November Newsletter

Remember, remember, the joys of November.

Apologies to whoever wrote the original verse but November is about so much more than bonfires and gunpowder. Autumn has taken hold and trees and shrubs are now providing the colour in our gardens. Kale, cabbages, beetroot and sprouts are holding court in the veg garden and the crab apples are begging to be picked and turned into jewel-coloured jelly.

The days may be short and the nights long but as with every other month November brings with it many treasures and plenty of gardening jobs!


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Overwintering Dahlias

Overwintering dahlias is worth doing correctly to ensure that next year you can again enjoy the colourful blooms. Dependant on whereabouts you live your dahlias are probably looking pretty untidy by now. There may still be the odd bloom hanging on but the plants will have lost all signs of vigour and life. But, it’s still too soon to cut them down!

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Cauliflower Harvest

Memories of watery boiled cabbage and poorly seasoned cauliflower cheese have done little to endear cauliflower to many people. Not the easiest member of the brassica family to grow cauliflower are highly prized in other parts of the world. Perhaps it’s time for us to give more credit to this versatile veg.

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Flower Arranging with Rob Smith

Cut Flower Arranging

There are not many better reasons for growing your own flowers than to create your own cut flower arrangements. With the Rob Smith range of cut flowers you can get creative and not only enjoy flowers in your garden but indoors too.
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October Newsletter

I’m writing this with the lights on, even though its 10am. The autumn mists have certainly arrived! It’s the time for woodland walks, foraging and for the first log fires of the season. It’s also time for clearing the greenhouse of spent summer plants, of placing a net over ponds to keep out falling leaves and loads of other tasks. So, although autumn is here don’t go getting too mellow, there’s still work to be done!

Sow broad bean Aquadulce Claudia or De Monica now for an early crop in May/June and you may also avoid blackfly
• Runner and French Beans will stop cropping this month but don’t pull up the plants. Instead cut them off at ground level, leaving the roots which will then release nitrogen back into the soil
Plant onion sets and garlic for cropping next summer
• Now is a good time to give the greenhouse a good clean, removing any shading. Also check that your greenhouse heater is in good working order.
Plant spring bulbs and winter flowering bedding such as bellis, primula and pansies.
• Sow green manure to give your soil a winter boost. Visit our blog for details

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Plums will be a plenty this month. Yes, they make delicious brandy and jam but this versatile fruit is worthy of a variety of dishes. Here’s a few suggestions, remember to stone the plums first!

Savoury plum sauce – cook alongside a joint of pork and then whizz up with some soy sauce, chilli, ginger and a pinch of sugar.

Sweet plum sauce – heat plums in a pan with some lemon juice, honey and mixed spice. Mash and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Plum cake – make a classic sponge and before cooking add some halved plums on top. Sprinkle with demerara sugar and cook as normal

If none of the above appeal, then how making some plum ketchup?

Plum Ketchup

You will need:

2kg plums – stoned and chopped

250g onions

125g sultanas

4 red chillies

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp whole allspice

1 tsp whole peppercorns

570 ml malt vinegar

225g salt

2 tsp sea salt


Pop the first 6 listed ingredients in a pan with half of the vinegar. Simmer for half an hour, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and strain through a sieve. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for another half hour or until thickened. Funnel into sterilised bottles. Keep in the fridge once opened.

If you don’t have a plum tree, then now is the time to buy one!

Blog Bonanza

If you haven’t already seen September’s blog then now’s the time, simply click on any or all of the following titles.

New Delivery Option – you can now choose when your plants are delivered

Selecting New Fruit trees – some helpful pointers

Autumn Garlic – planting time is now

Heritage Veg – Rob Smith, winner of the BBC Big Allotment Challenge, launches his new range