Who am I?

Hello. My names Adam Greathead and i am a 23 year old gardener from Stourbridge in the West Midlands. I live here at 'Duck Pools' so named as we are fans and live amongst ducks (amongst other things). I live with my family and our little b order terrier Monty. All things plant-related fall to me as head Gardener.For about 10 years i have also tended two allotments (named vegetable garden from now on).
Beingpart of our localgardeningguildfor several years i am now vegetable judgefor our meetings and speakers secretary. I am also Secretary to NVS West Mids D.A.
I have written gardening articles for several publications and currently write for 'Simply Veg' magazine (available from NVS).

Friday, 21 February 2014


After much deliberation I am transferring this blog to the following location (please click):
Growing to Show

Rest assured this is the same person from the same place and the reason for moving is the fact it is very difficult finding the time to run two blogs now my other commitments have grown. Please stick with me guys and follow.
All the best
Adam x

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Updates and Aconites...

Just a quick update this week.

New plot (now known as Plot 'S') is doing well- nearly half way dug and couch grass removed. Managed to acquire three pallets this morning which will help towards building the compost heaps. Met a nice chap whilst working 'plot S' named Lee and he kindly said we could have 8 or so paving slabs off his plot- that's one path sorted!
Went and picked up the seed potatoes we had ordered from the guild trading shed. £2.90 for 2.5kg isn't a bad deal and they come in posh nets which close tight with toggles so these will be reused later in the season to store shallots or onions- or even gladioli corms to think of it! Picked up a couple of bags of red sun shallots for 90p a bag which cant be bad. I shall plant these straight into the plot later this month.
We now have 12.5kg of spuds to plant- not looking forward to having to dig all those up at the end of the summer! We've got Lady Christl; Wilja; Charlotte; King Edward and Picasso. All are now set up to chit in seed trays and egg trays.
Went over to the other plots to check everything was ok after all the winds we've had and found three clumps of lovely winter aconites which I thought had died. Winter aconites (Eranthus) are beautiful little plants that gets every gardener thinking of spring. When we do get the sun to come out the flowers are wide open and shine brilliantly like giant buttercups!....

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

More room for more veggies!

It's official- we have today  taken on our third allotment.

 We had a call last night from our friend who deals with lettings to say we were next on the list and one (plot 78a) had become vacant. So without further ado we took a look this morning and we were starting work just after lunch!]The plot has been neglected (like most plots that become vacant) but it shouldn't be too bad to get on top of. Here's a pic I took this morning on our visit:-
We plan to clear the front area and woodchip it for somewhere to park the car(s) when we're there. This afternoon I dug a bed for the potatoes and dad started clearing some of the topgrowth at the front of the plot. Amongst the rubbish we discovered three great clumps of rhubarb which was a bonus and four small bags of well rotted horse manure- gotta be a good thing!
A few months down the line this will be full of fruit and veggies- keep checking in and watch this space...

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Putting the rye to bed...

Woke up to quite abit of sunshine this morning so my plans to get some work done in the vegetable garden were favoured upon. Powered by the bacon and egg (free range of our own hens of course) sandwich I had for breakfast I set to work on one of the beds which had a crop of grazing rye growing in it.

Obviously, as i'm operating a no-dig approach this year I cannot simply dig the rye in. So to that end, I began by cutting it down to ground level with a pair of shears:

I then put a layer of shredded paper and old paper sacks that we buy the poultry food in:
Then finally I top it all off with spent hops and garden compost. The idea is to put as much organic matter on the cut rye as possible because it regrows very quickly. By blocking out the light it should rot down nicely and be incorporated into the soil.
It's best to get this done now as, once the rye is cut, it takes a good two months before you can plant on that ground. Well this bed is destined for brassicas which shan't be planted out until the end of March/beginning of April so we're easy on.
Just a quick thing- signs its mild for the time of the year- found this guy basking by the compost heaps when I get there:
Wont be long before we start to see frogspawn in the ponds? A sure sign that spring is only round the corner!

Friday, 24 January 2014

A long time...Old friends... It's been a while.

Well, we're here again- another New year. It has been some time since my last post due to commitments with one thing and another! A lot has happened since the last time I wrote- the big one was I was rushed in to have major bowel surgery which left me almost useless for at least 6 months. Fortunately i'm more or less back to normal now and back gardening so things are returning back to the way they were. I'm now Secretary to the new district association of the NVS (national vegetable society) based here in the West Midlands. I have let the position of allotment letting officer go as I was finding it hard to get round all the sites and meet the new tenants. This year I feel is going to be a busy one- i'm booked to give my very first gardening talk, I have another allotment open day to organise, I have decided to take the NVS judging exam later in the year and I also have our mini show to judge (Phewww... busy? extremely busy me thinks...)
Not a lot happening in the garden at the moment. Have been redesigning some parts of the garden- the jewel garden has now become the tuxedo garden and we now have the makings of a small shell grotto (sounds exciting doesn't it- I can't wait to see it either!)

The veg garden has been turned over to no-dig beds so I spent a couple of days over Christmas fetching lots of well rotted manure to mulch the beds. The majority of beds are 8ft square with several beds on the edge measuring slightly larger at 19x 10ft. The bigger beds are destined to take maincrop spuds and legumes. It will be interesting to see how the no-dig methods compare with the more tradition approach that we have always taken. (Will keep you posted on that one!)
A view across some of the beds...
Beds covered over to encourage the worms to do their business!
Beds topped with manure or garden compost

Then a dressing of biochar fertiliser

Those of you that regularly followed this blog will have met our old girl Cassy. Unfortunately she has gone to a better place and we naturally miss her very much. We spent 18 very happy years together and she was my very first gardening 'buddy'.

We decided to have another dog and now have a cracking little fella called Monty (after Monty Don of course!). He's is mainly border terrier with a little Lakeland in him. We fetched him when he was 7 weeks old from Stone which is around 30 miles from here. When we got there he was on a farm, amongst many other dogs in kennels caked in mud- he looked a sorry little chap- a little on the bloated and muddy side. Now he's 8 months and turning out to be a right little gardener! I can see many more happy years to come with this new gardening 'buddy'.
Monty aged 8 months
about 4-5 months I think here...
7 weeks ahhhhh...

Feeling his teeth!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

The flowers to see May out...

Returning from five days away from the garden, its incredible how things have come on with the recent heatwave we've had. We've come back to be greeted by alliums in full throttle and aquilegias pacing it out. Everything is greener, fresher and healthier. Its something i see every year yet it never ceases to excite me as though its the first time ever. Rather like christmas; you know it comes on an annual basis but you still get the same excitment when it does. So i'll now share some photos of some of the stars of this month:-

Aquilegia clematiflora

Today sees the end of Chelsea week which culminates with the great plant sell-off. I've always wanted to go to Chelsea but never got round to it due to various factors such as work and the cost. I.m not sure how much it costs but i would imagine it's expensive. However, for now i shall continue to attend the Malvern show which, for me, is a fantastic show and has everything to offer and doesn't cost an arm and a leg in entrance fees!


Part of the Jewel garden

Allium hollandicum 'Purple Sensation'

Clematis 'Vivyan Pennel'

Holiday snaps from Somerset...

The water at Cheddar

Grabbing a cuppa at the cafe!

Some even grabbed a cream tea!

Looking down the gorge
They even had my porch here!
Tower steps at Wells Cathedral
The entrance to the Bishop's palace and gardens
Part of the Bishop's palace, Wells Somerset.

Cassy seemed to be enjoying herslef too.