Wednesday, 21 November 2012

World Food Shortage Solution - Grow Your Own Fruit & Veg

Climate Change is increasingly effecting our day to day lives.  The immediate effects have been felt this year in the US midwest and more recently in New York. In the UK we had little significant sunny weather to report of and now we are seeing devastating floods all across the country.  Nearly all scientists agree that the effects have been caused by humans and now it is our job to put it right.

We can try and put pressure on world governments to take drastic action before its too lat but with food prices going up way above inflation, one area we could all save money is by growing our own fruit and veg.  We may well be in for another wet year in the UK next year as climate scientists tell us that oceans are heating up, causing more precipitation in the atmosphere in some areas of the world including Western Europe while other parts of the world are drying out.

If growing your own in the UK, we need to look at vegetable varieties that are tolerant of wet conditions. Vegetables such as cabbages and other green veg such as, kale, cauliflower and broccoli are all good choices for cool, damp ground. Celery has evolved from a swamp plant so this is another good option for a wet Spring/Summer.  You could also try creating a herb garden with a selection of herb plants.

Planting in greenhouses is another option to keep your plants dry and warm. If looking at fruit to be grown in greenhouses, Indoor grape vines are ideal for this environment.

It could be a good idea to create drier conditions using raised beds. Build frames from rot resistant or plastic containers and fill with soil, mounting as high as possible to allow plenty of room for roots to grow so they do not sit in wet soil beneath the beds. The sides need to be a minimum 12 inches high, much higher if growing root crops like carrots or turnips.

While the UK and western Europe may be suffering from a wetter climate, areas such as the US midwest, Russia, and west Africa and drying out and crops such as coco and corn will not be able to grow. That's unless researchers can develop drought-tolerant plants capable of handling hotter, drier conditions like those forecast for areas such as west Africa.

Leading water scientists have issued one of the sternest warnings yet about global food supplies, saying that the world's population may have to switch almost completely to a vegetarian diet over the next 40 years to avoid catastrophic shortages.  In the long term the vegetarian diet is only going to further push up prices of fruit and veg so living off the fat of the land maybe one solution providing the climate allows for it.

Changing to a vegetarian diet is one option to increase the amount of water available to grow more food in an increasingly climate-erratic world, the scientists said. Animal protein-rich food consumes five to 10 times more water than a vegetarian diet. One third of the world's arable land is used to grow crops to feed animals so the only solution is to grow more fruit and Veg and feed less animals.

If we have another bad crop yield in the largest producing countries such as the US and Russia, we could face even larger food price hikes on not only meet but also vegetables as any shortage in one food group will push all other prices.

Humans derive about 20% of their protein from animal-based products now, but this may need to drop to just 5% to feed the extra 2 billion people expected to be alive by 2050, according to research by some of the world's leading water scientists. We will have to come up with radical new ideas how to produce food to stop the world going hungry.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Christmas Gardening Gifts from Groves

Here is a run down of the must have Christmas garden gifts from Groves.

Raspberry Bushes - from £7.50
A raspberry plant makes an ideal Christmas present. Planting healthy raspberry canes is crucial to the success of the crop. In order to attain the highest possible standards of raspberry bush health, we have ensured that - All Stocks have been entered and inspected under the Plant Health Propagation Scheme (PHPS).

We also have plenty of other soft fruit available

Wolf 2in1 Battery Grass and Hedge Trimmer £99.99
The 2 in 1 Battery Shears are now available as a promotional set which makes an idea Christmas Gift. A handy storage case contains everything you need for lawn edge and hedge trimming, including; battery shear with both grass and hedge trimming blades, a UK battery charger, clip on wheels for precision working and a user manual. The ACTS adaptable handle also comes included in this set price.
We also sell Roses and Violets which can make an unusual gift. Violets can be sent mostly all year round and Roses can only be sent from November to March. However both are available all year round at our Garden Centre. We also stock a large range of garden tools which make an ideal gift for the keen gardener.


This 400g tin makes the ideal Christmas gift from deepest, darkest Dorset.

