Page 1


G 0 A P 1C0KED




JULY 2008












Helps us 'Dig for Victory'

Britain's bees in need of saving

Helping your hair with herbs

ISSUE FOUR JULY 2008 £3.25




Page 2




Page 3


The Good Life Press Ltd., PO BOX 536, Preston, PR2 9ZY Tel: 01772 652 693 Email: EDITORIAL TEAM Publishers: Ruth Tott and Paul Melnyczuk Tel: 01772 652 693 Editors: Diana Sutton & Paul Peacock Tel: 0161 346 4084 Circulation: Mike McLening Tel: 01726 882 028 Subscriptions: Paul Melnyczuk Tel: 01772 652 693 Email: DESIGNED BY

Tel: 01689 857043 Email: ADVERTISING BY E4 MEDIA MANAGEMENT Advertising Manager: Bob Handley Tel: 01354 691331 PRINTED BY Woodford Litho Tel: 01376 534500 DISTRIBUTION BY Comag Specialist Tel: 01985 433800


It’s a wonderful life REALLY, IT IS wonderful being alive, especially in the early summer when all the vegetables are shooting up like sky rockets, eggs are in incubators or under chickens, the bees are making headway with the summer nectar flow and the sky is mostly blue! Sounds a bit idyllic that, but we do need some idyll in our lives too. I met a lady at the Smallholder Show yesterday who made me think. Unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to ask her name because we were just starting the butter making championships at the time. She put her hand on my elbow, like authoritative older ladies do, and fixed me in the eye. “You know Home Farmer is quite right, it’s all about responsibility!” On the drive home I regretted not having a chance to chat with the lady for a long time, but there was cream to pour into bottles and competitors to sort out. But she is quite right; this kind of lifestyle is about responsibility. Responsibilityfor our families, for our crops and livestock, for our neighbours and for the world at large. Now it seems that the way we live today everything comes down to money. In our news pages we highlight how an allotment site was lost to Birmingham,

If you are having any difficulty finding Home Farmer please call 01772 732800 and we will rush you a copy!

only to be replaced when the developer who built on the land had sold enough houses to make it worthwhile. But I wouldn’t mind betting that the land originally was given to the people to benefit their health, to provide for the poor or as a grand altruistic gesture. Having this turn into a mere monetory value has not only lost its use for the people, but devalues the original provider of the land too. It’s all about responsibility, but to people, not finance. Of course, our finances have to be correctly and honestly managed, but the ability to grow your own food on an allotment is so precious a gift it cannot be measured in bank notes. So, at Home Farmer we are hoping to get every local authority to build at least one new allotment site, or at least allow ordinary people to do it for them. For the cost of a couple of hundred metres of good fencing local authorities will be able to increase the health and wellbeing of a couple of dozen families, and what price that?






Page 4


Inside July’s issue... 26 FORGOTTEN CRAFTS Making the worlds most Eco-friendly lighting – beeswax candles. 28 ALL IN A SPIN Beth Frear introduces the craft of spinning with a wheel. 32 SUMMER DRINKS Diana Sutton splashes up some cooling cordials. 36 PERFECT FRUIT You don’t need acres of space for an orchard of your own. Fruit trees can be grown in pots on a patio and even the smallest of gardens can have its share of dwarf varieties of top fruit says Jayne Neville. 39 GOING TO MARKET It is all too easy to rush headlong into a new project such as opening a farm shop, but in any new venture there are a number of pitfalls to look out for, Jane Brooks reports.

03 FIRST WORD It’s a wonderful life! 06 NEWS World Butter Making Championships, allotments and some special offers.

Cover Story 10 DIG FOR VICTORY WITH SOPHIE GRIGSON We bring a new slant on wartime austerity with summertime recipes from world famous cook. 14 THE SMALLEST SMALLHOLDING Lucy Debenham brings a young persons slant on smallholding.

42 VEGETABLE MATTERS Telegraph columnist Lila Das Gupta works the vegetable garden with children. 44 SUBSCRIBE Never lose out on an issue, and order back copies as well as our fantastic new binder! 46 BEER FOR BEGINNERS We look at brewing the real stuff because thirst is a terrible thing! 22

48 SUPERMARKET WASTE Anouchka Warren takes a look at good food going to waste and what’s being done about it. 50 BEGINNERS BEES This month we look at how to make frames for supers and brood boxes. 54 HEN HOUSE DIARY Your chickens health and performance will have a lot to do with diet says Janice Houghton-Wallace. 58 POULTRY DISEASES This month we look at Marek’s disease. 61 COMMUNITY HOME FARMER CLUBS Get together with other Home Farmers. Learn, compare and have a brew!

Cover Story 62 SAVE OUR BEES! A lot of people are losing bees, and we desperately need more people to improve British beekeeping, can you stand in the gap? 23


Summer Salads THE FOLLOWING RECIPES are for those tasty additions you would normally purchase from the supermarket; the pasta salad, coleslaw, hummus and various others that make a buffet meal or any meal a little more interesting. Making your own is very easy and the shop bought products seem to always taste the same and can be a little disappointing, whereas the home-made versions taste wonderful. The amounts given in the recipes are for 4 people and assume they are accompaniments rather than the main part of the meal. But as some, like pasta or couscous salad, can be eaten in larger quantities then the amounts given would be better feeding 2 people. The only problem I find with these types of salad is that they do not store well. This is due to the combination of ingredients. So they need to be eaten

on the day of preparation or at the latest the next day. The only real exception to this is hummus which will keep for 2-3 days if refrigerated. The first recipe for coleslaw is the one I seem to make the most often as we eat it with green salads, pizzas and pies, ham and baked potatoes. We particularly enjoy eating it as an accompaniment to baked mackerel. The amounts for this are approximate as sizes of vegetable vary and also you will find out how you like it by experimenting with amounts. I tend to use white onion as this gives a stronger flavour, but red onion is fine and looks interesting. You can use either light mayonnaise or the original or make you own. Recipes for this will be coming shortly. You will not have to add any salt as the mayonnaise contains enough.

Cover Story 16 SUMMER SALADS Get those seeds in now before it’s too late! We look at growing all your favourite salads.


/2 small onion, white or red 1 medium grated carrot 1 /2 (approx) shredded white cabbage 3 rounded tablespoons good mayonnaise 1


1 Chop onion finely and mix into grated carrot. 2 Shred the cabbage as finely as you

Cover Story 22 MAKE YOUR OWN SALADS From humus to coleslaw, we show you how to make the dips and salads you buy in the shops.

prefer and mix that into carrot and onion. 3 Add the mayonnaise and stir well to combine. 4 Transfer to serving dish and serve. Hummus is a Greek and Arabic dish that has become a very popular dip and salad accompaniment. It is brilliant served with vegetable crudités and hors d’oeuvre. It is simple to make but you have to be careful with the amount of garlic and lemon juice used. The first time I made it I put in too much lemon juice and not enough garlic and the flavour was too sharp. The next time I altered the amounts and it was a much better balance. Tasting the hummus as you go is important as you can add more but you can’t take it away once combined with the other ingredients. The recipe uses tahini, which is a thick paste made from sesame seeds. In Middle-Eastern cuisine it is used in both sweet and savoury dishes. It is quite oily and needs to be stirred well before use. This can be purchased in Asian food markets and some big name supermarkets, though it costs nearly twice as much. Though you can do it by hand, it is easier if you have a food processor.


175g chickpeas soaked in cold water overnight 2 chopped garlic cloves 75ml or 5 tablespoons tahini 40-50ml lemon juice, freshly squeezed if possible 60ml mild olive oil Salt to taste


1 After soaking, pour enough boiling water to cover and simmer for 2-21/2 hours. 2 Drain well and puree along with the chopped garlic, either in a food processor or mashing and pushing together. 3 Add tahini and lemon juice and mix well. 4 Add olive oil gradually whilst mixing well. 5 Season to taste and transfer to a serving dish. 6 Add some chopped parsley to vary the flavour, or try ground cumin or coriander seeds to taste.




Page 5




Desperate Dan out of a hug Pie was made from cow e the pie itself. dish which was invaria heel and had horns stic bly kin This is a mo re genteel ver eaten by Dan as well as g sion!

64 THE STRAWBRIDGE DUO Television presenters and Home Farmers, James and Dick Strawbridge look at herbs and how to grow a spiral.

Desperate Dan Cow P ie


ESSENTIALLY It is what mak THIS IS food for heroes. es waste your mon desperate, stro Desperate Dan much tastier ey on fillet steak. It is mother’s orig ng and scary. His with shin, skirt inal The following shoulder. or sometimes ‘oofs recipe called for ‘orn ingredients s, basically The very best is shin beef and, every shou again, a tail. the cheapest , satisfy six hun ld The pastry was now and you can get. cooks for hou gry men, old car tyres som It rs etim or one desp es , every now minute as well and gets better every erate one. and again cement, and as givin the odd pavi g you the very best gravy too. alas, we are ng slab. But, The ING not all Desp high RED er connective IEN TS erate Dan and more delicate tissue makes amount of 1.5kg beef a and the gela gent mea cut tinous and eel version necessary. Som sticky. Marvello t is 3 large onio into 3cm pieces This is also ns us! start with so ething nice and soft to A collection roughly chopped we can work root vegetabl a pie that gets rid of any of paving slab es, potatoes cut into 2cm washed vegetables s and cow ‘orn our way up to , carrots, swede, turn pieces, the have our false s when we ip, parsnip vegetables should weig teet (though I pref it without) h about 1.5k This dish need h! along with er g 4 spri any gs of thyme s to be cook vegetables you green and slow, and ed long might have, can take on amo sma unts of cele of beef, but any cut ry, bits of cabb ll ME TH OD don’t in fact anyt age and hing. It is not 1 Add a little over oil no garlic but tly spiced, cook the onio to the pan and slowly does well n minutes. Then for a couple of with a coup le of until all the add the meat and fry sprigs of meat has chan 2 Add 350m thyme. l water as seas ged colour. on also add the thyme. Keep well, and on simmer for 2 hours and then a low the vegetable add all s except for 3 Cook for any potatoes a furth . then add the er 30 minutes and potatoes. Coo another 30 k minutes or unti for potatoes are l the just becoming potatoes will soft. be cooked furth (The they do not er, so 4 At this poin have to be completely soft. t you the liquid into can take off some of this to the boil a separate pan. Bring and thicken usual way. (I in have to be hon your say I use pret est and ty mix, but you bog standard gravy could use a roux or flour or corn flour.)

How to make pastry


220g plain flour TS 80g lard 80g margarine Pinch of salt (big one!) 5 Keep som e of the grav About 125m l cold water y for serving and pour the rest back into The point of dish to thic the meat ME TH OD ken. serve a lot of this dish is that you can 6 Transfer people with the meat and 1 Coo and a l the little indeed it is fats and vegetable mix meat, to a roasting the basi 1cm cubes. Add chop them into tin or large casserole, or of other traditional dish s for a number a dustbin lid flour and rub these to the sifted if es. If the pastry off the fat in with Desperate Dan you happen to be you have scou you leave fingers.Try to the or Irish stew se or hotpot be as light as sheet of past . Cover the pie with a . If you can and incorpor no meat, and you cook it with fish and 7 Make hole ry. ate as much especially if air as you s in the past can herring peep into the crum you put ry with a knif and cook in ing out, you bled mix. e the oven at pie. have If you cook 200oC, Gas 6, for 30 min it with lamb stargazy 2 Then add utes or unti rose and mar half y you have a l the pastry the water and is cooked. Lancashi the mix. Care knead This dish is 8 Serve the fully actually Med re hotpot. dish you have a good add the water until ieval in two vegetabl simply, with a single or origin. It comes from the time whe need more wate paste.You might es. cuisine of this n the eaten with piles It is traditionally r or not, it depe on the flour ready availabli country was based on nds and the weat day in vinegar. of onion soaked all the ty of cheap her. It were fuel. is remarka cooked for Dishes moreish grav 3 When you y and vinegar ble how fire. There was a long time over a slow have can be. cling film and a paste, wrap it in steak five hun no such thing as a rare keep it in the dred years ago! fridge for at least 30 mins this dish can be cooked for These days before using without spoi a long time . ling meat can cope because the cut of with it. 4 Or you Finally, this could those that can dish will keep. It is one of cheat following day be warmed up the and probably with better this way. it Another way tastes bought is to fry the pie in hot oil, of eating it pastry! there is som especially if e cabbage in it.


Transfer the mix to

a roasting tin

or large casse role. Make holes in

66 CRAMMING IT ALL IN No space to grow vegetables? Nonsense! We cram them into the nooks and crannies around the house and garden. 68 GETTING HELP We have a lot to learn from the way things were when it comes to helping older people who still want to be selfsufficient.

Cover Story 70 PLANTING GUIDE Our at-a-glance guide to planting your veggies. 72 LIVESTOCK LINEUP Which animals are best for you? We compare common Home Farmer beasts. 62

74 DIARY OF AN URBAN FARMER Mike Woolnough gets the shock of his life from his pregnant goats, no kidding! Well, nearly!

Cover Story 79 BUILD YOUR OWN POLYTUNNEL Joe Jacobs looks at the ins and outs of the DIY tunnel. 83 FOOD HEROES This month we look at the Great Little Cupcake Company – something to do with all those left over eggs! 84 FAT MAN IN THE KITCHEN Desperate Dan Cow Pie, who needs say more? 63


SAVE OUR BEES! Around the country a number of diseases are threatening our honeybee populations. We need people to come forward and SAVE OUR BEES! Paul Peacock throws down the gauntlet LAST YEAR WAS an awful one for beekeepers. The rain all but wiped out the summer and the winter dragged on, wet and cold into the spring. Then there is the problem of varroa, which seems to be more serious every time you open a beekeeping magazine, and fueled by fears that colonies are collapsing all over the United States, beekeepers have been on tenterhooks to see how things are shaping up now the warmer weather is appearing. Well the news is bad. Scarily bad. Most people have lost a large number of colonies. On average about a third of honeybees have died out. This is a huge number. In the United States the situation has got so bad that the traditional almond and top fruit pollination is now under threat. Something that has gone on every year since before 1776 might now fail! Back home, to lose an average of a third of colonies means that some people have been totally wiped out and there have been examples of this all over the country.

problems in over 100 years when a disease called acarine all but completely wiped out our native honeybee population. Certainly in Spain the previous year (2005/2006) there were massive colony losses, and this seems to be repeated here. The Spanish colonies were largely infected with Nosema ceranae. The immediate problem for beekeepers that have lost stock is replacing bees. Last year a nucleus of bees (simply a box with frames, a queen and some attendant workers) sold for around £100. This year the same is selling at twice this

UK, but it is just too early to say if it is actually working.

