Dawlish Transition Gardener’s question time with Toby Buckland,
Shirley Tamblyn and Jo Hooper
What is a good way to grow apple
trees? An interesting way is as a fruit hedge
with a different variety every few feet. Adam’s Apples can give advice
on the varieties to grow. Plants for the future: pfaf.org
have good database for planting information.
Cox Orange Pippin are a good variety
to grow but they can be prone to scab. In this area in the past cider
apples were grown as this was not so much of a problem. One way to
counteract this is to spray with seaweed foliar feed. How do you get fruit
trees off to a good start in containers? 50% John Innes and 50% multi purpose
peat free compost will provide well for fruit trees in containers. Blueberry bushes need acidic soil, and
as with all berry crops don’t forget to net to protect from birds. Most berry plants enjoy higher levels
of rainfall to crop well. Cranberries need acidic soil
conditions and high levels of rainfall for a good September crop.
Growing food as a beginner –
where should I start? Grow veg. you like. Salad leaves
like rocket are an easy place to start. Many veg. can be grown in
containers if not much space is available; even carrots can be grown
It is a good idea to get children
involved to spur the family on with crops like runner beans- pick
young and tender,
Swap produce with other people to give
During hot weather a watering system
is essential with rain butts, however even waste washing water can be
used in times of drought.
Which food plants are particularly
suited to growing in our local climate? Brassicas are an ideal cliff
top plant- cover with fleece to keep aphids off when young then
harden off with full light access. Chard is also a good tasty plant to
grow. Pak Choi and Joy Choi Chinese greens
will thrive as long as the ground is moist. Autumn planted cabbages appreciate a
dressing of garden lime. It is always good to know the acidity level
of your soil. West Country compost is very alkaline and can be used
as a mulch for cabbages.
Peas are another food plant
that love lots of water- it is essential to keep them moist as they
do not like drought conditions. An easy way to grow them is in
guttering with end stops. It is best to plant them in April or May.
By moonlight is also said to be an auspicious planting time if trying
out biodynamic gardening methods.
Beans grow well in a trench
lined with compost with an organic mulch.
Sweet Potatoes- the easiest way
is to grow them in a polytunnel. They like to have warm roots so grow
through black plastic to warm the soil. You can order chits from
nurseries or start your own off in an airing cupboard.
Potatoes are best grown from
seed potatoes to avoid disease. They do not like frosts so plant out
after that. They can also be grown successfully in tubs in a green
Jerusalem Artichokes are a
dependable plant to grow. They are a useful soup ingredient, and a
member of the sunflower family so they can be grown to a height of 7
to 8 feet to act as a windbreak. However they can be invasive.
When is the best time to plant? There will be times of glut and famine
depending on the weather and soil conditions. It is important to
make a plan for successional crops. A crop of planted F1 seeds will
all tend to mature at once. Plant in small quantities and different
varieties. Be aware of the hungry gap after Christmas.
What sort of fertiliser would you
recommend? Seaweed collected from the
beach is a useful natural fertiliser. Collect after a rain storm if
possible as the longer it lies there the more salty it will be. It is
especially good around brassicas, asparagus and under potato plants.
How to grow healthy courgettes? If courgettes are rotten in the
ends then the ground or the air has been too moist. Keep pests at bay
with a dressing of seaweed. Prevent Club root by growing rhubarb
alongside- due to the effects of its oxalic acid.
8th March, 7pm, The
White Room, South Devon Inn, Strand Hill, Dawlish
We are holding a social and information evening
to help everyone reduce costs by growing food in whatever space is
available. Toby Buckland, well known as a presenter on BBC Garden
Live and a local online garden nursery owner, will be talking about
growing edible plants anywhere and everywhere. This will follow a
short film about the successful “Incredible Edible Todmorden”
initiative. The group is hoping that experienced and new gardeners
will come along and be involved in a seed swap and put their
gardening questions to Toby Buckland and a panel of local experts
Everyone is welcome to come along and enjoy the ‘Delicious Dawlish’ evening at the
South Devon Inn on Thursday March 8th
7pm. Places can be booked by calling 01626 862063. Entry costs just £1 per person, all
The long story -We have registered Dawlish Transition as an energyshare group. Under this scheme we will be eligible to bid for funding to put in place community energy projects. This is funded by British Gas and supported by River Cottage and Friends of the Earth. In order to be eligible to apply for grant funding we need to gather as many supporters as possible before 30th June 2011, for a Community energy project. So it is important that you register as a member and supporter of the group, and drum up as much support as possible.
I have put forward the idea of making the Manor House more energy efficient by gaining funding to put in place the recommendations of the Save the Manor Group Report 2010- eg. provision of roof insulation, energy saving lighting, radiator heat controls etc. The roof may also be suitable for the installation of photovoltaic panels to generate electricity for use during sunshine hours. Everyone in Dawlish would benefit through reduced council costs and less energy use by community groups like us who hire the building.
You may have other Community schemes that could be put in place in mind...as well,
energyshare is a community. It brings people together in person and online, to challenge the status quo and get more control over:
• Where your energy comes from
• How much you use
• How much you pay for it