Magical Runner Beans

To be honest there is nothing particularly magical about runner beans but they do make a great subject for watching the rather magical process of a seed germinating.  The main advantage of beans is that the seeds are large enough for you to see the root and shoot emerging with the aid of a clear plastic cup and two...

Choosing an irrigation system

After such a wet winter it may seem perverse to talk about irrigation systems but if you are planning or replanting an area of your garden, it is worth thinking about watering now.  Unless you are using drought tolerant plants then at some point int eh summer watering will be needed especially in the vegetable garden.  A traditional hose and/or...

GYO – Planning your summer veg

February is the month when we start to think about what to grow in a vegetable garden or allotment for summer harvesting. Whether you are new to GYO or an old hand looking to grow something new, here are some planning considerations. What to grow: firstly understand why you want to GYO. Is it for the fresh picked flavour? No point...

Choosing & planting Fruit trees

An advantage of winter planting is that you can buy young trees ‘bare-root’ more cheaply and with a greater range of varieties than pot-grown trees. Bare-root simply refers to the fact that they are grown on in open fields and lifted (dug up) just before delivery to you. The roots are protected but often just with a hessian...

Composting – why, what & how

Compost bin Autumn is a time when gardeners start to cut back and clear away and we should not lose the chance to recycle some of nature’s bounty. Composting often attracts a ‘muck & magic’ mystique but a few scientific facts explain & simplify the process. The value of composting your own garden waste and uncooked vegetables is in returning nutrients...

GYO but what & how much?

The final set of tips from #WoolliesAskAlison for anyone planning to grow vegetables for the first time next season: So now you have a veg plot ready: here are some hints on what to grow & crucially how much to plant 1st question to ask is not “what do I want to grow?” but “What do I want to eat?” &...

Preparing to grow Vegetables

Here are ten top tips on starting to grow vegetables and preparing a new piece of your garden or taking on an allotment.  You can follow these & more hints & answers as 'live' tweets on Twitter  via #WoolliesAskAlison every Thursday evening 8-9pm UKtime. As summer comes to an end it's time to look at veg growing: this week preparing...

Pruning fruit trees

Pear tree trained against wall into fan shape Pruning is an area where many gardeners seek advice and with fruit trees, where the object is to maximise your crop, it pays to understand how good pruning can help.  Of course, nature produces apples on apple trees without the gardener’s intervention but left alone the branches grow longer and taller each...

Grow Your Own – Exotic Kiwi fruit

Have you seen Kiwi fruit growing over a sunny pergola whilst on holiday in Italy? Or bought them from the exotic fruit counter in a supermarket? Well how about growing your own right here in South East England? Many people have read that kiwi fruit are tricky to grow and needed warmth and a long summer to bear edible...

Germination & growing runner beans

Germination: Runner beans need water to germinate but do not need any other special conditions or treatment; they will germinate in the dark (underground) or in the light. The root always starts to grow first and it always grows downwards.  The plant is sensitive to gravity and the root grows towards gravity.  This is called Geotropism.  The shoot always grows away...