WHAT CAN YOU DO? I am completely sure, based on the response from our features, that Home Farmer readers are interested in beekeeping. What is needed is a whole lot more beekeepers. And it is such a rewarding and absorbing subject I am sure you will get hooked as soon as you get into it. So this is a plea to

Your local beekeeping association

WHAT’S HAPPENING? Manchester Beekeeping Association lost around half of its hives this last winter and of these nearly all of them had a single celled parasite, Nosema ceranae. This organism is native to Far Eastern colonies and is related to Nosema apis, the dyssentry causing infestation. However, this new one is symptom free and largely affects flying insects that forage, leaving the hive, but are so ill as to make returning unlikely. So you don’t know if you have the problem, almost until it is too late. The colony gets smaller and smaller. This can happen quite rapidly depending on the time of the year. The colony can be wiped out in just 8 days! Research around the world has suggested a link between Nosema ceranae and the so-called Colony Collapse Disorder, but it is not as simple as that. Colonies with the pest have gone on with little trouble, so there has to be other factors at work. Meanwhile colonies are dying off and should we have another bad year then we will be witnessing one of the biggest

equipment without having to spend a fortune on either equipment or bees. Almost all of the local beekeeping associations run beginners’ courses, and you can go along, get involved and join in the course as soon as it is convenient for you and the association. The other important point is that on the whole new beekeepers buy new equipment, and so long as the bees you get are clean, the equipment is clean – at least the wax and frames are clean and the hive burned out – then the likelihood is that there will be fewer problems. E

amount at auction. Furthermore, the availability of clean stock is in doubt. I heard of one man who was collecting swarms and trying to sell them on at £150 a time, a very dubious occupation.

TREATMENTS The treatment for Nosema apis has been fumagilin, a huge molecule that has worked well. However, it isn’t proven on Nosema ceranae. This treatment is being tried by beekeepers all across the

anyone out there who is thinking of keeping bees: please get out there and get on with it!

There are local associations in every county and more or less every town in the UK. Some associations are losing members, so you might need to shop around to find one where you can get on a course. May and June is the most important swarming time of the year, so you never know, there might be one or two more colonies out there too! To find your local bee club, go to the BBKA, who organise the insurance scheme for beekeepers, and therefore most of the associations are members. They have a web site that has all the details of the associations and you can download all kinds of materials and publications of interest.

the pastry with

a knife and oven


It is possible to make this tasty one for dish six people, for , a £5. That is about 80p per around and believe portion, me, your plate you once you have finished you have had really do feel as though a meal. E

86 COOKING THROUGH THE AGES Going back four hundred years with some recipes perfect for the Home Farmer. 90 BISCUITS So good we baked them twice! Diana Sutton looks at some must eat kitchen favourites.

Cover Story 93 HOME FARMER BEAUTY Concoctions for the hair, hands and feet, just what you need after a hard day in the garden, on the plot or out in the field. 96 YOUR SAY Your letters to Home Farmer have particularly spurred us on to greater things in the garden. 97 COMPETITION Win some Verm-ex goodies for your livestock. 98 CLASSIFIED ADVERTS Go on, grab yourself a bargain!

TRAINING Beekeeping is not something you can learn just out of a book. You need to gain confidence and pick up skills, so please go along to your local beekeeping association. It is here that you are most likely to get a colony and

The British Beekeepers Association, The National Beekeeping Centre, National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG. Tel: 02476 696679 Web:

99 NEXT MONTH What’s coming up in the August Issue (Is it that time already?)





Page 6


HOME FARMER READERS ARE WORLD CHAMPIONS PRODUCT FOCUS: SNAIL AWAY Snail away is a strip, powered by a battery that lasts a year, that stops snails and slugs from crossing them. They don’t harm the animals in any way, but do keep them off the plants. Invented by Ron and Beryl Turvey, the Eureka moment hit them one evening.Whilst walking in their garden, they noticed that a snail was having trouble crossing the lines of the model railway that ran around the garden – thus an idea was born! Using his experience as an engineer Ron made a prototype fence which they trialled in their garden with great success (the only escapee parachuting out on a leaf!). All this would still have remained in their back garden if it hadn’t been for the TV programme ‘What’s the Big Idea’ and a very enthusiastic audience. Ron and Beryl decided that it should be made available to other desperate would-be Hosta growers and refined the product so that it could be manufactured and sold. Get more details from: SnailAway Ltd., 4 Hembury Cottages, Broadhempston, Totnes TQ9 6BS Tel: 08445 616027

Thanks to Longley Farm, who provided the cream and the bottles, Home Farmer readers took part in the World’s first butter making championships at the Smallholder Show at the Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells in central Wales on 18th May. People were amazed that they could make their own butter from cream and a number of adults and children took part. The event was televised by the Country channel and will soon appear on the Home Farmer Website.The winners proudly bore their sashes and the children won aprons. “I didn’t think you could do this. It is really interesting to watch,” said Mrs Jones of Powys, who won one of the prizes. Actually the whole thing was a bit of fun, and everyone had a good laugh as well as learning a bit about

Above: One of the youngest contestants being interviewed for the television.

butter. But everything has a serious side. Young people and children who didn’t realise their butter came from simply bashing cream around had a great time shaking their plastic bottles. The winner produced butter in about five minutes of harsh shaking Ruth Tott of the Good Life Press said,“While being a lot of fun the competition carries an important message – we all have the skills needed to produce more of our own food but with more and more reliance on convenience food we have lost the knowledge,” Left: Readers at the Smallholder show shaking their cream in the first world championships.

18 MONTHS TILL CLIMATE DISASTER It is reported in the Telegraph the Prince of Wales has warned that the world faces a series of natural disasters within 18 months unless urgent action is taken to save the rainforests. In one of his most outspoken interventions in the climate change debate, he said a £15 billion annual programme was required to halt deforestation or the world would have to live with the dire consequences. The Prince explained how he felt the world should pay to keep the rainforests free from

exploitation at an earlier event this year at Iwokrama in Guyana. “How do we do it? The immediate priority, I believe, is the need to develop a new credit market which will give a true value to carbon and the ecosystem services that rainforests provide the rest of the world. We are content to pay for the other utilities we receive – water, gas and electricity – so shouldn’t we pay as well for the world’s greatest utility, - its rainforests? In other words, pay

for the perpetual retention of forests like Iwokrama in Guyana. “Of course, none of this is going to be easy, but surely it should be the ethical duty of wealthy nations, which have – perhaps unwittingly – created the problem of climate change, to find a solution. Developing nations, which may suffer most from climate change and, consequently, unheard of levels of poverty, are now calling on us for help. Climate change means that their survival and ours is now more closely linked than ever before.”




Page 7


SUFFOLK SMALLHOLDER’S SHOW Suffolk Smallholders Annual Show is once again being held at the Mid Suffolk Showground, which is part of the Stonham Barns Retail and Leisure centre.The show is on Sunday July 20th from 10am to 5pm admission is £5 adults and children free. Plus free parking. There are always lots of animals at the show for people to get up close to, with their owners on hand to answer questions. Many members of Suffolk Smallholder’s Association have stands. Other attractions at the show include local produced food, vintage tractors, old fashioned country games, plants and trade stands. Let’s hope everyone has a great day!

UN-ALLOTTED ALLOTMENTS Around the country there are people on waiting lists for allotments. One reader of Home Farmer complained that, according to the list she had been put on for an allotment, she was likely to have to wait around 35 years to get a plot! Some local authorities are beginning to build new allotments, but the total number of new sites are little more than a splash in the ocean compared to the number of allotments that were ‘assimilated’ due to lack of use, built on, turned into children’s parks or new roads during the ‘decline years’ of the 1970’s to 1990’s. Valley Road allotments being turned into a housing estate. Now there are not only large waiting lists for plots, agreement with the developers and huge demand for new plots, that said the allotments were to but some promised plots are be replaced when a certain falling foul of the recession. number of properties were sold. For example, the Valley Road However, the new allotments are allotment site was bulldozed for still not under construction.The houses in Birmingham.The local developers say they have not sold council entered into a planning enough properties, and with the

downturn of the economy, who knows when the site will get built? There are a number of good news stories regarding allotments.The council at Rochdale are building a new allotment site in Middleton where there will be a schools section, disabled plots, a shop and a clubhouse.We will be following progress of the site as it is created over the summer. At Home Farmer we want to know about your problems getting an allotment.We want to highlight how difficult it is to get one, and who knows? Perhaps we can encourage a few councils to get themselves in gear and build some new allotments? PLEASE WRITE TO: Allotment Problems, The Good Life Press Ltd., PO Box 536, Preston PR2 9ZY.

SMALLHOLDERS FLOCK TO SHOW The 2008 Smallholder and Garden Show at Builth Wells Royal Welsh Showground was an amazing success over the last weekend. First of all the weather was kind and the people happy. Despite lower than usual numbers, 23,318 visitors had a great day out.The drop in numbers from last year can be attributed to the problems of blue tongue.The goat classes, for example, were reduced because the animals are not allowed over the boarder from England. A number of changes saw the pigs entries given greater precedence at the front of the show leaving more room for llamas at the back.All in all, it was a great success, and I had a chance to get my annual fix of Oggie.And if you don’t know what an Oggie is, you’ll have to turn up to next year’s show! Right: Expectant bidders at the Smallholder Show.






Page 8


SAVE 10% ON POT GROWN FRUIT TREES Choose from Apples, Pears, Cherries, Plums or have a look on the website for list of varieties.

• One tree £16.20 each (instead of £18.00)

• Three or more £14.85 each

• Five or more £13.50 each All trees 2-3 years old and pruned to 4-5ft tall at time of dispatch. Carriage only £7.95 per order. Victoriana Nursery Gardens, Challock, Nr Ashford, Kent. TN25 4DG Tel: 01233 740529 Web:

GOGI BERRY GRUMBLES It seems DEFRA have been getting all hot under the collar about Gogi berries.They have been banned unless produce within the EU because they might also carry pests to EU crops.There are reports that they demanded an apology

from the BBC about a report in Gardener’s World and dawn swoops and massive fines being levied on companies who have broken the ban. And there are a number of companies that have done just that, imported from the Far

East via Holland, and then pretended that the plants have come from within the EU. So if you plan on buying goji berry plants in the future, make sure you know where they were originally grown!

GORDON RAMSAY GOES OFF ON ONE Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay joined the wide ranging Home Farmer debate by stating that he thought restaurants should be fined if they didn’t offer seasonal food on their menus. He said that fruit and vegetables should be locally sourced and only on menus when in season. He went on to say that he had already spoken to Prime Minister Gordon Brown about outlawing out-of-season produce. Believing it would cut

carbon emissions, as less food would be imported, and lead to improved standards of cooking. What caused the furore was his remark: “Fruit and veg should be seasonal. Chefs should be fined if they haven't got ingredients in season on their menu. “I don't want to see asparagus on in the middle of December. I don’t want to see strawberries from Kenya in the middle of March. I want to see it home grown.”




Page 9


RACHEL CARSON HONOURED ON STAGE ‘Another Kind of Silence’ is the story of Rachel Carson, legendary ecologist and 'top international environmentalist of all time' Rachel Carson wrote some stunning books. Her ‘Under the Sea Wind’ was the story of an island, the estuary and the ocean.This was followed by the all time best book on the environment,‘Silent Spring’, where she outlined DDT and other man made chemicals were killing the planet. It is the book to read for anyone interested in the environment. And now you can see Rachel’s life on the stage. In a spell-binding performance, Liz Rothschild plays writer Rachel Carson, a determined campaigner who came into sharp conflict with vested commercial and government interests in 1960s America by speaking out against the careless use of chemicals in our environment. That Carson was also a woman of failing health and intense private passions is just as important a storyline as her struggle to get her ground-breaking observations written and published. ‘Silent Spring’ is Carson’s masterpiece, a book that became a best-seller, is still viewed as a seminal work, and was named by Blackwells UK as one of 50 books that have shaped our world. In 2007, the centenary year of her birth, Rachel was also voted top international environmentalist of all time by the Environment Agency.

UK AND EU CRITICISED FOR UNDERMINING BAN ON GENETICALLY MODIFIED SEEDS International development charity Progressio today criticises the UK and EU for not doing enough to prevent the commercialisation of ‘Terminator’ seeds in the developing world, which would threaten the livelihoods of 1.4 billion people and wreak havoc on agricultural biodiversity. Biotechnology companies claim that ‘Terminator’ – which uses genetic engineering to make plants produce sterile seeds, would prevent contamination between GM and non-GM crops. Its detractors dismiss this claim by arguing that Terminator would actually make contamination

worse.The highly controversial technology is currently controlled by a temporary UN ban. If commercialised,Terminator would put an end to the practice of seed-saving, which is essential to 1.4 billion of the world’s poorest farmers who save and re-plant seeds from one year to the next to feed their families and earn a living.What makes Terminator different from other genetically modified seeds is the fact that it would:

• Force farmers to buy new seed from large companies that control a global seed market worth US$19.6 billion. • Further jeopardise the food security of the world’s poorest communities that are already struggling to cope with rising food prices. • Reduce biodiversity by forcing farmers to abandon local seed varieties in favour of commercial seeds. • Make farmers more vulnerable to climate change by forcing them to use commercial seed

rather than locally adapted varieties, which are far more resilient to unpredictable weather patterns. The new report,Against the Grain, produced by international development charity Progressio, reveals that both the UK and EU are weakening the UN agreement not to develop or commercialise the technology.Against the Grain reveals how EU and, by implication, British taxpayers are contributing to the development of Terminator technology through a £3.4 million EU research project called ‘Transcontainer’.

TENANTS GARDENING COMP. Tenants of The Gateshead Housing Company are being given the chance to show how good their gardens are in the 2008 Summer Garden Competition. The competition is open to Gateshead residents, schools, commercial and industrial premises and religious grounds, with three area competitions covering the borough. There are 12 classes to enter – ranging from ‘Best kept large garden’ and ‘Best kept backyard’, to ‘Window box’ and ‘Best new entry’. Additional prizes, in each relevant class, will be awarded to the best entry from a tenant of The Gateshead Housing Company, which is currently making over £1m per week of improvements to local homes. Entry forms for the competition are now available from housing offices, Gateshead Council libraries and leisure facilities across the borough.


HF 4 P10-12 DIG




Page 10


Dig for Victory with Sophie Grigson We’re updating the Dig for Victory Campaign by bringing it up to date, so we have asked International TV Chef Sophie Grigson for her best recipes that travel easily from plot to plate THE POINT OF Dig for Victory was that Britain had no food, and if we were starving we would have to surrender during World War II. It is remarkable that some conditions in 2008 almost mirror those of 1939. We imported over 60% of our food then, and we are importing a bit more than that now. Our farming industry was in a bad way in 1939 and if anything is worse today, and of course, there was a lot of uncertainty then as now. Ask any Home Farmer reader and they will tell you that one of the most important things people can do is grow some of their own food, but the words

Dig for Victory sounds all drab, austere and unpleasant because they are associated with rationing, shortages and hunger. The truth is quite different.

