on when it’s wet which is a relief. The garden furniture and barbeque have been stored away for winter.

It’s not all chores though. I’ve planted Tulip Dolls Minuet in the front garden troughs and there’s more to go in this week.

Garden Update 18th November 2017. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog, Chard, garlic, Mulch, autumn, crop rotation, greenhouse, astrantia, cavelo nero, romanesco, cuttings, plug plants, leeks, tulips,
Tulip bulbs. Jan Reus and Dolls Minuet

Harvest Roundup 2017 – my courgette and climbing bean totals

Quantifying the haul from my yellow courgette and climbing bean harvest for 2017. It’s my first harvest roundup!

You may have seen on my Instagram and Twitter feeds and previous posts that I have been keeping a tally of the amount of harvest collected from some of the crops on my allotment this year. I’ve been nerdily weighing everything that makes it home. This year, for my harvest roundup,  I concentrated on the yellow courgette and my two varieties of climbing bean; Cosse Violette and Trail of Tears.

This was for three main reasons;

  1. I’m a big geek
  2. To see if there was any difference in yields between varieties
  3. To see if I could justify the costs of keeping the allotment

Previously on the allotment

Garden Update 22nd July: Courgettes, cuttings and a Leaf-cutter Bee

No Dig Newbie

Allotment layout ideas

Harvest roundup: Yellow courgette

These plants were sourced from one of my favourite local nurseries, Hill House Nursery in Landscove, Devon. I got my allotment in April/May this year and so it felt like a late start to the season so I cheated with some purchased plants. I’ve lost/forgotten the name so I’ve been calling them ‘yellow courgette’ all year. I also bought a green variety but it’s been pants so hasn’t been worth tallying.

Harvest roundup - my courgette and climbing bean totals for 2017. Harvest, allotment, courgette, yellow courgette, yearly harvest, grow your own, edible, edibles, allotmentblog, allotment blog, home grown, summer squash, climbing bean, bean, beans, cosse violette, climbing bean cosse violette, trail of tears, climbing bean trail of tears, gardening, garden blog, gdnblog, devon, green gym, harvesting,
Yellow courgette

My total harvest haul comes to 1194g!

That’s near on 1.2kg from 2 plants. Not bad considering it was a dry start to the year.

I quick look at our nearest supermarket has standard green courgettes at £1.90/kg with the organic version (which I could claim) at £6.67/kg. So being generous I have saved £8. Since you can’t buy the superior yellow courgettes in supermarkets they are priceless.

Harvest roundup - my courgette and climbing bean totals for 2017. Harvest, allotment, courgette, yellow courgette, yearly harvest, grow your own, edible, edibles, allotmentblog, allotment blog, home grown, summer squash, climbing bean, bean, beans, cosse violette, climbing bean cosse violette, trail of tears, climbing bean trail of tears, gardening, garden blog, gdnblog, devon, green gym, harvesting,
One of only 2 yellow courgette plants

Harvest roundup: Climbing beans

I chose two varieties to grow from seed this year. Cosse Violette I’ve grown before and I know they’re straightforward but beautiful on the allotment. I also went to Trail of Tears after hearing about it for years and I was interested to see what all the fuss was about.

Cosse Violette harvest: 2296g

Trail of Tears harvest: 2763g

The standard green beans in the supermarket are £4.50/kg with the organic option £6.67 (are they choosing the same price for all organic veg?). So at around 5kg of produce, I’ve saved  £33.75.

 

What’s been a success on your allotment/ plot this year?

Garden Update 4th November 2017

Garden Update 4th November. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, carrots, beetroot, chioggia, bolatardy, touchon, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog, Chard, garlic, Mulch, autumn, crop rotation

Garden Update 4th November 2017

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog and social media for most of October due to competing demands on my time. We’ve have some visitors, a mini-break, and all the usual work and childcare necessities. That’s not to say things have been quiet on the garden and allotment front.

It’s a time of renewal on my allotment. There’s always talk this time of year about putting the garden or allotment to bed for winter. What nonsense. It’s a time for clearing last seasons spent crops and getting the next load in. I may even have all my plot planted for the first time since we broke ground in April. I’ve also nominated myself to the my allotment committee.

