It has been a wet and windy December which means that I haven't been down to my plot as often as I would usually go. I did get down this morning and it looked like a gale had blown through with the asparagus ferns all over the place and one half empty water butt blown over.  This is my favourite time to catch up on fruit and vegetable blogs and to plan the big projects for next year.  On the plot I want to move a small tunnel frame, cover it and use it to grow a peach or nectarine in as they need winter protection against peach leaf curl.  At home I am removing 22 pittosporum trees that had been used as a hedge on a west facing boundary so that I can plant a range of fruit trees instead. It's a lot of digging!

Anyway, what about the blogs? Below I have listed the those that I most like to read that are about growing fruit and vegetables. They are not in any particular order, but I hope that there is something here that is worth sitting by a fire and reading whilst the wind and rain batter the windows and plants.

Incredible Vegetables

I grow some perennial vegetables - asparagus, globe artichokes, sorrel and kale - and I am becoming more and more interested in permaculture as a way of growing and taking care of the land whilst I do so.  The first blog/site I want to share is Incredible Vegetables based just outside of Ashburton.  The website is full of interesting information about perennial vegetables and the video about the site and their projects is well worth watching.  The blog gives more detail about their plants. I am looking forward to their Nine Star perennial broccoli plants when they become available.  I see that on their site they have enormous lists of people who want perennial kale. There are people on the allotments who already have this plant and may be willing to share a cutting.  I received three cuttings in the summer when it was very hot and dry so I wasn't sure that they would take but they all did.  I was given the cuttings with about a meter of stem and told to make a hole a bit more than a meter, which I did with a metal rod, and then puddle them in like a leek.  It worked!  The plants are small but will grow quite quickly over the next few years. I do find them to be a bit of a slug and snail magnet and on my plots the pigeons are a nuisance so they will probably need netting.

Plot 7 Marsh Lane 

What I love about this blog is that they post regularly and that it is typical of allotment sites and plots up and down the country.  Each blog post is a diary of what the owners have done during their visit, often including a video and photos of their harvests. I also love the fact that the author writes to music and shares the video of the track at the end of the post. I usually try to read the post whilst listening to it.  They grow vegetables that I don't and often mention different types of veg such as Dido potatoes which I have never heard of.  I like the fact that the blog also includes ways in which the harvests are cooked and so is a true plot to plate site.


Happy Acres Blog

 This is an American blog that is again a plot to plate site. However, being American the varieties and types of vegetables grown are very different (just have a look at his seed list for 2019!). Dave is an expert on sweet potatoes and grows a lot of different varieties which I follow avidly having grown 1 plant in the polytunnel this summer. They do take quite a bit of space but can be prolific in terms of what they produce.  He also grows a lot of what he calls hot peppers - this is the site where I first heard about Aji Lemon and decided to grow some. They are excellent; hot with a citrusy flavour. Although it has stopped for the winter, Dave also runs what he calls 'Harvest Monday' posts. Each Monday he shares what he harvests and invites other bloggers to link to his post and share theirs. I love seeing week by week what others are picking and how they cook them, sometimes linking to it myself!



Sharpen your spades

Sharpen your spades is another website that not only talks about growing fruit and veg but also shares recipes.  There are posts about what to do each month and something few other blogs have and that is book reviews.  I was interested in his post about how he started growing vegetables - I wonder how many of us had parents or grandparents who used to have a vegetable plot. My dad had an allotment which I used to help on when I was in my early 20s and I never stopped growing vegetables after that although for some years it was only in pots.  

What is it about chillies?  The blog owner is also a fan of them and grew quite a range this year.  I mentioned before that I grew Aji Lemon this year. I only had two plants but they produced so many chillies that I have had to freeze them and probably don't need to grow any for the next 10 years. As I write this, the two plants in the polytunnel still have fruit on them, some of them ripening and turning yellow.  I will have to grow something different next year just for a bit of variety. Any recommendations?

Charles Dowding

 I have to admit that this is my favourite of all of the sites because it contains such a wealth of information.  Probably one of the most useful pages is the calendar of sowing which can be used by anyone - dig or no-dig.  The other element that not all blogs have is a Youtube channel  which regularly has new videos added.  There is something about seeing a gardener in their own plot. His latest video about planning your vegetable cropping for the whole year is well worth watching whether you dig or not.


Do you have a favourite blog or website that you like to follow? Let us know and we can add it to the list.