DIG FOR VICTORY TODAY We have asked Sophie Grigson to provide us with recipes and in our turn we will show you how to grow the ingredients. If nothing else it just shows that modern, up to date recipes can be sourced from your garden or allotment.

Greenest of Green Salads In these summer months, when so many young vegetables are sweet enough to eat raw, and herbs are in their prime, I like to extend the definition of a ‘green salad’ to include a welter of delicious greenery of contrasting tastes and textures. So, take what you have in the garden, marry it with lively leaves and a vivid dressing and you will have a salad so good that everyone

will be going back for seconds and thirds. Personally, I marginally prefer the pomegranate dressing (pomegranate molasses has a beguiling fruity sharpness, and is available from delis, Middle Eastern food shops and Sainsbury’s), but the creamy tarragon dressing is excellent too.

INGREDIENTS Gorgeous green young lettuce and salad leaves, e.g. lettuce, spinach, rocket, watercress, nasturtium leaves and so on Shelled fresh peas Small broad beans Thinly sliced fennel Shredded spring onions Sliced mangetouts or sugarsnaps Handfuls of soft-leaved fresh herbs, e.g. basil, mint, coriander, marjoram, sorrel Dressing (see below)

METHOD 1 Prepare whichever greens you are using, and store in separate loosely knotted plastic bags in the vegetable drawer of the fridge until 30 minutes before using. 2 Put the dressing in the base of a large salad bowl. Cross the salad servers over it (this way most of the salad will be kept out of the dressing until you are ready to toss it all together. Mix salad leaves and whole herb leaves on top and arrange remaining bits and bobs artfully over that. Take to the table, toss to coat with dressing and eat immediately.

HF 4 P10-12 DIG



Page 11


How to grow broad beans Broad beans are sown in the autumn and in the spring. They are grown in double rows. That is, each row is made up of two lines of seeds planted 15cm apart. The next double row comes 75cm away from the first.


Tarragon Cream Dressing INGREDIENTS 1 tablespoon tarragon vinegar 4 tablespoons single cream Pinch of sugar (optional) Salt and pepper

METHOD 1 Whisk all the ingredients together lightly. Taste and adjust seasonings.

How to grow Russian Tarragon This is one of the easiest plants to grow, and is brilliant when used in Sophie’s dressing. It has a mild 5-spice aroma to it. Growing in dappled shade, tarragon needs little care. You should sow three seeds in pots of compost and thin out to the strongest.You can sow them any time from April indoors to June outdoors. When the seedlings are a hand’s breadth tall you can then plant them out into their final positions. Simply mulch them with well rotted compost each spring and they will grow happily. After three year’s growth, dig up the plants and start again.To have a continual supply of tarragon, sow in successive years.

You need a well-drained soil that will retain a little water but not too much. Cold water chills the seedlings so they grow very slowly. The soil needs little preparation; you can grow them where a previous crop has been cleared – potatoes are best. Some people add a little fertiliser to the soil, but I tend to wait until spring because I don’t want to encourage too much shoot growth at this time. Simply give the soil a dig over and mark out your double rows. Make a small hole with a dibber and push a seed into each at a depth of 5cm, and cover, firming the soil down. Germination, which might take three weeks, will follow with growth to about 10cm. At this stage they will appear to stop growing.They haven’t actually

stopped growing though; they are sending out a complex mass of roots and this is what promotes heavy crops later.

SPRING SOWING Sow into plastic drink cups and keep them on the floor near the door of an unheated greenhouse where they remain cool but protected. Once the plants are large enough (10cm) they are planted into double rows as for the previous method. The bed should have been previously well-dug and a little organic fertiliser mixed in to give them a good start. I usually use a handful of organic fertiliser to a metre length of double row. Before you finally plant your young beans out, leave them out of the greenhouse during the day and take them inside again at night for a couple of weeks – except in driving rain or hard frosts – to acclimatise them to the outdoors. Dig a hole with a trowel that will accommodate the root ball and firm well in. A small amount of rainwater will set them off, but don’t over soak them. Protect from blackfly and pick the pods as they fill out.

HF 4 P10-12 DIG




Page 12


Coming soon Petits Pois à la Française The Home Farmer Dig for Victory Poster.A quick and easy guide to planting and cropping.

Pomegranate Dressing INGREDIENTS 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil Salt and pepper

METHOD 1 Whisk salt, pepper and then oil into the pomegranate molasses. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Petits pois à la Française is just about the nicest way ever to cook fresh young peas. It’s outstandingly simple, as so many of the best recipes are, but needs a little care and attention to prevent the lower layer of peas from scorching. If necessary, add a dash or two of extra water, although the lettuce and peas should release just enough all by themselves. Mind you, a small amount of browning is not entirely unpleasant even if it is technically incorrect. For those of you who don’t have fresh peas to hand, dare I mention that it works with frozen peas, as well. Ssh...

INGREDIENTS Serves 4 30g (1oz) butter

How to grow peas There is nothing better than fresh garden peas! If you sow from June through to the first week in August you will get peas right through to October. The seeds are planted in well dug loam with plenty of rotted manure or compost forked in. There are all sorts of varieties available, from the dwarf varieties to the giant ones that grow ten feet high. Simply sow them in drills by a net support about 20cm apart and 5cm deep. I sow two seeds together and then remove the weakest plant.Apart from needing good

watering if the soil is dry and protecting from mice, pigeons, greenfly and other aphids, there is little else you need to do. If you want a crop in May then sow in February under cloches, or sow indoors and transplant in late April.You can also sow in modules or even gutters, sliding the young plants into position when you are ready. Varieties to be sure of include Kelvedon Wonder in the Spring, which are brilliant, and Onward for the rest of the season for heavier cropping.

500g shelled, fresh peas 1 round butterhead lettuce, or 2 little gem type lettuces, sliced 1 onion, chopped 3 tablespoons water Salt

METHOD 1 Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the peas, lettuce, onion and salt. Stir so that the peas are all coated with butter, then add the water. 2 Place over a low heat, clamp the lid on and cook for around 10-15 minutes, stirring once or twice. 3 Take off the lid and, if necessary, boil hard for a couple of minutes until virtually all the liquid has evaporated. Taste and adjust seasoning and serve. E




Page 13





Page 14


A Growing Realisation Lucy Debenham describes how a budding interest in vegetables grew into an online-documented bid at living the Good Life I CALL MY Mum and enthuse about how my chilli seeds have finally germinated. I wax lyrical about our awesome new wooden compost bin – we’ve built a gate on the front that allows us to turn the compost easily. We talk about my ‘girls’ Yoko, Pattie and Maureen. We discuss the virtues of ‘Stuttgarter Giant’ and ‘Hercules.’ But despite what you may be thinking, I’m not old enough to qualify for a free bus pass. And neither Mum nor I are anywhere near entering retirement. At 25 I sometimes feel like I’m living on the fringes of society – particularly when it comes to my own generation.

THE GOOD LIFE It’s not hard to see why, as a vegetablegrowing hen keeper, I don’t fit the mould. My generation is often depicted (and often perfectly obliging to satisfy preconceptions) as a cohort of selfish,

money-grabbing, career ladder-climbing, sex-obsessed, gadget-wielding boozy consumers with little or no interest in more worldly issues. I’m supposed to party hard, work to pay to party, and live for the weekends. By not conforming, I’m made to feel like I’m missing out. I used to feel like a peculiarity and felt that some of my peers regarded me with a mixture of affection and mockery. Am I paranoid? Possibly. Supposedly I’m part of a legion of 20-something non-conforming conformists. We buck the trend by being all about family values. We enjoy growing our own veg. We’re conscious consumers. We opt for civilised dinner parties rather than alcohol-infused hedonistic lost weekends. It all sounds terribly uptight to me. But although I am at pains to pigeonhole my way of life, there is some element of truth in this description. It also seems that being green and ‘self-sufficientish’ is en vogue. Part of me wants to shout “but I was like this all along!” probably in an effort to validate the fact that maybe I was always a bit cool. But I realise that cool only matters in relation to things like germination. Working outside with nature tends to give you a sense of balance and perspective – like free therapy.

THE INCEPTION OF THE SMALLEST SMALLHOLDING We’re lucky enough to live in a fairly old house that still has – for this area at least – a good chunk of land with it. Before they moved out, my parents acquired a plot of land next to the original long, thin garden. Lack of access to the plot from the road meant that any planning permission for further housing development would not be granted. As a consequence it was left to the mercy of Mother Nature for a good two and a half decades. The plot was an overgrown tangled thicket of 6ft brambles and bindweed when my parents finally purchased it. The sprinkling of fruit trees – crab apple, damson and Victoria plum – was hidden from view. Research later revealed that they were the remnants from an old market garden that had existed there until the early part of the 20th century. To tackle the relentless brambles and bindweed, and despite Mum being an avid gardener, the majority of the plot was turfed. The fruit trees and a few shrubs were left in place. Once my family moved out, my partner Rich and I moved back in. We weren’t interested in the land really. Although the space was




Page 15

15 great, the flower borders and poor weedprone soil were a lot to contend with. But after a while, a burgeoning interest in vegetable growing was slowly taking its grip on me. I’d always been interested in wildlife, but until that point had never really quite made the connection with an interest in gardening and growing. I’d grown up with a grandfather who steadfastly grew vegetables, sweet peas and gladioli. My mother and aunt were also avid gardeners. As children, my sister, cousins and I hung upside down in apple trees, munching the fruit. We picked and gobbled fresh raspberries. Sunny afterSowing carrots in a new vegetable plot at the Smallest noons were spent hiding in the runner Smallholding. beans and popping pea pods. When ‘Pappa’ passed away in 2002, it A NEW LIFE made me evaluate what connected us as The next two weeks saw massive a family. A couple of years after his changes – they learned to perch, vegetable plots had been turfed over, we scratch and lay in a nestbox. I called my decided to resurrect them. My degree mother to celebrate the arrival of our took up most of my time, which meant first egg. If they were pecked, they that my sister Deborah did most of the could simply walk away. They work. Nevertheless, I was hooked. When blossomed from pale, robotic and my degree was over I was a relatively listless looking creatures to vocal, free agent. So my attention turned to glossy-feathered chatty girls. Their my own available space. arrival here opened up a whole new way It just seemed incredible that I’d not of living for them. And for us too, as I thought of it earlier – I had all this space, started thinking more about where all why on earth wasn’t I my food came from. using it? I adore eating The hens discovered and cooking, so growing sunbathing, WORKING vegetables would ensure the OUTSIDE WITH dustbathing, that I could control the delights of worms and process from field to fork. NATURE TENDS grubs, running, jumping I could use organic and dozing under a TO GIVE YOU A hedge. It was uplifting to methods, and actually encourage wildlife. It just know that I was – and SENSE OF all started falling into still am – providing that BALANCE AND place and making sense. for them. When Cynthia So over the winter of quietly passed away in PERSPECTIVE 2006 I started digging in March, I knew that earnest. That winter also because of the time saw the arrival of my 4 ex-battery hens. she’d spent with us, she’d known the The Smallest Smallholding was born. majority of her life as a free range bird. She’d been happy. I probably seem overly sentimental THE GIRLS about my hens, but they are first and I was a complete chicken-keeping foremost pets. So when they’re ill, their novice when I went to collect my hens. The one thing I did know was the names productivity isn’t the main issue. We are emotionally attached to them, but I I wanted to give them. My being overdon’t see it as a bad thing. enthusiastic about the Beatles meant As a vegetarian, I have no need to that they were going to be lumbered keep livestock for meat. As the omnivore with Beatle wife names – Yoko, of the household, Rich now only buys Maureen, Pattie and Cynthia. his meat from reputable sources. He Seeing all the rescued threadbare and tatty looking retirees for the first time was eats less of it, and says he gets far more enjoyment from seeing our animals out quite sad, but also thrilling. They were and about than he would from a few out. They were free. We didn’t choose our girls – they were randomly picked up, had meals of chicken or pork. However, we both feel that anyone their nails trimmed and were carefully that can ethically raise their own meat placed in our travel carriers. The journey should be supported and encouraged, home was quiet. They blinked through the carrier bars and shuffled around every not restricted by swathes of red tape. It’s just not something we could ever do now and then, obviously used to the – simply a choice that we’ve made. cramped environment.

Encouraging wildlife is a priority at The Smallest Smallholding.

BLOGGING Vegetable growers and smallholders are far from being a bunch of wrinkly old Luddites. I found that a glut of technically-capable allotment holders, downshifters, home farmers, smallholders and hobbyists of all ages and backgrounds were using the internet and blogging away. Reading and sharing in their tales of triumph and tribulation made me realise that I’m not the oddity that I thought I was. So I decided to give it a try. By blogging, I don’t profess to being an expert in vegetable growing, hen keeping or wildlife gardening. I’m just a young person who does what makes her happy, and I’m still very much on a steep learning curve. Of course, I often dream about running a ‘real’ smallholding by the sea one day. But for now I am more than happy with my plots at home, and my allotment. The aim of the Smallest Smallholding has become not only a medium to share my experiences of my type of home farming, but a means to try and reach out to an audience and prove that you can provide for yourself in some way. Whether you own just a window box, a postage stamp-sized garden, or you’re lucky enough to be blessed with ample space, you can do something. It doesn’t matter where you live or how old you are. It’s easy. If everybody had a go – if everyone made just a few changes – then the impact en masse could be revolutionary. It’s a really exciting prospect. E

More info Lucy’s blog can be found at:

HF 4 P16-20 SALADS




Page 16


Stonking Salads There is always time for salads. You can sow them from May right through to August, you can be harvesting in less than a month, even if all you have is a hanging basket! Paul Peacock takes us through ten of the best IF THERE’S A crop that must be fresh, fresh for flavour, fresh for appearance, it’s a salad. Most of them are nearly all water and, unless it’s in a bottle, you just can’t get all that freshness off a supermarket shelf. Try a taste test! A lettuce bought from any supermarket and one from your own garden. Apart from one costing a pound and the other a penny, the difference in flavour is completely amazing! Now a few lettuces do not a summer make, and there are plenty of salad crops out there that we can grow in the garden, even in the oddest little places we can pack them in, and we’re going to look at ten of the best.

