Christmas Dinner

This is what it is all about folks! Digging up your very own veggies on Christmas Day and serving them up alongside the turkey. It doesn't get much better than this.

Merry Christmas. Posted by Picasa


I was able to see a pomegranate on a tree in the hotel garden in Madeira. This one is not quite ripe, but beautiful nevertheless. They are in season over here right now and well worth buying. I have a bee in my bonnet about supermarkets selling fruit out of season. Just think of all the air miles involved in selling us tomatoes or courgettes in December! It's criminal!

If you fancy a pomegranate (and now is the time) go for it. I have found the cheapest ones are Spanish, the next best are from Turkey, and the best come from Iran. Memories of childhood come flooding back. Happy Christmas! No stocking should be without one! Posted by Picasa

Exotic Fruit

My favourite place in Madeira is the Mercado dos Lavradores - the main fruit and veg market in Funchal. These long green fruit that look like a pine cone are the fruit of the common house plant , Monsteria or cheeseplant. These are absolutely delicious. Peel off the green scales and underneath is a sort of a slippery sweetcorn - it tastes like a cross between a pineapple and a banana. I did see them in the Kitchen Garden magazine a few months ago. Posted by Picasa

Scrumping Mangoes in Madeira

I have been suffering 72 degrees of sunshine for the last few days on a short break in Madeira. What infinite diversity there is in the fruit and veggie world! It is such a thrill to see stuff growing on trees that hitherto has only been available wrapped in plastic in Tesco! Took quite a few fruit photos while I was there - here is a mango tree in the hotel garden. One morning I was scraping ice off my car windscreen and that afternoon I was scrumping mangoes in Madeira. Funny old world, innit ? Posted by Picasa

Greenhouse Heating

And I was wondering what I will take pictures of during the Winter! I must admit this was a little contrived, but you get the picture?

Alternatively you can make a solution from Sulphate of Ammonia, or any high nigrogen feed, and soak the bale with a watering can. Over the Winter you will be amazed at the heat that it will throw out - and in the Spring you can plant cucumbers on it. Posted by Picasa

Seed Catalogues

I have been phoning round in the last couple of weeks. Lots of adverts in the back of gardening magazines produce a wide variety of veggie catalogues. Something to read on a cold, dark, Winter night! I have found a company which sells "Queensland Blue" squash - something I have been looking for for ages. Lots of other exotics as well - shall I try growing peanuts?

Can anyone recommend a really firm, sweet squash variety? Posted by Picasa

Dung Repository!

You read it correctly! On a recent visit to Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington I snapped this picture of GW's compost heap! (I can't help it, I get excited). Way back then he was experimenting with soil fertility and sustainable farming techniques. Whattaguy !

This brings me back home. I have been making a good effort to practice "no dig" gardening wherever possible, so have laid carpet and roofing felt around in permanent paths, and do not walk on my veggie beds. I have laid compost and manure on the surface and let the worms do the rest. It really does work!

On the subject, I am about to gain custody of a straw bale in the next couple of days - blog readers will know why.... Posted by Picasa