Four uses for myrtle

The berries are ripening on the myrtle bush in my garden, but what should I do with them?

Where do you get your seeds?

It’s the time of year where my mailbox starts to groan under the weight of seed catalogues for next season. But which ones are best?

Planting up a new strawberry bed

The strawberry runners I potted up at the end of summer all grew well – good news, as I had something in mind for them: a new strawberry bed at the front of the house. First, I dug the existing tangle of plants out of the space. Well, nearly all. I’ve left the rosemary that’s…

How does planting distance affect yield?

I generally plant my veg a bit closer than the distances given on the seed packet, thinking that in a small space I’d rather aim for more frequent – albeit smaller – harvests. Take sweetcorn, for example. The seed packet recommended planting them 18″ apart. I plant mine around 12″ apart but I find that still leaves…

The sweet potatoes worked, but are they worth it?

I like to have at least one experimental crop in the garden each year – something I’m keen to try growing but that might not work out. This year it was sweet potatoes – a variety called Carolina Ruby. After an unpromising start, the sweet potato slips I planted back in May grew well and I potted…

Using a banana to ripen tomatoes

In previous years I’ve ripened green tomatoes at the end of the season by leaving them on the window sill and by hanging whole plants upside down in the garage. Both those methods worked well but this year I thought I’d try another: putting the tomatoes in a paper bag with a banana. This sounds…

Why I’ve spent two months watching grass grow

Remember the reinforced lawn I was creating by the side of the driveway? Well, I was determined to get it finished before autumn took hold. So I’ve spent the last couple of months sowing grass seed, watering and waiting anxiously for it to develop. I like to think all the attention I gave it has paid…

How to grow big butternut squashes

First up, a confession. The title of this post is somewhat misleading as I have no idea how to grow big butternut squashes. You see, the butternut squashes I usually produce can best be described as middling. They’re normally just about worth bothering with but nowhere near the size of ones you’d buy in a shop. This…

Is the new Gardeners’ World worth an hour of your time?

Friday marked the first of an 8-week run of hour-long episodes of Gardeners’ World. I’ve written before that not watching gardener’s world gives me 10 hours to spend actually gardening. Could I now save even more time by not watching it?! I thought I should give the new format a chance so I caught up…

The art of garden camping

Over the bank holiday weekend I took my little boy camping for three nights … in my parents’ back garden! It was a continuation of something we’ve enjoyed a lot of this summer – the art of garden camping. Over the summer, we’ve done garden camping  to see if my three-year-old would like camping (he loved…

Making sort-of sun-dried tomatoes

We’re getting a lot of tomatoes from the greenhouse at the moment, so we’re making batches of sauce, ketchup and soup as well as eating them fresh. This week, I thought I’d have a go at making sun-dried tomatoes. I picked a dozen or so similarly sized Ailsa Craig tomatoes, chopped them in half lengthways and…

Laying slate paving slabs on top of a gabion wall

Remember my gabion wall? Well, I spent a long while wondering how best to finish it off. In the end I decided to lay slate paving slabs along the top so that the wall doubles as a seat, a place to rest our bucket barbecue and a home for my little boy’s sand pit. The…