We’ve been working down to our allotment a couple of times in the past few weeks, mainly raking up mounds and mounds of leaves that fell last autumn.
In the summer, much of the plot is in dappled shade thanks to lots of big, tall beech trees. Because of this, a lot of what we planted last year such as tomatoes and peas didn’t produce bumper harvests. This year we’ve been looking into shade loving vegetables.
Vegetables and herbs with lots of dark green leaves are an indicator to shade tolerance. Spinach, kale, lettuce, parsley, coriander will all do well. There’s a saying I’ve come across which is a general rule of thumb for growing fruit & veg: “If you grow it for the fruit, you need full sun. If you grow it for the leaves, stems or sprouts, partial shade is all you need.”
We’re getting lots of seed catalogues & special offers coming through the letterbox at the moment. It’s quite an exciting time for gardeners, planning their growing year ahead. We’ve just started planting and chitting ourselves – the kitchen windowsills are groaning! This week’s Etsy List has everything you’ll need.
We pottered a while on our allotment yesterday – our first visit of 2015. We tidied up a bit and thought about what we might try this year. On our way home we bought a few packets of seeds – pak choi, tenderstem broccoli and Romanesque cauliflower. Last week we put a couple of dozen seed potatoes on a windowsill to chit. We can’t wait to get stuck into this year’s growing!
It seemed like the perfect time for an allotment based Etsy List.
Nothing beats sitting in your garden on a sunny afternoon, listening to the birds sing and watching other little wild creatures shuffle in and out of your garden. To encourage more wildlife info your garden, there are lots of tips and tricks you can implement so your garden is even more welcoming.
Having a bird table is a wonderful addition to a garden: you’ll have so many different bird species fluttering in and out of your garden throughout the year. There are many different types, from free standing bird tables, through wall mounted, ground feeding and small ones hanging from trees or fences. Place yours in front of a window so you can watch the birds even when the weather is chilly, and keep it stocked up with bird feed throughout the year to ensure you have your fair share of feathered visitors.
Piles of logs not only allow your wood to dry out for the best log fires in your fireplace, but they also allow biodiversity to thrive. It’s a great location for growing different mosses, and encouraging small mammals, insects and amphibians. Build it in a pyramid shape if you’d like to attract hedgehogs too, but never set it alight without checking for wildlife.
Ponds are great for wildlife, and they’re really easy to construct. Make sure the edges are shallow: that’ll allow easy access for little creatures like frogs and newts. Install plants around the edges to shelter the pond life, and keep it clean with pond cleaners that aren’t made with too many chemicals.
Climbing plants are not only beautiful, but they also provide excellent nesting habitats. There are lots to choose from but good ones are roses, honeysuckle and clematis. If you have a bit more space, plant a hawthorn hedge, blackthorn or hazel: the hedge will provide nesting sites along with nuts and berries for wildlife during the harsh winter months.
Encourage bees with pollen and nectar-producing plants like lavender. The Royal Horticultural Society can advise on the best plants, and you can also provide a dry nesting box for bees: one with a see-through window would allow you to watch them at work!
The garden is an amazing place for wildlife if you can create the perfect environment. With just a few easy steps you’ll have a garden bustling with life!