11 glorious 'grow your own' blogs
Are you looking for ideas to help you transform your little patch of earth into a horticultural wonderland? To inspire you to get busy in your garden this summer, here are 11 green and glorious gardening blogs we love.
Warning: Proceed with caution; reading these blogs may cause an immediate trip to the garden centre.
How about exchanging the bustle of the city for "the Good Life"? Eight years ago, Karen and her family did just that and have never looked back: "We love collecting fresh eggs and picking seasonal food from our garden smallholding. No air miles or nasty chemicals. Just us and the soil."
Karen says she spends most of her days "in wellies, pottering around", tending to her vegetables, but chickens are a big part of her rural life too. As a serial rescuer of ex-battery hens, she has a wealth of fun and useful poultry information to share. Check out her post on how to integrate new hens to a flock and her thoughts on the dark side of chicken keeping. If you need any proof as to Karen's devotion to her feathered fowl, just check out her special Valentine for Sky, her chicken
Gardener, Mark, of Veg Plot fame!
For tips on how to grow the perfect radishes and how to throw together a mean wild garlic pesto, Mark Willis is the man to go to. His blog is a veritable cornucopia of gardening how-tos and healthy eating ideas.
But Mark's garden wasn't always filled with bountiful raised beds. For years, it boasted nothing but lawn. But then the plot began to take shape and thanks to a gentle nudge from his daughter, Emma (the author of the Mellow Mummy blog), Mark's blog also began to germinate. Now retired, and a proud grandpa to granddaughter Lara, Mark has more time to spend in his garden. With his stunning photography and wealth of helpful advice, you'll find a trip to Mark's veg plot both beautiful and educational.
Urban gardener Naomi Schillinger has never had as much space as she'd like in her garden in North London. But that's never stopped her. And now she has a greenhouse which means there's even more she can grow, namely tomatoes.
When she's not writing her popular blog, Naomi takes part in Guardian podcasts about growing tomatoes, writes gardening articles for newspapers and magazines and she still finds time to set up community garden projects and write books. She's a busy woman!
But Naomi's main passion is still her garden. If, like her, you have a soft spot for some finely grown topiary, check out her elephant herd creation, although you might want to pay your respects while you do; one baby elephant has recently succumbed to incurable Honey Fungus.
Carrots making their way from... allotment to kitchen!
Allotment 2 Kitchen is all about growing and enjoying the finest, freshest vegetables. Shaheen, a proud Wales-based vegetarian, has all kinds of recipes on her blog to help you cook your veggies as creatively as possible. We love her Vegan Welsh Cottage Pie with dragon scale potatoes.
Shaheen started out gardening in an allotment but now she grows her greens in her own garden. She says she always wanted her own "green space to quench my vegetable growing desire".
Honest and optimistic, Shaneen blogs about the reality of gardening, sore backs, lack of funds for new equipment and all. But none of that quenches her love for getting "stuck right into it". She believes a kind of "magic" happens in the garden, even if it's become a bit "weedy and overgrown"!
Ethnobotanist Emma Cooper is a true unconventional gardener
Unconventional Gardener, Emma Cooper is the Julia Child of the gardening blog world. Through her posts, and in her book, The Allotment Pocket Bible, she helps "garden-less gardeners find, maintain and have fun with an allotment".
Don't worry if you're a relative newcomer to gardening – having gone from a "gardening newbie to keen gardener, to a passionate plant nerd in record time", Emma knows how you feel. Her posts on the gardening basics, from how to prepare a new veg garden to what to wear, are a great place to start.
An ethno-botanist by trade, Emma says she's "never happier than when she's in her garden, up to her elbows in compost and tangled in twine." Her garden is her playground, laboratory, and sanctuary and her blog is a great place to get a hefty dose of gardening inspiration.
The Oldham family share tales
of their kitchen garden
Ever had the urge to 'Dig for Victory' by creating a replica 1940s wartime garden? Well, Andrew and Carol Oldham have done just that! Aiming to create a simple self-sufficient life in the Saddleworth Hills, the Oldham family transformed their quarter-acre plot into an abundant garden and turned their gardening adventures into beautifully written posts on their blog.
