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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Making the Most of Awful August

It seems to us that more and more August is becoming the start of autumn in the UK under climate change. Certainly our green roof seems to think so!

In the last few years, summer heat seems to have started too early in spring, with an awful August (in time for the school holidays!) before the sun often returns again in September before a final slide into full autumn.

Nonetheless, July’s veg patch bounty continued to accelerate in August, aided by our usual school holiday influx of visitors, put to work on the growing harvest.

Here’s a few of our pics from our August at The Secret Acre.

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Bountiful July in the Garden

After a slow spring start, and flaming June, July saw the traditional arrival of glut on the Secret Acre veg patch.

Here are some picture from July as cabbages, onions, garlic, field beans, sugar snap peas, cauliflower, fennel, courgettes, tomatoes, purple French beans, apples from our very early Beauty of Bath variety, and more, all arrived in a bountiful rush.

Meanwhile, our newly created asparagus bed seems to be settling in, while gliders from the nearby airfield silently ploughed their way through the summer skies over the gardener’s head.

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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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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