Turn 95p into £187 in just 50 days I bought a packet of lettuce seeds for 35p.The packet contains 1,700 seeds! Let us pretend that only 10% of these make it to the plate, due to poor germination and thinning out.This leaves me with 170 plants. I need to water them – let’s pretend I use a gallon of water a day (which I won’t). That means in the 50 days I have been growing them I will use 50p worth of water and maybe another 10p worth of fertiliser. This means that my lettuces are going to cost me 95p for 170 plants. In Morrison’s supermarket iceberg lettuces cost £1.10 each. My little crop is now worth £187!

Lettuce You can eat lettuces every day of the year if you like. The year probably starts in December in the greenhouse, when you can sow them indoors. They need a minimum of 10oC to germinate and grow and plenty of moisture. That said, they grow very well in the winter in the greenhouse and a sowing on Christmas Day can be eaten in March, although of course they grow more slowly! You need to sow lettuces indoors right until May, and then sow them outdoors.

TRANSPLANTING LETTUCES This is really hard! The problem is that their leaves grow big but their roots are under developed and this makes them difficult plants to transplant. The roots get damaged in the process and they wilt off. For this reason they are better grown wherever you start them off.

SOWING Simply mark a groove in the soil or compost about 2cm deep and lightly sprinkle the seeds in place with the finger and thumb. Cover and water the young seedlings and protect from slugs. As the seedlings grow, thin them out by pulling alternate ones. Use the thinnings in a salad – don’t waste them!

HF 4 P16-20 SALADS



Page 17


centimetre or so. The drills should be 30cm apart. Keep them well watered and as they grow and thin them out as they grow by taking every other seedling out, then thin them again a couple of weeks later so you end up with a plant every 10cm. Don’t forget – use the thinnings.

CARE When you water, which should be at least once a week, and never let them dry out, add a little general liquid feed, or some of your home made brew. After about a month the leaves will be pickable, and in six weeks they will be perfect. If you are growing beetroot, try only to take a couple of leaves once the plant has become secure. Better still, use the thinnings for salads and then allow the rest to root up. You can sow some in compost in the September greenhouse for a crop into December, especially if it is heated. It is remarkable how frost hardy these are. Make sure they do not dry out, but try only to water the soil, not the leaves, and watch out for greenfly. I usually kill them with my thumb. If you start sowing in June, repeat the sowing every two weeks until the end of August. The seed packets say stop in July, but it doesn’t cost a lot to get an extra month in, and in the middle of September

cover them with a cloche. (I use upturned and cut off lemonade bottles). Varieties: Iceberg Great Lakes 659 is a variety that does not go to seed, and is easy to grow. Web is a nice one for thick leaves and you can pull a single leaf off and leave the plant in the ground if you like.

Chard & beet These plants can be more or less treated the same because they are the same family. Chard, or Swiss Chard as they call it, is really only a beetroot without the swollen root.

SOWING You can sow these plants outside from April to early August, and you should sow them every couple of weeks for a succession of crops. They should be sown in drills (straight lines to you and me – a scrape in the soil), a seed per

HF 4 P16-20 SALADS




Page 18



Rocket This is one of those that you can sow in the early spring every fortnight until the end of September and get salad leaves for weeks into the winter. You can even sow them in October indoors and get some leaves in February in a cool but frost free greenhouse or tunnel. The peppery taste, along with the wonderfully shaped leaves, make a great addition to the salad bowl.

SOWING Sow in drills but only one at a time every two weeks at about 4cm apart. The seedlings germinate in a couple of weeks, depending on the weather. Water them well in and give them a little feed once a fortnight. The second row should be around 40cm from the first, and by the time you are sowing your third row you should be thinning out the first to a plant every 10-12cm. Don’t forget the mantra: use your thinnings! They need little care, save perhaps protecting from flea beetle in the height of the summer (I cover with fleece) and keeping moist.

A plant with a scientific name like Tropaeolum makes you think of the tropics. This hot plant actually comes from South America and is well worth looking after. It grows over everything and dies away in the winter if not cared for. The big peppery leaves and gorgeous hot house flowers are edible and make for a brilliant salad. The buds and fruits make excellent caper substitutes, pickled in vinegar. Monet, in his French garden at Giverny, famously allowed them to grow over the paths. He painted them many times, but ate them more!

SOWING You should sow them in May – June in well weeded soil that is in full sun. One trick is to sow them in a pot, which you bury in the soil. Then in September you can bring them into the greenhouse so that you can eat them through the winter. Also you can take cuttings in August that will take in the polytunnel and be ready to plant outdoors again in late spring. The seeds need to be planted at random, two or three almost anywhere in the garden, for extra colour and an edible pretty crop. You can harvest the leaves as and when you need them.

Spring Onions These thin bodied, hardly bulbed onions are a must, not the least because you can use the whole plant in salads and cook with them too. They are the sweetest onions to grow considering they don’t spend the whole year growing.

SOWING You can sow them from April through to July every couple of weeks, like all the other salads so far, and end up with a crop right through to October. Simply sow them in drills, lightly a seed every couple of centimetres, and water them in. They need a general fertiliser and must be weed free. Thin them out so that you have a plant every hand width. Keep them moist but not wet and they will do fine over a warm summer. Pick them as they are ready. From June to July there is time to get three successive sowings in place.

Mizuna Mizuna is a brilliant salad. Grow it in well-drained soil, or containers, and you will be cropping for weeks. It’s great raw in salads, having a mild mustard taste. Mizuna is a robust plant that grows 25cm tall. You can cut it and it will grow again. It won’t last the winter out, but you can grow it in pots and bring them into the greenhouse.

SOWING Sow in well-draining soil, in the sun just like lettuce, and thin in the same way. You can do early sowings in March in modules indoors and transplant when the frost has finally cleared. The plant can be harvested after three weeks and you simply use it on a cut and come again basis.

Radish Originating in the Far East, radish have traveled the world and become popular because they are easy to grow, tasty and versatile. They are, in fact, so easy to grow that many children cut their teeth on growing radishes of all sizes. They only take around 50 days to produce edible roots and can be planted at almost any time of the year. Plants grow to around 30cm in height with large, sometimes warty

HF 4 P16-20 SALADS



Page 19



Hanging baskets are usually higher up than the rest of the garden and are in the front line of wind borne pesticides in the form of droplets blown from other gardens. Make sure yours are protected. Once filled with compost, plants and then watered your hanging basket will be very heavy. Make sure it is very firmly fixed and that you can water it without over stretching yourself or having to balance dangerously, and you can harvest it safely.

THE BASICS A hanging basket is made from a wire frame.You can buy wicker ones, but they are a waste of space because you cannot plant underneath them. Inside the frame goes a liner to hold the compost. Usually made from thick processed card, you can also buy sphagnum moss, which in may ways I prefer because you can get a more natural looking product, but newspaper will do just as well. Fill the lined basket with a mixture of good quality compost, some slow release fertiliser pellets, some moisture retaining material and a handful of vermiculite.

NOW YOU ARE READY FOR PLANTING It is easier if you have grown your plants in modules first, ready for easy transplanting. Plant in circles, the very centre of the basket bearing the largest plant. I like to grow chives, around which I have four ‘Little Gem’ lettuces and then another circle of radish. On the underside you can go for edible colour. Nasturtium and Marigold make a good combination. Cut through the liner

and push a hole with your fingers before carefully forcing the roots into position and firm the compost all around – from the top and beneath. If you have room for more than one basket go for variety.Try rocket instead of lettuce and a trailing tomato.All tomatoes trail if you let them. Gardeners Delight is a good variety to use.

CARE Hanging baskets need regular watering. Once a day is not too much to make sure the plants are doing well. You cannot rely on even the strongest rain to

sufficiently water the basket.There is not much compost and there are a lot of competing roots, so make sure that every other watering has a feed.You can use liquid tomato feed if you like.

HF 4 P16-20 SALADS




Page 20

GROWING SALADS leaves that are lime green in colour. The leaves are completely useless for eating – not that they are poisonous, they just taste bad and are quite tough! However, the young leaves are fantastic and can be picked for salads or used in stir fries. The root swells quickly into its final shape, some long and cylindrical, others the traditional round ball. The ball types are referred to as summer radish while the cylindrical ones are winter. This is a little misleading because you can grow either type at different times of the year.

SOWING Radishes like full sun but do best in cool conditions. This paradox is typical of the brassica family of which radish is a member. You have to remember they grow very quickly and if you go on holiday, or are not able to eat the whole of your crop, they easily become too mature to eat, being fibrous. Ideally in the summer you need to sow every two weeks. Sow a variety like ‘Black Spanish’ into modules in December and keep them in a cool greenhouse. In March plant them out and then follow on with a sowing directly into the soil a couple of weeks later. You can also plant directly into the soil in November and cover with a cloche to heat the soil with whatever warmth the day brings. You have to be careful of

bolting if you plant them too early. This can be avoided by keeping them frost free and using bolt-resistant varieties. You might have a crop for December in a warm year, but the leaves will be edible while they are young. Of course you can plant in a polytunnel at almost any time. Sowing in late spring and summer every couple of weeks until late July will keep you in radishes until the late autumn. Like carrots, make sure your soil is well fed and finely worked. They prefer a well dug, water retaining soil which has plenty of nutrients. Make a drill and sow the seeds at a rate of around one per centimetre. Cover and water. If you are growing more than a row at a time they should be about 30cm apart. As the seeds germinate, and you should expect near 100% success, the leaves will peep out of the soil and you can take every other plant in the row to ensure a decent sized crop. Those you have taken to make room for the others can be used in salads and stir-fry; they are much too good to waste.

Outdoor Cucumbers For ease of growing and reliability outdoor varieties can’t be beaten. They can cope with low temperatures and do not need any support, but the fruits are more likely to be straighter if the plants are supported.

SOWING Sow in individual pots, 2-3 seeds per pot and about 2cm deep. Sow in late Spring to avoid the risk of late frosts. Do not over water the seedlings and pinch out all but the best growing plant. Once the plants have at least two ‘true’ leaves, they can be planted into their growing positions. Add plenty of compost to the soil and make a little hill into which you transplant your cucumber. They like high heat and humidity, and some people mulch them with straw. They are ideal plants to grow not that far away from a pond. Keep them well watered and feed them with tomato feed at least once a week. Once the fruits are produced, pick them as soon as they are useable. If you let a cucumber mature the plant will stop production.

Borage Borage is an annual with hairy leaves and stems and beautiful sky-blue flowers in a star shape. The plant grows about 2-3 feet tall. The flowers are used in a wonderful drink called Pimms, and you can add the flowers to all kinds of drinks by making ice-cubes out of them. Bees are attracted to the borage plant so it is a really eco-friendly plant to grow in the garden.

SOWING Sow the seeds in the spring just under the surface of the soil and 30cm apart. Keep the soil weed free and fine, well-worked moist soil and partial sun. Borage will bloom nearly all season and will self-seed from year to year. The shallow-rooted prolific plants are easy to thin when overgrown. Planting in thick clumps provides support to top-heavy plants; extra support is beneficial. Pick the leaves in spring and summer when flowering begins. E

The writing is on the wall Food is getting more expensive. It’s official! Over 70% of our salad plants are grown abroad and these are becoming so expensive that shortages are occurring right now. As the summer rolls on fuel is supposed to increase to 150 pence a litre, and the cost of driving relatively low value salad crops across Europe will be crippling. As I write this there are no lettuces in TESCO, only a very few in ASDA and those that are on sale have gone up in price by 15% in a couple of days. Surely it is time to grow your own!




Page 21





Page 22


Summer Salads THE FOLLOWING RECIPES are for those tasty additions you would normally purchase from the supermarket; the pasta salad, coleslaw, hummus and various others that make a buffet meal or any meal a little more interesting. Making your own is very easy and the shop bought products seem to always taste the same and can be a little disappointing, whereas the home-made versions taste wonderful. The amounts given in the recipes are for 4 people and assume they are accompaniments rather than the main part of the meal. But as some, like pasta or couscous salad, can be eaten in larger quantities then the amounts given would be better feeding 2 people. The only problem I find with these types of salad is that they do not store well. This is due to the combination of ingredients. So they need to be eaten

on the day of preparation or at the latest the next day. The only real exception to this is hummus which will keep for 2-3 days if refrigerated. The first recipe for coleslaw is the one I seem to make the most often as we eat it with green salads, pizzas and pies, ham and baked potatoes. We particularly enjoy eating it as an accompaniment to baked mackerel. The amounts for this are approximate as sizes of vegetable vary and also you will find out how you like it by experimenting with amounts. I tend to use white onion as this gives a stronger flavour, but red onion is fine and looks interesting. You can use either light mayonnaise or the original or make you own. Recipes for this will be coming shortly. You will not have to add any salt as the mayonnaise contains enough.




Page 23


Coleslaw INGREDIENTS /2 small onion, white or red 1 medium grated carrot 1 /2 (approx) shredded white cabbage 3 rounded tablespoons good mayonnaise 1

METHOD 1 Chop onion finely and mix into grated carrot. 2 Shred the cabbage as finely as you

prefer and mix that into carrot and onion. 3 Add the mayonnaise and stir well to combine. 4 Transfer to serving dish and serve. Hummus is a Greek and Arabic dish that has become a very popular dip and salad accompaniment. It is brilliant served with vegetable crudités and hors d’oeuvre. It is simple to make but you have to be careful with the amount of garlic and lemon juice used. The first time I made it I put in too much lemon juice and not enough garlic and the flavour was too sharp. The next time I altered the amounts and it was a much better balance. Tasting the hummus as you go is important as you can add more but you can’t take it away once combined with the other ingredients. The recipe uses tahini, which is a thick paste made from sesame seeds. In Middle-Eastern cuisine it is used in both sweet and savoury dishes. It is quite oily and needs to be stirred well before use. This can be purchased in Asian food markets and some big name supermarkets, though it costs nearly twice as much. Though you can do it by hand, it is easier if you have a food processor.

Hummus INGREDIENTS 175g chickpeas soaked in cold water overnight 2 chopped garlic cloves 75ml or 5 tablespoons tahini 40-50ml lemon juice, freshly squeezed if possible 60ml mild olive oil Salt to taste

METHOD 1 After soaking, pour enough boiling water to cover and simmer for 2-21/2 hours. 2 Drain well and puree along with the chopped garlic, either in a food processor or mashing and pushing together. 3 Add tahini and lemon juice and mix well. 4 Add olive oil gradually whilst mixing well. 5 Season to taste and transfer to a serving dish. 6 Add some chopped parsley to vary the flavour, or try ground cumin or coriander seeds to taste.





