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February 23 2012 5 23 /02 /February /2012 14:33


Broad beans are thought to be a helpful in the treatment of water retention and obesity, thus improving kidney function. Broad beans are low in cholesterol and are therefore helpful in the management of heart disease. Broad beans are rich in choline which can aid memory and maybe useful with suffers of Alzheimer’s. Also broad beans are said to be an aphrodisiac, eat them to boost your sex drive at the very least they are rich in vitamins and minerals.  

We planted one broad bean seed to one toilet roll tube filled with soil. The idea of this is that the broad bean can establish its long tap root and be planted with the toilet roll tube in situ if required which will rot down in the ground.

Sow from March (February in milder areas) through to mid-July 5cms deep and 23cms apart and harvest mid-June through to October.

Broad beans are annuals and prefer a moderately fertile soil.

To eliminate aphid attack remove growing tips when plants come into flower.

Glossary ~

Annual ~ A plant that grows for a season then dies


Another Jamie Oliver recipe for incredible smashed peas and broad beans on toast

Pod your own grown peas 150g and broad beans 250g. In a pestle and mortar bash the peas with half a bunch of fresh mint with a pinch of salt. Add a few broad beans at a time. Add a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and three quarters of the juice of a lemon.

Toast 4 slices of sour dough bread and rub with a garlic clove. Top with the smashed peas and a ball of mozzarella.
















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February 20 2012 2 20 /02 /February /2012 13:17


Garlic extracts are known as natural antiseptics and are therefore present in many cough and cold remedies. During the First World War garlic juice was used in field dressings to prevent gangrene. It has been shown to have a positive effect in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, thus slowing arterial plaque formation.  Garlic is also thought to be beneficial in reducing the incidence of stomach, colorectal, breast and prostate cancers.


Garlic requires free draining soil and prefers a sunny position. Garlic can be planted in spring and autumn. We have opted to plant our garlic in between our onions as we planted them quite far apart. Individual cloves were planted 3cms deep and 10cms apart. There is no need to peel the cloves before planting. Previously I have planted garlic straight from a supermarket which grew very successfully. The problem with doing this is that you cannot guarantee a disease free variety and most supermarket produce is from overseas which may be suited to warmer climates. This time we have purchased garlic from the local garden centre.

The garlic will be ready for harvesting in late summer/early autumn when the leaves start to die down. Garlic can be stored in a frost free environment; I am still using last year’s produce.

Glossary ~ Plaque is the fatty deposits in the blood leading to heart disease and raised blood pressure.

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February 1 2012 4 01 /02 /February /2012 15:24


The flower garden

Complete pruning roses before new growth.

Lift and divide perennials and replant immediately.

Sow sweet peas in a cold frame.

Prune deciduous shrubs for example fuchsias back to the base.

Remove pansy leaves affected by mildew.

Cut down woody stems of summer flowering clematis (group 3) to fattening buds low down on each stem.

Plant up dahlia tubers in warm soil but do not plant out yet.

Feed hellebores that are in flower.

The kitchen garden

Prepare beds for early vegetable sowing by covering with polythene to warm the soil.

Prune out a quarter of blackcurrant older growth removing the oldest stems of growth to prevent them from becoming crowded. These will be darker in colour then the newer branches.

Sprinkle sulphate potash fertiliser around fruit trees and bushes.

Check fruit that is in store for signs of rot.

The greenhouse

Sow tomato and chilli seeds under glass or in a propagator. 

Check heather fuel regularly.

The pond

Monitor for freezing.


Clear any debris that may be harbouring slugs and snails.

Clean out birds nesting boxes.

Clean algae and moss from paths.


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January 31 2012 3 31 /01 /January /2012 13:23


The helleborus is sometimes known as the Christmas rose, probably because when there is little else growing in the garden at this time of year, you can count on these beautiful flowers to be in full bloom.

Hellebores are native to the mountains of Europe from alpine slopes to sheltered woodland areas.

These evergreen perennials flower from midwinter to spring bearing the loveliest of flowers that flush with age. Its deep green basal leaves persist throughout the year.


The helleborus is happiest in dappled shade and in any good moist soil. It will tolerate some weak winter sunshine.