This presentation tin contains 400g bags of traditional (stoneground) Dorset Knobs and leaves you with the ideal place to store your knobs in the future. The Dorset Knobs will be great for your after Christmas dinner with cheese and chutney.

This 6 litre Premium Cross-Beam fruit press makes a wonderful tool for crushing all your fruit. We have 6, and 12 litre presses in this model which are ideal for all fruit including Apples for juice or cider/wine, grapes for wine or juice and virtually any other fruit you can think of. There is no assembly required and is ready to use out of the packaging. It would make an ideal gift for Christmas for next years crop of apples and fruit.


Hand Made Steel Potato Planter - £24.99

Made to an Old English design, made in Dorset. This quality Potato Planting tool will save you time and back-ache and makes an ideal gift for Christmas. The tool is crafted from steel, it is sturdy and hard-wearing. A pivoted opening cup allows hole penetration and planting to be done accurately and quickly. In fact, you'll wonder how you ever managed without one.


Oak Plant Label Markers - £4.99
Handmade FSC oak plant markers x 5, ideal to use in a herb gardens. Approx length of each marker 20cm. Plant markers can be reused, by removing any writing with sand paper.       

Grape Vines - From £11.25
Growing your own grape vines is very satisfying and will make an ideal Christmas present. Growing your own vineyards is a brilliant way to produce excellent home brew. Or you may wish to grow your grape vines to produce quality grapes to eat.

Our selection of grape vines are ready for indoor and outdoor. We have red, white and rose, dessert and wine making. We feel that this gives you a real choice, without baffling you with too many varieties.      

We have a fine selection of small gifts for gardeners including Cruet sets, Tipple flask and a range of Alan Titchmarsh garden products ideal for stocking fillers or small Christmas Gifts.
Rose Plants - From £8.50

Delivered to us in November we send out bare root rose all through the winter months usually up until the end of March and then potted after this. We keep all the varieties in stock here on our nursery so we are usually able to get the roses out to you in couple of days. All Rose plants has the option of a free gift message when you get to the checkout, so you can send a Rose directly to your loved one as a Christmas Present.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Summer 2012

This year we were even listed in the Independent Newspapers 50 best garden centres in the UK! 
As the wettest summer in living history continues we still have some great things at Groves to put a smile on your face. If you buy a Grandhall Barbecue from us either online or in store we will give you vouchers for meat from the famous Donald Russell Butchers worth £20.00 and vouchers from wine from the online retailer, naked wines.
At the moment our roses are putting on an amazing show in our plant area. For the first time this year we have been able to continue selling our roses online right through the year which has proved a massive success with the very popular varieties Gertrude Jekyll and Rhapsody in Blue proving to be big hits.
Bridport always has lots going on during the summer months and here at Groves we like to get stuck in. We will be taking part in the Bridport Carnival, visiting Buckham Fair, The Melplash Show, the Eat Dorset Food Fair and for the first time we will have a stand at the Dorset County Show. We are also sponsoring an outdoor showing of the new film by local film maker Stephen Banks; Dorset by Night. Part of the Bridport Festival of Culture, the film will be shown during the closing event at West Bay, being projected onto the harbour wall. Dorset by Night is still in production but you can get an idea of this stunning project by taking a look at Stephen’s earlier release; Bridport by Night.
Whatever you are up to in the garden this summer let us know…We are always tweeting on Twitter, Liking on Facebook, Pinning on Pinterest or making videos on YouTube. We even have real people answering the phone! So if you have any questions or comments about gardening, our website or just fancy a chat please do get in touch.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Plant of the Month for March Vinca

Vinca minor is a very popular ground cover plant and is a smaller version of its vigorous relative the greater periwinkle.

Vinca minor’s leaves, flowers and growth rate are about two thirds those of Vinca major. This makes Vinca minor more suitable for a variety of uses.

