Excitable Boy

Latest posts by Excitable Boy

May In Your Garden

Posted: 13/05/2012 at 09:32

Morning all. Another lovely sunny day here in the west!

So, Malvern Spring Show. I've never been to a big gardening show before and it met my expectations in most regards, but differed in others.

First thing to mention is that I was very pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to get in and out. I was expecting queues on what are, after all, fairly small roads but there were none either in or out. (We arrived at 10am and left around 4:30pm). Masses of very well organised parking, which is good as the show was packed.

Admission price was £17 each (we had been given tickets by a stallholder). This is a lot, but overall I'd say is about right. There is no additional parking charge. Thursday price was £34. Not sure why, but someone else will explain I'm sure. I think if I was to go again I'd go on the Friday as it would be less busy.

Good points: You can buy just about anything at the show. Lots of plants, equipment, buildings, everything you can possibly imagine really. Lot of very knowledgable people too, but as it was so busy they did not always have time to chat. If you are considering a major purchase (a greenhouse, or garden furniture for example) then it is great to be able to see lots of different alternatives at the same venue. There are also some very keen deals to be had. This also applies to smaller items from plants to tools to clothing to jewelery (although quite what that has to do with gardening, lol)

My favourite bit of the day was the half hour we spent in the BBC/RHS show marquee where James Alexander-Sinclair chatted to Carol Klein and Joe Swift. Just brilliant. I have to say I am a massive fan of JAS - I think he is the next really big star in the gardening sphere. Carol was really funny and much less manic than she sometimes appears on TV. Seemed like a really lovely person. And Joe Swift was exactly like he is on telly - sort of guy you'd like to go for a pint with after a day in the garden.

Bad points:

Catering - very very expensive and mediocre quality.

Crowds - just couldn't move sometimes.

Show gardens - these were really good, but there weren't many of them. The ones shown on GW on Friday were about it. As I say I've never been before, but I thought there'd be lots more show gardens, so a little disappointing there.


  1. Go on Friday and avoid the crowds.
  2. Take bottled water and a picnic.
  3. Wear hiking boots - it was lovely yesterday but had obviously been wet and muddy the day before. You also do a LOT of walking.
  4. Take lots and lots of money!! I was incredibly restrained but could easily have spent a fortune as there were so many lovely plants and useful pieces of kit!
  5. Make sure you catch at least one of the panel discussions/interviews.


Blossom Trees

Posted: 13/05/2012 at 00:04

Just been to Malvern. I wish I could grow acers as there are so many beautiful types available, but none for alkaline soil .

Pots just aren't the same.

Having said that I don't think there's better blossom than Cherry blossom and my dwarf-rooted Stella seems to have taken fine.

Talkback: How to lift and divide herbaceous perennials

Posted: 12/05/2012 at 23:55

Hmmmmm. I can see the video fine. Using Firefox 12.0.

Anyway, this is dead easy, just get a sharp knife and think potatoes. As long as you have an eye, i.e. a sprouting bud, on a given piece that will be fine. Just cut through last year's stalk accordingly, keeping a bud and a piece of stalk on each bit.

If you haven't got any buds yet then plant the tubers on the top of a tray of moist compost for a week ot so.


May In Your Garden

Posted: 12/05/2012 at 23:46

Back from Malvern and the famous Wickwar comedy night, so a little p****d. Had a really great time at Malvern. Managed to get away with only spemding £60 plus about £15 on refreshments. Will update tomorrow with my views.


May In Your Garden

Posted: 12/05/2012 at 08:28

Bright Sunshine!

Off to Malvern - v excited as have never been before. Will let you know how it goes!

Fruit & Veg Beginner

Posted: 11/05/2012 at 19:21

No, plant them in rows across the bed (1m). A 2.5m row of anything ripening at the same time is too much unless you have a very big family! Don't forget to consider aspect and shading - you may want to place taller crops such as peas at the end of your bed so that they shade your path rather than other veg. . (I've done that before, lol). As you are using raised beds you can plant a little closer (20%) between rows than the recommended spacings.

Not sure whether sweetcorn in the greenhouse works btw as I don't have one and I can't remember how they fertilise - you need to check this!

Did I say basil - one plant wouldn't go very far, lol, I meant bay! You can grow basil from seed now in your greenhouse - goes well with toms. You should also get a sage plant. NB Only one. The woody herbs such as bay, sage and thyme can get quite big!

Fruit & Veg Beginner

Posted: 11/05/2012 at 17:14

If you have a whole bed for salads you'll be eating a lot of salads!!

You still have time to plant most things from seed. Lettuce, radish, peas, mangetout, carrots, turnips, spring onions (although I find these more miss than hit tbh) could be planted this weekend. Just don't plant too much at once - better to plant a row every other week. You will have to buy tomato plants for your greenhouse, also cucumber and chillis (we have a large Tesco's down the road who have 3 chilli plants for £1.50 at the moment. 3 plants should be more than enough). You might try some sweetcorn in the greenhouse too if you have room. This can be grown outside too, but takes up a lot of space.

Towards the end of the month buy a courgette plant - only one unless you really like them - and plant some french beans if it's gotten a bit warmer.

In mid June you should be able to buy some leeks and the best veg of all - purple sprouting broccoli - at the transplant stage. You could probably just about grow these from seed now but given your limited space I don't think it would be worthwhile. Also means that someone else has done the hard part.

It is very worthwhile setting a small area aside for herbs. You only really need one plant of each type, so you should buy adult plants from garden centres or supermarkets. I would suggest thyme, rosemary, basil, parsley and mint to start (please read up about how to control mint first as it is very invasive).

That should keep you going over the weekend!

Fruit & Veg Beginner

Posted: 11/05/2012 at 16:31

Gosh, how long is a piece of string? Best thing I would say is grow things you like and try something different every year. Nothing is that difficult really although some veg take more looking after than others. Have a good look through this website and elsewhere and go for it!! Enjoy!!

Wes wrote (see)
Do I  need to keep certain group of veg in the same bed?

No you don't need to, but it makes your life easier if you do - for crop rotation, feeding, pest control, etc.

Talkback: Tomatoes, aubergines and peppers

Posted: 11/05/2012 at 14:09

I just don't see the point of growing veg if you can't have purple sprouting broccoli

pinning down weed control fabric

Posted: 11/05/2012 at 13:59

I got these for mine - about 15p each if you buy 100, but I don't know whether you need that many:


Nice and strong and do what they say.

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