Barn owls

Surplus veg, mushroom gratin and barn owls

I hope you’ve all had some successes in your veg plots this summer, especially those of you who are new to growing your own. But you may now have the rather pleasant conundrum of ‘what the heck do I do with all the surplus?’ Here are my suggestions: 1. Give it away to friends or donate it to a food bank. This is a really good option for both you and the recipient because an act of kindness (particularly to a stranger) is very good for your mental health. It’s an especially good thing to do with salad crops,...

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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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