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Geoff Hodge Web Editor Peterborough

I've been a horticultural journalist for 20 years, a gardener for longer than I want to think about and a veg grower for 25 years.

  • Date Joined: 21 Nov 2006

Recent Comments

Best laid plans!

Posted by Geoff Hodge on 25 Mar 2008 at 10:20 AM

What a washout - or snowout this Easter was. This is one of the most unpleasant ones I can remember. Snow, biting cold winds, frosts and sub-zero temperatures. They all combined together to make me feel more inclined to stay indoors and eat Easter eggs and hot cross buns.

On Saturday, I braved the snow, sleet and horrendous driving conditions on the M11 to shoot down to Chelmsford for my monthly slot on Gardening Plus on BBC Essex. I think most of the good people of Essex had decided to stay indoors too, as we were really busy with phone calls, texts and e-mails.

We had a wide range of questions, but strangely, most of the discussion was about wildlife - the unwanted sort that can make a mess of the garden - squirrels, foxes, moles and deer. We came up with our stock answers, but the favourite cure of the listeners was male urine! Yes, it has to be male, but apparently to those in the know it really works as a deterrent.

We also had a couple of guests in the studio. The first, Aydin Tanseli, is the Director of Cropaid. The company's product of the same name is a natural plant antifreeze that increases plants' resistance to heat, cold and frost - how timely! It contains a mixture of friendly bacteria, minerals and vitamins and is sprayed on the plants. Apparently, it is widely used commercially on a range of fruit and veg to produce earlier and bigger crops from those plants that are weather dependent. I'm going to give it a whirl at home. Find out more at

The holiday weekend plans had included lots of outdoor seed sowing, but the weather just said no. So I listened to what the weather said and decided that it just wasn't worth the risk - for the seeds or for my fingers!

Instead I spent most of my gardening time spreading BOM - bulky organic matter, which kept me warm. Ever hopeful that the Met Office would get the forecast wrong I had ordered a tonne of compost for the front garden. We'd decided it needed a complete revamp, so had dug everything out in autumn and dug over the soil for the winter weather to break it down. The weather had certainly done its job and the soil was ready for some invigorating BOM. It arrived at 7am on Thursday - which kind of upset one of the neighbours! It was good stuff, really well rotted, so I spent the time working up a sweat shovelling it in place.

Maybe, just maybe, next weekend will be better and I can get on with that all important seed sowing. Fingers crossed.


Phot's-Moll said:

Easter weather wasn't very gardening friendly was it? We can only hope the cold will reduce the numbers of pests.

I hope you've managed to sow some seeds now?

on 05 Apr 2008 at 09:39 PM