National Pumpkin Sowing day

According to Thompson & Morgan today is national pumpkin sowing day.  Now I must admit that pumpkins are a long way from being one of my favourite vegetables.  A very very long way in fact.  But I do like squashes.  A lot.  Butternut being an absolute must have although my success rates are a bit hit and miss as I generally plant far too early and the poor seedlings struggle in the cold soil and air of the UK spring. So maybe whilst everyone is planting their pumpkins today I’ll do the same with my squashes.  These are all voraciously hungry plants in terms of food and water.  Starved of either for even a short time and you’ll be let down so make sure your plants are sitting on nice rich piles of well rotted manure and compost.  I’ll be digging nice deep holes and filling with the good stuff.  This will help water retention as well.  My seedlings will be started in pots in a warmer location and moved in to place when I can rely on the weather not to let me down.

Bumblebees on Pulmonaria

Bumblebees on Pulmonaria

Bumblebees love Pulmonaria. Copious blossoms and also in flower at a time of year when the forage is quite limited. I’ve got loads of them in the garden (too many in fact) but won’t start remodelling the garden until my furry flying friends have something else to feed/gather from.

Spring is springing

Spring is springing

The beautiful (and suprisingly tough) Bletilla Striata.  A terrestrial orchid native to Asia that with a bit of care, attention and careful location can grow suprisingly well in the UK.  These are second season for me and once they’ve spread I’ll look for a nice woody sheltered glade to plant them.

Farmer Brown’s Garden

So I’ve started a Youtube channel.  It’s called Farmer Brown’s Garden and will offer a weekly clip on what to do in the garden, various tips and other stuff.  My first rough and ready foray is available below.  Feel free to subscribe and pass on any comments ideas or tips you may have

The edible garden part 3

The edible garden part 3

The garden we inherited when we moved in a few years ago is made up of very traditional beds and herbaceous plants.  Nice to look at for about three months of the year but the rest of the time? pretty much meh. As we clear the beds for different uses (herbs, climbing berries and what not) one of the trees/bushes I’ll be planting is Amelanchier lamarckii or Juneberry.  A plant that, like many others I go for, can do everything the demanding gardener needs. Flowers in spring/summer, autumn colour and edible attractive fruits for people and animals alike. It’s small enough for most gardens and in smaller spaces can be a real centre piece. Let me know how you get on.

The edible garden part 2

Now here’s a berry that you’ve probably all eaten a product of but were never aware.  Next time you’re munching on some fruit pastilles or other dark/purple coloured fruit conconction look for the word Aronia juice.  This is a very very purple juice produced from the Aronia berry (Aronia Prunifolia or Aronia melanocarpa).  It’s the poor relative of superfoods as it has a very sharp and astringent taste when eaten raw (hence the unappetising name of chokeberry) but added to other juices/jams or whatever it can add a real antioxidant punch.

It’s a shrub that grows at the edge of woods in damp slightly acidic soil.  No good for the chalk downs but if you’re on wealden clay or other acid soil then give it a go.  If it’s happy it’ll flourish and you’ll be spoilt for berries for ever.  The blackbirds seem to love them too. Other Aronia suppliers are available

Manure – make a turbo powered compost heap

We’ve got three horses living in the field – along with three goats and the 10 chickens. They get on famously but the amount of manure (in three flavours) is gargantuan. I’ll be entering the largest pumpkin, the tallest sunflower and the biggest marrow at the village fete next year.


Mayan Gold potatoes

Finally found some Mayan Gold seed potatoes – IMHO the king of potatoes (a phujera type) that make the finest roast potatoes know to man. If you have the room (and the manure) they should be your first choice potato for the home garden. You won’t look back.