Previous Updates

Garden Update 9th September

Garden Update 2nd September

Allotment Update

The autumn and winter greens are the main crops nearing harvest. I’ve been starting to harvest my Cavelo de Nero leaf by leaf and these are great. The herb bed is still productive and I’ve taken bunches of Rosemary and Bay to dry for use over winter. The New Zealand Spinach has taken over the understory of my herb bed so I’ve made batches of wilted leaves and have them in the freezer for when they’re needed.

The Chard plugs that I planted outside in September have really started shooting up and the stems look amazing when we get some sunlight. The Pink Passion is more of a blood-red but I don’t mind that at all. The Golden Chard is currently 10cm tall so plenty of growth still to come.

Garden Update 4th November. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, carrots, beetroot, chioggia, bolatardy, touchon, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog, Chard, garlic, Mulch, autumn, crop rotation
Elephant Garlic Bulbs

I had my order of garlic from Marshalls Seeds arrive this week. Unfortunately 2 out of 12 Elephant Garlic bulbs were starting to rot off. I’ve put them in anyway and we’ll see how they do. The Carcassonne Wight and Provence garlic bulbs were in good condition. Out of 2 bulbs each I got 20 cloves from the Provence and 29 from the Carcassonne Wight.

Garden Update 4th November. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, carrots, beetroot, chioggia, bolatardy, touchon, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog, Chard, garlic, Mulch, autumn, crop rotation
Turf stacks at the back of the plot have been covered

On a practical front, I’ve been meaning to get some tarpaulin to cover over the turf stacks left over from clearing the site right at the beginning. We had some logs delivered for the house so I bought some cheap ones to get ready for their delivery. Now they’re all stacked in the dry store I can use these at the allotment. This should keep the weeds down and I’m hoping come spring I’ll have some nice topsoil for the beds.

The courgettes were looking miserable, as were the squash plants, after a few wet / cold spells of weather. The climbing beans have done really well but they’ve been left for seed and now cleared away. My early sweetcorn didn’t produce and the later sweetcorn was also badly pollinated. The beds have been cleared, weeded and prepared for the next crop. In place of the courgettes are the Elephant Garlic, and in place of the 3 sisters I have Broad Beans and Peas.

Blackberries

Blackberries, mypottingbench, mypottingbenchblog, hedge, hedgerow, harvest, hedgerowharvest, autumn, autumnal, September, berry, fruit, native, native harvest, blackberry jam, blackberry pie, blackberry recipes, apple, Devon, countryside, gardening, gardeningblog, gardening blog, allotment, allotment blog, garden, seasonal, seasonal harvest, free food,

The first nip in the air signals a change of season and the start of the blackberry harvest

The turning of the year as we travel through the seasons was a huge factor in pulling us back to the UK. The recent change in the weather, with its wonderful chilly bright mornings and nippy evenings, has warmed my heart. Whilst the other seasons have their appeal I can’t love them half as much as I love Autumn.

Blackberries, mypottingbench, mypottingbenchblog, hedge, hedgerow, harvest, hedgerowharvest, autumn, autumnal, September, berry, fruit, native, native harvest, blackberry jam, blackberry pie, blackberry recipes, apple, Devon, countryside, gardening, gardeningblog, gardening blog, allotment, allotment blog, garden, seasonal, seasonal harvest, free food,
Blackberries

Autumn is our season. The most potent memories of the last ten years with my wife belong to this time of year. It is the season of our wedding, of our first kiss, and of our first meeting. It also marks the onset of a series of celebrations and birthdays stretching all the way to Christmas.

