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May Day

I have been given permission by Earthly Pursuits to use their collection of  The Allotment & Garden Guides which were first published by The Ministry of Agriculture in 1945. Just a note of caution: some of the chemicals that are suggested for use are now illegal to use and will be harmful to users, animals and the environment so please check what other methods are suitable instead.

The Enemy

The full April Allotment & Garden Guide can be found under ‘Wartime Advice’, and the information given in them is still relevant today,  but l love this page showing the difference between a Centipede and a Millipede in the form of a Centipede being a ‘fast moving friend’ and proudly showing the Union Jack flag and the Millipede being a ‘slow moving enemy’ with a Swastika! Priceless!

These leaflets are surprisingly difficult to get hold of considering they were printed in their hundreds of thousands to promote the Dig for Victory campaign. I have the odd one and l am always on the look out. Ebay is a good place to start looking but know when to stop bidding as l have seen them fetch silly amounts of money.

So, April is behind us and what a month it was! The hottest on record and l can well believe that. A lot of us had over 25c or nearly 80 f and no rain for weeks now making this month, of all months, particularly difficult in the garden. BUT, last night we had thunderstorms and it started to rain and this morning it is still raining. Thank goodness as the garden was resembling a dust bowl and l felt so sorry for all the birds trying to raise their young. This will really help bring things along and l am sure l will be seeing big differences throughout the garden over the coming days. I kept the salad bed well watered and we have been eating some really nice ‘cut and come again’ Hot & Spicy salad leaves, rocket and Mizuna. Delicious.

At least we now live in relatively peaceful times on our shores and we don’t have to worry about the Nazis invading us. 70 years ago in 1941, Hitler’s intensive bombing campaign was drawing to a close and he had to abandon ‘Operation Sealion’, the invasion of our shores. Over 40,000 civilians lost their lives during the Blitz but moral remained high, on the whole,  and everyone pulled together over the coming years  to see it through to the bitter end. It is these people and in this period that l will always remain fascinated and in total awe.

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Posted by on May 1, 2011 in May, The garden

 

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Mr Middleton talks about Gardening

I managed to successfully bid on an old book by Mr Middleton on ebay and l now have it in my possession.

Front cover

It doesn’t have its dust jacket and there is a small burn mark on the cover, probably when someone who was smoking was so engrossed in reading the latest gardening advice.

He looks a real character and l love the way he has his trousers so high up; very Simon Cowell!

Note how later editions become the ‘cheaper editions’!

So, at 68 years old, how does the book stand up to current gardening advice? Well, very good as it turns out with some lovely stories from letters that he had been sent in from the general public. I will be using this book a lot and upon closer inspection l have noticed that the text in the calendar has been taken from this book.

So what has he got to say for the month of April?

Reminders for April

Anybody heard the cuckoo yet? Neither have l; but still l suppose he ought to be about due now. And the spring flowers are also due, and there is  a blue lining to the grey skies, so prepare to get busy. Presently the garden will be such a blaze of glory that we shall be able to forget about Jack Frost and muddy boots and spades, and have nothing to do but revel in the scent of wallflowers and daffodils.

He goes on to talk about beetroot, salads, pests and fruit and finishes with this:

And, by the way, if you are putting up any rustic work- as so many of you are- do make a good job of it. There is far too much flimsy stuff going up all over the place. And be careful to remove the bark from the poles; especially from the top cross-pieces. When l first built my rustic arbour l didn’t trouble to take the bark off- l never thought of it, as a matter of fact; and a couple of summers ago we had a lady staying with us, and she was sitting uner the arbour with the roses all round her, doing her knitting, and l think her mind was drifting into the realms of poetry or romance or something like that, and all was peace. All of a sudden she let off such a yell- it must have been heard all over the neighbourhood- threw her knitting in one direction and herself in another, then rushed indoors, and we didn’t see her again for an hour or two. An earwig had dropped down her back. In due course l discovered that the loose bark on the rustic work was responsible- it was full of the beastly things, and if l had only taken the bark off when l put the rustic work up, that tragedy would have been avoided. So there’s no reason why you should make a similar mistake, after a warning like that, is there?

More next month!

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2010 in April, The garden

 

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