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Quick to grow, healthy to eat, a versatile ingredient and not associated with unpleasant bodily functions, what’s not to love? Last week’s veg (Jerusalem artichokes) provoked much hilarity and farting jokes so we’re back on safer ground this week with lettuce. Beyond the bog-standard butterhead and iceberg, it’s difficult to find really great quality, fresh… Read more »

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It really is hard to believe that it’s already October, and the year is winding down inexorably towards Halloween and that other mid-winter festival that will remain unmentioned. Thankfully there’s still some sowing activity to do this month that helps us to hang on to this year’s growing for a little longer. The way I… Read more »

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Successful food growing is as much about time spent in the kitchen as in the veg patch and at this time of the year that point is usually in sharp focus. The garden is at its most productive and you’re unlikely to be able to use all of its bounty straight away. So, storing the… Read more »

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I own more cookbooks than is sensible, and though I can sometimes be accused of being a little slow on the uptake, I’ve spotted a trend in them of late—yes my fellow laggards, I bring you astonishing news: to an increasingly large number of our fellow citizens, carbs are bad. But fear not—if you’re finding… Read more »

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Tomatoes can be difficult to grow well, but I think a proper watering regime is one of the keys to an abundant crop. The secret to watering tomatoes properly is that you need to water deep. A healthy tomato plant is a thirsty beast, supported by a deep root system—so in other words, there’s no… Read more »

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Early this month I will be sowing my parsnips outside in the veg patch. Unlike carrots, they are relatively easy to grow (once you have persuaded them to germinate), and since they store well in the soil over the winter they are a valuable winter storage crop. I grow around 40 parsnips which is more… Read more »

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When you have been growing your own food for a few years, it’s easy to forget what it felt like when you started out first. I am talking about that sweaty, daunted, vaguely frightened feeling—afraid to start, afraid to make a mistake, afraid to look foolish if it goes wrong. I am reminded of something… Read more »

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And so it begins. Another season starts with the determined act of seed sowing in the potting shed. A bag of compost opened and tipped out on the sowing bench. Cold black plastic pots filled with even colder blacker compost. Seed labels lined up awaiting a scrawl of information. Seed packets fished out from my big box of… Read more »

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Ok, so here’s a confession. In almost ten years of growing I’ve never managed to successfully grow that quintessential Christmas crop, the Brussels sprout. This has been somewhat irksome as I am a fan of sprouts and generally speaking, really in to the idea of vegetables that grow well over winter. But alas they are… Read more »

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Being a contrary sort I have always sown my garlic in the spring time, and it’s an approach that has served me well over the years. In fact, it has worked so well that I never really saw the point of winter garlic sowing and I always felt very clever indeed for holding off until… Read more »

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It hardly seems possible but it’s already October, and appropriately enough this week I was out in the veg patch harvesting our pumpkins and squashes. The commercial food chain hasn’t really caught on to the stunning diversity of pumpkins and squashes that can be grown and savoured. Supermarkets have a depressing reliance on the ubiquitous… Read more »

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This week I spent some time at either end of the food growing cycle: at one end, up to my neck in compost, turning the heaps at the end of the garden; at the other, up to my neck in a mountain of pears in the kitchen, turning them in to a pickle for the… Read more »

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