Urban Vegetable Gardening and Some Other Stuff

Pamela Weaver

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It ain’t summer and it surely ain’t a salad until there’s cucumber in it. It might not be top of the nutritional content list, but cucumber really is the taste of summer, so if you’re growing your own salad leaves, it’s worth your while having a couple of cucumber plants to go with them. One or two plants will provide you with all the produce you need. They’ll work out just fine in a container and look stunning as they scramble up a home-made wigwam or trellis – lush green leaves, attractive yellow flowers, easy peasy to grow… what are you waiting for? Cucumbers originated in India, and as members of the squash family, are fond of trailing or climbing. If you prefer your cucumbers on the straight side, it’s best to opt for the climbing route; leave your plants to their own devices along the ground and you’ll end up with some rather interesting shapes and bends. Tec... (more)

Starting Out With Seeds and Seedlings

Whether you’ve got a lot of space to work with or you’re simply hoping for a few tomatoes in containers, it can be hard to know where to start with your vegetable garden. Just deciding what to grow can pose a challenge for some, but the best advice anyone could give you is, happily, simple: Grow mainly what you like to eat. Courgettes are easy to grow – as legends of neighbours of grow-your-owners hiding from yet another delivery of them can attest – but if you’re not that keen, having kilos of the beggars at your disposal is a waste of time. Keep things interesting by growing... (more)

Organic Farming Can Tackle Climate Change

The UK’s Soil Association has announced that if all British farmland was converted to organic farming, at least 3.2 million tonnes of carbon would be absorbed by the soil each year – the equivalent of pulling almost 1 million cars off the roads. Research undertaken by the association (available for download here), further suggests that a worldwide switch to organic farming could offset 11% of all global greenhouse gases. Among the other findings: widespread adoption of organic farming methods in the UK would offset 23% of the country’s agricultural emissions through soil carbon... (more)

Landshare.org

Landshare.org is a British initiative that looks to re-think the way we produce and grow food. The community puts people who have land in touch with people who want to produce food and encourages people to get talking and working together. The idea is that people with a bit of spare space can offer it to a would-be grower in exchange for some of their harvest. The British TV station Channel 4 has set up a web site and forum based around the aims of the organisation. If you're looking for some inspiration and would like to get involved, why not check it out. www.landshare.org ht... (more)

Starting seedlings in toilet roll inserts

If you don’t have small kids in need of home-made “binoculars”, it’s probably a long time since you’ve attempted to devise a recycle-friendly use for toilet roll inserts. Well here’s one: they make ultra-cheap, biodegradable seedling holders. And best of all, they’ll keep cutworms and other garden lurgies at bay during your plants’ most vulnerable period. Here’s how. Save up a decent stash of the inserts – if you’re staying organic, make sure you choose the unbleached variety – and then simply cut strips .5cms apart and about the same depth into the roll. Fold the strips downw... (more)