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Send your questions to CBeebies' favourite allotment owner , Mr Bloom - ANSWERS BACK

(53 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 06-Mar-13 10:35:57

We're delighted that Ben Faulks A.K.A Mr Bloom is joining us to answer your questions. Send your questions to him by end of day on Monday 11th March and we'll post up his answers on Monday 18th March.

Ben is best known as Mr Bloom from the CBeebies award-winning series, Mr Bloom's Nursery, which he co-created and writes for.

As Mr Bloom, he plays the allotment owner who looks after the Tiddlers when they come to help him. Mr Bloom loves talking to his plants and performing catchy song-and-dance routines with them. He is also teacher and guardian to the children.

In the brand new official range of books, we can take a look around Mr Bloom's busy allotment and find out more about his Veggie friends. There's Colin the energetic runner bean, Raymond the caring butternut squash and Joan the feisty fennel, as well as an arty cabbage called Margaret and a singing aubergine named Sebastian.

Tiddlers will love learning about life at the Nursery with these cheerful and colourful books, featuring stories, stickers and activities.

To find out more visit www.randomhousechildrens.co.uk/index.php/mr-bloom/

poorbuthappy Wed 06-Mar-13 10:36:44

This is going to go 1 of 2 ways...grin

Tee2072 Wed 06-Mar-13 10:43:51

I was just thinking the same thing, poorbuthappy. grin

I will think of a question and come back.

HormonalHousewife Wed 06-Mar-13 10:45:32

Does he know he has a MASSIVE grownup mumsnet fan base ?

I can't think of a clean enough question tbh. Could you get him to pm me though grin

IllGetOverIt Wed 06-Mar-13 10:47:18

Are you from Bolton or the south west?
Are you single?
Do you wink in the opening song just for us mums' on mumsnet?
Can you please do a show or at least a clip with no hat on so that we know you're not bald underneath?

And are you doing another Mr Blooms out and about as my dc would love it?

Please answer all questions.grin

Tee2072 Wed 06-Mar-13 10:53:20

He's a brave, brave man who is probably about to get a huge ego boost!

FairyJen Wed 06-Mar-13 10:53:32

I suspect the poor bloke has noooo idea what he has let himself in for! grin

IllGetOverIt Wed 06-Mar-13 10:56:22

Oooh-also- can I pleeeeaaaasssseee have a signed photo?

Meet your 'veggies'?winkgrin

coppertop Wed 06-Mar-13 10:58:37

My question is:

How do I convince a stubborn 2yr-old that eating cabbage does not mean that poor Margaret has just been chopped up and thrown into a pan of boiling water?

Runner bean season is approaching and I'm not sure how to explain Colin's impending death either.

Thanks. smile

EauRouge Wed 06-Mar-13 11:15:49

Hello, Mr Bloom, I would like to ask a question about your vegetables. grin

We're loving your new series- will you be doing another one and if so, will you tell us where you are going to be and when? The DDs would love to meet you in person. <cough>

EauRouge Wed 06-Mar-13 11:17:20

Oh, and also DD1 (4yo) is going to be given her own little patch of garden this year. Any tips for a best first veg to grow? She won't eat it, whatever it is, so just something easy to grow. Thank you!

FairyJen Wed 06-Mar-13 11:22:15

Dd would also love a signed photo....

MimikosPanda Wed 06-Mar-13 11:28:09

Is there a Mrs Bloom?

Is that your real accent?

Julezboo Wed 06-Mar-13 11:28:56

Will you Marry me Mr Bloom? Assuming you are single that is!

HUGE fans in this house smile

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 06-Mar-13 11:29:32

MissyMooandherBeaverofSteel

I can't think of a clean enough question tbh. Could you get him to pm me though grin

<ahem> We have warned him that he's got a few fans on here but let's not scare the poor chap away...

RugBugs Wed 06-Mar-13 11:33:39

We're terribly gutted you don't appear on the line-up for the cbeebies Easter tour sad

I'd like to know how you came up with the idea of talking veggies!

MimikosPanda Wed 06-Mar-13 11:38:14

If MNHQ have pre-warned him he has fans and he is still willing to come on then he must be a good sport brave man!

