What Are Ashes Good for In a Garden?

Ashes make good fertilizer. Ashes can deter pests, like slugs and snails. Ashes can help keep weeds down. Ashes are good for the garden soil. Ashes can be used to control plant diseases. Ashes are good for flower beds. Ashes help repel insects and other bugs away from your garden. Ashes can be used as … Read more

Can You Spray Tomato Plants with Vinegar?

You can spray tomato plants with vinegar (diluted: see bleow) to combat pests by combining vinegar with other pest control methods. Because vinegar kills, or has the potential to kill, all plant matter it comes in contact with, you must dilute it in order to use it as a spray. We recommend mixing one gallon … Read more

Romany Herbal Remedies

In these days of mass conformity many people see the beauty spots of the countryside only from the windows of motor coaches with possibly a description of them given over a microphone by a bored driver or courier. Quickly the scene has gone, and another takes its place. If the passengers do emerge from their … Read more

Best Vegetables For Small Scale Food Production

Beans, Dwarf French Dwarf French beans give you more edible produce per unit area used than any other vegetable. They’re easy to grow provided you get the soil right. They like sun, sun and more sun, and will even yield well in drought conditions. Soil Choose a sunny situation in the vegetable garden and unless … Read more

Soft Fruits — the long term big savers for self sufficient gardeners

The savings you can make by growing your own soft and cane fruits are every bit as great as those you can make by growing your own vegetables. The cash value of the fruit a gooseberry bush will produce in its first year of fruiting will pay for the bush: but if you look after … Read more


Acer (maple). Trees in this genus range from forest specimens to mere shrubs. The main appeal of the smaller trees is their vivid autumn colouring, attractive bark and winged fruits. Mostly they need moist, well-drained, lime-free soil, plus protection from direct sunlight and cold, drying winds. There are many attractive forms of A.japonicum and A. … Read more

Growing Apples Successfully

Type of tree: Bush, standard, half-standard, cordon and espalier. Pollination: At least two apple trees are necessary to produce fruit. Climate preferred: Temperate. Aspect: Any. Early cooking apples can be grown against north-facing walls. Ideal Soil: Well-drained ordinary soil which does not dry out excessively in summer. Yield: 10 cordons will produce 20kg (441b) of … Read more

How to grow and harvest sweet corn

Home-grown sweetcorn is a real delight, and, with some of the most recent hybrids, remarkably easy to grow. Sowing to harvest: 12 to 16 weeks. Yield: At least two cobs to a plant. Conditions preferred: Cool temperate to subtropical. Positioning: Open and sunny. Soil: Any, if enriched with compost. Sowing and planting The soil for … Read more

Growing and Harvesting Radishes

Sowing to harvest time: summer varieties, 4 to 6 weeks; winter varieties, 10 to 12 weeks. Yield: summer varieties, 2 kg (4.5 lb) to a 3m (10 ft) row; winter varieties, 44 kg (101b) to a 3m (10ft) row.   Climate preferred: Cool temperate. Aspect: Open, but will tolerate some shade. Soil: Ordinary, provided it … Read more


Sowing to harvest time: 26 to 30 weeks. Yield: 3kg (6.5 lb) to a 3m (10ft) row. Climate preferred: Cool temperate to subtropical. Aspect: Open and sunny or partially shaded. Soil: Any, provided it is well-drained. Salsify, which is white-skinned, has a distinctive, somewhat fishy taste. Hence its other name: the vegetable oyster.  Scorzonera, which … Read more

Flowering Trees and Shrubs

One of the best times of the year to think about using sprays of flowering trees and shrubs to enliven your home is when the bare brown twigs of winter start to bud into the flowers and leaves of spring. At this season they are doubly valuable – there is not much else available for … Read more

How to Cultivate Peas

Peas are excellent summer crops, which need a deeply cultivated soil. The first crop should be sown on light soil in a sunny, sheltered spot, in February. On heavy soil, however, this sowing should be left till March. Successional crops may be sown up to Juno. The seeds should be sown thinly in broad drills. … Read more

How to Cultivate Brussels Sprouts

Sowing to harvest time: 28 to 36 weeks, depending on the variety. Yield: 1 kg (21b) of sprouts to a plant. Climate preferred: Cool temperate. Aspect: Open, but sheltered from strong winds. Soil: Heavy, firm and rich in organic matter. Brussels sprouts are an excellent green crop for the winter months and freshly picked sprouts … Read more

How to Cultivate Broccoli

Sprouting broccoli – calabrese (or green), purple and white varieties. Sowing to harvest time: 12 to 16 weeks for calabrese; 40 weeks for purple and white varieties. Yield: Calabrese, up to 0.9kg (21b) per plant; other varieties, average 0.45 kg (1 lb) per plant. Climate preferred: Cool temperate to sub-tropical. Aspect: Open, but sheltered from … Read more

How to Cultivate Asparagus

Asparagus plants prefer a deep sandy loam. Plant in April, spreading out the roots and setting the plants 15 inches apart, the crowns to be 5 inches below the surface. When cutting, it should be remembered that no shoots should be removed the first year, a moderate quantity the second, and freely afterwards. The shoots … Read more

Lawn Mowers

Once your new grass – whether grown from seed or turf – has reached a height of 5 cm (2 in) it can be cut lightly with a mower to reduce it to 2.5 cm (1 in). This first cut should be made when the grass is perfectly dry, and the clippings should be collected … Read more


Today, we realize that, besides being a source of raw materials, trees are of even greater importance for their role in the regulation of climate, water management, hygiene, health, recreation; and, last but not least, in beautifying the environment. The past century has witnessed a rapid increase in world population, and the progress of science … Read more

Box elder Acer negundo

Aceraceae The Box-elder is a native of North America, where it has a wide range of distribution, extending from California to Florida and northwards to Canada. It was introduced into Europe in 1688, and today is cultivated throughout the entire Continent, tolerating even the climate of northern Europe. In some areas it is well naturalized … Read more

Honey Locust Gleditsia triacanthos L.

Leguminosae The honey locust was named for the botanist Gottlieb Gleditsch and for its three-branched, 5 to 15-centimetre-long spines, which grow on the trunk and branches. It is a native of eastern-North America, where it is found on moist, rich soils from Texas northward to the 43rd parallel. It can tolerate drier situations, and is … Read more

False Acacia or Black Locust Robinia pseudoacacia L.

Leguminosac The false acacia is a native of North America, where it grows in mixed broad-leaved woods from Pennsylvania to Georgia and Oklahoma. It was named after the French botanist Jean Robin, who introduced it into Europe in 1601. Today, it is widespread throughout western, central, eastern and southern Europe and in some areas is … Read more

London Plane Platanus x hispanica (P. x acerifolia WILD.)

Platanaceae The London plane tree is a natural hybrid between the oriental plane (Platanus orientalis L.), and the American plane or buttonwood (Platanus occidentalis L.),and was first recorded about 1663. It is more resistant to frost than the parent trees and thus widespread throughout Europe all the way to the Baltic Sea. It is a … Read more

Wild Cherry or Gean Primus avium L.

Rosaceae For centuries, the wild cherry has been cultivated in gardens and its seeds distributed by birds, so that now it is difficult to determine its original, natural area of distribution. Today, it is found growing in mixed, broad-leaved woods throughout western, central and eastern Europe, in lowland, hilly and sub-alpine areas up to heights … Read more