Gardening People: HEALTHY GROWTH IS CHEAP 'N' EASY

By Lyte, Charles | The People (London, England), May 14, 2000 | Go to article overview

Gardening People: HEALTHY GROWTH IS CHEAP 'N' EASY


Lyte, Charles, The People (London, England)


ORGANIC growing is all well and good - but what about all that expense and hard work?

The majority of gardeners - and particularly the newcomers to Britain's top leisure pursuit - want to grow their home-produced vegetables organically, but are put off by the idea of having to buy and dig in loads of manure or compost.

So here's the answer: have a go at the mini-trench system. You'll get great crops without the backache and have plenty of change in your pocket.

Normally when you sow seeds, you draw out a shallow drill, sometimes less than an inch deep, with the corner of a draw-hoe, to take the seed. With the mini-trench system you draw out a drill five or six inches deep.

You then half fill it with well-rotted manure or compost and then re- fill it with soil to the depth you would normally sow seed. Then sow, and afterwards add a covering of more soil.

Once the crop has been harvested, the digging that follows will distribute the organic material more evenly. It really is as easy as that - and it's particularly successful when growing salad crops.

The system still applies - but with a wider and much deeper trench - to peas, runner beans, sweetcorn, potatoes and sweet peas.

With root crops, like carrots and parsnips, the manure or compost needs to be laid at least six inches deep to encourage the roots to grow down and lengthen.

If the organic material is too close to the surface, the plants will produce a lot of `fanging' side roots which will spoil them.

But don't just take my word for it. A mini-trench experiment using leafmould was conducted by members of the top organic gardening organisation, the Henry Doubleday Research Association.

They saw "very significantly increased yields" with beetroots.

CHELSEA TOP THE LEAGUE

IT all started 112 years ago with a small spring flower show in Embankment Gardens in London. Now it has blossomed into the greatest flower show in thes world.

The Chelsea Flower Show is famous for the perfection of the plants and the quality of garden design and this year promises to be as inventive as ever.

I think one of the most popular displays will be Cartiers', who are creating the dream of millions - a modern garden to fit a small city space.

The Laurent Perrier garden is quite the opposite. They're going back to the 17th Century with a tribute to the French designer, Le Notre, who had a great influence on English gardens. Gardens Illustrated look to the future with their Evolution Garden, while Chaos and Rhythm, the entry of St Bartholomew's Hospital, is an attempt to symbolise patients' recovery from heart attacks.

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