Alison and The Backyard Larder

Great guest post over on Anni’s Veggies which I am reblogging here:-

All over the place wonderful, dedicated and insightful gardeners are working away developing their own particular specialist niche in our human-gardening-ecosystem. One of these lovely people is Alison Tindale, a lifelong gardener who grows, sells and blogs about some her wonderful collection of perennial vegetables. Here in a guest post she writes about herself, her […]

via Alison and The Backyard Larder — Anni’s perennial veggies

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Insect loss

The astonishing and worrying extent of insect loss has been in the news a lot recently, and Clarission has just shared a useful summary of the report.  It makes me all more more appreciative of the insects that I find in my little garden.  Come on in, little folks!

Much has been made of the insect Armageddon news this month – that the massive decline in insect life is overwhelmingly terrible for the world. Conservationists and entomologists have been warning about this for years but perhaps the extent of the decline has been so far unknown. New research, however, has found that three quarters […]

via Insect Loss — This Veggie Life

Garden journal – 6 October 2017

Anni’s garden is still going strong – like me, she’s leaving it be as much as possible rather than ‘putting it to bed’. Happy bees.

Anni's perennial veggies

I did some ‘work’ in the garden today.  Not counting minor interventions like taking off dock leaves and flowering stems it was the first time I had done anything since pruning the fruit trees and removing the flowering stems from lots of salsify plants in the height of summer.

It is bulb planting time and I had bought some narcissi and grape hyacinth for spring colour to go in the bed with the step over fruit trees.  Wherever I could find a space I put a mixture of the flowering bulbs, garlic bulbs and some saved vetch seeds in all together.  I hope that they will come up in a clump with the spring bulbs first and then the garlic and vetch growing on through the summer.

From the outset I have put other plants in with the apples.  This was one of the little fruit trees just after planting…

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A tip about starting polycultures

Found this old post by Anni about starting a polyculture in a way that limits slug damage and gives plants the best start in life.

Anni's perennial veggies

I have just remembered that my first attempt at a polyculture a few summers ago was a resounding flop.  As I encourage people to grow in polycultures I had better pass on some tips regarding my mistakes so you don’t end up repeating them and getting discouraged.

My first attempt was to sow seeds a mixture directly into a prepared seed bed, just as you might for annuals, whether veggies or flowers.  However in our damp and slug ridden garden this was asking for trouble – and I got it.  No sooner had a brave seedling popped it’s little head above the ground than an army of slugs ate it.  It was a wet summer (we have had a lot of these in recent years) and the whole thing was a wash out.

My strategy now is to have plants already growing and providing cover.  These range from “weeds” to green manures to plants selected…

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A little green helper

I’ve been dismayed lately by the numbers of aphids being farmed by ants on my edibles.  I do try to be patient, to wait for the predators to move in and for balance to be re-established, but …

aphids on kale July 17

Aphids on kale

… I was starting to wonder whether I should intervene.  If I pick off the affected shoots, will the ants just move somewhere else?  Should I make life a little less cozy for them?  I was just thinking perhaps I should do something, when I went out to have another look:

insect eating aphids on kale July 17

Green insect eating aphids

Do you see what I see?  A tiny green insect, like a narrow shield bug.  I think s/he was at the dinner table 🙂  Perhaps I have help after all.

Into July …

Just a quick progress post.  Remember that I left the polyculture bed to the mercy of the slugs to see what would happen?  Now look at it!

Polyculture bed July 2017

Polyculture bed July 2017

Meanwhile, over in the perennial seedling pots:

Fennel and lovage have germinated.  I’m still waiting for the seakale and the salad burnet to put in a showing.

Patience, patience …