EmpressOfTheSevenOceans Wed 06-Mar-13 14:52:14

Rachel's caught Olivia's cough sad

I'd like to know whether chatting with vegetables has changed Mr Bloom's attitude to eating them? Does he look at a cabbage and see Margaret?

motherofvikings Wed 06-Mar-13 15:01:59

I was gutted when I found out he wasn't actually northern! blush
It was like finding out the tooth fairy wasn't real!

My question is...

Are you actually keen on gardening or is it something you've had to learn as Mr Bloom?
If you are fairly new to it how did you get excited about it? (I'm struggling!)

Thank you! smile

IllGetOverIt Wed 06-Mar-13 15:54:13

I've thought of some more questions mr Bwink

How old are you?
Do you so home visits?

And also.....

Would also like to know what's really easy to grow either fruit or veg. What type of compost is best? And should a trough be used or just the ground? For my tiddlers.

fionathepink Fri 08-Mar-13 13:56:25

Is he really not Northern? I feel a bit cheated by Cbeebies. If so, I'd like to know why have a northern accent?

And a gardening one: how do I keep my 2 yr old contained on our allotment site without straying into those of other (less child-friendly) patches?

poachedeggs Fri 08-Mar-13 14:00:36

If he finds out has been requested to PM someone called " MissyMooandherBeaverofSteel" he may call in sick!

MountainOrMolehill Fri 08-Mar-13 14:10:01

What's the best way to get rid of slugs?

And repel buzzing things like bees

What plants/fruit attract butterflies

BoobBuffet Fri 08-Mar-13 14:16:06

Marrow, courgette or button mushroom? grin

Wigeon Fri 08-Mar-13 14:27:55

Happy birthday for Wednesday!

We should surely ask a personalised version of the biscuit question: what's your favourite vegetable?

And...what's your favourite biscuit?

poached do you think I should change my username to something more subtle to woo Mr Bloom grin

I would have loved to hear MNHQs warning to him, and his response.

Hello Mr Bloom. What are the hardiest herbs to grow indoors that can suffer over-watering and being a bit cold? My DS has a mini herb garden (read: a few pots of basil and parsley on the windowsill). He's 2 and he loves to water them but we find that they die quite quickly, probably because of this but also because it's a bit cold. Also, just for fun, what is your favourite herb and why? (Mine's dill, in case you're interested, because it is just so damn tasty and so versatile with everything from salmon to mashed potatoes. smile)

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 12-Mar-13 11:54:25

The Q&A is now closed. We've sent questions over to Mr Bloom and will post up his answers next week.

MrBloom Fri 22-Mar-13 12:25:04

coppertop

My question is:

How do I convince a stubborn 2yr-old that eating cabbage does not mean that poor Margaret has just been chopped up and thrown into a pan of boiling water?

Runner bean season is approaching and I'm not sure how to explain Colin's impending death either.

Thanks. smile

My rule is that if it hasn’t got eyes then it’s OK to eat it. On the other hand, you know you’ve got a veggie in your hands, if they start singing and dancing. My kids responded pretty well to this. We treat runner beans as friends of Colin (little colins) in as much as they are beans like him but these are just normal beans. Colin is an all singing, dancing, Veggie. There’s no way you’d find him in a pot. It’s a tough one though. Another thing that helps is if you try and get the kids to cook with you, so they get involved in the process. I’ve found that my kids are more likely to eat something that they’ve had a hand in cooking or preparing it.

MrBloom Fri 22-Mar-13 12:29:27

EauRouge

Hello, Mr Bloom, I would like to ask a question about your vegetables. grin

We're loving your new series- will you be doing another one and if so, will you tell us where you are going to be and when? The DDs would love to meet you in person. <cough>

There are plans to do another series this year although it?s going to be a new spin on the series and not the same as Get Set Grow. Having said that, there will be some very exciting Mr Bloom Live Events popping up around the country. So keep your potatoes peeled for information as and when it becomes available. And that?s hot of the press, so to speak.., unless it?s not public knowledge yet, and in which case I?m going to be in trouble. Am I in trouble??!

About the best veg to grow, our gardening consultant on the show, Dawn, says:

MrBloom Fri 22-Mar-13 12:39:52

RugBugs

We're terribly gutted you don't appear on the line-up for the cbeebies Easter tour sad

I'd like to know how you came up with the idea of talking veggies!

