Anything to do with growing your own food. Mostly done (as off 2013) by Keith Jordan

Gardening in October – Something in the garden is staying warm!

By Keith Jordan

As October day lengths shorten and the sun is lower in the sky, temperatures are generally on the decline. This is a natural trigger for many animals and plants to make provision for storage and survival during the winter months. Jays and squirrels will be collecting acorns to bury, insects may be laying eggs, pupating or finding safe hibernation places. Many herbaceous plants die back, shed leaves or divert their energy reserves from leaves and stems to their roots, tubers or bulbs.

Associated with mass decomposition of plant material, well-made compost heaps will be warming up. Decomposition involves millions of microorganisms Continue reading

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Gardening in September – Happy harvest festival!

by Keith Jordan

Keith 1The long sunny summer finally came to an abrupt end – it was too good to last, but great while it lasted!  It is the season for reaping and gathering crops, garden shows and harvest festivals.   Harvest festivals are often traditionally held on or near the Harvest Moon (the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox) – this year it will be September 18-19 in the Northern Hemisphere.   The early evening moonrise (around sunset) makes every Harvest Moon special – a great sight today but once gave vital extra light to communities (before tractors) frantically trying to harvest crops they knew were vital for survival.    Continue reading

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Gardening in mid/late April – Warmer weather, but beware of ‘Jack Frost’ !

By Keith Jordan

The cold easterly winds have finally subsided and wet, south westerly winds have brought a complete (and welcome) change in conditions. Farmers have been reporting serious problems with crops that overwinter, and growth of garden plants have been greatly delayed. It’s unlikely that many seeds sown earlier in the spring have germinated or survived the cold weather. Continue reading

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Gardening in April: Get prepared for the return of spring!

by Keith Jordan

On a late March morning I awoke to find a layer of snow covering the garden. Ironically, the same day a local church newsletter dropped on the doormat announcing ‘Warm Easter greetings….’.    The snowfall was light in Cambridge, but other parts if the UK received heavy falls and drifts brought by the strong easterly winds from Siberia.  It is not unusual to experience snow and cold weather at Easter time (e.g. significant snow at Easter 2008), but the recent long spell of winter is quite unprecedented.  I’ve never know such a long period of Arctic temperatures just after my garden frogs returned to the pond and started spawning and when the first summer migrant birds (Chiff Chaffs) usually arrive back from North Africa and Southern Europe.  An almond tree that normally flowers in February is only just coming into flower at the beginning of April.  As a result there has been very little point (let alone opportunity) in sowing many seeds.  However, onion and garlic sets planted earlier will be slowly growing roots and buds are swelling on fruit bushes and trees. Continue reading

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