Blackberries, mypottingbench, mypottingbenchblog, hedge, hedgerow, harvest, hedgerowharvest, autumn, autumnal, September, berry, fruit, native, native harvest, blackberry jam, blackberry pie, blackberry recipes, apple, Devon, countryside, gardening, gardeningblog, gardening blog, allotment, allotment blog, garden, seasonal, seasonal harvest, free food,
Mollie our Golden Retriever enjoys a foray into the green lanes

I am not a summer child; the sight of me in shorts should be enough to banish any misunderstanding on that matter. Instead, I am happiest in warm jumpers, walking boots, and damp woodland. Days spent walking the dog under a tree canopy are my favourite. Also at this time of year comes the bounty of hedgerow harvests. Already this year I have Crabapple Vodka and Sloe Gin steeping in the larder, all collected from the hedgerows and trees around our village. The other important harvest of the season is blackberries.

This year I read Alys Fowler’s book on foraging and I’m making an effort to note the harvest when it presents itself. Already this year I have Crabapple Vodka and Sloe Gin steeping in the larder, all collected from the hedgerows and trees around our village. The other important harvest of the season is blackberries.

Blackberries, mypottingbench, mypottingbenchblog, hedge, hedgerow, harvest, hedgerowharvest, autumn, autumnal, September, berry, fruit, native, native harvest, blackberry jam, blackberry pie, blackberry recipes, apple, Devon, countryside, gardening, gardeningblog, gardening blog, allotment, allotment blog, garden, seasonal, seasonal harvest, free food,
A view over the Devon hills

Blackberries

I think the ritual of blackberry collecting, bound up as it is in the season, might be even better than the fresh berries themselves. I’m working my way through a jar of blackberry and apple jam made 3 years ago which I find infinitely more alluring than the fresh berries. September signals the start of hunting season for blackberries.

Blackberries, mypottingbench, mypottingbenchblog, hedge, hedgerow, harvest, hedgerowharvest, autumn, autumnal, September, berry, fruit, native, native harvest, blackberry jam, blackberry pie, blackberry recipes, apple, Devon, countryside, gardening, gardeningblog, gardening blog, allotment, allotment blog, garden, seasonal, seasonal harvest, free food,
Not all the berries ripen at the same time

So, with my jumper on for the first time since moving home, we ascend a local hill to find the best berries. Jewel-like berries gleam from the yellowing hedgerow senescence. The bunches of berries carry both mature and immature fruits. The rule of foraging that states you only take a third of the crop you find (the other two-thirds being left for wild animals and someone else) reinforced by the plant itself.

The light prickling on skin reminds you that no harvest comes for free. This only intensifies the sensory experience. You feel like the proverbial child in the sweetshop picking only the choicest fruits between thumb and forefinger. The idea to bring surgical gloves comes to me as I notice the purple staining on my fingertips, as it does every year but is never remembered.

It’s not long before my cheeks are chilled and the light becomes thinner. It’s time to go home.

Blackberries, mypottingbench, mypottingbenchblog, hedge, hedgerow, harvest, hedgerowharvest, autumn, autumnal, September, berry, fruit, native, native harvest, blackberry jam, blackberry pie, blackberry recipes, apple, Devon, countryside, gardening, gardeningblog, gardening blog, allotment, allotment blog, garden, seasonal, seasonal harvest, free food,
Blackberry harvest

Garden Update 9th September 2017

Garden Update 9th September. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, carrots, beetroot, chioggia, bolatardy, touchon, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog,

Garden Update 9th September 2017

The warm and wet weather in Devon this week has been great for the weeds. I’ve done two tidy-ups at the allotment and managed to fill my large bendy bucket three times. It’s also the end of my tomato adventure for the year.

Previous Updates

Garden Update 2nd September

Garden Update 19th August

Allotment Update

 

We were giving some new chairs from a family member and they’re perfect for the allotment. The weather wasn’t that great so we haven’t christened them yet.

Garden Update 9th September. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, carrots, beetroot, chioggia, bolatardy, touchon, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog,
New seating at the allotment
Garden Update 9th September. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, carrots, beetroot, chioggia, bolatardy, touchon, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog,
The squash plants have been tidied back on the borders to clear the paths

The squashes are really enjoying the damp and warm conditions and had spread over the paths. I wasn’t too bothered initially but they’ve got the point that it was hard to reach into the beds for harvesting. They also were concealing a lot of weed growth on the paths.

