I HAVE had a bit of a telling off from Eddie Grove and quite justified it is too.

He admonished: "First, can I express my disappointment that you seem to have become a flower garden man, when, at this problem time, I have focused on veg and growing methods that I learnt at my father's knee, some 80 years ago."

You know, some items of veg that you can plant in the flower border, such as onions and shallots and of course nasturtiums, have always doubled for both.

I am very pleased to celebrate veg growing – my first love - and applaud Eddie’s success.

Isle of Wight County Press: Scroll down for details of the Bonchurch open gardens weekend...Scroll down for details of the Bonchurch open gardens weekend... (Image: Richard Wright.)

Isle of Wight gardening tips

  • Sow dwarf French beans and runners. This will extend your cropping season well into autumn. Direct sow or start them off in small pots or trays to transplant
  • For flowers that bridge the gap between spring and summer, grow biennials such as forget-me-not, foxgloves, sweet William and fragrant wallflowers for flowering next year
  • Cut back lupins to encourage more flowers

Isle of Wight County Press: Try Eddie's veg advice instead.Try Eddie's veg advice instead. (Image: Richard Wright.)

He uses the ring culture growing method for his father's preferred tomato variety, Moneymaker, as he says the technique copes with random watering.

He has planted – for decades - descendants of the beautiful shallots nurtured by legendary Island horticulturalist, Gerry Caws.

"They were planted on the shortest day, but I have not harvested them on the longest day, as advised by gardeners past, including Gerry.

"Gerry did it 50 years ago and his seed stock would still be up for best in show now."

Eddie’s onion bed is of Stuttgarter Giant sets and he has had just one failure in 60 planted.

His courgettes have produced extremely well and first picking of dwarf French beans has already been enjoyed.

The outdoor ridge cucumber is fruiting and the carrots in the raised bed (to defeat carrot fly) are doing well enough, but the beetroot seem to be lagging.

The butternut squash are developing nicely and the rhubarb bed has its second flush ready for picking.

Well done, Eddie.

  •  I was a little touched when a kind soul left a watering can by the water butt at Bullen Cross, where I have planted a couple of trees and look after two troughs. It was stolen a fortnight later. Some people, eh...

Isle of Wight County Press: Eddie's veg methods are roaring success.Eddie's veg methods are roaring success. (Image: Richard Wright.)

Historic gardens, loved by poets and writers, can be enjoyed at the charity Bonchurch Open Gardens tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday, between 1-5pm.

The annual chance to see the secret gardens of historic Bonchurch allows visitors to enjoy unique planting and design and an old-fashioned strawberry cream tea, on Spring Vale lawn, in the heart of the village.

Bonchurch is long-renowned for its microclimate, unique topography and inventive planting – adding up to two days of horticultural heaven.

There are a bumper 17 gardens open this year, some for the first time.

There will be plants on sale from an established plantsman as well as several gardeners selling prized plant progeny.

Entry is £5 for the two days and includes a detailed map and free shuttle bus, for those who find the Shute too steep.