As gardening parents, the couple have plenty of ideas for gardening with children. Have a read of their herb-sowing adventure with their son, Little D.
In the spirit of "make do and mend", Andrew and Carol are big fans of foraging. But with great bounty, comes great responsibility, so if you get inspired and want to follow in their footsteps, do make sure you follow their four foraging rules
Judy Bown went from reluctant to passionate gardener, on moving to Somerset
If you've always wanted to create a kitchen garden, but never thought you had the time, Judy Bown may well change your mind – she built hers in just 12 weeks!
Judy wasn't always an enthusiastic gardener but post on the 6 Childish Reasons for Choosing Raised Beds gives some excellent reasons for getting started. "I want to go outside and play" is our favorite.
Today, when she's not tending to her garden in Somerset, surrounded by fields of sheep and cider apple trees, she concocts beautiful soups , chutney and fools, and as we write, there's a delicious-sounding bottle of elderberry gin soaking in a Mason jar before the berries come out and it's bottled up. We think that's a great way to prepare for Christmas!
Anni's been creating a bio-diverse, nature-friendly garden for years
You've got to be intrigued by a woman who grows groundbreaking parsnips and likes to experiment with tiny fruit trees. Perennial vegetables enthusiast, Anni Kelsey's been blogging about her perennial project for eight years now. She says:
"I now have a range of perennial veggies happily living in the garden which provide food for virtually no work through the year. It has taken quite a lot of work to track them down and learn how to grow them, but that has all been great fun."
Anni's quest for perennial greatness has led to some choice stories, like the time she bamboozled her greengrocer with her question about celeriac. Through it all, her number one gardening rule remains the same: "Please Resist Too Much Interfering with Nature."
Kay Hebbourn is all about permaculture
"I'm digging deeper and learning all the time," says Kay Hebbourn. And it shows. Her blog is packed with ideas, projects, and original recipes for the keen at-home gardener to try. Her recipes for homemade gardener's soap, hand scrub, and salve are inspired. And we can't wait to build a clay cob pizza oven just like hers.
But the most important thing Kay's learned about in her years in the garden is permaculture. As she says,
"permaculture is all about living lightly on the earth and sustainability. It's about creative solutions to climate change, frugal living and turning waste into resources."
It's a great approach for gardeners with smaller spaces because, as Kay says, you can "task each element in the garden with multiple functions".
Gardening Kay's way is eco-minded and as her recipe for Rhubarb, Apple, and Rose Jam shows, it's pretty tasty too.
Mandy Barber with her bumper garlic crop
The Incredible Vegetables blog delivers on the promise of its name. Julien Skinner and Mandy Barber, are "passionate and somewhat obsessed" gardeners and use their blog to write about some really amazing veg.
This Devon-based couple offer advice on growing everything from Chinese artichokes - which might look like like grubs, but actually taste delicious when pickled, sauteed or stir-fried - to the fantastically bright and colourful Ulluco tubers.
Reading about Mandy and Julien's weird and wonderful world of veg might just turn you a garden-appropriate shade of green. But don't fret because via their online shop, the couple sell plants, seeds and tubers that UK gardeners might find hard to source.
Natassia and Robert Doets created the Eccentric Gardeners blog to "become a source of inspiration for all edible gardeners, now matter how experienced you are or what size your garden is." Mission accomplished, we say.
The couple and their son relocated from Amsterdam to Devon not too long ago and set about creating a dream edible garden of their own. Now they share ideas and recipes based on what they've grown, like this delicious Wild Garlic, Spinach and Quinoa salad.
The pair are only, as they fully admit, "slightly crazy". But when you see how they transformed their non-descript back garden into an edible wonderland you'll wish you were just as eccentric as they are.
We hope you find these blogs inspiring, but we'd also love to know about your gardening blog. Just share it on our Facebook page.
Lead image: Kanjanee Chaisin