The idea for Mr Blooms Nursery came from a piece of Street Theatre I had written called the Vegetable Nannies. At the time I was writing small scale, low tech shows for festivals and outdoor events. I found this incredible prop, an old Victorian Pram. It was properly ancient and filthy. You’d clearly never put human baby in it but the idea came to me that it would be an ideal home for a group of baby vegetables, if you filled it with compost. So, I set about creating a cast of fruit and vegetable characters, before heading off to the grocers. I then glued eyes on them, wrapped them up in muslin nappies, stuck dummies in their mouths and off we went. It then went onto tour for a few years before I pitched it to CBeebies … but at the start of it all was this Pram. As for the Easter Tour, I hope to catch you next year.

MrBloom Fri 22-Mar-13 12:41:24

motherofvikings

I was gutted when I found out he wasn't actually northern! blush
It was like finding out the tooth fairy wasn't real!

My question is...

Are you actually keen on gardening or is it something you've had to learn as Mr Bloom?
If you are fairly new to it how did you get excited about it? (I'm struggling!)

Thank you! smile

Well, to be honest, I’m no gardener. In fact my family is lucky if I mow the lawn twice a year! That said, I’ve got a fair few pot plants in doors and I love everything that the garden and the great outdoors has to offer. Pot plants have to be the summit of my own personal gardening experience

MrBloom Fri 22-Mar-13 12:43:17

IllGetOverIt

I've thought of some more questions mr Bwink

How old are you?
Do you so home visits?

And also.....

Would also like to know what's really easy to grow either fruit or veg. What type of compost is best? And should a trough be used or just the ground? For my tiddlers.

If you’d asked me last week I would have said 33 and as for home visits, I’m afraid not, BUT I get the feeling that Dr Ranj might do (!). Now that I’ve admitted my meagre pedestrian horticultural, here’s Dawn with some gardening advice:

MrBloom Fri 22-Mar-13 12:44:36

fionathepink

Is he really not Northern? I feel a bit cheated by Cbeebies. If so, I'd like to know why have a northern accent?

And a gardening one: how do I keep my 2 yr old contained on our allotment site without straying into those of other (less child-friendly) patches?

It’s great getting the kids outdoors, especially when it’s in a natural environment but you’re right, you’ve got to make sure they’re safe. From my own experience, you’re never going to get loads done when you’re working with your kids, it’s more about the shared experience rather than the end result. Watering is always fun for little ones and if there is a water butt and a small watering can this can keep them busy for a while, or a small wheelbarrow where they can shift things from here to there! So, I tend to spend time doing stuff alongside them, and if they’re off doing they’re own thing, I keep an eye. Here’s Dawn with some other ideas:

MrBloom Fri 22-Mar-13 12:45:45

MountainOrMolehill

What's the best way to get rid of slugs?

And repel buzzing things like bees

What plants/fruit attract butterflies

I’ve mentioned before about my own dubious knowledge about all practical gardening matters but I do remember an episode where we kept the slugs and snails at bay by sprinkling gravel and broken egg shells around the base of plants. The little things didn’t like sliding over all that rubble. As for bees and butterflies, Dawn Issac, the official gardening consultant on the show says…

MrBloom Fri 22-Mar-13 12:50:52

Wigeon

Happy birthday for Wednesday!

We should surely ask a personalised version of the biscuit question: what's your favourite vegetable?

And...what's your favourite biscuit?

Fave biscuit – malted milk. Fave Veg – asparagus. Birthday wishes gratefully received.

Erm, MN, did you forget to get Dawn's input?

MrBloom Fri 22-Mar-13 12:53:53

MeerkatMerkin

Hello Mr Bloom. What are the hardiest herbs to grow indoors that can suffer over-watering and being a bit cold? My DS has a mini herb garden (read: a few pots of basil and parsley on the windowsill). He's 2 and he loves to water them but we find that they die quite quickly, probably because of this but also because it's a bit cold. Also, just for fun, what is your favourite herb and why? (Mine's dill, in case you're interested, because it is just so damn tasty and so versatile with everything from salmon to mashed potatoes. smile)

Mr Favourite herb is without a shadow of a doubt, Coriander. A true hero of the herb box. He’s strong but not overpowering. He mixes well with others and he smells a treat when you’re preparing in the kitchen. As for growing hardy herbs, I’ll have to ask Dawn Issac, the series gardening consultant, who suggests…

MrBloom Fri 22-Mar-13 12:55:24

HormonalHousewife

Does he know he has a MASSIVE grownup mumsnet fan base ?