It can be planted in smaller beds and borders, and is very useful in winter baskets and containers. It is also good at colonising poor, dry and slightly shady conditions. It’s creeping and arching stems soon make an attractive carpet of bright green foliage. The sky-blue flowers appear in spring and are very attractive set against the green leaves.

Vinca minor can also be used as under planting for shrubs, roses and any odd corner of the garden that requires some greenery to brighten it up.

Vinca will grow in most soil types but like most other plants, requires good drainage at all times.

It can even be grown as a substitute for grass under trees. Spring flowering bulbs like snowdrops and crocus can also be under-planted as companion plants to good effect.

We have Vinca for sale at our garden centre right now.  You can find them in our pavilion, along with a whole range of other ground cover plants.  If you would like more information about Vinca or any other plant please feel free to get in touch with Becky or any of here plant team here at the nursery.  Either email us on or give us a call on 01308 422654.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Allotment Blog

Today was my first visit to the allotment this year.
As you can see it’s all looking a bit overgrown
With the ‘help’ of my one year old (known as EMG) I attempted to clear the asparagus bed (the one at the top) so that we can cover it in manure. Unfortunately, I had to abandon ship halfway through clearing as EMG started to eat mud so I thought I’d better take her home for lunch. But it was good to get my hands dirty and be outside.

My jobs for the week are:

1)clear and mulch the asparagus bed

2)tidy the strawberry bed and cut off any offshoots
3) plant some broad beans.

I’ll leave clearing the large bed for the boys!! So watch this space and I will keep you posted on all that is happening on our plot.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Himalayas Trek in aid of Beating Bowel Cancer

Clive and Di Groves are off to Nepal to trek the Himalayas in March.

We will be starting our trek at Pokhara and will pass through thick rhododendron forest, rice terraces and picturesque villages before rising up to trek amongst the Annapurna range of mountains, home of the highest mountain peaks in the world.

This is a tough trek and we have chosen to do this for beating bowel cancer because we lost a very fit friend through this last year.


Friday, 10 February 2012

Plant of the Month for February Camelia

Camellias are one of the best garden plants to use for adding real splash of colour in the dark winter months.

A wonderful plant to grow in the garden, or as a specimen in a container. They grow particularly well in a container provided the container is placed out of the early morning sun in frosty weather. They prefer acid soil, so use ericaceous compost if growing in a container.
Camellias are woodland plants and do best when planted in a sheltered or shady position. They can be grown in a more exposed position if watered carefully.

They can be grown quite succesfully in the open ground here in West Dorset they will just need treating with sequestrine granules once a year to stop thier leaves yellowing.

Camellias thrive in a free draining spot with plenty of humus in the surrounding soil. Mulching with leaf mould is very beneficial. Depending on the cultivar, you can have flowering from November through to April. The range of flower types and colours is vast, from light pinks to dark reds and stunning whites.

There are singles, doubles, and other flower forms available to suit your taste such as Camellia japonica, x williamsii,’Donation’, ‘Debbie’ and ‘Anticipation’.
Camellias grow well with other ericaceous plants such as Rhododendron, Pieris, and Enkianthu, deciduous and evergreen azaleas.

One of the biggest problems with camellias is probably that of sooty mould. This is a black fungus that grows on the leaves of camellias that is actually the by-product of sap sucking insects that excrete a sugary substance called “honeydew” onto the leaves. The fungus then feeds on the honeydew. If you find that your camellia becomes covered in this black substance (it looks like soot) then you need to treat it with an insecticide. Soapy water will do the trick or even better a systemic insecticide such as Provado Ultimate Bug Killer.

However whilst this will stop any more sooty mould being produced won't remove the mould that is already there. That I am afraid is down to a cloth and some soapy water. It will come off easy enough, it’s just a bit of a fiddle!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Planting Potatoes Using a Potato Planter

Our latest video is now live on our Youtube Channel.

Clive Groves is demonstrating how to plant potatoes using a potato planting tool. These are available on our website here

The planters are made locally in Dorset and hand produced. Made to an Old English design, this quality Potato Planting tool will save you time and back-ache. Crafted from steel, it is sturdy and hard-wearing. A pivoted opening cup allows hole penetration and planting to be done accurately and quickly. In fact, you'll wonder how you ever managed without one.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012


Everyone loves trees, so if you are thinking of planting one, why not do it for the Queens Jubilee.