Page 24

IN THE KITCHEN METHOD 1 Cook pasta and cool in cold water. Leave to drain. 2 In a large bowl mix together the prawns and cucumber, salt and black pepper. 3 Mix the crème fraiche and mayonnaise together with the paprika. 4 Stir the cooked pasta into the prawns and cucumber. 5 Add the mayonnaise and crème fraiche to the pasta and stir well to combine. 6 Transfer to a serving dish. Sprinkle a little more paprika on top of the salad. Pasta salads are very easy and can be made fairly quickly. You can use any ingredients that you may have in the fridge from fish to vegetables, to chicken and dried fruit. I always use wholewheat pasta but you can use ordinary. The following recipes are the most popular with my friends and family.

Prawn Pasta Salad INGREDIENTS 150g wholewheat dried pasta 1 /2 chopped cucumber 100g large shelled prawns 2 rounded tablespoons mayonnaise 2 tablespoons crème fraiche 1 /2 level teaspoon sweet paprika Salt and black pepper to taste

Cheese and Pasta Salad INGREDIENTS 150g wholewheat pasta of your choice 50g cheddar cheese 1 tablespoon chopped chives 2 tablespoons mayonnaise 2 tablespoons crème fraiche

METHOD 1 Cook pasta as before and place in a large bowl when cool. 2 Mix mayonnaise and crème fraiche. 3 Add cheese and chives to pasta. 4 Stir in crème fraiche and mayonnaise mixture. 5 Transfer to serving bowl and serve topped with extra chives. 6 You can add a few olives for colour.

Mexican Pasta Salad INGREDIENTS 150g wholewheat pasta 1 /2 chopped red pepper 1 /2 chopped green pepper 4 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce Small can red kidney beans, drained well Crème fraiche to serve

METHOD 1 Cook pasta as before and combine with all ingredients. 2 Transfer to a serving dish and serve with crème fraiche. 3 This is really good as an accompaniment to prawn fishcakes or egg and ham pie. 4 You can hot it up with a few slithers of a hotter chilli if you dare.




Page 25

25 the garlic during cooking. 3 Remove from pan and allow to cool. 4 Once cool mix the vegetables with couscous and finely chopped herbs. 5 Add salt and pepper to taste. 6 Serve with a mixture of virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Rice salads are also very easy and can be a very colourful accompaniment or even a main meal. The first one is one I have adapted from a favourite rice recipe, Kedgeree. All the recipes use 150g of cooked and cooled rice. You can use either white or brown rice for all these recipes.

Kedgeree Style Salad INGREDIENTS 150g rice 1 medium tin tuna in brine, well-drained 3 tablespoons frozen peas, cooked 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 level teaspoons curry paste 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped Chopped parsley to decorate

METHOD Couscous is a traditional North African ingredient and is basically wheat. It is an ideal substitute for rice or pasta. The next salad is delicious served with steak and precludes the need for potatoes or rice.

Couscous Salad INGREDIENTS 150g couscous, cooked as packet instructions 1 red pepper 1small courgette shallots 2 cloves garlic, crushed Fresh thyme and parsley Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD 1 Chop shallots and fry lightly in a little olive oil. 2 Chop pepper and courgette and add to the shallots. Fry till tender, adding

1 Add oil to a pan and stir in curry paste. Heat gently and add tuna and peas, coating them with the spicy oil. 2 Remove from heat and add the rice and eggs. Stir well and transfer to a serving dish. 3 Serve with chopped parsley sprinkled over the top of the salad. Coronation chicken was originally made for the Queen’s coronation in 1953 by Constance Spry and Rosemary Hume. It became a popular treat in the 1950s, as it was easy to reproduce in the home. This can be used as an accompaniment to salads or is also delicious on sandwiches layered with lettuce and cucumber or in a baked potato. It is also good to take on picnics. It can be served straight on crispy rolls or eaten with tortilla chips.

Coronation Chicken INGREDIENTS 150g cooked chicken or any leftovers

/2 small onion 1 heaped teaspoon curry paste 2 tablespoons lemon juice 5 finely chopped ready to eat dried apricots 3 tablespoons mayonnaise 1 tablespoon double cream Salt and pepper to taste


METHOD 1 SautĂŠ onion until tender. 2 Add curry paste and lemon juice. 3 Leave to cool thoroughly then add mayonnaise and cream. 4 Mix in chopped chicken and apricots and season to taste. 5 You may use sultanas or raisins as an alternative to apricots if you wish. This next salad is great for using up any leftover chicken from a previous meal.

Chicken and Rice Salad INGREDIENTS 150g rice 100g chopped cooked chicken 2 tablespoons sweetcorn 1 /2 red pepper, chopped 1 /2 cucumber, cubed Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD 1 Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl and mix well. 2 Transfer to a serving dish, adding a few chopped herbs if desired. There are many other ingredients you can use to make rice salads. Here are a few ideas: E chopped cooked mushrooms and crispy bacon E a drained can of kidney beans and some chilli flakes E cooked peas, prawns and chorizo E

HF4 P26-27 CRAFT




Page 26


Let There Be Light So much effort was put into evening lighting, there was a solution for all pockets and sizes of home and from the earliest times, the dark was shunned away with home made lighting. Paul Peacock sheds a little light on the subject YOU CAN FORGET all your high output, low energy light bulbs. They are bad for the environment! How can I say this? Well for a start the amount of energy needed to make the light bulb and then to transport them around the country and then sell them in the shops is far greater than the bulb will ever consume in its lifetime. The most Eco-friendly lighting you can get, apart from the sun and the moon, comes from beeswax candles made at home. They are virtually completely free from net polluting. The CO2 they produce came from the atmosphere, collected by thousands of bees from millions of flowers.

DIPPING CANDLES The traditional way to make a candle is to simply tie your wick to a stick and repeatedly dip it into the hot wax. You can tie lots of wicks to a stick and make a number of candles at the same time. The best way to melt the wax is in a water bath and, particularly with beeswax, too much heat can scorch and burn it. You can buy candle wax,

HF4 P26-27 CRAFT



Page 27


Melting beeswax (I am using some old beeswax foundation).

Dropping the wick.

which is basically paraffin wax, from craft stores, and you can add all sorts of colours and fragrances too. You can always tell a dipped candle by the slightly uneven shape - and the price of course. In order to dip your own candles you need a large water bath. You can buy candle-making kits, but a couple of pans and a deep dish is good enough.

You should tie the wick to a pencil so that it stays upright until the candle is set. If you want to remove the candle from the cup, make sure first of all that the mouth is wider than the base! Secondly, dip the container in boiling water for a minute and allow the wax to melt, thus allowing you to remove the candle by the wick. You should make sure the whole of the wax is completely solid first, though.

WICK The best wicks are twisted ones that you buy. The problem is that the wick needs to fray outwards to be burned as the candle burns. Otherwise the wick will remain too long and the flame will be huge. Older candles had to have their wicks trimmed daily.

CANDLES IN CUPS You can make a candle in a cup easily by simply melting the wax in a water bath directly in the cup. This is then dressed with a wick. I always weight my wicks so they go straight down, but the other way of doing it is to dip the wicks a couple of times first so you have a more solid thing to work with.

HOW MUCH LIGHT DO YOU GET By eye, without much in the way of scientific study, you get about a tenth of the light of a 60W bulb for a candle, but then your eyes do get used to having less light around. Of course there is always the problem of fire to be considered. The Victorians thought up an impressive array of ways of using candles in the home.

RISING CANDLES Obviously, as the candle is consumed, its height decreases. In order to compensate for this a candlestick evolved with a sprung floor. As the weight of the candle decreased, the spring pushed it up so it was always at the same position.

REFLECTORS Candlesticks with polished brass reflectors, often meant for wall mounting, directed more light in a certain direction, thus allowing a person to read with only one candle burning.

ONE, TWO OR THREE? Poor people’s candle sticks only carried one candle, often a stub. It had no reflector because this heated up and wasted the wax by melting it. Rich people’s candlesticks had more than a

The wick in place.

single candle. They gave off more light, but there was a problem in that the heat from each candle melted the other. Three candles burned the middle one more quickly than the outer two and so people would forever move the candles around to keep them at the same height. Consequently an early version of the party game musical chairs was called candlesticks. Holders big enough to burn five candles always had the central holder much higher than the outer four. E

Rushlights Of course all our lighting came from flames at one time.The poor had rushlights, and these give out much more light than a candle, but are sooty. You can use any fat for a rushlight.You need a long stem, usually of the bull rush.This plant is completely edible and is a cottager’s dream.The long stems were cut to size and then soaked in whatever fat was available. Duck or goose fat was the best, but lanolin from sheep was also used as well as pork fat. Special rushlight stands were made to keep the flame from falling over because it often burned upwards of six inches.You can make rushlights with sedges too, which are much more common in damp fields. When the candle became popular in the eighteenth century in wealthy households, it was a mark of status that the poor rarely achieved, and consequently candles were taxed and rushlights were not.

HF4 P28-31 SPIN




Page 28


All in

a Spin! Beth Frear introduces the craft of spinning with a wheel

Margaret Vaughan of the Dumfries Guild demonstrates spinning on a traditional wheel in a Borders Cottage Museum.

HF4 P28-31 SPIN



Page 29

29 “THE TROUBLE WITH you,” said my SPEED Mother, “is you have Champagne ideas Spinning on a wheel is much faster and on lemonade money!” “Then I’ll just more efficient than with a spindle. It’s have to learn how to make things for possible to produce a 50gm hank of two myself,” was my reply. ply double knit weight wool in about It has been that way ever since and three hours. The foot pedal and the so 12 years ago I finally got around to drive band on the big wheel turn your buying myself a spinning wheel. It was a pedalling energy into the fast turning mistake – an expensive one! But by now motion of the “flyer”, a wooden U you may have realised I’m particularly shaped piece of wood that holds the good at making them. My first wheel, a bobbin securely in place as it spins. As Haldane Lewis traditional wheel, was the flyer rotates rapidly it draws in the purchased second hand over the wool from your hands through the Internet. It arrived orifice and twists it as it jumbled up in a box goes. The twisted or spun without even a hint of MY FIRST WHEEL, wool is stored on the how to assemble it. It until it is full. A HALDANE LEWIS bobbin was well worn and it Spinning can be also came with the reduced to a series of TRADITIONAL wrong bobbins – a mathematical ratios WHEEL, WAS serious problem. It between the turns of the adorned my hearth as big wheel and the turns of PURCHASED an accusing dust the flyer. All the spinner SECOND HAND has to do is count the collector for years until I discovered and put OVER THE INTERNET revolutions of both at the right the bobbin same time as you feed the problem and sold it on. wool into the wheel. O.K. Although I did find the right wheel So that left you as cold as it left me? for me, I’ve gone on to make some very Precisely! Just try counting the turns of desirable things. Large pure wool rugs two spinning objects simultaneously. with a three inch deep pile, hand spun Your eyes cross and your fingers Nordic sweaters that really do fit my 6’ disappear down the orifice so fast there 5” tall son, hats of all shapes and sizes, is hardly time to pull them free. I’d been Tam O’ Shanters, shawls, silk embroidery spinning happily for years before I tried threads and even modern felted bags. counting the mathematical ratios and I’ve long ago lost count of all the things now I’m happy to settle for a less that little wheel has precise, “looks alright, feels been used to make. It alright,” method that works fits on the back seat of for me. LEARNING TO my car and I take it up The different parts of a into the Lowther Hills wheel have some lovely old SPIN IS LIKE every fine sunny day names. The bobbins of LEARNING TO and sit among the course are obvious but sheep in perfect restful come in an almost infinite RIDE A BIKE, bliss. Mind you some variety of shapes and sizes DRIVE A CAR startled tourists have and each make and nearly come off the sometimes model of wheel OR SWIM single track hill roads has its own specific at the sight of me as bobbins. You need three they swung around a matching bobbins to spin blind bend. wool. They sit one at a time in a flyer Learning to spin is like learning to that spins extremely rapidly to twist the ride a bike, drive a car or swim. It takes yarn and draw it onto the bobbin. The a little while for the brain to remember hooks on the flyer guide the spun wool the correct sequence and rhythm but along the bobbin so that it loads evenly. once learnt it is never forgotten. As a Be careful - they will also rip your dyslexic I’ve never found multitasking fingers open very badly if you try to my eyes, hands and feet at the same stop the flyer with your fingers when it’s time comes easily, so it will come as no in motion. surprise that the style of wheel that The wool enters the flyer via the suited me (a Louet S15) comes with orifice that again varies in size with the just one foot pedal and one tension wheel design. I have no trouble adjuster. It has large chunky parts and threading mine with my fingers, but a drive band that stretches easily back some wheels need a special threading into place if it has come off when the hook. Upright wheels have the flyer and wheel is moved. As an unrepentant bobbins mounted on the top of the Luddite, give me simple technology any actual large spinning wheel and are time! called castle wheels. Traditionally

Spindles Last month we said we would bring you a step by step guide to spindle spinning.

Tie about 18” of commercial knitting yarn under the disc of the drop spindle.Thread the long end over the disc and through the hook. Fray the long end of the wool.

Hold the frayed end of the wool against the combed unspun wool with your top hand.With the lower hand start the spindle spinning clockwise. Allow the fibres of the wool to twist securely into the starter thread.Wrap the spare unspun wool around the palm of your hand and release it as required.

Whilst the spindle is turning use both hands to stretch a length of unspun fibre, then slide the fingers of the lower hand up the wool and allow the spin to build up in the thread.When sufficient thread is spun, wind it on the spindle below the disc. Let the spare combed fleece drop over the upper arm and out of the way.

HF4 P28-31 SPIN




Page 30

SPINNING WITH A WHEEL designed wheels have the components arranged horizontally and usually sit on three legs. But the most colourful part of all is called the Lazy Kate on which the full and empty bobbins are stored. This part can even be separate from the main wheel but is essential to regulate the flow of spun yarn back onto the machine during the plying process. My Lazy Kate sits on the base of my wheel on the side opposite to the foot pedal so I am never without it. And the last piece of quaintly named equipment you will need is the gloriously evocative Niddy Noddy. This is essentially a stick with a bar at each end that is used to take the finished yarn after it has been plied from its bobbin and wind it into a hank. The winding process requires some concentration and the Niddy Noddy assumes its characteristic bobbing up and down motion in the hands of a skilled user.

