NEWS

Want to learn more about Country Enterprise type skills and activities? A good reason to 'Stay-Away' is to learn more about Country-Enterprise activities. Our diary of courses highlights what's on offer throughout the year. And read a very useful article on low maintenance gardening from  Jane Vyse, a Bicton College lecturer.

Now's the perfect time to visit a vineyard - like Biddenden - to taste and buy, or pop into a farmshop - like Taywell - an increasing number stock English wines, ask at your village shop - like Burgess Stores - or check out your favorite shop for local food and drink- like Sussex and the City. or visit your local Farmers' Market - like Penshurst or Lamberhurst.

Check out our directory of very special B&Bs and hotels, lots more to come soon here.

Are you a producer, craft or rural business, farm shop, visitor attraction, pub, b&b etc who'd like to be part of Country-Enterprise have a look at our professional pages for how to join us.

NEW FARMER'S MARKET ALERT

Drive through the vines at Lamberhurst Vineyard, Kent to find local food and wines - and a good cup of coffee! Held every 4th saturday. Look out for their blackboard coming soon.

AMAZING WEATHER IS PERFECT FOR VISITING BEAUTIFUL, INSPIRING GARDENS AND TAKING A FRESH LOOK AT YOUR OWN GARDEN - ARE YOU MAKING THE MOST OF IT? BUT IT'S ALSO WORTH VISITING WELL PLANNED GARDENS ON A WET AND WINDY DAY FOR A CHANCE TO SEE THE BEST PLANTS AND PLANTING TO COPE WITH BAD WEATHER.

Pet rabbits and Guinea Pigs love a chance to eat fresh grass, just make sure their hutches and arks are secure and they can't tunnel their way to freedom - or into the jaws of the neighbor's cat! And despite bird flu' you can still have chickens, ducks and geese - take advice from a reputable housing provider.

  is worth a click! It's got lots of beautiful, colouful brochures you can flip through, go back a few pages, have another look - whatever you want, whenever you want - and you'll never have to recycle them! Our new Green Brochures website will be the place to find virtual copies of actual brochures that you won't lose under the sofa, throw away by mistake, etc. TELL YOUR FRIENDS AND CONTACT US TO FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN HAVE AN ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY GREEN BROCHURE AND/OR GREEN SPACE TO PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS/ORGANISATION.

Want to see what a Greenspace can do? Have a look for yourself.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT LAND BASED ENTERPRISES AND HOBBIES

We've interviewed a real a country enterprise expert - an experienced beekeeper. If you'd like to know more about keeping bees read his interview here.

Need more info on bird 'flu, foot & mouth, bluetongue? Go to www.defra.gov.uk

PRESERVE RARE BREED FARM ANIMALS - EAT THEM!

Rare breed butchers are calling on the public to eat more meat from rare breeds to encourage farmers to stock them and ensure their survival. Supermarket demand for cheaper meat has lead to farmers giving up traditional breeds in favour of faster maturing breeds that yield bigger carcases. Village butchers and celebrity chefs are promoting rare breed meats, highlighting their flavour and tenderness.

WILD HARVEST

 

 
 
   

Old pasture - and golf courses! - can be good places to find an autumn crop of mushrooms. Small, Field Mushrooms are the most delicate in flavour but the larger Field Mushrooms are also delicious and some can reach the size of a dinner plate. If you know your funghi there are other tasty delights for free, but if you're not sure about what's edible don't be tempted - some innocent looking mushroom/toadstools can be deadly.

APPLE DAYS

 
   
   

All over the UK, October is the month for Apple Days and Festivals. Brogdale, Faversham, Kent is home of the National Fruit Collections and their Apple Festival is one of the country's biggest events.


COMPOST CAN SAVE YOU MONEY

With UK councils missing European landfill targets some are trialing microchips to weigh and record the rubbish from individual households. Adding a rubbish surcharge to existing council tax bills would require government sanction but the level of possible EU fines makes it a likely option.

SPRING WILL BE EARLIER NEXT YEAR, AND THE YEAR AFTER THAT, AND THE YEAR...!

A comprehensive, Europe wide, survey by the Centre for Hydrology and Ecology has shown that Spring does come a little earlier each year. It currently arrives around a week earlier than it did in the 1970s. This gives bugs an early start and threatens many plant species.

GLOBAL WARMING COULD THREATEN UK WINTER VEGETABLES

Last year's summer drought conditions in South East England meant greatly reduced crops of cauliflowers and cabbages.

NEW GENERATION BLACKCURRANTS - THE ULTIMATE FRUIT?

 Researchers in Kent, England are working on increasing the natural level of vitamin C in blackcurrants by changing their traditional growing environment. For centuries the fruit has been used to cure sore throats, treat diarrhea and help conditions that require a diuretic. Recent research in New Zealand has shown that blackcurants could also block the cell damage which leads to Altzeimers.  

RURAL EMPLOYMENT:

A DEFRA funded survey has shown that organic farms in the UK average 6.4 employees compared with 4.6 on non organic farms. It also shows that organic farmers are often newcomers to farming, are young and are 'into' diversification and selling direct to the public.

UK growers of strawberries for supermarkets are using polytunnels on a large scale to provide continuity of supply. To counteract complaints about the effect on the landscape they claim they are bringing back high levels of employment to the countryside.

GO GREEN and BUY A BASKET!

A hand made British willow basket will last a lifetime - maybe longer.Plastic carrier bags take over a hundred years to rot - not the best legacy to leave the kids!

Hate plastic carriers because:

They hurt your hands if you fill them more than half full.

They split and dump your shopping on the pavement.

They look ugly, any other form of bag or basket looks better!

You feel guilty when you see how many you throw away in the rubbish each week.

HERB WATCH

Sweet Cicely

A beautiful addition to the herb garden this is an 'old fashioned' herb that deserves a revival. Add a leaf or two when cooking sour fruit to reduce the amount of sugar needed to sweeten. Seeds have a strong aniseed flavour and it will self seed easily

 

 COTTAGE GARDEN CALENDAR :

The June border: a riot of purple sage flowers, dark red Roman roses, white marguerites and variegated sage leaves. Grown close together to suppress weeds none of these plants need watering. The sage lasts 6 or 7 years, when it starts to look straggly plant a new one close beside it to grow into the old plant's space. Don't trim too much or you lose the 'floppy' look and the border becomes too tidy. Remove all dead stalks in early winter, pull out any obvious weeds and top the border with a generous layer of compost. Then - wait for summer! Fill any obvious gaps with a geranium in a terracotta pot, white works well bringing out the colours around it.

May Apple Blossom

 Classic Apple trees in cottage gardens are old, gnarled and immaculately pruned, modern ones are in pots!  Blossoming in mid season, the world famous Cox used to be classed as self fertile, but there are always more apples with a pollinator nearby - a crab apple that produces blossom at the same time is ideal, or a Worcester Pearmain. Try growing four or five trees in big pots for a mini orchard - given good soil to begin with and water when they're dry they'll fruit for ten years or more - pretty impressive pot plants.