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Category: Household, House & Garden

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      04.05.2010 00:41
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      Great little website for all ages

      Hi, this is my review of the BBC 'Dig in' website, which can be found at www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/digin

      'Dig in' started last year through the BBC, via both Gardeners World and the Cbeebies channel. It aimed to help children, and new adult gardeners have a go at growing some vegetables, by giving away five free seed packets, then giving advice about how and where to grow them, even in the smallest of spaces.

      My daughter loves Cbeebies so loved to get involved again this year when she saw her favourite presenters starting to sow their seeds. We sent off for our free packets of french beans, courgettes, mixed salad, basil and Chantenay-type carrots. Last year we signed up for the newsletter, which gave lots of good advice, so I have registered for that aswell this year, and noticed they have expanded their website so decided to write this review.

      The website isn't aimed at children, but its simple and easy to read, and uses the orange and green 'dig in' branding that they used last year. The home page is bright and cheerful, on a brown/stone background with dark brown writing, and links in a bright blue font. The 'Dig in' logo shows the 'DIG' in a straight font, and the word 'IN' is written using different gardening items which keeps changing, such as a garden gnome for an 'I' and an 'N' made out of courgettes.

      Running along the top of the page are links to take you further in to the site. These are:
      Home, Grow your veg, Plan your space, Gallery, On tour, Newsletter, Q & A, and More help

      The first part of the homepage you notice is the large iPlayer which you can click to play. The content changes weekly, but this week it features Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins talking about different containers, which can be anything from plastic yoghurt pots, to baked bean tins and oil drums

      Under the iplayer are large pictures of the five free seed packets we were sent, basil (sweet genovese), salad leaves (mixed), courgette (black beauty), carrot (royal chanteney red) and French bean (blue lake). By clicking on the pictures, it takes you through to a video about how to sow, grow and harvest each plant. This is in the usual 'dig in' style - a mix of real pictures and animation, which is easy to follow, aimed at the most amateur gardener. I do think that this is probably too basic, and even if you have never grown anything before, you probably need more information than this, such as how to manage pests, what to feed the plants with etc.

      At the bottom of the homepage, you find a daily tip, or job that needs doing that week, for example, todays tip is to sow the carrots and prick out seedlings, if you click on the link, it shows you how to do these jobs and more on the gardeners world website.

      On the right handside of the homepage, you can find a link to the BBC food website, to help find recipes for the vegetables you are growing, an easy link to sign up the Dig in newsletter, and a handy 3 day weather forecast (which can be changed for your own location by typing in your postcode).

      By clicking on the links that run along the top of the homepage, you can go further into the website, I will briefly explain what each page contains...

      Grow your veg:

      As I already explained above, this is another link to each of the five featured vegtables with animations, information, links and tips about each. You can also download the Dig In growing guide (PDF file, 748kb), which is sent out to you with your seeds, but handy if you have lost your copy (like me) or were too late to clim the freebie seeds.

      This section of the website also includes an archive of the vegetables which were featured last year tomato, butternut squash, carrots, beetroot and lettuce)


      Plan your space:

      This section is great if you are not sure where you will grow your seeds, especially if you lkive in a house with no garden or a flat. Here you will find that even the smallest space can give a great crop. You can click onto the size of space you have, including window box, balcony, patio, garden plot or vegetable patch, and the animated guides will show you in easy steps how to plan to do the most with the space you have.

      Gallery:

      Self explanatory - pictures of lots of kiddies with their seedlings

      On Tour:

      The 'Dig in' team of expert gardeners go on a roadshow over the summer doing workshops and activites, giving advice and giving out more free seeds! This page gives you the dates and locations of the 2010 tour


      2010 tour dates Location:
      Friday 16th and Saturday 17th April Swansea Big Screen, Swansea
      Fri 23rd and Saturday 24th April Dover Big Screen, Market Square, Dover
      Monday 3rd May Kingston May Merrie, Kingston upon Thames
      Friday 7th and Saturday 8th May Leicester Big Screen, Leicester
      Sunday 16th May Kenilworth Festival, Abbey Fields, Warwickshire
      Sunday 30th and Monday 31st May Southend Festival of the Air, Prittlewell Square, Clifftown Parade, Southend
      Sunday 5 June Springwatch Wild Day Out, Grange Park, Omagh
      Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 June Bradford Mela, Peel Park, Bradford


      Newsletter:

      As I already mentioned, I signed up to the newsletter last year, which is really informative, and to be honest, is like a mini version of the website, with the same headings and brief information under each. This is emailed to you every other friday, with a gardening weather forcast for that weekend!


