It’s that time of year again; time to get the diary out and book a day to visit the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which is on 22 -26 May 2012.
A day off clears the mind and a trip to Chelsea will inspire every sort of gardener. Don’t be put off by the name Flower Show because there are plenty of vegetables to see as well.
A modern take on a traditional kitchen garden, combining a beautiful space with a working plot producing fruit, herbs, vegetables and flowers has been designed by M & G. The garden features raised beds where cabbages and beans mingle with clematis and roses. Lavender and herbs add fragrance and terracotta pots containing fruit trees appear throughout. They have a glass deck, that appears to float, & offers both a view of the garden and a sheltered space for people and plants below. The garden is framed by pleached trees nearly three metres tall.
Pleaching is a technique to weave the branches of trees into a hedge or to form a quincunx. A quincunx is a geometric pattern consisting of five points arranged in a cross, four of them forming a square or rectangle and a fifth at its center. This is a standard pattern for planting an orchard.
How stimulating is that! Lots of ideas to keep the vegetable gardener awake at night!
There will be plenty more to see at Chelsea, including:
- new plant introductions
- new exotic crops
- interactive displays
- an expert advice stand
- vertical allotments
These growing walls are fascinating. They make great use of space, crop heavily and vertical strawberry walls use less water than plants grown in peat bags.
The quality of the exhibits at Chelsea is always exceptional. The vibrant colours, new innovations and heady smells are a tonic and never fail to inspire.
Click this link to buy Chelsea Flower Show tickets which are on sale now.
The words in the Nursery Rhyme ‘Here We Go Gathering Nuts In May’ are troubling. Where are the nuts in May? Cold and frosty mornings are not too common in May, but as vegetable gardeners we are well aware that there is a risk of frost in May.
May 1st was an important day in the Irish farming calendar. The end of winter was celebrated with the gathering of flowers, dancing around bonfires or May poles, and one very special activity usually performed by Irish children – the making of a May bush. This activity ensured a plentiful harvest in the coming months.
The children collected the ‘nuts’ and used them to build the May Bush. The ‘nuts’ were actually bunches of flowers collected from the hedgerows. The word was originally knots, and referred to knots or bunches of flowers.
As far as the frost mentioned in the rhyme is concerned, there are plenty of recordings of frost in Ireland during May. So perhaps this nursery rhyme ‘Here we come gathering nuts in May’ originated in Ireland?
Here we go gathering nuts in May,
Nuts in May, nuts in May.
Here we go gathering nuts in May,
On a cold and frosty morning.
TopVeg visit to Gardeners’ Question Time in Hessle was broadcast in 4 August 2008.
Helen Smith represented TopVeg and asked a leading question about our raspberries:
‘Our raspberries are not doing well, on our heavy wet soil. Should we try to improve the soil, or start using growing bags?’
Matthew Biggs diagnosed a magnesium deficiency from the yellowing leaves between the veins.
He said ‘the answer lies in the soil’, but we are already mulching &
feeding as he suggested. We were treating the magnesium deficiency by
watering in Epsom salts.
Although Matthew did not advise using growing bags, we still fee they are the answer. Commercial growers of raspberries in Scotland use growing bags, so we are going to have a go. Then we will see if the TopVeg visit to Gardeners Question Time can lead to an improved
The 7th International Compost Awareness Week takes place 6-12 May 2007.
The aims are to encourage more people to:
- compost their own garden and kitchen organic waste
- use compost to improve their gardens & grow better vegetables
- promote sustainable gardening
- understand the value of recycling organic waste
Compost Awareness Week is happening all over the world, and local events are promoting the importance of composting. In the UK some local councils are giving away compost, and others are offering compost bins at reduced prices. Details can be found on the Compost Awareness Week website.
A gentle reminder to keep weeding the vegetable garden. Remove the weeds as soon as they emerge. Tiny seedlings are much easier to remove. Pulling roots of tiny seedlings out of the ground does not disturb the roots of the vegetable plants left behind.
If weeds are allowed to grow and develop a strong root system, they take a lot of water out of the soil.The roots of the vegetables will probably be dislodged & spoilt when the well-grown weed root is pulled out.
Shallow hoeing will remove small weeds. Shallow hoeing breaks up the soil surface, which keeps the soil user friendly!
5 A Day in January
Still managing 5 A Day from the veg patch
It is possible to provide the family with 5 A Day in January
Sprouts, Carrots, Parsnips all still in the ground & tasting great!!
Onions, shallots, garlic and beetroot in store – & good to ring the changes
Maris Piper & King Edwards storing well – but they don’t count in the 5
A Day! Did have problems with stored potatoes sprouting initially, but
put them all in a colder, darker spot & all OK now
Plenty of fruit from the garden in store, really enjoying frozen berries
with yoghurt just now. Good for the points!!