As pumpkins and marrows begin to ripen, place slates under each individual fruit. This keeps them off the ground, preventing slug damage and rotting, and also absorbs more of the sun's heat so you'll speed up the ripening process.
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Plant of the Week: Autumn/winter pansies
With summer bedding displays coming to an end in a few weeks' time, it's all change – and one of the best replacements for colour and sheer longevity of flowering is the trusty winter pansy.
Most pansies come in a 'series', a group of flowers with similar characteristics, whether it's whiskering on the petals, or pastel colours, or dark centres. Among our favourites are the super-reliable Ultima series which flowers even in the harshest of weather; the Cats series, with quirky whiskered flowers, and Northern Lights in pretty pastels. Fill containers with nothing but pansies, or tuck them among red-stemmed dogwoods or cyclamen for a display of winter cheer.
Growing your own food is one of life's great pleasures, and like most good things, it's worth doing well. A great way of measuring your progress is to pit yourself against the old-timers - producers of football-sized onions and metre-long carrots.
It takes courage to exhibit your produc…Read more