      Q & A:

      In this part of the website, anyone can email in their gardening problems to get an answer from an expert. So if you want to know what type of compost to buy, or what temperature your greenhouse needs to be, you can get the answer from various gardening experts at Gardeners World, the Royal Horticultural Society or Radio Scotland. Also a link to the general bbc gardening message board, which is good that you can get advice from other readers.


      More help:

      The last page of the website is basically a links page with recommended websites where you can find out more about growing your own, such as the Royal Horticultural Society website and the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners.


      Overall, I think this website is 10/10. It is easy to follow, great for both adults who want to start growing (not too patronising), but also great for kids to watch and recognise, as all the 'Dig in' branding and animation is used on the Cbeebies channel. A great way to get kids interested in where their food comes from. We cant wait for our seedlings to get bigger so we can plant them out and send some pics into the website!

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    • More +
      29.07.2001 06:04
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      I'm surprised to see that this site hasn't been reviewed before now especially as gardening seems to be the'in thing' at the moment.Where shall I begin? On landing on the homepage you will see quite a lot of topics to choose from and a long list of categories to click on and open down the left-hand side of the page.Although it has got a lot of information, don't be too put off, it is all viewer friendly with those nice people like Alan Titchmarsh and Charlie Dimmock among others to guide you along. It's not just for new gardeners or people with large gardens.You can find all the information you need on anything from fruit and veg,to trees and shrubs,to houseplants.There's a good section designed for children too,good idea give them a healthy respect for plants at an early age. It's a very handy reference site that anyone who owns a plant will find very useful indeed. I like it because I can't seem to keep all the information that I try and gather in my ageing brain for very long these days,yes the old grey matter seems to be turning a shade similar to the rust variety if you know what I mean.Having this in my favourites page means that Louise and I can drop in and find out what we want know fairly quickly and easily. Looking down the categories you will see topics like Back to Basics, this will help you if you haven't grown a certain plant before and want to find out how to do it from start to finish,showing you how in step by step form with pictures to help you see what you are aiming for. Factsheets from all the BBC gardening programmes are on here too with the exception of Beechgrove Garden (who have their own site)and you can catch up with all the news if you have missed a favourite show. There is a message board where you can ask the experts questions for any problems you are encountering with your garden masterpieces and its worth taking a look first in case
      your question has already been answered. Another really good bit is the hints and tips page. Have a look in this section and find very good tips to keep the cats off your flowers,keeping slugs away etc. These all come from ordinary Joe gardeners like you and me and if you think you have a good tip you can post it here too,but like before check to see if it hasn't been posted,this can take a while to as there are a great many of them. One of the best things on this site is the Timely Tasks section. This takes you through a year in the garden giving you advice on what you should be doing like when to prune, taking cuttings,when you should be planting this and that and wildlife to look out for etc. That may be obvious to the more confident gardeners but we aren't all that clever and its always good to have a bit of backup. Finally in the fun section there are competitions and you can send E-cards which are quite nice, very colourful and flowery if you like that sort of thing. There is also a section where you can find out the significance of a plants name for instance:- Yellow Tulips,if you send someone these flowers it means that your love has no success and if you are on the recieving end of them and think that is cruel you should send back stinging nettles! Ooer! Sounds a bit nasty if you ask me.There's a whole A-Z of these little gems but some of them are much more simple like Rosemary for rememberance. There is such a lot more to this site than I have already told you about and I'm so knackered after telling you all that,I'm going to sign off and get away to my bed. Hope you find it to be of use and thanks for reading, Hamish.

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      BBC's own gardening website featuring gardening shows, plants, expert advice and more.

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