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Growing Early Vegetables:

hot bed vegetable gardeningSo the winter is upon us and the growing season is at an end?? far from it if you know about the concept of Hot Bed gardening – a technique for growing vegetables from very early (or late) in the season.

This is not a new idea (is there anything new under the sun?), and indeed was used by the Romans when they invaded Britain only to discover the place was bl**dy freezing cold, and they had a very limited time in which to grow their favourite veggies!

Yes, apart from being fantastic engineers and road-builders, and having the military capabilities of the borg (for all you trekkie fans) – they were also keen gardeners it seems :)

So what do you do when faced with a short growing season and the need for growing vegetables year-round? Simple, you increase the length of the growing season itself by whatever means possible. This can be done in a variety of ways from useing the principles of raised bed gardening, growing in hot houses or greenhouses, or indeed using hot bed gardening techniques.

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Gardening – The View From Above!

After watching the BBC’s program on ‘Glorious gardens from above’ I must admit it gave me a whole new perspective of gardening in general.
Seen from the camera lense thanks to companies such as Viewpoint Film and the help of Hot Air balloon enthusiasts, high-level filming allows a unique view of the garden that you would otherwise be unaware off.
Garden plans and general layout of the growing areas is suddenly brought to live, thanks to the birds-eye view that these UAV’s can offer – a view that has up until now been restricted to birds or helicopter pilots!

Formal gardens such as those seen at Brodsworth Hall or Hampton Court Gardens to name just two, can now be brought into sharp relief with every small detail enhanced, thanks to the all-seeing eye of the drone as it hovers within a few inches of its target.

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How To Protect Leeks From Mice

For myself, I prefer leeks in a nice cheese sauce – not at all sure about leeks & mice :)

The bad news is that like it or not, I have had a little run-in with the pesky mice! Ah the joys of living in the countryside – last month it was the cauliflower, now it’s the leeks turn to get a good chewing up.

??????????????Never mind – as long as they don’t get into the new Jeep. Yea I had to get rid of the old one partially due to a mouse infestation! A simple tap on the headcloth would result in a mad scurrying above my head – and a mad rush as my wife scrambled to get out of the blessed car ;)

Anyhoo…back to mice nibbling away at my newly planted leeks. I had thought that my main problem was going to keep the winter weather at bay, so that I could enjoy my leeks in the late spring/early summer. Now it seems that my real adversary is going to be the massive field mouse population I have in my garden.

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Autumn Gardening Jobs

Whilst early Autumn is generally the time for bringing in the last of the fruit harvest, or perhaps preparing the root vegetables for storage. There are many other jobs around the garden that need attended to once the jam and pickles have been made!

Atuumn GardeningPruning fruit trees and bushes are best done in the late August, otherwise left until the first buds of spring and the last of the winter frosts. Many people I know prune trees over winter, but this is not such good practice as the hard frosts can damage the fresh cut on the plant and leave it vulnerable to infection or insect attack.

Root vegetables such as parsnips or carrots can effectively be left in the ground providing the temperature does not drop much below 23F (-5c). In fact parsnips in particular taste sweeter after they have had a touch of frost on them. To protect your roots from deep frost conditions, cover them with a 6 inch layer of straw or fallen leaves.

If you are subjected to windy conditions then you can lay some chicken mesh over this to hold them down. In the springtime the straw and leaves can be dug into the ground to add excellent fiber to the soil.

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How To Grow Vegetables in Hay or Straw Bales:

hay bale gardeningStraw bale or Hay bale gardening are really types of Container, or perhaps Raised Bed gardening idea’s, that are certainly growing in popularity as gardeners wake up to the new easy-gardening ‘revolution’ that is taking place today.
There are many explanations for this interest in small vegetable gardening ideas, but I suspect that it is mainly to do with the hectic lifestyle for many people who are trying to juggle work-time, while providing healthy food for the family.
As for growing plants in hay bales, city dwellers in particular, whilst being continually bombarded by the need to ‘be organic’ and provide fresh chemical-free vegetables for the kids, are opting for this gardening technique as they simply do not have access to the land needed to grow their own vegetables. Bales of Straw or hay take up very little space!

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