Why Grow Organic?Written by Frann Leach
You may feel that growing your own produce is difficult enough, without adding to problems by growing them organically. Well, you pays your money and you takes your choice, as they say, but for me, there are several reasons for going whole hog:
- Firstly, you don't have to worry about handling all sorts of noxious chemicals, wearing special gear to use it, and all that
- Secondly, in my opinion (your mileage may vary here), organically produced vegetables taste better
- Thirdly, it's not really that much more work, methods are different, but no more difficult
- Fourthly, organic vegetables are better for you
- And finally, why go to all that effort to produce a substitute for cheap factory-produced food? Much better to go for good stuff!
Eat more fruit and veg for health
The British Government is always telling us to eat more healthily. They say everybody should consume a minimum of five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
But how many chemicals are there in that much conventionally farmed produce?
Organic fruit and veg may be hard to find at a decent price. And if you do find a supplier, often organic produce that is on offer is not very attractive. It may be better for you — but it looks horrible, not at all appetising.
So what's solution?
A shock, and a realisation
Around about 1992, I had two young children, aged 2 and 4 years. I was trying to give them a healthy diet, and they loved carrots. Every day they would grab at least one carrot each from vegetable rack, sometimes more. I was pleased. "They're getting good fibre, vitamins, stuff for their eyesight, and chewing is good for their teeth," I thought.
I was watching news one day, when a very strange item came on (like something out of a science fiction story, I thought at time). The Government was issuing a Health Warning on... carrots!!! Apparently, because of a rise in some pest or other (I know now it was carrot fly), farmers had been using huge amounts of pesticide chemicals, so much so, that carrots produced contained dangerous amounts. The advice was to peel them before use.
Guide to Growing Tree FernsWritten by David Howlett
Tree ferns have been around since prehistoric times when dinosaurs roamed earth. Originally popularised by Victorians, tree fern has undergone something of a revival in recent years, helped no doubt by it frequent appearances in many of television garden makeover programmes.
Varieties of tree ferns to grow in UK
Tree ferns can roughly be divided in hardy and non hardy when growing in UK. It is likely there are up to a thousand species of tree fern, with most of them growing in Southern Hemisphere and tropics. Many of these are not a all cold hardy and it would be very difficult to grow them successfully outside in UK. The two main cold hardy types for our climate are called: Cyathea and Dicksonia. The most commonly available of these are: Cyathea spinulosa, Cyathea australis, Cyathea dealbeta, Dicksonia Antarctica, Dicksonia fibrosa and Dicksonia squarrosa.
Different sizes of tree fern and where to buy them
Tree fern are available as plants that have been propagated from spores and complete trunks that have been harvested from rain forests or tropical areas of world, often as a by-product of other activities. You can usually buy them at garden centres or specialist nurseries. The trunks are often sold without fronds straight from container and fronds will start to appear after a few weeks. Expect to pay more if you want to buy a tree fern with fronds.
Choosing a position for a tree fern
Tree ferns prefer to grow with some shade. They will adapt to a sunny position but will need very regular watering and may suffer from sunburn to fronds. So ideally you need to pick a spot in garden with some shade during at least part of day. Ferns also like a moist surrounding and tree ferns really need watering every day during warmer months especially inside and down trunk. They will grow equally happy in containers but again will prefer a shady spot.