I’ve heard rumours, but I thought it was my mates winding me up.

MrBloom Fri 22-Mar-13 13:01:06

IllGetOverIt

Are you from Bolton or the south west?
Are you single?
Do you wink in the opening song just for us mums' on mumsnet?
Can you please do a show or at least a clip with no hat on so that we know you're not bald underneath?

And are you doing another Mr Blooms out and about as my dc would love it?

Please answer all questions.grin

I’m from Cornwall
Married
Yes
That made me laugh out loud!
Keep your eyes peeled for info about live events this summer. We're hitting the road once again.

MrBloom Fri 22-Mar-13 13:01:43

MimikosPanda

Is there a Mrs Bloom?

Is that your real accent?

There’s no Mrs Bloom, but there is a Mrs Faulks. As for the accent, it’s my best northern attempt from drama school.

coppertop Fri 22-Mar-13 17:42:36

I love this thread. grin

Thank you, Mr Bloom.

What happened to Dawn's input, MNHQ?

KateSMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 22-Mar-13 17:43:36

Hi guys,

Just to let you know that Dawn's answer are coming, and hopefully we'll be posting them up on Monday.

GardnerDawnIsaac Tue 26-Mar-13 09:49:47

MrBloom

EauRouge

Hello, Mr Bloom, I would like to ask a question about your vegetables. grin

We're loving your new series- will you be doing another one and if so, will you tell us where you are going to be and when? The DDs would love to meet you in person. <cough>

There are plans to do another series this year although it?s going to be a new spin on the series and not the same as Get Set Grow. Having said that, there will be some very exciting Mr Bloom Live Events popping up around the country. So keep your potatoes peeled for information as and when it becomes available. And that?s hot of the press, so to speak.., unless it?s not public knowledge yet, and in which case I?m going to be in trouble. Am I in trouble??!

About the best veg to grow, our gardening consultant on the show, Dawn, says:

Radishes are ideal they're one of the fastest veg to grow so she's see results really quickly. Also, lettuce works well and she can grown green and purple, straight and wrinkly leaves, and it'll be great for your summer salads even if she's not interested. Carrots too are very easy. Carrots and lettuce are also ideal because they can be harvested, washed and eaten straightway. Even the most reluctant eaters are often tempted by something they've grown themselves.

All these seeds are quite tiny so can be fiddly but runner beans are a much better size. In late May/June, when frosts have passed, she could get a couple of tall bamboo canes, make an archway entrance to her own little garden and plant some beans at the base. Then, if she waters then well, they'll quickly climb the poles to gave her an edible archway. Try 'Celebration' it has lovely pink flowers.

GardnerDawnIsaac Tue 26-Mar-13 09:51:47

MrBloom

IllGetOverIt

I've thought of some more questions mr Bwink

How old are you?
Do you so home visits?

And also.....

Would also like to know what's really easy to grow either fruit or veg. What type of compost is best? And should a trough be used or just the ground? For my tiddlers.

If you?d asked me last week I would have said 33 and as for home visits, I?m afraid not, BUT I get the feeling that Dr Ranj might do (!). Now that I?ve admitted my meagre pedestrian horticultural, here?s Dawn with some gardening advice:

For fruits, strawberries are wonderfully easy and very popular with children. Easy to grow veg choices are carrots (try the 'Parmex' varieties they're small and round which makes them nice and different to the usual supermarket varieties), lettuce (all different colours and types makes for an interesting salad bowl), potatoes (fun to discover the 'hidden treasure' when it comes to harvest time). You could try some edible flowers pot marigold (Clanedula) and nasturtiums great to liven up salads and sandwiches.

All of these can be grown in the ground - often the easiest as pots can dry out very quickly. However if you do want to grow in pots or troughs, the bigger the better as they are easier to keep watered in hot weather. As far as compost goes it is always good to use a peat free compost peat bogs are very precious habitats and it's good to protect them. After that really any general purpose compost is fine. The goodness/food in the compost will be used up after a few weeks so you may want to add a liquid feed every week to keep your veg in tip top condition.

GardnerDawnIsaac Tue 26-Mar-13 10:02:17

MrBloom

fionathepink

Is he really not Northern? I feel a bit cheated by Cbeebies. If so, I'd like to know why have a northern accent?

