Digger Man

We are great admirers of ‘no dig’ champion, Charles Dowding, but somehow I don’t think this what he means!

Generally we are more than in favour of anything that reduces the need to wield a spade ourselves. But when we recently cleared a large area of laurel to make way for a future fruit cage, leaving the massive stumps and roots to be removed, I was resigned to a day of hard working with the pickaxe to finish the job. Continue reading

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Beans Means….

Something quite different to the famous advertising slogan, if you’ve ever watched Blazing Saddles.

And broad beans are of course a long culinary way from a cowboy’s campfire chow. Continue reading

Brewing up a Storm

May and June has witnessed a flurry of brewing activities here at The Secret Acre.

While last autumn’s cider has been maturing in the barrel, we have also been pushing our apple aspirations to two extremes. As well as trying our hand at Apple Brandy, we had a second successful go at producing Cider Vinegar.
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Apple Brandy

As I came round Bristol Temple Meads, blue flashing lights appeared in the rear view mirror. With the moonshine sloshing around in the back, there was only one thing for it. I’d have to make a run for the county-line, to the safety of South Gloucestershire!

Regular readers will know that we are not adverse to a bit of home brewing and cider making here at The Secret Acre. So when a friend suggested we tried our hand at Apple Brandy it seemed rude not to.

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Broad Bean Bonanza

We don’t know about you, but for us it seems to be a bonanza year for broad beans.

Our over-wintered crop, which in past years has struggled to get past knee height, suddenly shot up during May to waist level monsters.

Our first attempt at a spring compost dressing might have helped, as no doubt has the good spring weather. Continue reading

Planting Out

The strange feeling of ‘veg bed competence’ we had at the start of May has somehow survived through to end of the month.

Surely it can’t last!

The greenhouse seedlings (pictured left) rapidly turned into a veritable garden nursery vision of plug plants demanding to be planted out against the risks of any late frosts. Continue reading