If, like me, you like growing your own vegetables but you are no Bunny Guinness, this little book is something of a godsend.
Why? Well, it is jam-packed with handy hints, which is good. But what makes this book great is that it spells out all the bits and bobs that you should be doing in the garden, on a week-by-week basis. It’s a bossy book!
For this reason I am grateful to the publisher who sent it to me, and hopeful that On The Plot With ‘Dirty Nails’ could be the missing link between my vegetable garden that exists in my head, and my vegetable garden that exists in real life. In my head: I stoop over a raised bed of lush vegetation, deciding which scrumptious fruits and vegetables will be going into my salad. THERE ARE NO SLUGS. My vegetable garden in reality, right now: a post-apocalyptic scenario featuring bare earth, howling wind and a few dead tomato and sweetcorn plants that I haven’t yet gotten round to composting. Help, please!
Would you like to win a copy? See below…
In the meantime, here are a couple of extracts from Dirty Nails’ advice and instructions for November Week 1:
The First Frost
As if prompted by the change in month, November dawned with the first frost of the winter. This pleases winter veg growers because it heralds the opening of parsnip season. With a 10-metre row of handsome nails in the ground, Mrs Nails and I have much to look forward to. It is by no means essential to wait for freezing temperatures before tucking into ‘snips. However, because starches in this crop are turned into sugars as a result of the low temperatures, they are all the sweeter for it.
Jobs To Do This Week
In the greenhouse:
- Continue sorting and cleaning bit by bit if a whole weekend session is impossible.
On the plot:
- Swaddle wormeries with bubble wrap if the forecast is for freezing weather. (Note: the wormery is for the hygienic disposal of cooked food waste, and it looks like the non-squeamish amongst us get to make it in May Week 2.)
- Turn over the earth on open areas on heavy soils, or apply a mulch of bulky organic matter to lighter ground.
- Cut down and clear rank vegetation amongst the fruit trees. Keep the bases immediately around the trunks weed free.
- Sow green manures on open plots. Crimson clover is good; it will bind the soil and fix atmospheric nitrogen in the roots.
- Cut down nettles from around the compost heaps.
- Transplant biennial wild flowers that have sprouted in the veg patch, such as foxgloves and great mullien. They will flower next year and be an asset to pollinating insects so make room for them where they won’t interfere with edible crops.
This book is available from Amazon ; at the time of writing, prices begin at £6.65.
BOOK GIVEAWAY: Would you like to win a brand new copy? I have one to give away. I will post to anywhere in the world – but I’d bear in mind that if you live in, say, the Sonoran Desert, the seasonal instructions may be a little out of whack for you.
The competition ends at 8 pm (GMT) on Sunday 8 November, when I’ll pick the winner out of an online hat.
To enter: simply leave a a comment below. If you have a thrifty gardening tip, I’d love to hear it; if you don’t, just leave a short message…