Garden Update 9th September. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, carrots, beetroot, chioggia, bolatardy, touchon, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog,
Pak choi settling in

The module Pak Choi seedlings are doing much better than the directly-sown batch which has been munched to stumps. I think I’ll do more of this transplanting even thought it’s more work overall.

 

Garden Update 9th September. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, carrots, beetroot, chioggia, bolatardy, touchon, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog,
Chard seedlings planted out

I’ve also installed the Chard seedlings in one of the new beds around the perimeter of the allotment. I’m hoping they’ll give me some fresh greens to each over autumn and into winter.

Greenhouse Update

Garden Update 9th September. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, carrots, beetroot, chioggia, bolatardy, touchon, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog,
Stachy byzantina seedlings

The Stachys byzantina seeds that I collected have germinated extremely well and very quickly from sowing. They’ve been pricked out and set into their own little module home.

Garden Update 9th September. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, carrots, beetroot, chioggia, bolatardy, touchon, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog,
Geranium phaeum alba seedling

Another sowing that I made from home-collected seed was the Geranium phaem alba. I am the proud owner of one seedling!

The tomato story this year hasn’t been very successful. Blight has struck and the fruits that were threatening to ripen were being munched by slugs before they were harvestable. I’ve taken off all the tomatoes that were salvagable and cleared away the affected plants. The foliage is now in the council green waste bin. I think I’ll use the fresh border for either bringing on perennials over winter or some winter salads.

Garden Update 9th September. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, carrots, beetroot, chioggia, bolatardy, touchon, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog,
Tomato harvest 2017

There’s nothing like an Instagram filter to make even a poor harvest look great.

Garden Update

Garden Update 9th September. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, carrots, beetroot, chioggia, bolatardy, touchon, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog,
Overhead shot of The Far Garden

It’s been a while since I’ve shown what’s happening in the Far Garden. You can see the new boundary shed has a great grey colour that matches the furniture. The chillies are slow in the rectangular planters but I might get a harvest. My new Musa and Echinacea plants are looking awesome.

 

Garden Update 2nd September 2017

Garden Update 2nd September. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, carrots, beetroot, chioggia, bolatardy, touchon, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog,

Garden Update 2nd September 2017

Yesterday was the first day that I had time to get to the allotment for anything other than harvesting for some time. We had people visiting for the bank holiday weekend so nothing much was achieved in the garden.

Previous Updates

Garden Update 19th August

Garden Update 12th August

Allotment Update

Yesterday I spent over an hour at the plot and managed to fill two large bendy buckets with weed growth that’s now been put on the unofficial compost pile. We’re mainly plagued by dandelions and docks persisting as deep tap roots. They’re capable of regrowing after hoeing and have enjoyed the extra rain recently.

I don’t like to leave huge gaps in the beds for two reasons. Firstly, there isn’t much growing area as it is and dedicating space for hoeing seems silly when, secondly, weeds will colonise bare ground as well as between plants which you have to hand weed anyway. I use the hoe on any unused ground that’s waiting for the next crop or where there is space between plants in order to give them room to grow.

Garden Update 2nd September. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, carrots, beetroot, chioggia, bolatardy, touchon, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog,
Lots of Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato winter squash

The Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato winter squashes have been very prolific in number but I’m struggling to find a good kitchen use for them. Growing something to then have to hide it in food just to use it up seems silly. Roasted pumpkins should be used for roasts, soups and risottos but the bland flavour and silky texture of these leave me a bit disappointed. If I can’t find a use for them that I will look forward to next year then I’m afraid they’re off the plot.

Garden Update 2nd September. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, carrots, beetroot, chioggia, bolatardy, touchon, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog,
The root harvest begins

I’m glad to be getting a better carrot and beetroot crop at the allotment. This batch suffered in the early dry spell we had so germination and subsequent growth was slow and poor. I was then too eager to try them so picked some small offerings last month. This lot are more substantial but there’s better to be had. The carrots went into a beef curry and I am plotting what to do with the beetroot. We’re having a picnic tomorrow if the weather holds and I’ve been hoping to make a roasted beetroot, walnut, goats cheese and rocket salad since sowing the seeds earlier this year

We had a bumper picking from the three crops from the allotment I’m monitoring this year on Friday;

  • Yellow Courgette – 370g
  • Climbing Bean ‘Cosse Violette’ – 700g
  • Climbing Bean ‘Trail of Tears’ – 770g

I’ve cleared out most of the pea bed as they’re coming to the end of their productivity and the powdering mildew is making them unsightly. The Peas, mange-tout and broad beans are out. In their place, I’ve planted the Pak Choi seedlings which I started in modules last month. The other side of the bed will have winter lettuce.

