What topics would you like me to cover in my newsletter?

Hi everyone, some of you will have seen I’ve started a new supporters monthly newsletter to help cover the costs of running my site, which gets more expensive every year.

And it’s important to me that I make it as useful as possible for you all, so I wondered what sort of topics you would like me to explore and cover? Whether it’s vegetables, fruit, ornamental plants, techniques or anything else?

Would be great to have your tips about best vegetable varieties; when to sow what; tips on how to nurture seedlings (veg & flowers); recommendations e.g. seed companies / compost / nurseries / podcasts; your favourite gardens (so we can dream about visiting again!!) …

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Thanks Ruth! Those are some great ideas. I’m wondering if the newsletter should cover multiple topics rather than focus on just one per month. It’s hard to know what people find the most useful and interesting.

tricky - I think multiple topics will probably catch people’s attention more, because if there’s only one topic and it doesn’t interest the reader then you’ve lost them, whilst you’re more likely to keep readers if you have a variety of things to read… off the top of my head, you could have regular topics like ‘plant of the month’, ‘what to sow now’, ‘this month’s top tip’… the main thing is that you enjoy writing it - you don’t want it to be a burden!! I listened to a podcast interview with Jay Rayner yesterday, the restaurant critic, who says his job is writing not eating - he needs to make what he writes worth reading, so it’s as much about style as content, which I thought was interesting!

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OK I’ll do that and introduce multiple topics.

I enjoy writing the what I’m doing stuff more than just how to things, as that can get a bit boring, e.g. the what to do in January articles are a bit laborious. But at the same time I know they’re also the most useful. I guess the answer is to try and do both! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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I think you can and should write about what you’re doing… just add in some tips along the way by explaining why you do what you do. Humour is good too - really enjoyed your piece about seed buying - any gardener who can’t relate to that in January shouldn’t call themselves a gardener :wink:

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I think it is nice if you can surprise us a little every now and then. And practical, down to earth ideas. Seasonal stuff is always good. Introduce us to new varieties and species. A bit about allotment wildlife too, including worms, insects and arachnoids.

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What Matt & Ruth said! :partying_face: Yes, humour to underscore some of the things that we do (that we should not do) is fab.

Maybe cover propagating (growing from seed, cuttings) - outdoor & indoor plants. Many people I find are afraid to grow seeds (“too hard!”), so maybe the joy & money saving of trying seeds. The “just-give-it-a-go” of it all. And when buying plants/plugs makes sense (no shame there).

A primer on composts? Many people seem confused by the terminolgy (“its just dirt”) John Innes, seed, eracacious, soil-based, organic vs peat-free.

How to learn from failure - it happens to us all!

Maybe a weird/amazing/fun thing you have discovered/ seen (I just found out that some ladybirds/ladybugs eat mildew!)

Just be “you” :sunglasses:

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Thank you for the feedback everyone, that is much appreciated! I will try breaking it down into different topics as you suggest and see where that takes us :slight_smile:

As for humour @Belovedporcupine I will do my best haha I wish everything I wrote was like that :smile:

I totally agree that it should cover a variety of topics. I’d also like it to be observational, warts and all. Let us know when you try stuff that doesn’t go to plan ( and explain what the plan is, in the first place), what you’ve had problems with, and be honest about the absolute disasters. As well as the triumphs, of course - it isn’t all doom and gloom! One of the reasons that (dare I mention his name again…) Charles Dowding is attracting so much interest is that he is challenging gardening orthodoxies, but also being very transparent about what works and what doesn’t.

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Thank you Brian, that’s really helpful and I think you are right. It makes sense to have a range of topics. I’m not sure what I was thinking with the first one - I had in mind covering one topic a month but it’s more interesting to write and read about different things. And I will write about mishaps and errors too, I’ve always tried to be open about those as I like making mistakes but I’ve just added a specific section specifically on this on the back of your suggestion :slight_smile: It might be quite funny and informative! lol

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Just finished reading the second edition of the newsletter; I learned a lot, thought a lot and laughed a lot. Exactly the right combination of big and small, personal and global, information and instruction, and personal experiences with dead rodents. The Wild Way is an excellent concept. Here in Stockholm there is some discussion going on on the role of allotments in city planning, how they contribute to biodiversity - someone pointed out that since different allotment holders garden in different ways, some wilder than others, it actually greatly contributes to the observed biodiversity in the cities.

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Thanks Matt, I’m glad you liked it - it definitely feels better with a mix of topics. I think next time I will reduce the number of longer thought pieces slightly and concentrate more on plant ideas etc. Not get rid of the thought pieces, but just have one less maybe. Unless everyone enjoyed the longer reads too.

That’s interesting about the allotments and different styles benefiting, I can see that happening with the mix of habitat it produces for wildlife. So long as people don’t use insecticides!

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