Music Played9 items
Peter Bjorn and John At the Seaside
Peter Bjorn and John Norrlands Riviera
Peter Bjorn and John Favour of the Season
Vetiver Been So Long
Frode Haltli Jag Haver Ingen Karare
Sonny Clark Trio Softly as in a Morning Sunrise
Devendra Banhart Freely
Sufjan Stevens The Tallest Man, the Broadest Shoulders
Sufjan Stevens Out of Egypt, into the Great Laugh of Mankind
Alys and her chickens
"Late spring brings all sorts of joys, but for me the best present was getting chickens for the garden.
I have two girls called Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, Gertrude is a Bluebell and Alice B. is a Speckledy. I get a white egg from Gertrude and a brown egg from Alice B.
I get a lot more than eggs though and the chickens are great recyclers. I can feed them weeds, old cabbage leaves and kitchen scraps and in return I get eggs, chicken manure and am greeted by the most lovely noise every time I step into the garden. Chickens are really social, they love to say hello, and they love being visited. The minute I open the back door they start warbling away.
I use a mixture of wood shaving and shredded newspaper as bedding and feed them back their eggshell ground up to keep their calcium levels up.
I don’t let them have free run of the garden (I wouldn’t have any black Tuscan kale if I did), but they do get first pickings off the compost bin when I come to turn it. They have ample room at the bottom of the garden and together we three make quite the garden team.
Not everyone is allowed chickens. Some city dwellers will live in places where they are rules against them. Chickens aren’t cheap, so check with your local planning authority before you buy."
BBC Dig In
There's nothing like growing your own food, so visit the Dig In site to apply for a free seed pack and get started. You'll also find plenty of advice and tips on getting the best out of your veg on the site.Go to the Dig In site
Permaculture stands for ‘permanent agriculture’ and for many who practice it, it’s a way of life. Tim and Maddy Harland, the founders of Permaculture Magazine, have successfully employed the principles for the past 20 years and now both they and their children are enjoying the fruits of their labours.Advice and information from The Permaculture Association
Alys’s friend Sally Smith shows that using natural materials is a great way to create plant supports that blend into the garden. Willow will bend into arches, tie into a lattice or work well if used as uprights. The only limit to what you can make is what you can find in the garden or beg from your local parks and woods.BBC Gardening - How to make a willow obelisk
Alys on peas and beans
“Peas and beans are an important part of my garden. They’ve got a special friendship with some bacteria which fix nitrogen (needed for lush growth) and live in nodules on the roots. Not only do peas and beans feed themselves, they also feed the garden because when the plants die off at the end of the year, they rot into the earth and release the nitrogen back in to the soil.
Oh and just as a small aside, fresh peas taste great, and so do beans for that matter.”
Alys plants beans directly into modules and keeps them out of harms way until they are healthy, strong and ready to plant out. Try varieties like Red Epicure, a medium height plant with lovely crimson beans, but that’s not to say it’s the best for you, have a look around and get experimenting!BBC Gardening - Growing broad beans
Alys’s Tip of the day: “You need to pinch out the top of your broad beans just as the flowers are beginning to set into beans. This helps to keep the black fly at bay.
To be honest that’s a common tip; my tip is eat the broad beans tops, they’re lovely!”
Growing peas is well worth it if you have the space, however if not, you can grow them for the delicious pea tips and all you need is a window box. Sow the peas closely in any type of container indoor or out, water gently and harvest when a few inches high.BBC Gardening - Growing peas
Mangetout is a pea that you eat the pod of, and they take up less space than shelling peas and will give good crops for those with limited room. Try Sugar Ann, Oregon Sugar Snap or Carouby de Mausanne.
Runner beans are a must for the vegetable gardener. They are pretty, simple and as long as you keep picking, the beans keep growing. Nectar Queen, Purple Tepee, Painted Lady, White Emergo and Scarlet Empress are great for attractive flowers and tasty pods.BBC Gardening - Growing runner beans
- Alys Fowler
- Juliet Glaves
- Executive Producer
- Gill Tierney