10 highlights from the grow your own blogs: April

There’s a fantastic number of allotment, kitchen garden and grow your own bloggers out there. I read as many as I can for inspiration, advice and to find out what everyone is getting up to.

Here are a few of my favourite articles and blog posts from April.

1. Face Planting. When an author writes a blog post that’s not only about growing your own but has you in stitches (and I lie not – this one did!), then the delight of reading it reaches new heights! This is the honest truth of how allotment gardening can be both a sanctuary and a driver for removing even the pedestals of stardom.

2.  Are you gardening outside the box? You may know I’m a bit of a fan of James Robbin’s blog posts. As a professional gardener, he has this wonderful knack of writing knowledgeably on the topic but there’s always a thought-provoking twist on the theme. Well, this time he’s hijacked that bearded beauty, Michael Perry’s blog with this thinker. James explores the relevance of gardening tv in the context of contemporary forms of media. Put the debate on sidelining Gardeners World to Snooker on hold – this is where the conversation is at!

3. How to Grow Your Own Thai Curry.  I’m always banging on about the benefits of growing your own, whether on an allotment or a back garden, is the variety of vegetables that become available. However, as this post from Nic Wilson demonstrates, growing your own also opens up the possibility to grow the often flown-far ingredients to cook your favourite Saturday night ‘Take-away’. Nic also shares her delicious recipe.

4. The beets go on… Esme is bonkers about beetroot. Seriously, she’s even named her blog after the stuff. In her debut blog post (Welcome Esme!), she tells us all about her passion and gives some varieties to try and some tips on growing them successfully.

5. Parsnip to beetroot fudge. Speaking of beetroot, Shaheen has provided a cracking way to serve it up. Here she takes a recipe for parsnip fudge and gives it a twist by changing the key ingredient to beetroot. These look fantastic and I for one will be giving it a go with my own homegrown globes later this year.

6. How to keep kids entertained on an allotment without ending up in A&E. As a dad of a six-year-old, I’m passionate about keeping her engaged in the allotment garden. I’m happy to say that for the most part, Ava is engaged with the sowing, growing and harvesting of the crops – which is absolutely what I want, but there will be times when we aren’t doing those things and well, some of the other tasks are just not as appealing. The thing is, allotments can be great places to have fun, even when the jobs are not as engaging for little ones. I love the concept behind Becky’s post in keeping little ones entertained on the plot. A few suggestions too.

7. Why tickling empowers sensitive seedlings. Etiolation. This new term is one I could quite easily apply to me many times from Monday to Friday – to become weak and floppy. However, let’s use in the context in which James Wong means for it to be used, that resulting character of those seedlings that have grown long and leggy. James offers a scientifically valid approach to helping these weaklings out – give them a tickle. I’ll let James explain why.

8. 5 easy to grow unusual edibles. We’re back to those benefits of growing your own again. Modern Veg Plot is all about growing interesting and unusual edibles in a greenhouse and allotment plot. This post shares 5 that are easy for anyone to grow and show off to your friends when you invite them around for dinner – Cucamelon salad and stuffed Acocha anyone?

9. The benefits of making Comfrey tea. Us Brits are renowned for having a bit (165 Million cups a day) of taste for a good cup of char. Well, we aren’t alone – those crops of yours love a decent brew of their own. As with all of Matt’s posts, this is an informative guide to making up Comfrey tea to use as a fertiliser on the allotment. I’d recommend a peg for your nose with this one mind.

10. 5 ideas for dealing with gluts.  If you have had an allotment or kitchen garden for some time, you will know that no matter how well you plan, gluts happen. As satisfying as it can be to rejoice in the high yields of any crop you have grown yourself, there’s really only so much courgette or runner bean one can stomach. Trust me – I know. Jono has come up with a plan (well 5 actually) on how you can prepare to cope with the inevitable summer sackfuls that will come our way as harvests arrive over the coming months.

Any blogs or articles caught your eye this month? I’d love to hear about them. Let me know in the comments below or on twitter

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