MAKING YARN Making a yarn actually involves two distinct processes. The first is to spin two matching bobbins of yarn to an equal thickness and length. It’s simply a mechanised version of the same process used in spindle spinning. As the foot treadles the wheel, the motion is translated by drive belts to the flyer. The spinner releases a thin stream of fibre through the orifice and the flyer spins it to a set thickness and tension. All the processes are controlled by hand and eye and spinning always takes place with the big wheel spinning clockwise. On my basic wheel I can spin wool so thick that it makes rug pile or down so thin it will produce a baby weight yarn. It will even accept the finest Mawatta silk. When I have two full matching bobbins I load them onto the Lazy Kate and thread the loose ends back through the orifice onto the spare bobbin that is loaded ready in the flyer. This time when I pedal, the big wheel turns anticlockwise. The threads are drawn back through the orifice and twist together against each other to make a plied thread. Because they are now spinning in the opposite direction to which they were initially spun they become slightly untwisted. The two slackened threads grip together and are then plied by the anti-clockwise spin into a firm and durable yarn. Finally, I disconnect the drive belt and wind the bobbin of finished yarn onto the Niddy Noddy so that it can be tied into a secure hank and washed to relax the fibres. Once spinning has become an automatic skill the fun really starts. Buying and blending different coloured wool to make unique yarns is a very empowering process. From there it’s a

Right:The author’s trusty Louet S15 spinning wheel “Castle” design. At the base is the pedal and the “Lazy Kate” with two spare bobbins.The main wheel is treadled by a single plastic drive belt. On top is the Flyer loaded with the bobbin in use. On this wheel the drive belt turns the bobbin, not the flyer. Above the word “Louet” is the round black orifice through which the wool is fed onto the flyer.The black leather strap over the orifice can be used to control tension but isn’t essential to spinning. Far right: A few of the many items made by Beth from wool spun on her Louet wheel. Clockwise from the top a jacket, a felted bag, a child’s pink frilly hat, a selection of Tam O’Shanter berets, a large man’s Nordic sweater, two hand made hooked rugs, simple pull on hats and a purple felted bag.

short step to designing your own garments or woollen items. A simple wheel like mine will make mohair and angora yarns, spin camel and silk, alpaca and even the rare and expensive Arctic Musk Ox. Yarns can be two, three or even four ply with a bigger Lazy Kate and more bobbins, or you can produce expensive bouclé or slubbed yarns, all by hand spinning on a wheel.

WHAT WILL A WHEEL COST? The cheapest kit wheels are about £175 + postage but increasingly they are made of MDF fibreboard, which I wouldn’t recommend. Wooden wheels will last a lifetime even with regular use and are much nicer to handle. Prices start around the £300 mark. Modern wheels are usually castle shaped, sleek and simple to operate. It is possible to buy cheap Eastern European wheels that look as if they come straight out of a fairy tale, but the elaborately turned wooden legs and uprights have no advantage and are just dust collectors. They are also less easy to transport – an important consideration as spinners like to meet and spin together socially. Try before you buy if you possibly can. Your local Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers will have wheels of most types and can teach you how to spin as well as which wheel is best for your height and any special requirements you may have. E

HF4 P28-31 SPIN



Page 31


Suppliers Information Some of the many suppliers of Spinning equipment – but always try before you buy. Not every wheel suits every height or physical type of spinner and mistakes can be very costly. SUPPLIERS OF SPINNING WHEELS Scottish Fibres, 23 Damhead, Lothianburn, Edinburgh, EH10 7EA. Tel/Fax: 0131 445 3899 Web: P & M Woolcraft, Pindon End, Hanslope, Milton Keynes, MK19 7HN. Tel: 01908 510 277 Web: Wingham Woolworks, 70 Main St.,Wentworth, Rotherham, South Yorkshire, S62 7TN. Tel: 01226 742926 Web; Ashford (based in New Zealand, but found the world over) UK Distributor Frank Herring and Sons, 27 High West Street, Dorcheaster, Dorset, DT1 1UP. Tel: 01305 264449/267917 Web: Twist Fibre Craft Studio, Newburgh, Fife, KY14 6AQ. Tel: 01337 842843 Moondance Wools, Springhill Farm, Coldingham Moor Road, Eyemouth, Berwickshire,TD14 5TX. Tel: 01890 771541 Web: /spinning_kromsky_wheels.htm The association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers can be found at: and they will direct you to your nearest branch. If you live in a remote area or can’t leave home because of disability, mobility or stock keeping responsibilities, you might prefer to join the very popular online Guild.You’ll find full details at:





Page 32

COOL SUMMER DRINKS Splash into summer with some soothing, cooling drinks that really tickle the tongue and quench the thirst

Summer Thirst Quenchers A WONDERFUL WAY to use up a glut of soft fruit is to make a syrup. This can be then be used to make thirst quenching drinks by adding sparkling water or making milk shakes and added to white wine spritzers. They also make delicious ice-cream sauces. They are very easy to make and require only a few ingredients. The syrup freezes well and can be kept successfully for three months. Make sure you de-frost thoroughly before use. The secret is to keep the heating of the fruit to a minimum to retain the full fruit flavour. Fully ripened fruit should produce enough juice, but using a pectin-destroying enzyme will improve the yield. Use 1/2 level teaspoon of enzyme to 220g fruit or as instructions on pack. The only other ingredients are sugar and water. You can use ordinary granulated sugar, but I find caster sugar dissolves easier.

Making your Syrup E Raspberries and strawberries don’t need any water. E Blackcurrants need 250ml to every 500g fruit. E Blackberries need 50ml to every 500g fruit.

METHOD 1 Wash the fruit and remove stalks etc. Place in a heatproof bowl and crush the fruit well with a fork or potato masher. 2 Add the water if necessary and place bowl over a pan of boiling water and heat the fruit gently till the juice begins to run. 3 Using a clean cheese cloth or muslin, strain the juice into another bowl or pan and add the sugar. Approximately 250g sugar to every 500ml juice. If you strain the juice into a pan that has measurements up the side this makes it easier. This also helps if the sugar doesn’t dissolve well, as you can heat the juice gently over a low light, stirring slowly. 4 Pour the cooled syrup into sterilised bottles using a funnel. 5 The syrup will keep for up to 6 weeks if stored in the fridge.

There is nothing more refreshing on hot, sunny days than a glass of old fashioned lemonade. It is obviously best served chilled with ice and slices of lemon.

This drink will whisk you away to the Caribbean, well in your imagination. I first tasted this in Majorca actually and it was the bar tenders speciality. He made lots of fruit drinks that were nonalcoholic but could easily be made so if you wished.

Old Fashioned Lemonade

Pineapple Cooler

4 un-waxed large lemons or 6 smaller ones 400-450g sugar depending on how sweet you want it 2 teaspoons citric acid 2 teaspoons tartaric acid 1 litre water

INGREDIENTS 1 can crushed pineapple 1 carton of fresh pineapple juice Juice of 1 lime 2 tablespoons powdered coconut milk, mixed with 4 tablespoons warm water 100ml sparkling water or soda water Plenty of ice

METHOD 1 Pour all ingredients into a jug except for water and ice and, using a hand blender, whisk for a few seconds to blend the pineapple. 2 Add the water and the ice, perhaps a straw, a cherry on a stick and an umbrella just enjoy it.





Page 33



1 Using a lemon zester pare the rind away from the pith. 2 Juice the lemons and put into a bowl with the sugar, tartaric and citric acid. 3 Bring the water to the boil with the lemon rind and simmer for 3 minutes. 4 Remove from heat and strain water over juice and sugar mixture. 5 Stir well to dissolve the sugar, strain again if necessary and pour into bottles. 6 Store in a cool place for up to 4 weeks. Chill well before drinking.

1 Put water and sugar into a pan and bring to the boil. 2 Place fruit in a serving bowl and pour over hot syrup. 3 Leave to cool and add juice of the oranges and the grape juice. 4 Just before serving add plenty of ice. 5 If you want to make this alcoholic add as much brandy or white wine as you wish.

Barley water was traditionally made as a soothing drink for invalids in the Middle Ages and I remember my Dad drinking it when he had a bout of cystitis. But my main memory of barley water is the commercially produced one at Wimbledon each year. I used to see it waiting for the players and would always ask my Mum to buy some, it was very thirst quenching. My favourite flavour was the orange. But the following recipe my use oranges or lemons.

Orange Barley Water INGREDIENTS 50g pearl barley 500g water Juice and zest of two oranges 1-2 tablespoons of sugar, depending on how sweet you like it or try a tablespoon of honey.

METHOD 1 Blanche the barley by pouring boiling water over to clean it. 2 Place all the ingredients in a pan and bring to a simmer, DO NOT BOIL, for 20 minutes. 3 Strain and leave to cool before drinking. This beverage does not keep well so make sufficient to be consumed in 24 hours.

Summer Fruit Punch INGREDIENTS 200g strawberries, hulled and quartered 100g raspberries, hulled 50g stoned cherries Juice of 3 oranges 100g sugar 1 litre water 1 litre white grape juice





Page 34

COOL SUMMER DRINK I also like to make fruit and herb infusions that may be drunk warm or cold. They are very light and refreshing, they don’t have a strong flavour but quench your thirst.

Summer beverages don’t have to be alcoholic, but the next recipe is for an old favourite of my family’s, good home made Ginger Beer. It was particularly popular with farmworkers during harvest time and can be drunk cold but is still very delicious and thirst quenching if it gets a little warm. You will need a sterile brewing bucket and glass bottles. The amount of bottles will depend on their size. Using bottles with reinforced corks is advised as ginger beer has a habit of blowing its corks, so do take great care after the bottling stage.

Lemon & Ginger INGREDIENTS Grated zest 1/2 lemon Juice 1 lemon 1 /4 teaspoon crushed ginger 1 teaspoon honey


Ginger Beer INGREDIENTS 20g root ginger, grated 1 un-waxed lemon, juiced and zested 400g sugar 4 litres water 20g cream of tartar 20g brewing yeast

METHOD 1 Put the ginger, sugar, cream of tartar and lemon zest into a brewing bucket, one that holds around 9 or 10 litres. 2 Boil the water, this can be done batches in the kettle and pour over the ginger mixture. 3 Add the lemon juice and stir well. 4 Allow to cool till just warm and cream the yeast with a little liquid from the bucket. Stir into the ginger liquid and cover. 5 Leave in a warm place for 24 hours before skimming off the froth without disturbing the sediment. 6 Using a jug, carefully pour the ginger beer into strong glass beer bottles. Leave a gap at the top and cork each bottle.

7 Store the bottles in a cool place and check regularly. The corks may need to be released if fermentation is vigorous. The beer is ready in 2-3 days.

1 To make a mug of this put all ingredients into a small jug and pour over the mug full of boiling water. 2 Stir well and allow to steep for 5-6 minutes before drinking.

Lavender and Chamomile INGREDIENTS 4 lavender flowers 1 chamomile tea bag or 5 chamomile flowerheads 2 tablespoons home made blackcurrant syrup Boiling water

METHOD 1 Put flowers and/or teabag into a small teapot and pour over sufficient boiling water to make a mug size drink. 2 Stir well and leave to brew for 10 minutes. 3 Add the syrup and fill a mug with this soothing drink, straining away the flowers. E




Page 35

To advertise contact Bob Handley:

0845 226 0477

HF4 P36-38 FRUIT




Page 36

GROWING FRUIT TREES The good old cooker, Bramley

Up the Apples and Pears You don’t need acres of space for an orchard of your own. Fruit trees can be grown in pots on a patio and even the smallest of gardens can have its share of dwarf varieties of top fruit, says Jayne Neville SOME CAN EVEN be grown against walls, as espaliers or fan-trained specimens that take up even less space. The good news is that you will be able to find the right size tree to suit your requirements wherever you live. In this feature we are looking at two favourite fruiting trees: apples and pears. Your location will also affect what you can grow, but even in the furthest reaches of the north in the UK, there are still plenty of varieties suitable for shorter summers and harsher conditions – you just need to check the suitability of the trees to your area before you buy. The fruit you buy in the supermarket or greengrocers will most likely never be as flavoursome or nutritious as the ones you will harvest off your own trees, and certainly won’t be as fresh. The length of your garden path is probably the furthest your crops will have to travel (or maybe not as far as that, if you can’t resist eating them straight off the tree!).

SIZES OF TREE All apple and pears are grafted onto rootstocks, a practice that has been carried out for centuries. The type of rootstock used determines the ultimate

size of the tree, and concentrates more of the tree’s energy into producing larger crops of fruit.

ROOTSTOCKS APPLES Rootstock M27: M26: MM106: M25:

Ultimate height of tree 4ft (extremely dwarfing and best for container growing) 8ft (dwarfing) 12-15ft (semi-dwarfing) 16-18ft (vigorous)

PEARS Rootstock Quince A: Quince C:

Ultimate height of tree 16ft 10-12ft

are easier to transport. They will only be available for sale during what is known as the ‘dormant season’ – between November and March which is when they have to be planted. Bare roots obviously need treating more carefully, especially once they have arrived and will require planting as soon as possible after delivery. If you anticipate there will be a delay before you are able to plant, then dig the trees in somewhere temporarily and make sure you give the soil a good soaking so they have something to drink. Before you plant

BUYING YOUR TREES When purchasing your trees you will have a choice between container grown and bare rooted. Container grown fruit trees are normally found in garden centres and local nurseries, selling direct to the public. The advantage of this is that container trees can be planted at any time of the year. Barerooted specimens are more often supplied by specialist fruit tree nurseries, usually via mail order – they

The traditional English pear,‘Conference.’

HF4 P36-38 FRUIT



Page 37

37 effective pollination can take place – and you get several different varieties for your money!


them into their final positions, plunge the roots in water for around 1-2 hours to give the trees the best possible start. Fruit trees offered for sale are usually between one and four years old and the younger they are the cheaper they will be. One year old trees are referred to as ‘maidens’ and consist of one single stem, which later forms the trunk. These will need to be carefully pruned for the first 3 years after planting to achieve the shape you want. Two year old trees and over will already be partially trained or fully trained into shape.

SETTING FRUIT Pollination is an important factor to consider when buying both apples and pears. Some varieties are self-fertile, which means they can be grown on their own and still produce fruit. Others will need what is known as a pollination partner nearby. This is another variety which flowers around the same time and one will crosspollinate with the other. If you have neighbours with fruit trees in their gardens this won’t be a problem; otherwise you will need to plant another tree yourself. A few varieties of apple are known as ‘Triploid.’ These are varieties which need two other nonTriploid varieties to aid pollination. Triploids are poor pollinators themselves so need a bit more moral support from their neighbours! Fortunately there are not too many of these, but one which does fall into this category is the popular cooker, ‘Bramley’s Seedling.’ If you are really pushed for space, one solution might be to buy a ‘family’ apple or pear tree. This is where 2, 3 or even 4 different varieties are grafted onto a single rootstock. It ensures that

Your choice of fruit is, of course, a personal one and will reflect the varieties you want to eat or plan to use for a particular purpose such as making jams or jellies or for turning into cider or perry. Most varieties of pear are listed as dessert types, but usually they can all be used in cooking. There are very few true dual purpose pears. However, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to apples – dessert, culinary, cider varieties, just check they are suitable for growing in your area before you buy. If you live in the North, in an exposed area, or your garden

Pruning a bush apple or pear YEAR 1 To prune a maiden tree, count four buds from the base of the tree and cut the main stem about 2-4cm above this bud. YEAR 2 From now on all pruning takes place in the winter, no later than the end of January. Cut all the side branches back by a third of their length. YEAR 3 From now on, every year, cut back the new growth by a third. Do not cut the old wood unless it is diseased. You are trying to keep the mass of branches light. Always cut just above an outwards facing bud then the tree will branch outward.