Greenhouse Update

The tomatoes continue to be a complete let-down this year. I think I have blight. Initially, I thought it was some cold scorching on the leaves that poke out of the windowless opening in the greenhouse but it’s since spread. I’ve taken some evasive measures to cut away the affected fruits and leaves but it’s fingers crossed for the remainders.

Garden Update 2nd September. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, carrots, beetroot, chioggia, bolatardy, touchon, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog,
Chard ‘Pink Passion’ Seedling

The seedlings of the Chard and winter lettuce are growing well and are soon to be transplanted to the allotment.

For the ornamental side, the Stipa and Stachys seedlings are coming along well. I’m hopeful that my Penstemon cuttings have taken.

Garden Update

The new grey backdrop to the Right Border of the Far Garden is settling in well. I’ve bought some Echinacea Magnus Superb and Musa from Hill House Nursery down the road. I was inspired by my recent visit to Wisley where I had a good look around their Echinacea trials.

This part of the garden has always meant to be an exciting, bright, exotic garden but we’ve never achieved that. The Echiums did well but completely dominated the space so I’m hoping to introduce more exciting plants over winter that will mix well.

Garden Update 19th August 2017: The harvest floodgates open

#allotment #allotmentlife #allotmentsofinstagram #growyourown #gyo #edible #edibles #herbs #vegetables #fruit #gyoherbs #gyovegetables #gyofruit #growyourownfruit #growyourownherbs #growyourownvegetables #gardening #gardenblog #allotmentblog #allotmentblogger #allotmentbloggers #gardeningblog #gardeningblogger #gardenblogger #gdnblog #gdnblogger #gdn #vegpatch #homegrown #seedlings #seeds #plants #instagarden #fromtheallotment

Garden Update 19th August 2017

I have been triumphantly carrying back the harvest from the allotment this week. I’ve had two good picking sessions. We’ve been munching through two types of climbing beans, two types of mange tout, peas, broad beans, asparagus pea and courgettes.

 

harvest #allotment #allotmentlife #allotmentsofinstagram #growyourown #gyo #edible #edibles #herbs #vegetables #fruit #gyoherbs #gyovegetables #gyofruit #growyourownfruit #growyourownherbs #growyourownvegetables #gardening #gardenblog #allotmentblog #allotmentblogger #allotmentbloggers #gardeningblog #gardeningblogger #gardenblogger #gdnblog #gdnblogger #gdn #vegpatch #homegrown #seedlings #seeds #plants #instagarden #fromtheallotment
My first large harvest from the allotment this year

Previous Updates

Garden Update 12th August

Garden Update 5th August

Allotment Update

The amount of veg harvested from the allotment is really exciting. I’m keeping a tally of what I harvest on some of the crops. I haven’t grown the Climbing green bean ‘Trail of Tears’ before so I’m comparing it to ‘Cosse Violette’ which I have grown in the past.

#allotment #allotmentlife #allotmentsofinstagram #growyourown #gyo #edible #edibles #herbs #vegetables #fruit #gyoherbs #gyovegetables #gyofruit #growyourownfruit #growyourownherbs #growyourownvegetables #gardening #gardenblog #allotmentblog #allotmentblogger #allotmentbloggers #gardeningblog #gardeningblogger #gardenblogger #gdnblog #gdnblogger #gdn #vegpatch #homegrown #seedlings #seeds #plants #instagarden #fromtheallotment
Mollie dog is getting the hang of allotment etiquette – the pumpkins aren’t

The totals this week from 2 pickings;