And a gardening one: how do I keep my 2 yr old contained on our allotment site without straying into those of other (less child-friendly) patches?

It?s great getting the kids outdoors, especially when it?s in a natural environment but you?re right, you?ve got to make sure they?re safe. From my own experience, you?re never going to get loads done when you?re working with your kids, it?s more about the shared experience rather than the end result. Watering is always fun for little ones and if there is a water butt and a small watering can this can keep them busy for a while, or a small wheelbarrow where they can shift things from here to there! So, I tend to spend time doing stuff alongside them, and if they?re off doing they?re own thing, I keep an eye. Here?s Dawn with some other ideas:

Well, you could start by defining your boundaries if it's a very open site. An edible hedge is a fun idea raspberry canes against a structure will also give them something to pick in the autumn.

Next, it might be worth making your site a bit more fun for a 2 year old a digging patch and a make shift mud pie kitchen will keep a little one entertained for ages. You could also try adding something like a climbing bean wigwam something you can plant together, to add a shady spot for a hot sunny day (should we ever get one).

Finally, try to get them to join in on some of the simple jobs. Watering is always fun for little ones and if there is a water butt and a small watering can this can keep them busy for a while. Also, a small wheelbarrow and a task of moving something light and manageable from one place to another gives them something to do.

GardnerDawnIsaac Tue 26-Mar-13 10:03:52

MrBloom

MountainOrMolehill

What's the best way to get rid of slugs?

And repel buzzing things like bees

What plants/fruit attract butterflies

I?ve mentioned before about my own dubious knowledge about all practical gardening matters but I do remember an episode where we kept the slugs and snails at bay by sprinkling gravel and broken egg shells around the base of plants. The little things didn?t like sliding over all that rubble. As for bees and butterflies, Dawn Issac, the official gardening consultant on the show says?

Bees are our friends and we need them to pollinate veg and fruit so repelling them isn't really a great plan. However if you avoid planting the most popular bee magnets such as lavender that will help.

Butterflies are generally attracted to purple and blue flowers and also ones with easy flat surfaces for them to land on. They're not really fans of fruit, but some of the best butterfly magnet plants are buddleias, sedums, hyssop, catmint, cornflowers, verbenas. Be warned though these are often plants popular with bees too!

GardnerDawnIsaac Tue 26-Mar-13 10:06:40

MrBloom

MeerkatMerkin

Hello Mr Bloom. What are the hardiest herbs to grow indoors that can suffer over-watering and being a bit cold? My DS has a mini herb garden (read: a few pots of basil and parsley on the windowsill). He's 2 and he loves to water them but we find that they die quite quickly, probably because of this but also because it's a bit cold. Also, just for fun, what is your favourite herb and why? (Mine's dill, in case you're interested, because it is just so damn tasty and so versatile with everything from salmon to mashed potatoes. smile)

Mr Favourite herb is without a shadow of a doubt, Coriander. A true hero of the herb box. He?s strong but not overpowering. He mixes well with others and he smells a treat when you?re preparing in the kitchen. As for growing hardy herbs, I?ll have to ask Dawn Issac, the series gardening consultant, who suggests?

Lots of herbs can take a fair amount of cold, but over watering will make most of them sulk. You can help by mixing in lots of grit to the soil where they are planted. This helps the excess water drain away and mimics the sort of soil many herbs often grow in naturally. Also, they do need a sunny spot. If it's still a problem then use a large container or pot (as long as you make sure there are some drainage holes in it) and add a gritty compost.

Then you can plant lots! Purple sage is lovely (but will get very large). Thymes are great they come in different foliage and flower colours and are quite low growing. Marjoram is very easy too. Mint is great and can take some wet and shade, but needs to be in a pot as it will take over a bed. And yes, dill is also a firm favourite.

Punkatheart Thu 28-Mar-13 10:48:44

You are bloomin' lovely dear boy.

Sorry - that's not a question, really....

How did you get into TV presenting?

How did I miss this? Love Mr Bloom. wink

Mouseface Fri 29-Mar-13 16:48:05

He's rather nice, nothing like the gardener we used to have but he needs his adenoids out..... grin

<wonders how she managed to keep this clean with no jokes about the size of his marrow etc>

threepiecesuite Fri 29-Mar-13 21:03:46

V excited that Mr Bloom's going to be in my local town centre this weekend
<shaves legs>

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