HF4 P36-38 FRUIT




Page 38

GROWING FRUIT TREES seems to suffer from late frosts, then choosing mid-season or late flowering varieties is a safer bet. For example, that popular favourite ‘Cox’s Orange Pippin’ is not suited to northern climes and sometimes fails even in southern districts; ‘James Grieve’ is a much better choice, as is ‘Blenheim Orange,’ a 200 year old dual purpose variety with delicious fruit and heavy crops. An excellent late dessert suitable for all areas is ‘Ashmead’s Kernel,’ introduced more than 300 years ago and still regarded as among the best late eating apples. You might want to do a little bit of your own research into trees that originated in your local area. In our orchard, for example, we have a dessert apple which was apparently originally bred in a village less than 10 miles from our garden! Why grow run-of-the mill varieties when you can choose gems like this?

PLANTING FRUIT TREES IN CONTAINERS Growing apples and pears in pots has the advantage of being able to move the trees into more sheltered positions during the winter and early spring in order to protect them from frost and high winds. You will have more control over drainage but you will have to water your tree every day over the summer. They will also need feeding regularly. Containers should be as big as possible with a minimum depth of 45-60cm (18-24”); a half wooden barrel is ideal. Fill the bottom with clay crocks or large stones to help drainage. Good quality topsoil mixed with a handful of bonemeal and wellrotted manure will fit the bill nicely as far as soil is concerned. Annual pruning to keep the trees in

shape and topdressing (mulching) each winter with a 5-10cm (2-4”) layer of organic compost of well rotted manure (do not let this actually touch the base of the tree) will be all the maintenance it needs to keep it healthy. E

WHERE AND HOW TO PLANT DIRECT INTO YOUR GARDEN If you’re planting directly into your garden, then three important things to consider are site, soil and drainage. Fruit trees need protection from strong winds and if your garden is sheltered and sunny then that is ideal.Tall hedges or fencing can provide effective windbreaks and are particularly useful when the trees are in flower. All top fruit needs good, fertile soil and, most important of all, good drainage. Fruit trees won’t do well at all if their roots are constantly waterlogged.A sunny position in the garden will aid pollination and ripening of the fruit. For planting you need to dig a reasonable

sized hole about 18” x 18”. A mixture of the topsoil taken from the soil you have dug out ideally needs to be mixed with some rich garden compost and a handful of bonemeal. If your soil is really lacking in fertility add a higher portion of compost and less topsoil. Don’t use manure at this stage unless it is extremely well rotted, because fresh manure can damage the tree’s roots if it comes in contact with them. Position your tree in the hole, making sure the graft is above the soil level (you should be able to see the old soil level on the tree anyway), then gradually fill in the soil around it, making sure it is well firmed in.

Drive in a stake for support, positioning it so that it doesn’t damage the roots under the soil.Then tie the tree to the stake with an adjustable rubber tie.Water the tree in well. The first year after planting is the most critical, and it will help if the tree is not having to compete with weeds. Using a thick layer of mulch or material such as Mypex, will suppress weed growth but allow water through. If you have a problem with rabbits, then a tree guard (either bought or home made with wire netting) should keep them off. During the first summer in particular, make sure that the tree always has enough water.

1. Dig a reasonable sized hole.

2.Tease out the roots before setting in hole.

3. Position tree, fill in and stake, then water well.




Page 39



It is all too easy to rush headlong into a new project such as opening a farm shop or on farm butchery, but in any new venture there are a number of pitfalls to look out for. Jane Brooks reports

Fools DON’T rush in! FOR BOTH THE small and large producer a farm shop can be an ideal way to expand a business and, although large supermarkets dominate the food sector, numerous farm shops of all shapes and sizes have opened in recent years. Food scares such as BSE and concerns about GM food have made people far more interested in the origins of the food they eat. Customers want to meet the people who produce their food and many are keen to show their support for local farmers. Environmental and animal welfare concerns also encourage many people to buy locally produced and welfarefriendly food. Some of the most successful Farm Shops are those that offer ‘a full basket shop,’ providing everything to make a meal. It is really all about how long you can keep your customers on site and making sure they feel their visit is worthwhile. Whilst location of the shop is an important factor do not be put off if you are a little out of the way.

Our family farm shop in Northamptonshire is a small enterprise selling fresh eggs and homegrown vegetables as well as supplying them to local hotels and other retail outlets. There are a number of factors that

At Harefield Farm shop in Northamptonshire home produced eggs and vegetables sell to a number of local customers as well as being supplied to local Hotels and other shops.

need to be taken into account when setting up a farm shop. Your local planning authority, environmental health department and trading standards will all usually need to be consulted. In addition business rates will probably be charged on the new business premises which will be regarded as a non-agricultural enterprise. This may also have inheritance tax implications and it is always wise to seek advice before going ahead with a new scheme. The new business may also be treated differently to any existing business by the VAT and tax authorities. Firstly there is the planning aspect; any proposed new building or change of use to an existing one will generally need planning permission where anyone intends to sell meat and poultry, which are defined as processed food. There is a misconception that planning permission is not needed to open a farm shop, but this only applies to places which plan to sell fresh produce i.e. vegetables, most local authorities





Page 40

GOING TO MARKET insist that at least 90% of the stock in the shop is home produced and even then it is advisable to write to your local planning authority with details of what you propose to do. If you are planning to convert an older building and it is occupied by bats or owls, the provisions of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 protect these creatures’ roosts and the building will need to be surveyed. It is a good idea to seek consultation with your local planning authority before putting in a planning application and it is generally easier to get permission to convert an existing building than to put up a new one. The planning authority will take into consideration such things as access, traffic flow, site suitability and whether or not a scheme is sympathetic to its local surroundings, you will also need to provide sufficient parking space for your customers. Planning permission may also be needed for signposting the premises. The advice of a planning specialist prior to putting in an application often helps to identify potential problems. Once you begin selling raw meat from a farm shop to the public, there are stringent rules and regulations that must be adhered to and you will need to be registered with the local authority, both as a food business and as a retail butcher. Applications to register should be made to your local Environmental Below: Just a simple wooden hut houses the farm shop whilst a Wendy House in a small orchard provides somewhere safe for children to play whilst mum or dad browse inside the shop.

A cheery welcome sign at the shop lets you know it is open.

Health Service, which is usually part of your District Council, before you start trading because it is illegal to commence trading without being registered. Comprehensive health and hygiene legislation applies when it comes to handling raw meat. Any meat sold from a farm shop will need to be cut up in a cutting premises licensed by the Food Standards Agency. There are certain exceptions in areas where licensed premises are not available. In those circumstances the local authority may allow a farmer to use a local butcher provided hygiene is not compromised and the meat is only intended for sale on a local basis at a Farm Shop or Farmers’ Market. One way to ensure that the meat is cut up in adherence to the regulations is to set up your own small cutting room. In order to cut up meat on the premises, livestock must be taken to a licensed slaughterhouse and brought back to a dedicated cutting area. In most authorities the Environmental

Health Officer will advise on structural, hygiene and regulatory requirements. The person doing the meat cutting must have sufficient knowledge and skill to carry it out in a professional way and there are butchery courses available at a number of Agricultural Colleges throughout the country. Anyone handling or processing food in its raw form will need a Foundation Certificate in Food Hygiene, this involves attending a one day training course and information about these courses is available from both your local Environmental Health Department and most local Colleges of Further Education. Supervisors will need a higher level of training, currently an intermediate certificate. In addition, regulations introduced in 2006 mean that the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system of food safety management will need to be used, basically this is a systematic way of identifying food safety hazards and making sure that they are being controlled on a daily basis. Once again HACCP training is available from a lot of local authorities and colleges of further education. The cutting room itself will need to be a dedicated area with walls that can be easily cleaned down, the floor must be well drained and ceilings will need to be finished so that they do not flake or get dirt trapped on them. Unwrapped meat must be kept on racks or suspended, wrapped meat must be kept off the floor, on a pallet for example. Cutting tables and utensils are generally stainless steel. Meat temperatures should not exceed 7OC during cutting,




Page 41


Contacts LANTRA Tel: 024 7669 6996 Web: FOOD STANDARDS AGENCY Tel: 0207 276 8000 Web: MEAT TRAINING COUNCIL Tel: 01908 231062 Web: NATIONAL FARMERS’ RETAIL & MARKETS ASSOCIATION Tel: 0845 45 88 420 Web:

hanging or storage, and minced meat is recommended to be kept at 2OC so refrigeration facilities will be required. Your local Trading Standards department is responsible for such things as testing your scales to make sure they are accurate and making sure any claims made about the origins of your stock are true. They can also advise as to labelling requirements. Currently all labels on meat or meat products for sale to the public must include: the price; a product description; meat content and metric weight and details of any additives; if the product needs to be chilled the temperature it should be stored at and finally a best before date. There are a number of further labelling requirements for pre-packed foods which are supplied to another retailer and it is always best to check with Trading Standards. Insurance cover will be needed, public and employer’s liability is essential and it is also advisable to take out product liability, so consult a specialist insurance provider. There are also legal requirements when employing staff. A written contract can protect both employee and employer and the department of trade and industry can provide up to date information on employment legislation. Whilst many people are happy to tackle the conversion of buildings themselves there will be expenses involved in setting up a new business, costs vary according to the size of the project, but as a rough guide, converting an existing building costs around £1,200 sq. m this should include all building work, putting in services, kitchen, toilet and floor coverings. Equipment costs depend on where it is sourced, if you are thinking of preparing ready meals or making pies, then a medium sized catering kitchen will cost about £25,000 if all the equipment is bought new, however there are plenty of sources of good second hand equipment. ‘The Caterer’ magazine is a good place to look, as is the internet. With any new enterprise adequate financial planning and a realistic view of the potential of a new business is vital. Grants may be available towards some of the setting up costs, although the DEFRA Rural Enterprise Scheme Grants have closed it is anticipated that the Government may be putting together some new funding schemes for assisting rural businesses in the future. Some Local Authorities may have funds available for discretionary grants or low interest loans and it is worth contacting your local Business Link for advice. E

HF4 P42-43 LILA




Page 42

LILA DAS GUPTA It’s the holy grail of gardening for parents: how do you get children involved in horticulture? It’s easy enough when they are little and want to get their hands dirty, but what about spotty teenagers?

Getting their hands dirty JUST RECENTLY WE dug up one side of our small city garden to make a vegetable patch. All kids being territorial, the two younger ones shrieked with excitement at getting their own patch then proceeded to squabble over whose was the largest allocation (John McEnroe was never so stroppy with the judge). Not wishing to leave the 13-yearold out, I asked him if he wanted a patch as well – initial enthusiasm plummeted to critical wilt as car magazines and the noxious fumes of Lynx deodorant turned his head to mush. The only gardening experience he now willingly partakes of is a picnic on the allotment, which has more to with the quality of the food he gets down there and the fact that we have a dart board in the shed. None of this worries me too much, because I know from my own experience that gardening is something transmitted by osmosis. My mother was an obsessive gardener, who, much to my embarrassment at the time, carried a small pair of scissors around in her handbag to pinch bits of cutting from here and there – I suppose this was before the days cut price garden centres. Of all seven children, I was the one who hated gardening the most and deeply resented being asked to do anything by my mother concerning Mother Nature. Our house had around four hundred pot plants in it (I know because I counted them all), I can even remember giving my mother a copy of ‘The Day of The Triffids’ in the hope of spooking her into getting rid of some of them. So who is the garden writer of the family and the keenest of all now? I don’t know what career my eldest will end up following, but at least his mother taught him that chips don’t grow on trees.

WHERE HAVE ALL THE BROWN PEOPLE GONE? At this year’s Chelsea Flower show I was invited to a lunch by the RHS and had the great pleasure to sit next to Raymond Evison, the number one British clematis grower and holder of the National Collection, based in Guernsey. Mr Evison also happens to be on the council of the RHS as well as

being a judge on the show. Impeccably dressed, beautiful manners, not an ounce of stuffiness: I felt encouraged to ask him why was it that organisations like the RHS and BBC find it so hard to showcase the gardening efforts of ethnic minorities? So many people who come to this country have a strong interest in gardening, a fact recognised by canny suppliers ‘Seeds of Italy’ which already has a section in Polish selling seeds to Poles living in the UK. Obviously they’ve figured out the future of things to come. So, where have all the brown people gone? I see them everywhere on allotments growing all manner of things, but all Gardener’s World seems to be able to offer us is Joe Swift Rotavating weeds on his plot. The Coriander Club, a group of Bengali women based at Spitalfields City Farm, near London’s Brick Lane seems to be the one story that magazine editors love to trot out; after that they’ve run out of ideas. I wondered out loud if perhaps Mr Evison would like to come on a visit to an allotment open day where he would find plenty of charismatic West Indian gardeners, or one where the Portuguese crank up their generator to power the telly when there’s a special football game on. Gentleman that he is, Mr Evison accepted the invitation there and then. From little acorns, all things are possible.

COURGETTES GALORE Back to my obsession with courgette gluts. One of the great things about growing your own courgettes is the plentiful supply of fresh flowers, which are both rare and expensive in specialist shops. Many people like to stuff them with ricotta cheese, which is a good foil to the rich, but subtle taste of the flower. I’ve discovered a new way to cook them, which is to make a tempura batter for them and fry them. The mixture of crunch and flavour is exquisite. My favourite way to serve them is with venison tortelloni – expensive, but a major day out for the taste-buds. If you cut some lettuce and make a green salad, you can have a meal ready in around ten minutes. E

Deep Fried Courgette (Zucchini Flowers) INGREDIENTS 50g plain flour 1 /2 tea spoon salt 2 tea spoons olive oil 80-125ml warm water 3 egg whites 8-12 courgette flowers Olive oil suitable for frying METHOD 1 In a bowl sift the flour and add the salt. Mix in the oil with a wooden spoon. Using a whisk, slowly add the warm water – the batter should be smooth and thick. 2 In a separate clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff, then add to the batter mix. 3 Check your flowers for any stray insects that may be hiding and trim the stem to 2cm so that you have something to hold on to when dipping. 4 Heat the oil and test by dropping a piece of bread in (it should turn brown in about 15 seconds) Dip the flowers in the batter coating both sides. 5 Fry on both sides, turning once to make sure flower batter is evenly golden brown. Serve immediately. From ‘The Food of Italy – A journey for food lovers’ By Sophie Braimbridge and Jo Glynn Pub. Murdoch Books £16.99

HF4 P42-43 LILA



Page 43






Page 44


SUBSCRIBE NOW! E Save money on the cover price E Get free delivery to your door E Never miss another issue!

