This is a quick tour of Jamie Oliver’s garden. Get to see the different varieties of carrots he is growing. Talks about marigolds and how they can be used in salads. He didn’t say much about for he created his garden but said he went to the effort to import soil and manure. Quote from Jamie Oliver – Cut your produce, wash it and eat it within an hour, that is the holy grail of getting the good stuff in your kids.
There are few places on earth where plants will not grow. Evolution has enabled them to come to terms with extremes of
temperature and soil , rainfall and exposure. As a result, there are very few places where at least some plant species are not at home, while for most soils and situations there can be an embarrassment of riches.
For gardeners, the lesson must be to ‘swim with the tide’, choosing plants that are attuned to the conditions they can provide. Of course, there is plenty that can be done about poor soil , excessive exposure and so on. Nevertheless,
why try to grow moisture-loving plants in dry, sandy soil when there are so many others adapted to just such a habitat?
The first step is to assess exactly what your garden has to offer. This will provide a sensible basis for choosing plants and for putting worthwhile improvements in hand.
Sun and shade
Although a sunny garden would be most people’s choice, there are plenty of attractive shade-loving plants. The choice is widest for beds overshadowed by walls or buildings, yet open to the sky, but narrows when the area is in the perpetual shadow cast by a large tree.
Position and aspect
Gardens in hollows or valleys often get an undue share of frost. This will mean that you will have to begin planting somewhat later in spring, and some tender plants will need protection. Before planning your garden, also try to
assess which parts of the garden receive the most sun and which are exposed to any chill winds.
This is a common problem on hillsides and by the sea . However, practical steps can be taken to reduce the effects of wind.
Practically an y soil can be improved by adding humus (manure or compost, for example) and fertilizer. Acid soils can be
sweetened with lime ; clay can be broken down over a few seasons. however, poor drainage is a difficult problem to overcome, especially if the plot is surrounded by other gardens.
These simply indicate neglect, not a particular category of garden – in fact, lush weed growth usually indicates fertile soil. Nowadays, there are simple and effective ways of destroying weeds.
In one sense, a garden is well designed if it pleases the person who has created it. There are no absolutes in aesthetics, only what satisfies the individual eye, and the making of a garden is an intensely personal matter. However, individual taste aside, today’s preference is for less formal planting, for gentle curves that lure the eye to a striking focal point, and for an absence of excessive detail and geometric precision. Even so, when it comes to practicalities, there are a few ground rules about design to consider.
Ideally, a patio should be alongside the house, but this is pointless if it will be in the shade for much of the day. Choose a spot that receives plenty of sun, even if it is set away from the house. Then lay a path that provides easy access.
The compost heap and garden shed are usually consigned to the farthest corner of the garden, necessitating long journeys to dispose of mowings or to collect tools . A more central site will sa ve you a lot of time and effort. A screen of climber-covered trellis can easily be used to disguise the unitilty corner if you prefer.
Abundant light is essential, and shelter from cold winds is a bonus. If this means placing the greenhouse in a prominent position, consider the attractive hexagonal designs and also the multi-faceted domed structures.
Good drainage and ample width are both essential. Lay the path with its surface a little above ground level and preferably with a minimum width of 1m. A narrow path looks mean and is awkward when you are trying to manoeuvre an overladen barrow on it.
A gentle slope is more convenient than steps if you are pushing a mower. However, steps are unavoidable on a sharp gradient. Steps should be -designed so that the height of each is no more than about 15cm. For steps of this height, a tread depth of 30-38cm is suitable, but this can be increased if the height of the riser is reduced.
Fences and screens
It is a pity to enclose your garden with a tall barrier, unless this is essential for privacy. A low timber or wire fence is often adequate, or a low wall topped with a trellis . A flowering hedge makes an attractive but effective screen. If a taller fence is required, there are many choices, depending on whether you want privacy or wind control. The style of the fence or wall should harmonize with that of the house.
Reference: Outdoor Garden Manual
What is organic farming? Organic farming can be described as an approach to agriculture where the main aims are to create holistic, nutritional, humane, environmentally and economically sustainable agricultural production systems. Maximum reliance is placed on farm renewable resources and the management of self regulating biological systems and interactions in order to provide exceptional levels of crop, livestock and human nutrition. Protection from pests/diseases, and an acceptable return to the human and other resources employed. Reliance on external inputs whether from chemical or organic is reduced as much as possible. In many European nations, organic agriculture is known as ecological agriculture. This reflects this reliance on ecosystem management rather than external inputs.
The objective of sustainability lies at the heart of organic farming. It is one of the major factors determining the acceptability or otherwise of specific production practices. The term ‘sustainable’ is used in its general sense to encompass not just conservation of non-renewable resources(soil, water, energy, minerals) but also issues of environmental, social and economic sustainability. The term ‘organic’ is best described as referring to the concept of the farm as an whole organism in which all the component parts – the soil minerals, insects, organic matter, microorganisms, plants, animals and man interact to create a workable and stable whole.
The key characteristics of organic farming are:
- Protecting the long term fertility of soils by increasing organic matter levels, encouraging soil microbe activity.
- Providing crop nutrients indirectly using relatively insoluble(natural) nutrient sources which are made available to the plant by soil microorganisms.
- Nitrogen is provided through the use of legumes and biological nitrogen fixation. I is also provided by recycling of organic materials incorporating crop residues and livestock manure.
- Weed, disease and pest control relying primarily on crop rotations, organic manuring, plant health, natural predators, bio-diversity, resistant varieties(conventional plant breeding) and only natural biological and chemical intervention.
- The management of livestock involved considering behavioural needs and animal welfare issues with respect to health, nutrition, housing, breeding and rearing.
- Careful attention to the impact of the farming system on the larger environment and the conservation of native wildlife and natural habitats also need to be considered.
Great newsletter from Gary Zimmer. Hope you get a lot out of it also. Topics are below.
Lynch family farms
Gary Zimmer ‘s Winter 2007 letter
Cull Rate Costs
Field Day in Pix
Lead or Push?
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An analysis of data from a large national study found that people who took a 200 microgram selenium supplement each day for almost eight years had an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who took a placebo or dummy pill. The data came from the Nutritional Prevention of Cancer Trial (NPC), a large randomized, multi-center, clinical trial from the eastern United States, designed to evaluate whether selenium supplements prevent skin cancer. In the current study, researchers selected 1,202 participants who did not have diabetes when they were enrolled in the NPC Trial. In the current study, 58 out of 600 participants in the selenium group and 39 out of 602 participants in the placebo group developed type 2 diabetes. After 7.7 years of follow-up, the relative risk rate was approximately 50 percent higher among those randomized to selenium than among those randomized to placebo. Selenium is a naturally occurring trace mineral present in soil and foods necessary in minute amounts to aid in metabolism.