Friday, December 29

Prepare your trees for a fruitful new year!

Do you have a plum tree which looks like this in July but recovers slightly by September?

If you have it might be suffering from Brachycaudus Helichrysi or plum leaf curling aphid. Now is the time to take action to rid your plum tree of this pest. Don't wait for your tree to develop the symptoms shown in the picture - take preventative action now! Click here to read more.
Other fruit trees also benefit from preventative treatment taken at this time of year.

Thursday, December 21

Sunday, December 17

Why not make your garden birds a Christmas cake?

Birds in the garden and on the plot really struggle for food at this time of year. So why not help the children to make a Christmas treat for them. Click here for instructions for a variety of bird cakes for all types of birds as well as suggestions for some other treats and activities. Although children will enjoy this activity, adults enjoy watching birds feed on these treats too!

The RSPB carry out a Bird Watch each year to track how well our garden birds are fairing.
The records provide them with a vital snapshot of the UK's birds each winter. Over the years their scientists can record patterns in bird numbers and use this to help prioritise their bird conservation work. The survey has recorded huge declines in some of our most familiar birds. Since 1979, the number of house sparrows counted has fallen by 52% and the number of starlings by 72%. So by feeding birds through winter we may be able to halt and even reverse this decline.
You can help even further by taking part in this year's Bird Watch. You don't even have to leave the comfort of your home - you simply take an hour during the 27 or 28 January and record the highest number of birds of each species visiting your garden. Click here for details. You may manage to attract some unexpected visitors like the pied woodpecker that sometimes visits our garden.
Remember all through even the coldest parts of winter it is vital that birds have access to water for drinking and bathing. We have a timer or our outside tap that is set to fill our bird baths several times a day so that the birds are never without a supply. They in turn provide us with hours of amusement and also help rid our garden and allotment plots of pests throughout the year.


Friday, December 15

Make our web site your Internet home page

We now have a Google Search Box at the bottom of the home page of our website. This will allow you to search for items on our blog and website as well as the whole of the Internet. It has been set up as a Safe Search which means that adult content should be filtered out making it less of a hazard for children.
Click on the image below to try it out
You will need to scroll down to the bottom of the page that appears

Have you also noticed on the sidebar the site feed from the Telegraph. Use these links to access uptodate gardening articles from the Telegraph web site. After reading use the back button on your browser to return to the blog. If you are new to the Internet the buttons are shown below.

Internet Explorer 7 back and forward buttons
Internet Explorer back buttonFireFox back button

Tuesday, December 12

Take part in our survey!

Every year, just before Christmas, a certain radio programme indulges in a sprout bashing exercise. Apparently a large percentage of people detest sprouts and only eat them at Christmas because it is traditional. So here's your chance to register your vote by using the survey on the right. If you love them, add a comment to this post on how you cook them and maybe you can convert some of those millions of sprout haters who suffer each year at the Christmas dinner table, in time for the festive season! If you want a change of colour try purple sprouts next year. We've grown them for several years and they do stay purple after cooking.

Sunday, December 10

Indian Sharp Spice Paste

If you fancy making your own curry paste to spice up those inevitable Christmas leftovers then click here for another of Pat's recipes. Alternatively you could use it to make a curry from a variety of your home grown vegetables.
However, this recipe does come with safety warning as Pat says it is very hot, so add only a little at a time until you find the taste that just tingles the tastebuds rather than exploding them!

Winning Numbers in Raffle

1st Prize - blue 293 - £50 gift vouchers
2nd Prize - salmon 90 - selection of flower seeds
3rd Prize - blue 303 -
selection of flower seeds
4th prize - blue 243- selection of flower seeds

All winners have been identified and prizes will be passed on as soon as possible.

Congratulations to all the prize winners!

Friday, December 8

Demystifying the art of compost making

If you are in the habit of reading gardening magazines or watching certain TV programmes you may well think that to successfully compost your garden waste requires a degree in chemistry. What with layering, turning, choosing the correct container etc etc. It is, however, fairly easy acquire reasonable success without too much trouble, all that is needed is a bit of patience. Click here to read more.

We've been Migrated!

You may notice a couple of changes to the blog - or maybe you won't.
We have been migrated to an updated version of blogger. A few scary moments but we seem to have come out of the other side OK. Time will tell. Apparently some blogs go into migration never to be seen again so it's as dangerous as the migration of our feathered friends.

Saturday, December 2

Winter on the Plot - A Wordsearch

Another little puzzle for the days and nights when you can't get on the plot and there is nothing worth watching on the TV.
Click here to have a go. A printable version is also available.

Click here for a simpler version for the children - or do it yourself if you want an easier puzzle.

Friday, December 1

Leek Bake

Pat on plot 40 - our very own Nigella Lawson has supplied a delicious recipe for leeks.
We have cooked the lasagne version and it was really good. If you don't like pasta use the original recipe that has layers of potatoes instead.

Look out for more of Pat's recipes in the weeks to come.
Click here for the recipe and enjoy!