Media Monitor: gardening, wellness and food articles and blogs which caught my interest in March 2017

illustration of flower made up of hash tag and @ sign to indicate social mediaI don’t just write about gardening, health & wellbeing and food & drink – I read a lot about it as well!

Here’s some of the interesting, informative or just simply entertaining writing from fellow journalists, talented bloggers, gardeners and helpful organisations, which caught my attention in March.

  • I’ve already written about the importance of bees and how to attract them to your garden, so this guide to bee friendly flowers from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust is highly recommended.
  • Greening Grey Britain is a fantastic initiative that we should all get behind – so pledge and plant!
  • The regular wafts of acrid smoke from my neighbour’s bonfires (what *is* he burning? Toxic waste?) mean I’m in firm agreement with John Walker, guest writer on the Hartley Botanic blog, who called for the tradition of garden bonfires to be put out. John also piqued my interest with his interesting take on rehabilitating Dandelions, often considered a plot pest rather than a benefit – and takes the opportunity to use the word “piss” more often than you usually see on a gardening blog!
  • Like a good stew, everyone has their own take on the best way to compost – myself included (my guide to composting is here) – so I always read with interest other gardeners’ approaches to this mystical art. Sophie May Lewis’ clear and simple guide, on the Sussex Field Notes blog, concentrates on the physical mechanics of building a working compost heap, with some great ideas and additions, including built-in wildlife features.
  • Last year, vegetarian chef, restaurateur and cookery school owner Rachel Demuth put together the sort of beginners’ guide to growing vegetables I wish I’d seen when I started on my allotment. She’s identified some good plants to get you started and I suspect, like me, these will become plot staples. Check out the rest of her blog for more growing, cooking and eating advice.
  • With a shady and damp north-facing, urban garden, I’ve become a huge fan of ferns – not only because they thrive where other plants fail, but because of their structural beauty. Blogging on the Royal Horticultural website, plantsman Graham Rice delivers some great advice about choosing and caring for ferns alongside some great photography.
  • You may be familiar with Jane Perrone from her work as gardening editor for the Guardian, but she’s also got a series of gardening podcasts which I’d highly recommend, in between catching up with Gardeners’ Question Time episodes of course!
  • I put aside a few rows at the allotment to experiment with exotic veg and after reading ModernVegPlot’s guide to growing Achocha, I think I may have found my next project – if only because they look brilliant and sound like you’re sneezing when you try to pronounce the name.
  • Twitter has proved a great place to meet and speak with other gardeners and allotmenteers. I’ve particularly enjoyed Mark and Jane Willis’s twitter feed @marksvegplot and blog and last month looked up some advice on germinating chillies and liked their suggestion for keeping foxes off your plot.
  • Another Twitter discovery was @plotno12 , his lovely, conversational #iamsowing post beautifully captured the trial and error of gardening – and his love of real ale means he’d get on with Mr @allotmentalice as well!
  • Finally, my month was rounded off with the moving honesty of Alys Fowler’s Guardian article on coming out – great writing.

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