10 highlights from the grow your own blogs: May

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 May.

1. The Mulberry Experience. When Suttons announced a new dwarfing, self-fertile Mulberry, like many I was giddy with excitement and fall-ey down when they sold out. If you were also going round and round over the chance of growing this beautiful looking plant, I’d advise you to have a read of Beryl’s review. Always honest and thorough is Beryl, but she went the whole nine yards in the testing of this product. Buying it, growing it and eating it… for days apparently!

2. Why grow No Dig? I only discovered Stephanie Hafferty’s blog recently, but I’m very glad I did. I’m surprised it took me so long as Steph’s partner is Charles Dowding. Not only experienced in the no-dig method on her own allotment and of course in Charles’ ‘Homeaches’, Steph serves up the seasonal lunches for participants who attend Charles’ no-dig courses. As someone who is transitioning to a no-dig approach on my own allotment (and hugely impressed with the results so far), it’s fantastic to have Steph provide such an insight into why the approach is so successful.

3. 4 Things to Look Out For When Buying Seedlings on the Allotment. Jono is still transitioning to his new grow your own home in Somerset. With the veg patch at his new house a work in progress, he’s struggled to find time and space to grow seedlings this year and so he’s bought more seedlings than usual. As always, Jono reflects on the experience for the benefit of all of us. Here are some sound tips for buying seedlings for the allotment or kitchen garden.

4. Nearly June Already! I think this is a very apt post from Andy Watt for the top ten this month. I’m amazed it’s June already too. Maybe it’s because the spring is such an exciting but busy time for us gardeners? In this post, Andy updates us on all the things happening on his Newcastle Allotment. It is busy, but take the time to sit back to absorb and enjoy everything that’s taking place on the plots and kitchen gardens.

5. Best flowers to grow on an allotment and how to grow flowers and vegetables together. I know my onions. I know plenty about other veg too. However, when it comes to flowers it’s a very different situation. Since growing my own fruit and vegetables over the last 10 years, I’ve certainly made a transition to enjoying flowers – allotments do that as there are some wonderful traditional allotment flowers and not so traditional ones being grown amongst the fruit and veg on many plots. Becky Dickinson has provided some great ideas for flowers to grow on the allotment if, like me, you don’t have much experience in doing so.

6. Why you should be eating your weeds. Weeds! Is there anything more a gardener complains about? Ok, slugs, probably. However, those pesky weeds are certainly high on the list of gardener pains. I love this post from James Robbins as it fills two needs with one deed. In this case, pulling the weeds out of the way of those lovely crops coming through and filling the belly during the ‘hungry gap’. Brilliant!

7. Rhubarb and Lime Cheesecake. This spring, for me, is certainly all about the rhubarb. I waited patiently as my rhubarb plants grew during their first year in 2016 and this is the moment I’ve longed for. May is also all about the rhubarb for Sophie (one-half of those Agents of Field) too. When I’ve filled my belly enough times with crumble, I’m certainly trying this delicious recipe out for whatever’s left of the rhubarb harvest this year.

8. Growing tomatoes outdoors – top tips. Jane Perrone says beginner gardeners always seem to start with tomatoes. I have to agree. It was the first vegetable (Oh shush up you geeks – I know it’s a blinkin’ fruit!) I grew when this whole obsession started and it certainly feels like a conversation I have with new growers a lot. It’s not the easiest veg to start with, but tomatoes are hugely popular so I’m not surprised, especially if you’ve tasted home grown ones. This is a fantastic post in which Jane shares her own and other’s experience of growing outdoor tomatoes – well worth a read.

9. Thinning Carrots and Parsnips. That Mark Willis is in another of my top ten posts. The thing is, he provides such bloomin’ useful and practical advice in his blogs. Here’s another one in which Mark provides some top tips on how to thin those rows of parsnips and carrot seedlings.

10. Hail the mighty kale! It’s not just trendy stuff for that green n lean, bish bash bosh blender breakfast you are all drinking each morning. No sir. This hulk of a plant is mighty and has variety too. In what I can only imagine as a celebrity death match of vegetables, Sarah pits the Kale against other vegetables to explain why she thinks it trumps the lot and provides a few of her favourite varieties too.

I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to on your allotment and kitchen garden in May. Drop me a comment below or send me a message on Twitter or Facebook.

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