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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

Mellow fruitfullness abounds

Posted by Geoff Hodge on 22 Sep 2008 at 01:25 PM

OK, so this is it. Autumn is officially here - not only judging by the calendar, but also by the nighttime temperatures - on Saturday night it went down to 4C. So that's pretty much the end of the main veg growing season.

I spent Saturday going through crops tidying up, disposing of the ornamental aubergine plants and sorting through the tomatoes to remove leaves to allow as much sun as possible to get to the fruit - the latter may now have been a complete waste of time as the fruit will probably fair better indoors.

The peppers - both sweet and cuilli - have fruited well, but not a single one has coloured up - they're all green. That is, apart from 'Pretty in Purple', which produces purple fruit. I've harvested most of these, although I've left some on one plant to see if they'll go red, and spent Saturday evening drying them slowly in the oven. We did the same last year and ended up with some pretty fiery dried chilli flakes.

On Sunday I went to Glee at the NEC, Birmingham. Glee is the UK’s gardening and horticultural industry’s biggest trade show taking up several halls at the NEC. Here many of the major gardening product manufacturers and suppliers show off their wares for the following year.

One of my first ports of call was the new products area – and several things caught my eye – not necessarily for the right reason!

Many of the new products were centred around the grow your own bug that is sweeping the nation. There were lots of patio growing kits, raised bed kits, containers, fat growing-bags - including a potato planting sack - and organic composts specifically for veggies and even new organic feeds and fertilisers, crop covers and other bits and bobs.

One of my favourite new products was an inflatable/blow up greenhouse – a bit like a transparent, greenhouse-shaped airbed. The air in the walls would provide excellent insulation – but I’m not sure it would be that practical on a windy allotment - you might have to go to the next plot to rescue it!

And for the squeamish among you a slug grabber to pick up and dispose of the number one garden pest. It’s basically one of those long-handled rubbish picker-uppers with the trigger activated grabbing mechanism. Not sure about this one – why not just wear gloves!


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