Friday, 27 January 2023

Backyard Forest Garden


I read this book whilst sitting next to my wife when she was sleeping most of the day in hospital at the start of her stay. It's well written, informative and highlights a lot of what I have been doing right, but also pointed me in directions I had not contemplated before. It explained and demystified the permaculture design process. 

One tends to think more of larger scale permaculture and food forests, like the Weedy Gardener has on his videos, but for me this shows how one can apply the concepts and make a small-scale Multi-layered Forest Garden in your own back yard or for me at my allotment.   

Pippa Chapman is an RHS trained gardener who designs, plants and maintains abundant, biodiverse, edible and beautiful forest gardens. In this book she shares her practical tips for realistically transforming your own plot, whatever its size, and with limited time, money and resources. 

She explains that a forest garden doesn’t have to be big; you can grow a productive edible paradise in pots and containers too. Pippa explains how to create multiple layers on a small-scale to maximise your growing area, using polycultures and guilds for healthy, low-maintenance food. 

She shares how to use perennials for structure and for year-round food, and how to incorporate flowers for beauty, wildlife and for the kitchen. 

Chapters on permaculture design and forest gardening give practical advice on how to plan and plant your own garden, with guilds and plant profiles to give real-life examples to help you get started. 

The book also includes useful tips on propagation and seed saving help keep plant costs low and a handy chapter on the soil-food web will help you understand your own soil and how to keep it healthy.

It's full of illustrations and photographs and was such a joy to read

£16 from Amazon but only £14.40 direct from Permanent Publications 

I really can't recommend this book enough it gets a 5 star rating from me! 

Thursday, 26 January 2023



This story is about photosynthesis. It starts roughly 147.000.000 KM away from earth, in the sun and ends underground in my garden with a rather unsuspecting ending. Are plants carnivorous? Weedy had never known this part of the story, but to him it seems so!
Plants have a beautiful story to tell when it comes to the sun. He and I hope you enjoy this episode of The Weedy Garden and perhaps discover something new about plants. His videos and film are well worth watching and his YouTube channel worth subscribing too.
Watch Weedy`s feature length movie on Vimeo:
Support The Weedy Garden and help Weedy continue to create free videos for folks to enjoy and be inspired to grow food - be fresh and feel good.

Check it all out in one place

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Seeds To Suit - New Arrivals This Season


Seeds To Suit


New arrivals this season

Discover the latest additions to our store.




Currently loving





Seeds To Suit

219, Creek Rd
PE15 8RY
United Kingdom




© 2023 Seeds To Suit (Used with permission)

Saturday, 21 January 2023

Belgian White Chicory

This is the famous Belgian White Chicory, also referred to as "French Endive". By covering the heads near to the time of harvest you develop the distinctive white/yellow colour and superb flavour. 

So versatile is this wonderful veg that yon sow it all year round for salad leaves. 

January to April for an early summer harvest and again from May to September to harvest from October to December. hardy annual.

Sow Under glass or indoors January to April for an early summer harvest 

Sow May to September to harvest from October to December.

Sow All Year round under glass for salad leaves.

Sowing Depth 12mm (1/2") in well-draining seed compost. 

Temperature 15 - 18C

Days to germination 7 - 14

Days to maturity 80 - 90

Keep weed free and well watered 

Cover the heads approaching harvest to force the colouring and flavour 

I saw this vegetable for sale in the Seeds To Suit December Newsletter and although I had heard of Chicory I had not grown it so I did a little google surfing and this is what I found out. 

How to grow chicory / RHS Gardening

Monday, 16 January 2023

Normal Service will be resumed shortly

Normal Service on this blog/ journal will be resumed shortly .. I hope 

During December I saw the worse service from a GP Practice and the NHS for house bound patients first hand. Since my wife collapsed and was taken to St Georges Hospital I have see the best of the NHS and the pressure doctors and nurses are working under. 

3 days in A&E as they didn't have a bed on a ward with the skills to look after her and they could not find room in intensive care. 

Once I hopefully get my wife back and she is hopefully fixed and better than she went in, I will be able to visit the allotment and de-stress like hell. 

I fully support the nurses strike, however I have seen the stress these people are working with already before they strike. All the staff at St Georges have been so professional, caring and kind.  

This government is working to cripple the NHS and are privatising it by the back door in stages. They want it broken, so they can sell it off and make them and their mates shed loads of money and possibly adopt a more American type system that if you have not got the money or insurance you will not get the level of care that every human should regardless class or wealth. 

