The Edible Garden Series

The Edible Garden – BBC TV Series (2010)

Gardener, presenter and writer Alys Fowler attempts to avoid shop bought fruit/vegetables and live off her own home grown produce. Alys focus on different foods and show how anyone can grow, cook and eat from their own garden even if they live in a urban environment. It’s no easy task for her because she doesn’t want to turn her garden into an allotment¬† so she’s growing her fruit and veg among flowers. Peas and beans are prolific vegetables but they also look beautiful in the borders too. Alys also goes and makes delicious broad bean falafels and pea shoot cocktails and forages for willow to make plant supports. She has two new additions to the family, her chickens!

As with all of these types of programs their is an element of it being unrealistic and just for TV but it’s still worth watching for those that enjoy this type of thing. I’m sure as with everything you’ll learn a thing or two along the way.

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Grow Your Own Food Summit

logo-summit

This is a collection of interviews for anyone interested in growing their own food or living a more sustainable existence.Thirty-four presentations cover everything from community building to creating a food forest to beginning your very first garden, saving non-GMO seeds, permaculture and much more.

So like you I’ve also missed the first couple of days but it runs until the 14th, the snag is the lectures are only available for 24 hours after they post them (10am US Eastern Daylight Time) but it’s worth signing up now for the remainder of the videos and talks. I really enjoyed the one I just listed to the talk with Vandan Shiva about, among other things, the vital importance of seed saving as well as the abundance that comes from say 1 tomato gives you enough seeds to grow potentially hundreds more tomatoes.

I think you’ll like these, so get them while they you can for free.

SIGN-UP LINK: http://www.growfoodsummit.com

Allotment 2014: Potato with Weed Suppressing Foliage and Blight Resistance

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Next summer as part of my plan to deal with my perennial “weeds” (out of place invasive plants) is to plant a cover crop of potatoes on the allotment, my main aim really is for it to act as a weed suppressant throughout the year by crowding out (blocking light to) the weeds.

The variety I’ve chosen is ‘Sarpo Mira’ for it’s continual proven excellence with it’s Blight resistance. Considering that something as devastating as blight could completely destroy my efforts to keep the weeds down I recon doing one variety is my best option, I need to maintain good dense foliage for as long as possible.

Under normal conditions I’d say grow more than one variety of potato, as in don’t put all your eggs in one basket. One year one disease or pest may be prevalent and the next another, in my opinion to ensure and maintain a good healthy overall yield it’s best to have a diversity of them, each with their own merits. Also to help us eat seasonally I’d say plant one’s that you can harvest over a longer period. Obviously I’m ignoring all that kind of sound advice here in favor a dense foliage, even canopy and it being harvested over a shorter period to minimise the ground being left exposed to the elements and to benefit me in the future “digging in” of the Green Manure crop I’ll be following the potatoes with.

This allotment site I’ve been given has been left for so long it’s literally had a huge network of perennial weeds growing throughout and although I’ve done a relatively good job of digging a lot of them out in parts I’ve still got a huge way to go. The pulling and digging out will be a constant battle for a number of years but I’m not complaining, they are not all bad, often they are Dynamic Accumulators of nutrients too (more on that in the future).

My plans are in Feb to put in a mulch of Pine Needles (from friends/family Christmas trees) to try and acidify the soil a little bit. I’ll be doing a lot more digging out of weeds in the early spring, put in a ton of compost I’ll get at very low cost, it’s made locally from wood on the dairy farm (not organic unfortunately). I’m also going to put down half a ton of excellent quality ‘Virgin Top Soil’ (enriched with organic compost) that I’d got for almost nothing as part of a deal on some Biochar I purchased in bulk. I do have a problem with a bit of a Alkaline leaning soil and adding things like “Rock Dust” or “Biochar” makes that problem worse but these were products I had before getting the land. That all said I think I’m going to brave it and add them both in repetitively small amounts with the compost and topsoil and hope it evens it’s self out a bit. It’s a bit experimental (risky) in a sense but the added benefits of each of these products I think is worth chancing it on.
I will then plant the seed potatoes and along the way “earth up” (cover tubers) with the other half ton of that Topsoil. Come the end I will then basically harvest them from the point of view that I’m firstly weeding and secondly picking those tubers out, so kind of ‘killing two birds with one stone’.
I’ll then be lightly cultivating the soil, working it to a fine tilth, adding the worm casts I should have made in bulk by then PH and Nutrient testing the soil and adjusting were needed/possible. Finally planting a mixed Winter Green Manure crop to protect, rest and prepare the ground for next years harvests.

I’m be practicing “crop rotation” principles and not be planting potatoes in this ground again for another 4 years which is a bit disappointing in a sense but there are other parts of the garden for that as well as containers and even things like yams etc. I think crop rotations merits speaks for it’s self though so it’s a no brainer (makes sense).

I think that’s about it for now, hope the posts aren’t too long or anything, just thought I’d let you all know what my plans are for 2014. Let me know what you all think if if you have any idea’s for me.

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