January Gardening Begins with the Dream

January tends to get a bad rap as a month.

We blame Pilot for letting the rot set in when they sang in their 1975 No1 hit single “January, sick and tired, you’ve been hanging on me”.

But as Josephine Nuese, author of The Country Garden pointed out, gardening really begins in January, with the dream. So come last year’s cold snap, or this year’s unseasonably mild weather, we kind of quite like January here at The Secret Acre.

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Decent into Autumn

As the September harvest with its late summer sunshine gave away to increasingly damp and cool autumnal weather, we gathered in the last of the crops at The Secret Acre and started clearing down the veg beds.

Here are a few pictures from October and early November’s gradual decent into autumn.

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Going for the One

You might remember that last year, Emma tied on points with another competitor for first place overall as ‘Best in Show’ at our local Fruit and Veg Show

We are nothing if not competitive here at The Secret Acre, so as the start of Village Produce Show season loomed again at the end of August, Emma was plotting to go one better this year.

And that she did, claiming the ‘Best in Show’ trophy as outright winner this year, picking up the section winner cups for Best Baker and Best Brewer en-route.

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Book review: National Trust School of Gardening

This new book by Rebecca Bevan, beautifully illustrated by Madeleine Smith, is the perfect companion to the RHS’s Growing Vegetable & Herbs.

Between the two of them, anyone will have the confidence to successfully fill their garden with flowers, vegetables and fruit.

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Product review: Biotrim. Eco strimming has arrived.

We’ve seen the future of garden strimming, and it’s biodegradable!

Regular readers or visitors to The Secret Acre, will know that strimming has been a big part of our lives since moving in.

Only now, some six years on, does it feel like we have finally made good inroads into reclaiming the overgrown areas to put back into productive use. Each winter’s incremental progress requiring regular summer strimming to maintain the foothold.

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Wild Garlic Three Ways

Followers of our adventures at The Secret Acre will know that we go wild for Wild Garlic.

It’s usually one of our first big forages of spring, and one of the easiest for beginners, growing profusely in woodlands over a long period, and not easily misidentified, smelling and tasting of, well, garlic.

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The Noodle of Serendipity

There is a new soul with us at The Secret Acre.

Meet Noodle, the labradoodle!

When our beloved Ruby passed away before Christmas we were very clear. We were not going to have another dog for at least a year in order to go travelling. But fate had other plans for us. Continue reading

Heartbreak Hotel

There have always been three souls here at The Secret Acre, the third person in our marriage being Ruby, a little rough-haired Jack Russell.

She even carried the rings down the aisle for us.

So it was heart breaking this Christmas when Ruby died at the ripe old age of 13, from what we have now all learned to call ‘underlying health issues’. The first of a string of devastating bereavements as it turned out. Continue reading