  • Yellow Courgette – 388g+110g = 498g
  • Climbing Bean ‘Cosse Violette’ – 200g + 212g = 412g
  • Climbing Bean ‘Trail of Tears’ – 300g + 280g = 580g

Not only is Trail of Tears a very tasty variety but the amount of harvest is even beating Cosse Violette. I like this variety and think I’ll save some seeds to keep growing it. I’ll still keep Cosse Violette going as it’s such a beautiful plant and still tasty. I’m really impressed with the yellow courgette. I think I’ll not bother growing a green one next year as they tend to be more watery and not as useful in the kitchen. I’m going to try a patty pan type one instead.

It’s not all about the veg. The cut flower patch is getting colourful with some Dahlia, Anemone, Ranunculus and Gladioli.

Greenhouse Update

I’ve given the greenhouse a little spruce to tidy up the various tools and instruments. Instead of taking up valuable work surface space, they are now hanging handsomely on the wall.

#allotment #allotmentlife #allotmentsofinstagram #growyourown #gyo #edible #edibles #herbs #vegetables #fruit #gyoherbs #gyovegetables #gyofruit #growyourownfruit #growyourownherbs #growyourownvegetables #gardening #gardenblog #allotmentblog #allotmentblogger #allotmentbloggers #gardeningblog #gardeningblogger #gardenblogger #gdnblog #gdnblogger #gdn #vegpatch #homegrown #seedlings #seeds #plants #instagarden #fromtheallotment
Secateurs, trowels and watering cans are now hanging up all tidy

The battle to ripen these tomatoes continues but the modules of winter leaves are coming along well.

#allotment #allotmentlife #allotmentsofinstagram #growyourown #gyo #edible #edibles #herbs #vegetables #fruit #gyoherbs #gyovegetables #gyofruit #growyourownfruit #growyourownherbs #growyourownvegetables #gardening #gardenblog #allotmentblog #allotmentblogger #allotmentbloggers #gardeningblog #gardeningblogger #gardenblogger #gdnblog #gdnblogger #gdn #vegpatch #homegrown #seedlings #seeds #plants #instagarden #fromtheallotment
These tomatoes are refusing to ripen
#allotment #allotmentlife #allotmentsofinstagram #growyourown #gyo #edible #edibles #herbs #vegetables #fruit #gyoherbs #gyovegetables #gyofruit #growyourownfruit #growyourownherbs #growyourownvegetables #gardening #gardenblog #allotmentblog #allotmentblogger #allotmentbloggers #gardeningblog #gardeningblogger #gardenblogger #gdnblog #gdnblogger #gdn #vegpatch #homegrown #seedlings #seeds #plants #instagarden #fromtheallotment
Cut and come again mixed salad leaves
#allotment #allotmentlife #allotmentsofinstagram #growyourown #gyo #edible #edibles #herbs #vegetables #fruit #gyoherbs #gyovegetables #gyofruit #growyourownfruit #growyourownherbs #growyourownvegetables #gardening #gardenblog #allotmentblog #allotmentblogger #allotmentbloggers #gardeningblog #gardeningblogger #gardenblogger #gdnblog #gdnblogger #gdn #vegpatch #homegrown #seedlings #seeds #plants #instagarden #fromtheallotment
The winter leaves after a heavy dowsing – they did look much better before.

 

Garden Update

The neighbours have finished the shed at the back of the garden so we have a secure boundary again. Now comes the challenge of incorporating the change into the look of the garden. I still haven’t decided on whether I am installing a new boundary wall / screen etc.

