Friday, 22 June 2012

Ten Minute Gardening

The rain is back with a vengeance, so I'm really pleased that I treated myself to this set of three books by Val Bourne. Not only will I have something to read whilst waiting for the next spell of half decent weather, but they will also advise me of the key tasks I can be getting on with, even if the rain gives in for just ten minutes. Each book concentrates on one aspect of gardening, vegetable growing, flower growing and fruit growing. The books are split in to months, and the essential tasks of that month are covered as well as secrets for success with crops, organic tips and snippets of interesting facts. They're the kind of books which you can delve in to when you have a few spare minutes. The recommended retail price is £9.99 for each book, but I picked them up for a mere £4.99 for all three from The Book People, a website I often use when purchasing books.

It looks like I've completely lost the French beans and mange tout which were munched by slugs. More have hastily been direct sown, but it means that my first harvest, if I manage to get that far with them, will be much later than last year. I had such a good crop of both these last year, so much so that my freezer was full of them, and we were eating them until the end of winter. I can't see me being as successful this year with such a poor start.

The squash bed has been dug over and plenty of organic matter added. I've only ended up with two varieties of squash, Uchiki Kuri and Sunburst. I was also hoping for Blue Kuri but after waiting many weeks, not one of the seeds have germinated. I've also got two varieties of courgette which will be planted in this bed, Soleil and Mikinos. I just need a break in the rain so I can get them in.


  1. I reckon having two varieties of squash this year is brilliant. We haven't managed to germinate one seed out of two packets of seed.

    I dread to think what the slugs and snails will have munched their way through by the time we make our next visit to the plot. Last time it was four short rows of carrots!

  2. Do you think it will ever stop raining? I find it is getting so depressing now. Maybe I should read a book too, instead of moaning about something well out of my control.

  3. It's all so depressing isnt it? We start out with high hopes and healthy seedlings then just watch it all fall apart.
    My spinach and lettuces seem to be doing ok, as do my runners, but my climbing french beans are sulking and the dwarf french beans that i hadnt managed to get in have virtually disappeared sitting in their pots.
    Your books look and sound good and are such a good deal - good old Book People!
    Gill xx

  4. I bet the manufacturers of polytunnels are having a good year in 2012! I'm tempted myself...

  5. Its pouring down in Northern Ireland as well! Nasty weather that slugs love. The books look very good and a great price. Think I'll be reading over weekend as well! (I might do a little slug and snail safari as well.)

  6. Peas like moisture, slugs like moisture, slugs like peas! And if the slugs don't get them then the weevils will seems to be this year's mantra.

  7. Excellent books which I'd recommend to anyone. Her book The Natural Gardener (The way we all want to garden) is one of my favourites.
    Slugs and snails have sure been a problem this year, not surprisingly!
    Flighty xx

  8. I've loved these books ever since they were given to me by a good friend. And not at all a bad way of spending a rainy afternoon ... :-)

  9. It seems we either have one extreme or another, we are always second guessing as what will and will not succeed. It's a bit like being a politician!

    I'm having severe problems to get any brassicas to germinate this year, no sprouts from the garden for us this coming Christmas.

  10. It's pouring down here too and the Olympic torch has had to do a detour. There will be some very disappointed people. The season is not going very well at all.
    Love from Mum

  11. It's been raining here too, but has stopped now :-)
    Those books look really interestin, I might have to get a set!

  12. Sun is shining here through the rain at the moment. Like the look of your books. I must check them out.

  13. This rainy cold summer certainly has alot to answer for Jo, maybe I picked a bad year for my first foray into vege' growing.

    Those books sound interesting.
    lily x

  14. well my chard and perpetual spinach are no shows at present but all else is fighting back at present, the books look pretty and sound interesting, i sometimes onlt get a quick ten minutes at the allotment so could be ideal!
    may your limitied variety of squash flourish! i think alot of people have had germination probs this year, still there is always next time... and atleast some came up!

  15. The squash still isn't in the ground, Martyn, so I hope the ones which have germinated will go on to fruit. The slugs are certainly loving this weather.

    It hasn't been too bad a weekend here, John. I don't think the rain will stay away much longer though.

    It is a depressing year, Gill. I think whatever we get to harvest will be a bonus, and start again next year.

    If only we had the space, Mark. I'm even having to make do with a 4X6 greenhouse so there's definitely no room for a polytunnel.

    The books are great for dipping in and out of, Kelli, and a bargain at the price I got them for.

    Hubby sowed some more peas over the weekend, Sue, as well as other things. I'm not giving up yet, but I think all my harvests will be very late this year.

    I haven't read The Natural Gardener, Flighty, I shall put it on my list. It seems the slug population has increased tenfold this year.

    Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, Woolly Green. I'm enjoying the books, they're great for getting a gardening fix on a rainy day.

    I've never successfully grown sprouts yet, Sharon. It was looking quite promising last year, but they failed at the last minute. I'm not bothering with them this year.

    I've heard that concerts have had to be cancelled in Blackpool because of the weather too, Mum. I think we're all having our fair share of bad weather this year.

    I'd recommend the books, Su. There's some great bits of information in them.

    The weekend wasn't too bad here, The Cookie Jar. As is usually the case though, I had a busy weekend so little gardening got done.

    I don't know, Lily, it sounds as though your crops are doing well. It's certainly an unusual year for veg growers though.

    I think that's the best way to look at it this year, Sylvan. I'm counting my blessings for anything that grows and keeping my fingers crossed for a better year next year.

  16. I hope the rain has eased up for you, its always so frustrating when nature gets in the way of our best intentions. Not to mention the annoyance of slugs which have eaten all my peas seedlings too.

  17. It seems like we are all in the same boat Jo - my squashes etc. haven't moved since I planted them out. I already have those books on my 'to read' list.

  18. Those books sound wonderful! I'm trying So very hard to turn a brown thumb green! I will check them out, thanks.

  19. Sounds like you got a good bargain on those books. I love to read....but books are really expensive these days and the library doesn't have such great stock so I'm glad to hear of another good website for purchasing them.

    Hope you have better luck with your newly sown seeds, this is the first year I haven't had courgettes ready to eat in June!!

  20. The rain has eased up, Liz, a welcome change this year. Sorry to hear about your pea seedlings, I think we're all in the same boat this year, no matter where we live.

    I've got my squashes planted out now, Elaine. Fingers crossed that we both see some growth. My sweetcorn doesn't seem to have budged since it was planted out a few weeks ago though.

    Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, Fitnfree. I'm enjoying the books, I hope you can get hold of them too.

    I think we'll all have late harvests this year, Tanya. I tend to pick up quite a few books from charity shops now, they're just so expensive otherwise.

  21. Jo, Why did I read your know I dont need more gardening books! How can I pass these up for £5??? Many thanks...I think!


  22. Sorry, Debbie. Three books for a fiver though, how can you resist?

  23. An excellent little set of books Jo which I bought earlier this year also via Bookpeople. Val Bourne also has written two or three other gardening books which are well worth looking out for. Shame about the beans but I think that later sowings are going to do better this year. Who knows - we might have a brilliant August and September :) We can but hope.

  24. I seem to remember you posting about this set of books, Anna. They really are a good read. I'm hoping that July isn't totally washed out, we go away in a couple of weeks to Cornwall and I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for sunshine.


!-- Start of StatCounter Code for Blogger / Blogspot -->