One of the many joys of growing our own food is that this wonderful process allows us a marvellous opportunity to eat freshly harvested fruit, vegetables, and herbs, which usually have a dramatically improved flavour and freshness compared to the equivalent alternatives we can purchase in our local supermarket. Usually, when we imagine growing our own produce, we think of a process that takes anywhere from between a number of months to a number of years to produce vegetables, fruit, or herbs.
I’m a peat-free gardener; I am a passionate advocate for using peat-free composts. Every year, I uncover the best quality peat-free composts on the market in my peat-free Compost Trials. I ran this Compost Trial to help you find top quality composts that will enable your tomato plants to produce bumper harvests of tomatoes!
If you suffered any gardening disappointments last year, I want to help you improve your growing techniques, so you’ll experience the uplifting joy of gardening success, this year!
Gardening is such a positive hobby, growing plants truly enriches our lives; yet it can be utterly disheartening when seedlings die, our plants decline to flower or fruit, or don’t perform as well as we hoped.
Earlier this year, Greenhouse Sensation sent me a Quadgrow Self Watering Planter to try. If you’ve not seen a Quadgrow before, it’s a plastic container growing system (made from recycled plastic) that uses capillary action to provide plants with automatic watering. This clever design alters the way we irrigate plants. Instead of watering plants in the traditional sense (watering plants from above with a watering can), with the Quadgrow we deliver the water and nutrients right where they’re needed – at the plants’ roots.
This year, I’ve been running more Trials with Tomatoes; I’ll share all the results from my Tomato Trials with you in due course, but today I wanted to show you my Quadgrow Self Watering Planter. Most of my tomato plants have now given up or been affected by Late Blight, but the tomatoes in my Quadgrow have (for the moment) escaped this disease.
As autumn’s whisper reverberates through our landscape, many plants are now fading, as they respond to the changing season and become rapidly aged by the ever lengthening nights’ embrace. This is a season of salvage, protection, and celebration; it’s time to bring tender plants inside our homes, conservatories, and glasshouses, and to gather in our harvest.
I’m a peat-free gardener; I am a passionate advocate for peat-free composts. I know from my own experience, that it’s not always easy to find a good quality peat-free growing media. I understand that gardeners who have used peat-based composts all their lives might be hesitant to switch to a peat-free compost and gardeners who have purchased a poor performing peat-free compost could naturally be reluctant to try peat-free growing media again.
Growing tomatoes is so much fun! Tomato plants will grow happily in a sunny border or in large containers of peat-free compost.
There are two types of tomatoes – cordon and bush tomatoes. Cordon (also known as indeterminate) tomatoes can form tall plants, reaching 2m or more! Don’t worry – you can ‘stop’ your plants from growing any taller by simply pinching out the tip of your plant’s stem, when your plants have reached your desired height.
I feel a strong and passionate desire to protect our planet’s peat bogs. This is an urgent matter, it’s not something we can keep putting off to consider again in the future, at a more convenient time – for the peat that is being extracted now can’t be saved and so if we continue as we have done in the past, the opportunities we have in our hands, right in front of us now, will be lost forever.
Since I first told you about my Vegepod much has changed. Back in 2018, my Vegepod was set up in an area of my garden that enjoyed partial shade, but after trialling the Vegepod in this fairly beneficial position (vegetables thrive when they’re grown in sunny and partially shaded sites), I decided to move my Vegepod to a more shaded area of my garden, to see what I could grow successfully inside my Vegepod with more challenging growing conditions.
Dalefoot Composts have produced the top performing peat free composts in all of the Compost Trials that I’ve run over the past seven years. Rather than just continually highlighting every year that Dalefoot Composts are the best peat free composts to use, I designed this Compost Trial to demonstrate methods you could use to get the best results from one of their products, namely Dalefoot Double Strength Wool Compost.
Peatlands are extraordinary environments, which now cover just 2-3% of our planet’s surface. Home to a fascinating range of native plants and wildlife, peatlands form unique ecosystems that support incredible flora and fauna. Many of the plants, insects, birds, and wildlife that have evolved in these boggy, acidic areas can’t survive anywhere else.
Every year I run Compost Trials to discover the best quality peat-free composts on the market. Dalefoot Composts have produced the top performing composts in all of my Trials, over the past seven years.
One of my favourite products is Dalefoot’s Double Strength Wool Compost, a nutrient rich, organic compost, comprised of natural materials, including bracken and Herdwick sheep’s wool.
Twine is an essential product for gardeners. This small, but vital product helps us to support, tie in, and train our plants. Garden twine assists us as we hang up bunches of herbs, garlic, and onions, for storing and drying. Twine enables us to mark out rows, and carry out all manner of garden tasks. Whether you enjoy growing vegetables, fruit, herbs, or cut flowers, if you’re fond of tending herbaceous borders, or you enjoy taking part in any other form of gardening activity; twine is a universally useful product!
I am a passionate advocate for going peat free. I’ve always been a peat free gardener, but I’ve not always managed to find good quality peat free compost. To search for good quality peat free products, I run peat free Compost Trials every year. Dalefoot Composts have been the top performing compost brand, in all of my trials to date.
I just adore growing fruit and vegetables! Any form of edible gardening is a soul enriching experience, which I would encourage you to try.When to sow tomato seeds and plant tomato plants outside?
A number of forms of air pruning pots are available, I am a fan of these types of containers, as they prevent plants’ roots from becoming pot-bound. I have found that plants grown in air pruning pots establish more readily when they’re planted in the garden, when compared to plants grown in regular containers. They’re very effective.
Last year, as part of my Tomato Trial, I used Haxnicks Vigoroot Planters for the first time.
I love growing fruit, vegetables, and herbs. We’ve all got our favourite heritage tomatoes, but have you tried any new tomato varieties? Last year, I grew lots of new tomato varieties, as part of my quest to discover the most delicious and productive tomato cultivars available to gardeners!
The objectives of this Tomato Trial were to identify delicious, productive, disease resistant tomato varieties, and to discover whether any of the trialled tomato cultivars perform differently when planted in the ground or grown in a container.
In this column I share my favourite gift ideas with you, these are the best products that I have personally tried and tested this year, as part of my quest to help you find quality presents for your loved ones this Christmas!Vegepod
Vegepod is an award-winning container gardening system that is really quite marvellous! This raised bed system has universal appeal, you don’t need access to the soil, so if you’re gardening on concrete but ache to grow vegetables, this is for you.
I love growing vegetables, it’s a truly wonderful, soul enriching experience to grow your own food! Sadly an increasing number of us are without the luxury of a garden or allotment and have nowhere to grow vegetables, herbs, fruit, or flowers; while a great many others struggle to garden in small, often paved spaces, without any access to the soil.