#allotment #allotmentlife #allotmentsofinstagram #growyourown #gyo #edible #edibles #herbs #vegetables #fruit #gyoherbs #gyovegetables #gyofruit #growyourownfruit #growyourownherbs #growyourownvegetables #gardening #gardenblog #allotmentblog #allotmentblogger #allotmentbloggers #gardeningblog #gardeningblogger #gardenblogger #gdnblog #gdnblogger #gdn #vegpatch #homegrown #seedlings #seeds #plants #instagarden #fromtheallotment
The right border now has a new backdrop
#allotment #allotmentlife #allotmentsofinstagram #growyourown #gyo #edible #edibles #herbs #vegetables #fruit #gyoherbs #gyovegetables #gyofruit #growyourownfruit #growyourownherbs #growyourownvegetables #gardening #gardenblog #allotmentblog #allotmentblogger #allotmentbloggers #gardeningblog #gardeningblogger #gardenblogger #gdnblog #gdnblogger #gdn #vegpatch #homegrown #seedlings #seeds #plants #instagarden #fromtheallotment
The left border is getting colourful

The Buddleja, Phlox, Japanese Anemone and Nasturtiums are flowering their socks off. The right side of the picture shows the impact shade can have on flowering plants. The overhanging hedge is casting a lot of shade.

 

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,

Garden Update 12th August 2017

It would be nice to be able to say something other than how wet things have been. We’ve had another damp week in Devon (well the green rolling hills don’t get that way without some of the wet stuff).

We’ve been helping to clear out an elderly relative’s home this week so I’ve had a few new additions to the house and garden. It’s nice to re-home plants and items that have been well used and give them some new life. There’s nothing worse than landfill!

The house is now home to more African Violet Plants that need some TLC. A new Moth Orchid, a Maidenhair fern and a Fig plant. We have new (old) terracotta pots and a new (old) trowel and hand fork. I’ve rescued a white Pelargonium and taken some cuttings from it. I hope they all thrive in their new home.

Previous Updates

Garden Update 5th August

Garden Update 29th July

Allotment Update

Not much to report from the allotment this week. I haven’t had a great deal of time to get up there as we’ve had family visiting.

Greenhouse Update

Even though light levels haven’t been great and temperatures have cooled, we still have some progress in the greenhouse. The seeds of Geranium phaem ‘alba’ have germinated and I now have one little seedling. The plant was a bit tight with viable seed so it’s going to be a slow job to bulk up the numbers.

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Geranium phaem ‘alba’
Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Pak Choi seedlings
Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Winter greens – Lettuce and Chard

My plug trays of winter greens have germinated well and been thinned to one plant per module. These are on a high shelf in the greenhouse for maximum light so they don’t get too leggy but it does mean it’s harder to keep track of the watering. I took these photos on tiptoes. These were well watered soon after taking.

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Teucrium cuttings (label spelled incorrectly)

I’m pleased with how well the Teucrium cuttings have taken. I’m hoping for some mass planting of these in the Far Garden.

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Stipa tenuissima seedlings

Also destined for the Far Garden are some Stipa tenuissima seedlings. They’re hard to photograph due to being quite spindly when they first come up.

Garden Update

Having tried, and then tried again, to get the garden furniture we brought back from Australia to fit in, I think I’ve got a layout I’m happy with. I think you should be able to access all seats without feeling that you’re squeezing past. The set might be a little too big for the space and may not have been purchased over here for that reason. Now it’s in place I like it. I just need to ignore the state of the borders.

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Finally rearranged the furniture in the Far Garden

I’m getting little surprises coming up around the garden. I now have 4 small clumps of Japanese Anemones springing up to provide colour and interest later into the season. This garden has always seemed to hit its stride in May and June with nothing coming through for later on.

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Pink Japanese Anemone

Also extending the season of interest are the Hydrangeas. I have three types in the garden; one came from a cutting from my in-law’s garden and the other two were bought to surround us where we got married. The garden where we got married had to remove all the Clary Sage that was planted around the ceremony site leaving bare earth. We bought Hazel trees and Hydrangeas for a simple backdrop and they looked amazing. Our family members all have a tree and some Hydrangea bushes in their gardens too!.

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Hydrangea putting on a pink blush
Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ in the background

These Holly bushes have always struggled to thrive in their last pot. They put up spindly growth and fruited fine but the plants themselves were always looking dry and unhappy. When repotting them this year I discovered that they still had the plastic pots from the nursery attached! How embarrassing. Needless to say, now they can get their roots out they’re doing much better with healthy new growth. I think they’ll be much denser plants from now on but we’ll see if they still fruit as well.

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Holly Bushes