The lawn had to go. When I wrote‘lawn’ I should have written ‘couchgrass’. Lots of couch grass. This grassy area at the top of our quarter-acre hillside garden is the last place we have tackled. It’s taken us a decade to get here.
As a disabled gardener, I found it impossible to mow this uneven space. It was left to go wild. It did not become the wild habitat I dreamed of but became the home of horseflies; I have the scars to prove it. This is largely down to the fact that this area drains poorly. I turned to professional gardeners who came to see our ‘lawn’ – most of them laughed, all of them quoted thousands to turn it into an immaculate bowling green (something I have never wanted). It simply wouldn’t work on a hillside battered by the elements.
I have for a decade yearned for an area of wildflowers and grasses that sequestered an intimate walled kitchen garden, bursting with flowers and vegetables. I am a great advocate of creating habitats for all manners of bugs and beasts but I had a problem. Unlike the rest of the garden, this space lacked bugs and beasts. We had midges, leather jackets, and horseflies; even the frogs and toads moved out a few years ago, finding solace in the rest of the garden. My garden is awash with life, the soil is like chocolate cake. Here it was compacted.
When starting somewhere new in the garden I work on the principle that, where I can, no waste leaves the garden. I have tyres around the garden as floral planters, old roofing tiles as edging to borders, bricks used as paths, and even the perennial weeds we dig up are dumped in a fermentation barrel where they are left to decay and release their nutrients into a rich feed. I like starting the bones of any garden in winter, before the snow and frost hit.
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PEAS PLEASE ME
Growing peas is a must for Rob Smith. Here’s his introduction to growing them, with top tips and some varieties you might like to try
Boost your BUGS
Gardens that are alive with bugs – whether beetles or bees – are healthy, beautiful places to be. They’re also more productive. Benedict Vanheems shares some simple tips to give bugs a boost this autumn and beyond
Milly Fyfe lives on a farm in Northamptonshire with her two sons, Angus and Dougie, and husband Andrew. As well as tending to 100 suckler beef cows, 300 breeding ewes, 350ha of land for arable production plus chickens and pigs, the family also maintain a walled garden where they grow fruit, vegetables and flowers.
JUST ASK PIPPA!
After training as a botanist and gaining her MSc in Crop Protection, Pippa Greenwood spent 11 years in charge of the RHS Wisley plant pathology department. She is the author of countless best-selling books and is a long-standing voice on BBC 4 Gardeners’ Question Time. Here she talks with Daniel Heighes
Turn Up The Heat For Melons
Nothing shouts summer like a home-grown melon, yet they can be a challenge to grow in the UK climate. All the more reason to have a go, says KG editor, Steve Ott
Go Go Go october
It might not be the height of the growing season but Stephanie Hafferty is still very busy with garlic, green manures, mulching and making a new compost heap using pallets
POWER OF THE Pumpkin
Pumpkins are soon ready to harvest and with October 26 being National Pumpkin Day, Annabelle Padwick decided to focus on this autumnal beauty
Flavourful Fruit For Creative Cooks
Much of fruit growing centres around the premise of eating the fruit fresh from the tree, but this month KG’s fruit expert David Patch turns his attention to fantastic flavours for the kitchen
OUR PLOTTEER OF THE MONTH
Last year we officially launched a competition to find 12 readers and their plots that would feature in Kitchen Garden magazine this year. Here we feature another of our talented winners
THE PILGRIM PLOTTERS
Martin Fish visits Boston in Lincolnshire, with its historic links to the Pilgrim Fathers, and finds a thriving community of growers with a concern for health and well-being at its core
How Was Your Visit Today?
High marks on online ratings can benefit urgent care and E.R. doctors, but don't let their concern about those scores influence the care you receive. Here's how
Simple STEP STOOL
A fresh approach to a Shaker tradition
As tough as they come
Create a convertible bedroom with cool cabinetry, the right hardware kit, and clear instructions.
FUN with FRIDGE MAGNETS
Have a micro-blast turning precious scrap into useful hangers-on
Dramatic curves from your table saw
Arts & Crafts WALL CLOCK
My mission to create a Craftsman clock on the table saw
IRELAND INVESTIGATES TIKTOK OVER CHILD, CHINA DATA CONCERNS
TikTok is facing two EU data privacy investigations, one into its handling of children’s personal data and another over its data transfers to China.
TESLA BUILDS 1ST STORE ON TRIBAL LAND, DODGES STATE CAR LAWS
Carmaker Tesla has opened a store and repair shop on Native American land for the first time, marking a new approach to its years-long fight to sell cars directly to consumers and cut car dealerships out of the process.
NUCLEAR SUBMARINE DEAL WILL RESHAPE INDO-PACIFIC RELATIONS
The U.S., Britain and Australia have announced they’re forming a new security alliance that will help equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines. The alliance will see a reshaping of relations in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond. Here’s what it might mean for various players: