When the recession was in full swing, which was not a nice thing to say and not nice to have to live through it, it now appears that fruit and vegetable growing is on the increase in Stevenage and all over the UK. Research from the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) and Plant Life has shown that the majority of gardeners are choosing to grow their own crops. About two thirds of gardeners interviewed stated that they would like to grow more produce and in particular – fruit. This is an increase of more than 100% over the last few years and now accounts for over half the gardeners. The HTA also found that about 40% of gardeners planted their fruit in the Spring whereas Autumn is actually the best time to plant in your garden but not many people know that (as Michael Caine would say).
The HTA is keen to help the public and are keen to convert even more people to ‘growing their own’. They are offering tips to gardeners on the best way to nurture berries and delicious healthy fruit. Some of the tips are to soaking the roots of the fruit tree before planting, maybe in your garden sheds initially, and then during late winter pruning the trees for the best results. By following these tips you should be able to grow even larger crops to enjoy as not much beats the taste of your own grown produce. A dark cool garden shed is good place to store your crop which you can then draw upon though out the year, however, it is vital that your shed does not have any gaps where mice or other nasties can get into it from the garden.
David Gilchrist at HTA said that although there has been an increase in the number of people growing their own produce many gardeners are ignoring the attractions of growing their own home grown fruit and succulent berries. He also went on to say that growing fruit can be very rewarding it certainly tastes better, it’s also friendly to the environment and you also know where the produce is coming from and that no insecticide is used. It also saves on the food miles, why buy from Africa, France and Australia when you can grow produce in your own Stevenage garden.
England is quite famous for producing superb apples, really tasty eaters, cider apples and, of course, Bramley cooking apples. However, surprisingly there are over two thousand (2000) varieties of British apples and that does not include all the various cider apples. This seems incredible for a small country like Britain. You would need a great number of sheds including Stevenage in Surrey with shelves all the way round to display just a small number of them, anyway the best thing to do with an apple is to crunch into it and enjoy the taste.
What are your favourite apples? Do you know any apple from your childhood which are no longer available? Do you grow your own fruit and vegetables and do you think it’s worthwhile?
Animal sanctuaries have been receiving a greater number of hedgehogs being brought in to be looked after and this rise has been linked with the number of gardens receiving a green makeover it’s believed. It’s also believed that with more people spending a great deal more time in their gardens because of the recession, which started in 2008 and is continuing today, and the ‘improvements’ to the garden whilst being cosmetically pleasant and relaxing to the human race is actually detrimental to these shy spiny mammals. Some of the activities causing the problems are the removal of garden lawns in Stevenage and other towns and replacing them with gravel or timber decking and it makes it harder for the hedgehogs to dig and find foods. The updating of garden sheds with brand new ones can also affect these creatures because where there was a outdoor storage shed with a sheltered area which had grown naturally over many years this is ripped out and the are sanitised from the hedgehogs point of view.
Dr Toni Brunell who runs a rescue centre in Stevenage said that the replacement of garden fences with new wooden, concrete or even plastic fencing and replacing that old garden shed can also disrupt hedgehogs by stopping them going from garden to garden making it even harder for them to find scare food.
She said that the problem is these garden makeovers which are so popular on TV nowadays. They have been an unprecedented disaster and they are receiving lots and lots of calls for help after the hedgehogs and their young are disturbed by the bulldozers. She said that the mother can escape out of the way but it’s the poor baby hedgehogs which are most at risk and have to be rescued.
In 2006 the British Hedgehog Preservation Society ran a successful campaign and managed to get Macdonalds to change it Mcflurry’s lid which had found to be trapping these poor creatures.
The interest for garden makeover programs have been around for a number of years. Groundforce on the BBC has been one of the most popular ones making stars out of Charlie Dimmock and Tommy Walsh. Alan Titchmarsh was also a presenter on this series. My friend, who runs his own garden landscaping business, told me that the way the gardens were made over were superficial as it was not possible to make the changes to the gardens that quickly as the foundations for the garden were not giving sufficient settlement. I’m sure we all seen the episodes where the house owner was returning and the Groundforce team were quickly patting the plants into position. I never ever saw an episode of Groundforce in Stevenage, but if it went there I missed it.