Ryan Phillips; Design: Diedre Doherty
26.01.2024 - 16:13 / gardenersworld.com
Growing with Rachel
I’ve been growing fruit and vegetables for 15 years, detailing my successes and failures on social media, and I can’t wait to show you how versatile growing veg can be. We grow across our garden and allotment. Each month I’ll be sharing my experiences and advice, and basil is a great way to begin – it’ll grow happily started on your windowsill before moving to a pot on the kitchen table.
Whether you’re new to growing food or have been doing it for years, I firmly believe herbs should be on everyone’s must-grow list. It’s such a joy to be able to pick herbs whenever you need them, and you can use them in so many different ways in the kitchen, from soups to quick pastas. Herbs often come packaged in plastic at the supermarket so growing your own is a good starting point if you’re gardening for sustainability, not to mention saving money.
Growing basil is no exception, and I’m thrilled to be growing it with Gardeners’ World magazine subscribers. It’s one of the easiest herbs you can grow from seed and is the perfect companion for fresh tomato salads and sauces in the summer. Plus homemade pesto is delicious and incredibly easy to make, ideal for an easy midweek supper.
The first seed sowings of the year have an almost therapeutic quality to them. The greenhouse stands empty and full of potential, with space to move around before plants fill every corner later in the season. The compost is sieved, seed trays washed and tea freshly poured. We’re ready to go!
Of course, many hours
Ryan Phillips; Design: Diedre Doherty
Of these two shoots pruned from a blueberry plant, which would have produced larger, higher quality berries?
Whether you’re starting seeds off in the cold, winter months, encouraging cuttings to root or raising tender plants originally from warmer climates, a constant heat source will help create the best conditions to nurture them. Heated propagators are an ideal accessory which, depending on the type you choose, either offers a consistent, ambient temperature or can be set at a particular temperature to suit your needs. Because of our cooler temperatures, warmer climate plants like tomatoes, aubergines, chilli and bell peppers and squashes need a long growing season to give them time to grow, flower, produce fruit and for the fruit to ripen. Germinating them indoors in a heated propagator early in the year, when outside it would be much too cold for them to grow, ensures they get the long growing season they need. But even hardier and native plants benefit from being germinated at a constant temperature.
Check out last week’sepisode of the SC Grower Exchange Podcast.
There are certain global events that everyone knows. If you've never heard of St Patrick's Day, people will likely ask you what planet you are from. Globally, people grow up hearing tales of Carnival in Brazil, Oktoberfest in Germany, and several other festivals that are also celebrated in smaller numbers outside their home countries. But what of the world’s lesser-known celebrations? Have you ever heard of Spain’s baby jumping festival? Or the Monkey Buffet Festival in Thailand? (No, it doesn’t involve humans eating them.)
Q: Could you please recommend a good peat-free seed compost? I’ve tried a few over the last few years but haven’t had great results. I’d really like to do the right thing environmentally but am now at the point where I’m sorely tempted to go back to using a conventional peat-based compost. CF County Kerry
With TikTok and Instagram churning out new micro-aesthetics fast enough to give you whiplash, the number of new design trends that popped up in our social media feeds throughout 2023 was seemingly endless. Unsurprisingly, not all of these trends were a hit among the professionals.
This is a jelly fungus. Jelly fungi are usually found growing on dead or dying branches.
HomeGoods is one of the best places to go when you’re in the market for a home refresh. With aisles upon aisles of on-trend home accessories, it's a serious treasure trove. From coastal grandma to Barbiecore, you can probably find whatever you need—you just need to know what look you’re going for.
Peat is an acidic growing medium, which thanks to its excellent water and nutrient retention is traditionally used in garden composts. With a low pH it’s ideal for growing acid-loving plants such as blueberries, heather and Camellia sinensis, and peat-based composts have been widely used in horticulture – most garden composts contain some peat, and most garden centres still sell plants growing in pots of peat-based compost. However, due to its environmentally damaging effects, from late this year, the sale of peat-based composts in gardens and DIY stores will be banned in the UK. Issues with peat-free composts, such as expense, availability and performance have hindered its take up in the past but thankfully, compost manufacturers have responded to these concerns with research and investment and a broad range of high quality, peat-free composts are now widely available, with some even costing less than their peat-based counterparts.
These free barn plans will give you free blueprints and layouts so you can build your very own barn. These barns range from the simple and the small to the large and complex, so there should be a plan here for your skill set and needs.