The plants old leaves should be trimmed away to display emerging flowers.

Plants will appreciate a feed with a general fertiliser and mulch with organic matter also at this time of year.   Watering is seldom required.

Beware of slugs and snails feasting on the foliage, raised beds and pots may be of benefit.


Hellebores can be cultivated from seed, given a cold snap to break the seeds dormancy. Gloves need to be worn when collecting hellebore seed as they may irritate the skin.



A fungus, which causes the leaves to develop brown blotches, causes hellebore leaf spot, the leaves turn yellow and die and petal may show black spotting. Affected plants must be destroyed; there is no fungicide for this disease.


A fungus and results in pale yellow spots developing on the upper leaf surface cause downy mildew. Affected plants must be destroyed; there is no fungicide for this disease.


Hellebore black death is caused by a virus. The stems, leaves and flowers are distorted with black streaking. Affected plants must be destroyed.




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January 12 2012 5 12 /01 /January /2012 18:32

The kitchen garden, although small, is sufficient to provide fresh vegetables for the whole family. It is divided into 4 raised beds.

Most horticulture books will advocate a 3 or 4 year crop rotation as growing the same crop in the same place every year will eventually lead to build up of disease organisms and pests. As pests are specific to certain crops breaking the source of food may starve out the organisms. Some crops leave beneficial nutrients in the soil for example peas and beans use bacteria to convert nitrogen from the air into plant food. As a result they leave the soil rich in nitrogen.  

Year one – Bed 1. Potato group Bed 2. Legume & onion group Bed 3. Brassica group

Bed 4. Root group

Year two – Bed 1. Legume group & onion Bed 2. Brassica group Bed 3. Root group

Bed 4. Potato group

Year three – Bed 1. Brassica group Bed 2. Root group Bed 3. Potato group

Bed 4. Legume & onion group bed

Year four – Bed 1. Root group Bed 2. Potato group Bed 3. Legume & onion group

Bed 4. Brassica group

And so on…..

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January 1 2012 1 01 /01 /January /2012 15:13


The flower garden

Prune wisteria to a bud or two or 2.5cms from the main stem.

Thin the heads of standard rose bushes to prevent damage caused by wind rock.

Divide winter aconities establishing them in another part of the garden.

Clear away dead stems such as sweet peas and morning glory.

Try collecting and sowing berry seeds or squashing mistletoe berries into apple tree branches (mistletoe is a parasite plant, in that it only grows on a host plant, absorbing nutrients from it).

Sow hardy annuals for next year.

Plant bare root trees, shrubs and bushes.

Tie in trees to protect from wind damage.

Cut back ornamental grasses to allow new growth to come through. 

The kitchen garden

Prune apple and pear trees, removing any dead or diseased branches, any that are crossing each other that will rub the bark away leading to disease, thin out the centre of the tree to allow light in, create a pleasing shape.

Prune autumn fruiting raspberries down to the ground and mulch.

Protect fruit cages from the weight of snow.

Cover brassicas with netting to protect them from birds.

Force rhubarb and strawberries with cloches or terracotta pots.

Dig over bear soil, adding compost to improve its structure.

The greenhouse

Chit early seed potatoes for forcing under glass.

Monitor heaters daily to ensure that they are working correctly.

Wash glazing inside and out to let more light in and prevent disease.

Check over wintering tubers for signs of rot.  

The pond

Float a half filled plastic carton of water in the pond to prevent it from freezing over.


Collect fallen leaves removing them to the compost bin.

Shred woody pruning’s and spent Christmas tree to use as mulch, bonfires add to pollution.

Clean the lawn mower. 

Wash up plant pots in hot sterilised water, keeping them disease free.

Order next year’s seeds, sets and bulbs.

Repair or treat wooden structures and fences whilst there is little greenery around them.

Wrap patio pots with insulation to protect from frost damage.

Put out fresh drinking water each day for wild birds.

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About The Blog

  • : Poddington and P
  • Poddington and P
  • : Poddington and P is about life in the country. It includes their creations, the animals they raise, and the plants and produce that they grow in the kitchen garden.
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