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Growing Vegetables Using An RS Combo™

R.S. Combo Picture

Most, if not all of you reading this article will never have heard of an RS Combo™ - at least not in this particular context. This is because up until my new book on the subject was published a short time ago, the phrase has never been used to describe this technique – Yes I am officially claiming it as my own :)
However there are many of you who will have heard of the concept behind growing vegetables in Raised Beds or Straw Bales. Both these techniques fall into the category of no-dig gardening methods, and are indeed very effective ways to grow veggies.

So what exactly is an RS Combo? Well it’s simply a way of combining the Raised Bed idea with the Straw Bale. This maximises the benefits to be had with both techniques, whilst neutralising the disadvantages inherent in both of them.
The ‘RS Combo’ is simply my abbreviation for a ‘Raised Bed – Straw Bale Combination’ which is quite a mouthful!
With that said, here is a short-list of the main advantages/disadvantages of growing vegetables using these two techniques individually. Read the remainder of this entry »

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spring vegetable gardeningFor the keen gardener the Spring season just cannot come quick enough! The long dark winter nights suddenly start to stretch out and the first snowdrops and other early bulbs, begin to poke their way through the melting snow. Suddenly the garden begins to come alive, and our thoughts immediately turn to preparing the growing beds and the multitude of tasks to be done. Raised Beds, Straw Bales and Containers all have to be prepared for occupation!

Of course if we have organised ourselves over the winter months, everything from now on will operate like a well-oiled machine! It’s just as likely however, that other things have occupied our minds and now we are frantically thumbing through the seed catalogues and clearing out the greenhouse.

Good organisation as every gardener knows is the key to success when it comes to getting the best results from the vegetable garden – or any other garden for that matter.
With that in mind, here extracted from my latest book on Spring Gardening is a list of 11 top jobs to be done if you want to increase your chances of ‘veggie success’ during this coming spring/summer season.
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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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