Those members of parliament who gave themselves an 11% pay rise when they only gave the nurses 1% after the pandemic should all be kicked out of office IMHO.

Thursday, 5 January 2023

Pooh asked "What day is it today?"

If you agree that bee-killing pesticides shouldn’t be used AT ALL in the UK, please sign the Greenpeace petition to protect bees:

Wednesday, 4 January 2023

January on the Allotment

Some great guidance from Sarah Dennis from the Facebook group Allotment Holders Growing Together

January is probably the coldest period of the winter and coming on top of the floods and heavy rains of just before Christmas it is well worth taking the time to look over the allotment and prioritise the jobs for the month. Top of the list has to be clean up the plot and dispose of all of the damaged and rotten crops. Don’t worry too much about soil preparations for now just concentrate on clearing the way for a February blitz; weather permitting of course. Most of the overwintering vegetables will have suffered under the wet conditions make a list, visit the site shed or garden centres and get in what replacement seeds or bulbs you will need for your immediate needs.


Brussels sprouts, cabbages, leeks and parsnips, if they haven't been damaged by flood water. Check on any vegetables in store and discard any that have gone mouldy or rotten.

Sowing and planting

Patience is the watchword. The days are still too short and cold even think of sowing seeds either outdoors or in the open. A few sowings of onions, lettuce, peas, broad beans, radish and early carrots can be made under protection towards the end of the month. The January sun can push temperatures quite high so give a little air to the transplanted lettuce plants on warm days closing down early in the afternoon.


Protect overwintering vegetables under cloches or fleece. don’t forget to ventilate and allow plenty of fresh air to get in on sunny days. Under the protection winter sunshine temperatures can get as high as on a hot summer’s day.
Pack some straw or fleece around celery to protect it from any damaging frosts but remove it on sunny days to let the plants breathe.
Draw the soil up around the stalks of cabbages and winter cauliflowers to just under the first set of leaves. Check over Brussels sprouts and sprouting broccoli and support them with a strong stake to prevent them from being blown over in high winds.
Take advantage of days when the soil is frozen hard to barrow and stack manure and compost close to where it will be dug in later on. Don’t walk on the soil as it begins to thaw it will be wet and sticky.
If you have any plants or seedlings ticking over in a cold greenhouse cover them with several layers of newspaper on frosty nights but remove it on warm days.


Dig up rhubarb roots and divide them leaving the sections on the surface of the soil for a few days to let them be frosted prior to forcing. Cover any crowns in the soil that have been set aside for forcing with an upturned bucket or flower pot and cover the drainage holes to shut out the light. With luck you will be harvesting pale pink sticks by late February.
Check on any fruit and vegetables in store and remove any that are diseased or soft.
Towards the end of the month when the weather and soil conditions allow plant out soft fruit bushes. Spray all fruit trees and bushes with a garlic winter wash on a fine day; do not spray in frosty conditions. It won’t hurt to hold the job over to next month.
Seed potatoes will available from the end of the month. Order your seed potatoes and collect seed trays or wooden tomato trays ready to chit them in. On days when you can’t work on the plot clean the shed, greenhouse, tools and linseed oil any wooden handles. Check that the watering can and buckets don’t leak and that the wheelbarrow doesn’t have a flat wheel.

Monday, 2 January 2023

Greenhouse Loft Conversion

My daughters & Son-in-law made the magic happen for me this afternoon, and gave me a window of opportunity to visit the allotment and trial fit the Dormer Window for the greenhouse before I sort out the fan locations and finally assemble it (Once I have found my Glue Gun of course).

As you will have seen from previous post the automatic vent opener broke and was open all the time even in minus C temperatures and then one corner of the frame split at the bolt connection and then finally the wind took 3 sides of the panel frame and the panel for a fly halfway up plot 1A

View for the dormer cheek, the roof at the moment cantilevers over the front of the dormer which will provide some cover to the two openings. I may use a fixed louvre cover to the fans depending what I can form directly using the Twinwall Polycarbonate sheeting. 

Here are the photo's of the structure held together with some gaffer tape in place, for the trial fit. To basically make sure I took the dimension correctly and what I have cut from the sheet will work.

Proposed Locations for the two fans.

Solar Fans from ebay £8.29 with Free P&P 

Possible Fixed Louvre Vent to the fans.

Supports at 40 degrees from horizontal will go on top of the flat roof to take the solar panels for the two fans and the external sensor for the internal/external temperature gauge will be mounted through it.