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I would like to re-emphasise the points made in the excellent programme screened on 27th March which encouraged gardeners to avoid using peat. The salient points against the use of peat: 1. Peat is a carbon sink 1.1. There is more carbon locked up in the peat lands of the UK than in the woods and forests of France and the UK combined. 1.2. The planet’s peat deposits contain more carbon than the whole of the atmosphere. 1.3. The creation of these deposits ten thousand years ago sucked sufficient carbon from the atmosphere to trigger an ice age. 1.4. All excavated peat once exposed to the atmosphere will oxidise to CO2. 1.5. Each tonne of peat excavated creates 3.5 tonnes of CO2. 2. Peat is a valuable and rare habitat which is home to a number of dwindling species such as the sundew and raft spider. 3. Peat bogs and mires are complex and unique eco-systems, which develop over thousands of years within their own micro-climate. 4. Embedded in its different layers are the remains of human history, which is providing a valuable insight into the way homo sapiens developed its management of the environment going back thousands of years.
Hi Jane, could you or any other bloggers offer me some advice please - I have just been offered the bottom of my neighbours garden to grow veg on. Its an east facing slope, and covered in grass and dandelions currently. No over hanging trees, and its got 6ft fences all round. I've never had the opportunity to plan a veg garden layout from a really blank canvas, and keep changing my mind about bed size/layout etc. Could you advise - we are on a chalk hillside, so poor light soil, and quite windy, but bathed in sun most of the day. I will want to site artichokes down one side (so they don't shade anything else), and have fruit bushes in a permanent bed. Compost bins down one edge. How wide do you think paths ideally should be? any suggestions would be very gratefully received, as the books all seem to say different things!
I was taught beds up to 1.2m or in English you can easily reach from outside to half way into the bed so you won't need to walk on, and so compact, the soil! Width between? well Chris Beardshaw said in a very old GW that monks, one of the original developers of the bed system, used to make the distance between beds the length from knee to foot, so you can kneel between beds!!...these days though wide enough for that and a wheel barrow is my measure, about 0.8 - 1 m If you make raised beds you'll be able to add plenty of good organic matter to improve you light chalky soil for greedy feeding veg and fruit.
I have my first garden (village in west Norfolk) and it has a woodland feel to it. I know nothing much at all about gardening - we have a weed (?) that looks like a nettle but pretty and less lethal (!!) with a white flower at the top. Is it a weed? With regular nettles I am soaking in water as read in my herb book that it is good to be used as a vitamin spray for the garden. Lesley
hiya jane ive got an appiontment tommorow at 10 am getting my 1st allotment great price i think 24 pound for a year if i start chitting potatoes now and plant them in 2 weeks what sort of potatoes could i expect by end of september and any advice aswell


are have planted spud before ,but this time are have got a alloment.and want to do it the right way.are have roto the ground and readdy to go.but on the allotment is loads of are put this in with the spuds ,thank u
Everyone seems to think that bindweed is the worst weed out there but on my allotment there is a weed which the locals call merthyrs tail. This is a prolific grower and nothing seems to kill it. It resembles a christmas tree and is striped with five to six branches protruting at about two inch intervals. I have tried weedkiller, covering over for two years. digging a good metre down and still it comes back and i have even been told by several old gentlemen that the roots have even been found in coal mines. If any one out there knows anything about this plant or how to eradicate it i would be very grateful.
I always thought that standing on the soil was bad for it as it ruined the structure of it. But i have noticed in the new series of Gardners World that Toby stands on the soil of the new plot all the time. I hope he or anyone else can clear this up, thanks.
Hi Re. weeding, what do you do where you get weeds within the rows of root veg such as carrots, beetroot and parsnips? I keep the weeds down between the rows but have not weeded within the rows for fear of damaging the seedlings.
hello. I know weeds detract form the plants which they grow around but there was an article in new scientist (I think!) which said that certain breeds of bees and butterfly are dying out and this is partly due to the fact that we are weeding in such abundance, especially with the growing interest in our gardens. I know we are told to plant things for wildlife but they are losing nutrients that would be available to them if we hadn't pulled up some-actually quite lovely- weeds. Could they not just be moved to a weed patch? I do!!
Hi can any one tell me which weedkiller will get rid of stonecrop, as it is taking over and when disturbed just multiplies.
Hi there this seems to be the same weed as I have on my allotment we call it horsetail and it is impossible to get rid of. Roots go down a very long way they are black in colour and break of very easy spreading new plants. sheila
I have horsetail/marestail all over my allotment. I took it on last year and have noticed it grows best on uncultivated soil so keep digging and improving the soil. Ammonium Sulfamate can knock it back if sprayed on after strimming but it's only sold as a compost accelerator now. It worked pretty well on the areas where I accidentally spilt some last autumn...
We have planted red onion sets on our allotment and have noticed that there are small larvae in the above ground part between the leaves. I'm assuming this is the leaf moth/ minor that ruined our leeks last year but I wasn't expecting it to effect the onions. We live in Staffordshire and I know this is an affected area. I'm wondering if the onion bulb will be affected or whether to to give up and dig them up now ? My daughter and I are planted 100 sets together and we will be gutted if we lose them!


I was wondering why all the advice given for weeding is to use a hoe and chop off the green part which leaves the root in tact. Surely the roots which just regrow again if not pulled out individually, which I agree is hard work but surely essential for a weed-free veg patch. Any advice would be gratefully received as I am newcomer to grow your own.
I wish you the very best of luck. In the meantime you may enjoy this:

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