Wormeries and Bokashi Bins

potato peelings chopped cabbage perfect for worms

potato peelings and chopped outer leaves of cabbage are perfect for worms

What do you do with surplus vegetable matter once the compost heap is full to overflowing, and with meat scraps when your chickens have had their fill? Start a wormery with the veg and running-to-seed lettuce, peelings etc, and pickle meat, fish scraps and cooked veg (plate scrapings or left-overs) in a bokashi bin. The resulting compost mixtures produced by both will greatly benefit the garden, as a soil-enricher, and are perfect when growing plants in pots. And wormeries and bokashi bins do not consume much space – unless of course you go in for them in a big way.

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Gardening Book Recommendations

adding perennials and herbs to the potager

Work in progress – adding perennials and herbs to the potager

There’s something about August and – for those with children – the school holiday period, that has one thinking of changed directions. Such a good time to learn something different, or catch up on those books piled in the bookshelf that you hoped to read when you had a spare moment. Spare moments rarely come for gardeners; there’s always more to be done outside. I’ve just spent the morning expanding the potager; adding more herbs and planting some of the perennial plugs bought earlier that will attract welcome insects throughout the autumn and next spring and summer.

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Chickens in the Garden

caroline with hens

Why keep chickens? The obvious answer is for their eggs, but they have many more uses as far as gardeners are concerned. They enjoy eating meat and fish scraps, love chickweed and dandelion leaves, benefit from beet tops, sorrel and gone-to-seed spinach and can be fed lettuce thinnings. Of course, it’s a toss up between offering such delicacies to the chickens or adding them to your compost heap or wormery (the leaves, not the birds!) – it’s possible to do both. I am ‘between chickens’ right now, and missing them. The taste of a fresh egg is unsurpassed by anything you buy from even a farm shop; and I am convinced it is because I feed them a mixed diet, as well as their usual mixed corn and layers pellets.

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The Crafty Gardener

living willow 'fedge'

a living willow ‘fedge’ – a cross between a fence and a hedge and easily grown from willow cuttings; dense and impenetrable once in full leaf, the crafty gardener can easily create one as a barrier around even a small plot

Living plants are by their very nature, ephemeral; never remaining in a static condition – their one aim to reproduce, to multiply. We prolong the usefulness edible crops in many ways, preserving or freezing fruit and vegetables, but for aeons of time, mankind has also made use of the properties of flowers and woody materials.

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Progress in the Potager

potager
It’s been quite a summer here in my new potager – remember those images back in mid-February of the tangled space which I set out to convert into a square-metre plot of four raised beds to grow vegetables, herbs, salads and edible flowers – and all surrounded by a wildlife friendly shrubbery? Click here if you would like to remind yourself of the task I faced exactly five months ago. It’s come a long way since then and has proved to be the most enjoyable and productive of all the six potagers I have created over the last 20 years – the others all still exist in one form or another, but this has become my favourite, and the most easily managed.

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