Timber Planters and Raised Beds – Spring Is Time For Planning!

Time For Planters and Raised Beds! OK, so I’ve just started on my new range of planters and raised beds – yes, Spring is just around the corner here in ‘sunny’ Scotland. It doesn’t last long mind so we have to make the most of it! One way however to get an early start, and indeed to prolong your growing season, is to use Raised Beds. A Raised Bed garden is able to be planted up earlier owing to the simple fact it is raised from the cold soil around it. It is free draining (if you have your mix right). And it is easier to protect against the elements. It also has a longer growing season for pretty much the same reasons. The soil around it wil cool down faster than the Raised Bed, and be more prone to adverse weather conditions that will stop the growth of many … Continue reading →


2016 Ramble – Not My Usual Post!

James Paris

I’l warn you that this is not going to be my usual kind of post – No keywords, no book to sell, hideous SEO – no, it’s more of a general ramble really – possibly even boring as all hell :) So what does 2016 hold for us all? What great ambitious project, goal, or dream do you have for the coming year? Maybe nothing at all – maybe worries enough to keep you awake at night, without adding more to them! New year resolutions – pah! Personally I never make new year resolutions. Life just doesn’t seem to work like that at all. Sure make your plans. Roll the dice. Pray a LOT – surely something has to work…. I won’t bore you with all the stuff we take for granted – good health, loving partners, a roof over our heads, and food on the table – you could … Continue reading →


Keyhole Gardening – Niche Vegetable Gardening

keyhole garden

Growing Vegetables In A Keyhole Garden Popular niche gardening methods such as Raised Bed Gardening, Container, or Square Foot Gardens for growing vegetables, are fairly well known. The idea that you can get maximum results from minimal effort appeals to most people – and gardeners are no exeption :) However another very successful method for growing vegetables in otherwise trying conditions, is a method known as Keyhole Gardening. This method has been widely used and promoted throughout Africa and elsewhere by the Christian charity Send A Cow (www.sendacow.org), who first coined the phrase ‘Keyhole Gardening’ A glance at the picture should suffice to explain why the term ‘Keyhole Gardening’ has been adopted – but just in case….From above it forms the shape of a keyhole! This diagram will show the ‘keyhole’ aspect a bit clearer.. What Makes Keyhole Gardens Different? The main thing in fact that sets this idea apart … Continue reading →


Free Plant Food – DIY Organic Tea For Plants

How To Make FREE Plant Food If you are using store-bought fertilizer to feed your plants, then in my opinion you are just throwing away money that could be usefully spent elsewhere! Natural food for plants is all around us. It’s free, abundant, and produces excellent crops or blooms with very little effort. Natural, easy to aquire feed is available in several forms, from animal manure to ‘green’ manure. most of which require little in the way of preparation or hassle. However as with most gardening exploits, a little effort is usually required :) Here are some top organic feeds called ‘teas’ that are simple to prepare, cheap or free to make, and very effective. Organic Tea: Organic tea is simply a term given to an organic feed that has been produced by infusing water with various plants to produce a tea-like liquid. As a general rule it is better … Continue reading →


Straw Bale Gardening With GM Straw Bales

cabbages growing in straw

Can Genetically Modified Straw Be Safely Used For Straw Bale Gardens? The mere mention of genetically modified straw being used for straw bale gardening, is enough to make most permaculture enthusiasts swoon into the compost heap :) And to be fair, it certainly does not sound like such a great idea, after all it goes against all the principles of permaculture and growing organic veggies does it not? For myself, I grow organically whenever I can. By this I mean that I use home-made pesticides, I feed my plants with organic tea’s and animal manure (herbivores only), and generally try to ensure my veggies are grown using natural methods such as companion planting. However I do not take an ‘organic or nothing’ stance. I will resort to drastic man-made measures if the occasion demands. For this reason I thought I would have a closer look at the issues involved when … Continue reading →


Building An RS Combo

straw bales and raised bed

How To Construct An RS Combo™ The following post is an excerpt from my book Growing Vegetables In An RS Combo If like me you are interested in new ideas particularly with regards to growing vegetables in limited spaces, then the RS Combo™ concept should really ‘float your boat’ :) Growing vegetables in straw or hay bales has recently become very popular, And the idea behind growing veggies in Raised Bed gardens has been popular for some time. Both these ideas have their advantages over traditional ‘row’ gardening methods. You can read more about the actual RS Combo concept here for more details of the ‘why’s and wherefores’ Meanwhile here’s a pic of my latest RS Combo to give you an idea of the planting possibilities when you combine a Raised Bed Garden with Straw Bale Gardening methods. With all that said, lets get down to step by step construction … Continue reading →


Growing Onions In Straw Bales

onions growing in straw

Onions In Straw Bales – Now’s The Time To Consider Planting Them Out! Finally the ‘warmer’ weather is beginning to creep up on us, and if you are a keen gardener then you’re probably just itching to get the veggie plot started :) Yes, admittedly here in Scotland it is still a bit on the nippy side with frost still making an early morning appearance. However if you are catching on to the ‘growing’ (like what I did there!) trend of planting in straw bales, then you can consider getting things in motion right now. One of the reasons for this is that the straw bales themselves being well insulated against the cold, allows for slightly earlier planting out. That and the fact that the heating up process that takes place during priming, means an earlier stating point for planting. Check out this post for more information on preparing your … Continue reading →