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April Compost Corner
11-04-2017

With that well-known scientific genius Donald Trump deciding climate change is fake news, we can all rest easy knowing that living without a proper winter is 'going to be so great!'

It's disturbing to hear of people who've been harvesting their asparagus since early March and seeing rapeseed fields already in flower for a month. This winter has been so mild and dry that winter-planted bare root shrubs have dried up before they were able to put on root.

Rape Seed FieldClimate change will affect the crops we grow at home. A longer, warmer growing season may seem like a blessing but we'll have to plant earlier, water more and sow crops more tolerant of the changing conditions. Some crops may become the preserve of more northern areas, while commercial tea and olive plantations have already been set up in southern parts of Britain. In the past few years I've seen crops of Kiwi and Passionfruit growing outdoors in Leicester.

Gardeners are busily sowing seeds for their vegetable gardens, but maybe it's worth considering crops better suited to the changing environment. 

Why not try amaranthus as well as spinach, Chinese long beans as well traditional runners, and sweet potatoes alongside Maris Piper. Sowing earlier and succession sowing, in batches say a fortnight apart, could help counter the effects of not only hotter weather but of the unpredictability that comes with climate change.

Salad MassBy now you should be planting your favourite brassicas, peas and beans, onions, and root vegetables. Why not try some of the wonderful Italian varieties, like Romanesco cauliflower, Florence fennel, Venetian celeriac or Cavolo nero kale, they may be more suited to our future climate. Whatever you grow, you'll need to water and mulch more and maintain a healthy water-retentive soil by using lots of compost.

Gardeners are an adaptive and resilient lot. I have every faith in our ability to cope with the folly of man and the ignorance of one man in particular.

Tony Huxley

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