Here at Groves Nurseries and Garden Centre we have an absolutely fantastic selection of ornamental and fruit trees, including rare and unusual varieties.

How about something topical?

Betula ‘Snow Queen’ - a beautiful white stemmed Himalayan Birch.

Pictured here is Malus ‘Royal Beauty’ – a small weeping tree with copper red young leaves, deep pink flowers and small dark red fruit.

Or on a similar theme:

Prunus kanzan ‘Royal Burgundy’ – an upright tree with rich burgundy leaves and contrasting pink blossom, with the added bonus of the leaves turning scarlet red in Autumn.

Sorbus ‘Apricot Queen’ - a small ornamental Rowan tree with bright orange berries, will tolerate harsh conditions.

Maybe you live in Somerset, well there is a Maple called Acer rubrum ‘Somerset’ which has fantastic deep red Autumn colouring.

If you want to go the whole hog, why not plant a small orchard, this need not just be Apples. We have Cherries, Plums, Pears or how about a group of Cider Apples, alternatively create your own Nuttery using our range of Cobnuts, Hazel nuts, Walnuts and Chestnuts.

Ailanthus altissima - tree of heaven

So, as you can see the list is endless. There are trees for small gardens, trees for exposed areas, wet soils and so on, in fact you name it we will probably have a tree to fit your requirements. We even have trees to celebrate a marriage – Malus ‘Wedding Bouquet’.

Once planted your garden will feel like a little piece of Heaven, come to think of it we have that as well a tree called Ailanthus altissima commonly called ‘The Tree of Heaven’!

Go on celebrate the Queens Jubilee and plant a tree.

If you would like any further help choosing a tree or in fact any question about gardening, please feel free to get in touch with me or anyone at Groves either by e-mail or by calling 01308 422654

Kind regards
Steve Ward

Monday, 23 January 2012

The importance of eating Fruit & Veg.

We all read and hear in the news that it’s important to eat fresh fruit and Veg. Not only do they provide antioxidants to help prevent cancer but most are high alkaline forming foods which are great for overall health.

If we have too much acid in our system, we decrease the body’s ability to absorb minerals and other nutrients. Too much acid decreases energy production in cells and increase the risk of tumour cells thriving.

The problems we face today is that our diet consists of too many processed foods. We also eat acid producing animal products like meat, eggs and dairy and not enough fruit and veg to even this imbalance out. We also eat acid producing processed foods such as flour, sugar and drink too much acid producing beverages like coffee and soft drinks.

To correct this we need to clean up the diet and lifestyle.
Generally, alkaline forming foods include: most fruits, green vegetables, peas, beans, lentils, spices, herbs, seasonings, and seeds and nuts.  Why not not try and grow fruit and Veg which will give you an incentive to eat healthy. Click here to buy Fruit plants or Veg Seed

To maintain health, the diet should consist of 60% alkaline forming foods and 40% acid forming foods.

Acid/Alkaline Food Chart

Our bodies are about 80% alkaline and 20% acidic. That’s a good reason to consume approximately 80% alkaline foods and 20% acidic foods. Realistically if you can maintain a ratio of 60% alkaline to 40% acidic food, this will be sufficient to give your body what it needs.

The pH scale goes from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Below 7 is acid and above 7 is alkaline.

It might seem like eating something at a pH of 6 isn’t that much different than eating something at a pH of 7, but pH is an exponential scale: every unit of change in pH equals a 10-fold increase. So the acidity of a food with a pH of 6 is ten times more acidic than that of a food with a pH of 7. A difference of 2 units (from 7 to 5) would mean that the acidity is 100 times greater. That means that Coca-Cola with pH 2 is 100,000 times more acidic than water (neutral pH of 7). Coffee with pH 4 is 1,000 times more acidic than water.