It's hard to understate the importance of bees. Don't just think honey. We rely on bees and other insects to pollinate most of our fruit and vegetables. Sadly, our bee population is under threat from intensive farming, urbanisation, disease and other factors. In the last century 20 species have become extinct in the UK, with another 35 currently under threat.
The honey bee and bumblebee are the most recognisable of the species. Actually there are about 270 varieties. And not all depend on a hive. Some bees are solitary.
The strange thing is, places that are good for bees are good for people too. We share their love of varied, natural green spaces, clean air and water. We both love wild areas full of blossom. Grow plants that attract bees and not only will your allotment or garden have the happy background sound of buzzing, you'll improve your chances of a better fruit, vegetable and flower crop too.
Suttons Seeds have produced a useful infographic giving more information and action you can take to encourage bees in your allotment or garden. To view this click here. There's also a useful list shown below of bee friendly plants to grow throughout the year, produce by Friends of the Earth.
Superfoods is the latest food industry health buzzword to persuade us to buy their products. There is lots of evidence they really do you good. To read independent advice on their benefits from the NHS click here.
Having convinced yourself they're a good thing to have in your diet, here's a helpful and informative guide to growing your own superfoods. Just click either image to access more information about superfoods. If you'd like to print this guide, click the Print Friendly button at the foot of the post.
So damp over the last few weeks, there's been little chance to do anything on the allotment. So what's been occupying me?
I've been building a social history website all about St Ives. It's such a beautiful little town with an ancient history. Quite a bit of my time has been spent transcribing newspaper reports from 100 years ago mentioning St Ives in local and national newspapers.
Seems so much further back in time. Transportation to Australia for minor offences, and public whipping. World War 1 seems to have crept up unannounced locally, but pretty soon all the town was taken up with military manoeuvrings. Poignant letters from sons at the Front. And the first news of casualties and deaths in battle.
If you're interested in that type of thing, click the image above to go to the website.
October is a forward-looking month. Time to plan for spring. So here's a list of vegetables to plant now.
Garlic cloves are best planted in Autumn. They benefit from a good dose of frost. Don't need much tending once in, just keep the weeds at bay, water when dry from late spring and cut off any stalks that appear. Read more >
Autumn sown broad beans mature a good month ahead of spring-sown varieties and are more resistant to mildew. Sow two inches deep, eight inches apart. Support with canes as they grow. Water as flowers appear and once a fortnight thereafter.
Sow Senshyu semi globe yellow seeds now for perfectly sized onions next July. One packet will supply enough onions for you and all the family. Read more >
Still a couple of weeks left to sow spinach for a nutritious, tasty and trouble-free crop over winter. Read more >