How to Grow Climbing Peas and Beans

French beans growing up canes
Climbing peas and beans are some of my favourite crops in the vegetable garden, they are the ones that epitomise Summer with their attractive flowers and lush growth. There is something ‘active’ about them with their reaching, coiling and climbing as they grow skywards and cover their supports.

The good news about growing peas and beans is that it is relatively easy. Peas are hardy plants and can be started off early in the season and will be happy in most gardens. Runner beans won’t like cold and exposed sites but are generally very reliable while French beans need a warm site but will produce huge crops of beans if conditions are right. Continue reading

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Natural and organic pest control tips

Cabbage white butterflyOrganic gardening has many advantages over a chemical based approach; the crops produced are tastier and more healthy but the other thing I like about it is it makes us understand nature better. Organic growing is more about avoiding pests or disease rather than applying a fix, it is about prevention rather than cure. To do this we need a little knowledge about our enemies which in turn gives us a deeper understanding of our garden and of nature’s cycles. Continue reading

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How to Create a Raised Bed Herb Garden

Raised Bed Herb GardenA raised bed can provide the perfect environment for creating a herb garden. It can be positioned anywhere that suits you and can be maintained easily. A selection of plants can be mixed for a diverse range of foliage and aromatics. Continue reading

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The Vegetable Garden in Mid May

Broad beans in a seedling tray
What can I sow or plant in my garden now?
Everything! Well, pretty much everything. You will be too late to sow most warm climate crops which need a long growing season like tomatoes, peppers and aubergines but nearly all the outdoor stuff is good to start now. May is really the best time sow or plant as the soil has warmed sufficiently and while frost is still a risk it is much less likely to be a problem. I am located in the North West so I tend to leave things a little late (I am also completely disorganised), but even for warm Southerly gardens May will be the busiest month in the garden.
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Growing your own Dwarf Vegetable Varieties

mini vegetables for container growing

Cultivating home grown vegetables is a simple pleasure that anyone can experience, even if you have limited space. We don’t all have the benefit of a large garden with room for a greenhouse and a range of vegetable plots but a simple allotment can be easily created on a balcony or in a tiny backyard. Continue reading

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How to Germinate Seeds Successfully

Sowing seeds in late spring

A plant seed is created to grow and will perform that task admirably once given the opportunity. For successful germination seeds need a suitable growing medium, moderate moisture and warmth to sprout, and enough light and space to thrive.

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Burtown Kitchen Garden Diary – How To Build a Polytunnel

Sweet peas at Burtown
This week we have our second installment of the Burtown Kitchen Garden Diary where we see Dermot building a new polytunnel on the site to broaden the choice of fruit and vegetables destined for the Burtown Green Barn Restaurant. The ethos behind the Green Barn is to provide the freshest of ingredients which only has to travel meters rather than miles before it ends up on your plate. Dermot is under pressure this year to increase production in the early and late parts of the season and to provide more exotic flavours from juicy heirloom tomatoes to fantastic shaped squash and sweet homegrown melons. Continue reading

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The Quickcrop Pea and Bean Frame

Pea and bean support frame

The Quickcrop Pea and Bean Frame is a support system designed for growing your own climbing garden peas and beans. Freshly picked home grown peas are one of the most delicious treats in the vegetable garden whether they are grown to be eaten immediately or set aside to be dried and stored. Like many bean varieties they are simple to grow, with a high success rate, and require very little effort to produce a healthy crop. Legumes are perfect for any gardener who wants to make the most of the space available in their vegetable plot.

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Sowing and germinating vegetable seeds

beetroot seedlings in a modular trayWe are now moving into the time of year when we start to sow seeds (for those of you not reading this article ‘hot from the oven’ it is the beginning of February) so I figured it may be helpful to write an article on seed germination. We sow hundreds of thousands of seeds a year to supply our vegetable seedling range so get used to the likes and dislikes of a broad range of vegetables. The good news is it is all pretty easy really, after all the seeds actually want to grow, we just have to help them along. I have arranged the following ground breaking article in a Q&A format even though I’m asking and answering the questions myself, no doubt you will find it fascinating… Continue reading

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The Polytunnel in January

Polytunnel in januaryWhile I do spend plenty of happy time in the garden in January there really isn’t a whole lot you can do other than preparing things for the season ahead. In may cases I will be tempted to start a few jobs when I shouldn’t like digging out weeds (the soil is probably too wet) or pruning fruit bushes (best done just before they bud) so I can actually do more harm than good. The January polytunnel is, however, a completely different place with a warmer environment protected from the elements and a whole load more options. Continue reading

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