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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Our Field Bean Experiment

Regular readers will know that we over winter our broad beans, onions and garlic on the veg patch. We’ve also had increasing success using green manure field beans over winter too.

One thing we’ve noticed over the hardships of winter, is how the green manure field beans always seem to suffer much less, and recover more quickly, than their broad bean relations.

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Flaming June on the Veg Patch

Here’s a quick pictorial look at some of the June’s garden action at The Secret Acre.

After a slow start, due to the weird Spring weather, June finally delivered some warm sunshine allowing the garden to burst into life.

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Rebuilding the Pig Sties, Part 1: We’re on the Eve of Destruction

It’s been a while since we undertook any major building work at the Secret Acre. Choosing instead to just enjoy living in the house for a while after its extensive eco-makeover.

However, the need to eventually also replace the yard’s pig sties, barn and shed complex was always being planned in the back of our minds. And with it, a much needed sorting out of the various materials that ‘might one day come in useful’ which had been stored there after the house renovation, along with our growing collection of gardening equipment as we reinstated the vegetable garden.

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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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Gardeners Start Your Engines

A lot of people made a lot of banana bread during lockdown. We made red wine and cheese. But apparently, four-time Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel completed an internship in organic farming. He is not alone of course, 1979 World Champion, Jody Scheckter, owns Laverstoke Park, a biodynamic farm in Hampshire. Continue reading

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