Soft fruit is one of the easiest and most rewarding things to grow at home. It can be squeezed into a small space, and needs minimal care. Soft fruit also freezes well, helping to avoid the ‘courgettes with everything’ glut scenario that can happen when growing your own food.
There’s a sunny corner of my garden where creeping thyme grows in a gravel path. It may be barely 8cm tall, but still provides a valuable oasis of nectar amongst acres of fields where few flowers grow. This tiny butterfly magnet demonstrates that even paths, containers, and window boxes planted with nectar-rich flowers can play a vital role in supporting butterflies, by providing an essential pit stop for them to refuel as they travel across fields, towns or cities.
On balmy summer evenings, there’s nothing better than a night-scented plant to perfume the warm, still air. The flowers are usually pale so they remain visible at dusk, making them particularly valuable for those who are away from their gardens during the day.
The colour and fragrance of evening-scented flowers attract nocturnal pollinators which, in turn, attract bats. Wonderful for wildlife, and diverse in size and form, evening-scented plants suit a range of gardening styles and budgets. They can be grown in a small pot to sit on an outdoor table or doorstep, or used to fragrance the grandest of terraces.
Home-made compost is a winner on so many levels; little wonder few serious gardeners would be without a heap. The perfect way to get the best out of your plants by improving the soil, compost makes use of otherwise waste material and it’s cheap to get started. The best news? It’s really easy to make – here’s how…
As the summer fades into autumn and the weather gets colder, it’s tempting to pack up the vegetable garden and retreat indoors. But this means missing out on a range of crops that you can harvest over winter, or that give you a great head start on next season.
Some vegetable plants need a spell of cold to be at their best, while others can be tricked into thinking that temperatures are higher by putting them into a greenhouse or cold frame.
There’s so much to do by the time spring arrives that it makes sense get ahead at a quieter time of year. And there’s nothing better than the sight of some full veg beds to lift the gloom of midwinter. Here are just some of the vegetables I’ll be growing this autumn…