Brussels Sprouts – a winter winner

Here is my sprout bed. It’s 8ft long by 4ft wide and holds 8 sprout plants in it. The netting has kept the pigeons off and the early plants have been in production for a couple of weeks.

I grow these from plugs which I purchase from Organic Plants in June. This is their sprout collection which provides a range of varieties (two each of four varieties) so that you get a harvest over several months avoiding the glut which would happen from growing a single variety. It would be cheaper to grow from seed, but for the small quantities I require plugs are convenient and easy.

Each plant was given 2ft x 2ft space and planted in soil that was enriched with manure the previous season. Sprouts are hungry feeders, so I top dress with pelleted chicken manure too. The little plug plants are 4 inches tall but can be planted deep so their stalks are partly buried but the leaves are above ground. This allows the buried stem to root into the surrounding soil. Like most brassicas they need to be planted in firm soil, so I use a heel around them to make sure they are tightly gripped. Continue reading

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Five fantastic foliage plants for connoisseurs

The planting between the back of our house (left) and the lawn (right) is dominated by green foliage. Additional colours are limited to white flowers and anthracite pots and timber.

Most people avoid plants that are plain green. They’re missing a trick: Designing a predominantly green, foliage based planting scheme has many advantages and can produce an exceptionally calm and classy aesthetic that will last throughout the year. In fact I would argue that such designs provide a versatile and appropriate solution for many modern small gardens. Simple contrasting foliage textures and form can work effortlessly with practically any architectural style.  Continue reading

Formal pond in the vegetable garden

Finished_Pond_2013

The centre piece of my vegetable garden is this formal pond, which was started in 2012. It’s overall size is about 6′ x 11′, but this is an illusion as it is actually two ponds, with the bridge covering the dry land between the two. Each pond is created from a rigid fibreglass preformed pond liner.

Continue reading