Spuds for Christmas, and the sex life of melons

Wow, Elaine has taken us for a wonderful canter through everything we should be picking, feeding and watering in our veg patches in July. So with the planting season transitioning to the harvesting season, well done to all of you who gave it a go for the first time this summer. As the season draws on, we are gradually moving our vegetable tips back over into Elaine’s fortnightly Grow How column but there are still going to be times when the old girl misses a trick so this column will still pop up from time to time. For instance,...

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Salad trug

Dressing salad, cucumber soup and blackbirds

Hurrah! we can invite friends and family around to the garden to have a barbecue and if you’ve been attentively caring your veg plot all over lockdown, or, as Elaine has been doing, growing salad crops in pots on the terrace, now is your chance to really show off. One of the joys of growing your own is that your side salad can be picked straight from the garden, rinsed, trimmed and served in under half an hour, making you the freshest, crunchiest salad on the block. A quick forage in your plot can yield plenty of ingredients (see...

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Cardoon flowers

Bees, battered courgette flowers and sparrow boxes

Things are really getting a shift on now, aren’t they? And some of your crops, such as courgettes, broad beans and tomatoes may be starting to flower, so you’ll be noticing many more bees and other insects homing in on your veg patch. You probably set out to grow food for yourself and your family, but in the process are feeding our pollinators too, so which crops are helping the most? We eat different parts of our food crops, the leaves of lettuce, the roots of carrots, the stalks of rhubarb. For all those crops from which we harvest...

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Elderflower cordial, new potatoes and wild roses

Hurrah, garden centres are open! So now is the time to go and pick up a few veg plants to fill the gaps left by plants that a) didn’t germinate b) have been eaten by slugs, mice or pigeons c) got clobbered by a late frost d) you forgot to water and died or e) the seed packet is still sitting unopened on the kitchen shelf (no one said this gardening lark was going to be plain sailing). To be honest, you could go along with a trolley and buy your entire vegetable patch this weekend, even root vegetables...

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