Green Fingers I Wish

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Indian tea growers visit Yorkshire

A tea company in the northern English county of Yorkshire has sought help from India in its plans to develop one of the UK's first tea gardens.

Taylors of Harrogate turned to experts from the state of Assam in its efforts to grow tea in "God's own county".

They gave advice to UK staff on what kind of soil the tea bushes would thrive in and also on how best to care for them in an unfavourable climate.

Much of the leaves in Taylors' "Yorkshire Tea" come from South Asia.

The company estimates that 9m cups of "Yorkshire Tea" are drunk each day.

Now blenders of the popular brew have just planted their very own tea plantation - in the not so tropical spa town of Harrogate.

The tea plantation is located in a small courtyard outside Taylors tea and coffee factory.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Grapefruit link to breast cancer

Eating grapefruit every day could raise the risk of developing breast cancer by almost a third, US scientists say.

A study of 50,000 post-menopausal women found eating just a quarter of a grapefruit daily raised the risk by up to 30%.

The fruit is thought to boost levels of oestrogen - the hormone associated with a higher risk of the disease, the British Journal of Cancer reported.

But the researchers and other experts said more research was still needed.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Pea Crops Ruined By Floods

Farmers say much of Lincolnshire's pea crop has been completely wiped out by the floods.

Water standing in acres of pea fields across the county has caused the plant roots to rot and die.

Six-hundred-and-fifty homes in the county have been affected by the floods.

Agencies including the emergency services said they had received more than 7,000 calls for assistance.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Grow your own salad

Bags of salad leaves are expensive to buy in supermarkets and because they are washed and ready to eat, they have a short lifespan in the fridge. By growing your own, you can pick the exact quantity and combination of colours that you want for each meal. Most varieties of lettuce are foolproof and can be sown anytime between spring and summer. But by giving the plants protection, it is even possible to sow seeds in the autumn for tasty leaves over winter. For a continuous supply, sow a few seeds every four weeks.

How to sow

  1. Choose a sunny or partly shaded spot, and prepare the soil by digging over, removing stones and then mixing in well-rotted manure or garden compost. This will add nutrients and help the soil retain moisture. Rake to leave a fine finish.
  2. Seeds often come in ready-mixed packets, so you can recreate your favourite supermarket salad mix.
  3. Sow seeds in short rows about 30cm (12in) apart. To do this, make a shallow trench with a cane about 1.5cm (1/2in) deep. Tip a small amount of seed into your hand, take a pinch and spread thinly along the trench. Cover with soil, label and water. If birds are a problem in your garden, spread netting to prevent them eating the seed.
  4. When the seedlings are about 2cm (1in) tall, thin them out to give them space to grow. The distance will depend on variety, but is usually between 15cm (6in) and 30cm (12in).


Keep soil just moist. This is particularly important when the lettuces are one or two weeks away from harvesting, as dry soil now will cause the plants to put their energy into producing flowers.

When to pick

Harvest leaves from cut-and-come again lettuces when plants are about 5cm (2in) high, or allow the plants to grow to about 15cm and cut the whole head off leaving a 3cm (1in) stump - a new plant should soon re-sprout. Loose-leaf lettuces need to have leaves harvested regularly to remain productive, while traditional lettuces are harvested by severing at the base or by pulling the whole plant up from the ground.