BACK ISSUES E Complete your set E Price includes delivery

BINDERS E Great value for money E Price includes delivery

ORDER E Telephone: 01772 652693 E Online: BACK ISSUES £3.25 INC. P&P DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR

! w e N BINDERS £7.95 Keep your copies of Home Farmer in good order, and never lose them with our strong, easy to use Home Farmer Binders. They are excellent value for money at £7.95 including postage.

Issue 1 – April 2008

Issue 2 – May 2008

Issue 3 – June 2008

As a policy The Good Life Press Ltd. will not sell, trade or exchange your details with any third party.




Page 45

Subscription Order Form YOUR DETAILS Title ................................ Initial .................... Surname ...................................................... Address ............................................................................................................................................. ............................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................ Postcode ..................................................... Email ................................................................... Telephone ..................................................

I WISH TO SUBSCRIBE I UK and Northern Ireland annual subscription £33.00 I Western Europe annual subscription £40.00 I Rest of the World annual subscription £45.00 Send the completed form and cheque (payable to The Good Life Press Ltd.) to: Home Farmer Magazine, The Good Life Press Ltd., PO Box 536, Preston, PR2 9ZY.


I WISH TO ORDER BACK ISSUES I Issue 1 – April 2008 £3.25 including postage & packing I Issue 2 – May 2008 £3.25 including postage & packing I Issue 3 – June 2008 £3.25 including postage & packing Send the completed form and cheque to the details above

5 I WISH TO ORDER A BINDER I Binder – £7.95 including postage & packing Send the completed form and cheque to the details above

You can order right now By telephone: 01772 652693 or online:


As a policy The Good Life Press Ltd. will not sell, trade or exchange your details with any third party. Contact us at: Home Farmer Magazine,The Good Life Press Ltd., PO Box 536, Preston. PR2 9ZY. Tel: 01772 652693.

HF4 P46-47 BEER




Page 46

BREWING Thirst is a terrible thing, and so we kick off this series with some background to brewing ale and beer for those with a dry throat

Beginners’ Beer AROUND ABOUT 5,000 years ago, when the UK was in the middle of what we call the Iron Age, a number of cultures around the world more or less simultaneously invented ale. When you take grain and crush it and add a little water and yeast it becomes bread. If you soak the grain and allow the starch to convert into sugar, the same yeast produces ale. Largely that’s all you have to do, but the leap forward to realise that soaking grain becomes sweet is a huge step for human technology. Wine had been known of for many thousands of years previously, so the art of fermentation was very well understood. But fermenting grain was totally new. Beer is simply flavoured ale and in the 13th century the flavouring of choice was hops, and that has pretty much stuck ever since. The grains used are mostly barley, but wheat, corn and other seeds have been used.

MALTING The basic idea is to steep grain in water so that it starts to grow. Then, enzymes in the seed convert the insoluble starch

into soluble sugar. At this point, and it is usually barley, the material is called malted barley. This is then put into a vessel and cooked to kill the plants. The flavourings are added and then the liquid is called wort. This is then yeasted and allowed to ferment. That’s all there is to it!

KNOWING WHEN TO STOP If you allow the beer to ferment until all the sugar is used up you will get a strong beer and the yeast will die. The discovery that the viscosity of the liquid changes as the sugar is converted to alcohol made it possible to measure exactly how much alcohol is in the brew and then stop the brewing accordingly. A hydrometer is a standard sized bubble of a known weight. This floats in the beer and you read off the number on the side. There is a formula that converts this number to alcohol content, but we’ll leave that for a later issue. Brewing is stopped by adding Camden tablets which release sulphur dioxide into the brew, killing the yeast.

ANCIENT BRITISH ALE You will have realised that to have ale you need grain, and 5,000 years ago we didn’t really grow much grain for baking, let alone drinking. But we did have honey, and there is evidence from the late Iron Age, and when the Romans came, that we made ale with common weeds and honey.


Brewing In warm weather this brews outside on the shelves in the garden. It takes about two weeks, and then the beer can be siphoned into bottles, or directly into a pressure vessel so it can be poured off like draught beer.

Now I know I am going to get into trouble here. Some of you will start fretting about the kit itself. “It can’t be organic or natural if it comes out of a tin, can it?” Some of you will get all upset about what I am going to say about lager and probably the kit manufacturer will get all upset with what I am about to do with it.

NEW DANDELION BEER This is based on a recipe that is many centuries old. It originally called for

HF4 P46-47 BEER



Page 47


Collect a good two handfuls of dandelion leaves and boil them in a pan full of water.

Open up the wort can and sterilise your vessel.

Strain the boiling dandelion juice into the vessel.

Add the wort – you can rinse out the can with boiling water to get the last dregs.

Add the sugar to the boiling water and top up with cold water.

Add a good teaspoon of yeast.

Now, in order to add that old flavour malted barley and dandelions as to the beer we are going to add a flavouring. Now to save all the boiling, couple of litres of boiling dandelion and probably most people do not have water. Since lager is blandish (it is the enough space or equipment anyway, we nearest beer there is to tea you can are going to use the blandest beer kit there is. And what could be blander than get) the dandelion will add a really interesting flavour – nearer lager? (Now don’t shout!) to golden bitter than The basic idea is that anything else. the beer kit is a wort in a NEXT TIME, Follow the recipe on the tin. You can get organic beer kits if you like. Quite IN TWO ISSUE, can but the first boiling water is made by collecting literally, most of them WE LOOK AT 2 very large handfuls of contain no preservatives or dandelion leaves boiled for nasty chemicals, just beer MAKING ten minutes in water. This juice. Then you add boiling BEER FROM is then strained into the water to dissolve the thick fermentation vessel. The liquid and then you top up SCRATCH wort is added, the sugar to 25 litres with cold water. (don’t forget – glucose), Somewhere in this process the rest of the water and you add a kilo of sugar as a the yeast and away you go! food source, and finally the yeast itself.



If you add sucrose – ordinary packet sugar in any of its guises – you get funny flavoured beer. This is because glucose is a disaccharide (or double sugar) and when the yeast breaks it down you get a mixture of flavours. Instead, buy glucose from the chemist, in the same quantity – usually 1kg. You will then get a beer that tastes like pub-bought only better.

One last note, brewing is a culture where you are growing yeast. The alcohol produced becomes a preservative, but you can also grow bacteria and unwanted fungi in the brew. So make sure everything is sterile before use. The best way of doing this is with milton or sterilising tablets diluted appropriately. E

Dandelion beer from honey INGREDIENTS 1kg whole dandelion plants including flowers and roots 1kg honey Juice of a lemon Brewer’s Yeast

METHOD 1 Wash dandelions and boil with lemon juice. Add to 5 litres of cold water in a fermentation vessel (in this case a demijohn will do). 2 Ferment to 1.010 on hydrometer and stop with a couple of Camden tablets. 3 Keep a few weeks before drinking. This is almost like wine, and is not what you might recognise as beer.

HF4 P48-49 WASTE




Page 48

HOME FARMER INVESTIGATES What’s the problem this time? As if supermarkets don’t get enough bad press already, yet another complaint is being launched against them. The problem is the amount of food that is wasted each day, much of which is not even recycled but simply thrown onto landfill sites. Anouchka Warren investigates

Supermarket Waste How many people would choose a slightly bruised fruit over a firm, shiny one? Most, if not all, would choose the firm one even if the bruised one was at a reduced price. Most readers will be aware of the EU regulations on bananas; they now need to be straight rather than excessively curved. Most would also agree that this is ridiculous but it is nevertheless true that the majority of THE OFFENDERS Who’s to blame is of course a tough one customers would choose a product of regular shape rather than a more to pin down. Contributors include large supermarkets, smaller retailers, suppliers unusually shaped one. How many times have you rejected an ugly, lumpy carrot and the companies who run the landfill to go for a long straight one instead? sites. Sainsbury’s appear to be one of What about the dates on packaging? the more open about the fact that food Surely you can’t argue with waste is a problem and them? There isn’t just one that they are trying to date though, there seem to deal with it. Their dealing RETAILERS CAN be many. To start with there with it includes giving surplus food to a large GENERATE UP are ‘Display Until’ or ‘Sell By’ dates. These are simply there number of different TO 2 MILLION to advise shop staff about charities. how long something should Tesco, M&S and Asda TONNES OF be on the shelf for. If this all also acknowledge the FOOD WASTE then is the date at which problem by having products are removed from sections about food waste EACH YEAR the shelf and thrown away, it on their corporate would be lovely to think that websites. M&S state on this is the date at which the their site that one of their food is no longer safe to eat. But no, corporate aims is to send no waste that’s the ‘Use By’ date. The use by date whatsoever to landfill sites by 2012; is probably the most meaningful as it’s to Asda aim for the same by 2010. All of do with the consumers’ health. The the above except Asda send a other date often seen is the ‘Best Before’ proportion of their food waste to those date which literally means that a product in need through a national charity will taste better before a certain date but named FareShare. nothing to do with your safety. Other supermarkets are less vocal Without saying ignore the dates on about their food wastage and how they foods, I think there must be some leeway deal with it, or perhaps don’t deal with for common sense. Surely it is far better it. Landfill sites are particularly to know for yourself when different types reluctant to comment and the of food are safe to eat, than to have to companies that run them are also quite follow the guidelines by the book. hard to actually put a name to, Many larger supermarkets have central preferring to lie low. distribution centres through which all the stock passes regardless of its final WHY IS IT THROWN OUT? destination. It may make sense from a As with many such issues, much of the business point of view but the food miles problem is driven by consumer incurred are significant and needless and demand. Shoppers want their superthis extended route must certainly markets to be full and plentiful when contribute to the dates on the packaging they visit, with plenty of choice and, being that much nearer by the time the more importantly, full of healthy food reaches the shelf. looking, pretty food of a regular shape Although, people will not pay the full that isn’t about to go out of date. ESTIMATES ARE THAT retailers can generate up to 2 million tonnes of food waste each year. Seventeen million tonnes of food is being ploughed into Britain’s landfill sites every year, but what is worse, around four million tonnes of this food is perfectly fresh and good to eat.

price for something going out of date or damaged, most supermarkets do have a reduced section. However far more produce could be reduced than is done so at present. One study for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), found that supermarkets often throw away food that was approaching its sell by date rather than mark it down in price because of the extra cost and time that would be incurred by staff walking around the shop adjusting the prices! So there we have the reasons for food being removed from the shelves but surely it could be given to those in need or used as compost rather than thrown away. This does happen and happily is increasing but is still in the minority because it is easier and cheaper to dump the food.

WHO IS DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT There is a government funded company

HF4 P48-49 WASTE



Page 49


called Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap) which has three main aims: reduced packaging, raised public awareness of waste issues and reduced food waste. All of this is done through collaboration with businesses and local authorities but they have been criticised for not doing enough, working too slowly and focussing solely on excessive packaging and not on food waste. I mentioned that some supermarkets and retailers work with a national charity called Fareshare who work to provide healthy, nutritious food to many organisations across the country who work with the disadvantaged. They contribute to 12,000 people in over 420 community projects. They have eight schemes running at locations nationwide, and receive daily donations from supermarkets and other food manufacturers. FareShare maintain that everything they redistribute is in perfect condition and is surprisingly varied, often including organic meat and

vegetables as well as ready meals and even cakes and desserts. Sainsburys now send less than half their food waste to landfill sites but this is not common across the largest supermarket chains across the UK. Although an increasing number of retailers have a waste food reduction plan (Waitrose being a more recent convert to FareShare), most food is still destined to be dumped. There are other projects in place on a more local scale for example, one supermarket chain launched an “ugly” fruit range, selling irregularly shaped seasonal fruits at reduced prices. The fruit which was sold at roughly half the price of its prettier counterparts, was marketed as suitable for use as ingredients in cooking or perhaps jam production. If large food retailers do embrace working with the environment, not against it, the impact could be huge. Whether it’s saving electricity, cutting

down on food miles or ridding their food waste effectively and sensibly, the impact would be far larger than could be made by an individual family or a small local shop.

WHAT CAN YOU DO? Of course, once you’ve eaten home grown, you’ll be unlikely to find a supermarket equivalent to rival the taste. If, however, this isn’t possible yet or you’re still building up to it, it is certainly possible to let your supermarket know how you feel. Let them know that not wasting food is important to you, or that you would like to see fruit and veg that isn’t all the same size, shape and colour. Even if their motivation is simply to make money, supermarkets are becoming more and more competitive over who can be the most green. As so much of this is driven by consumer demand, we can make a difference even when shopping at supermarkets by supporting the more green companies. E

HF 4 P50-52 BEES




Page 50


Everything in beekeeping is DIY. When you buy a new hive it comes in bits and you have to knock it together. This month we look at frames and foundation

Knocking It Together Frames are essential to the way we collect honey from hives. In a way I do wonder if they are detrimental to bee health. If they build their own comb, without a sheet of foundation to force them into a certain cell size, the bees make both larger and smaller cells. The larger cells become drone comb and varroa mites prefer these. So it is easy to remove a large population of varroa by putting a half sized, super frame in the brood box and removing the grubbed drones when they are capped, along with a high proportion of the mites in the hive. Foundation comes in all kinds of sizes to fit the various frames and was invented back in the 1850s. It is a pressed sheet of beeswax with a zigzagged piece of wire that allows you to anchor the sheet in the frame. The frames themselves come in six pieces; a top, two sides, two bottom pieces and an anchor bar for the top. They are

already cut with the appropriate slots for fitting together which are sometimes too tight and you have to get the sand paper out. You can order frames, frame pins and foundation en masse from the local bee club, and they frequently have demonstrations of how to put them together. You need to

HF 4 P50-52 BEES



Page 51


The hoops on the foundation go towards the top so the frame is held in place by the top bar retaining piece.The hoop is bent over by 90 degrees to allow the sheet to sit in position.

The top bar and sides fit together in a fairly easy way, but do make sure that the grooves in the sides face inward to take the foundation.

The foundation sits in the grooves and the space in the top bar.

One of the bottom bars can be pushed in place.

The final bottom bar and top bar retainer can be put in place. Notice the top bar retainer is now trapping the hoops you bent over.

All the joints are now pinned into position. It is wise also to pin through the top bar retainer into the top bar at an angle through the hoops to give extra support.

honey, and just enough honey from the specify the particular type of hive, hive. You can remove a single frame or national, WSB, commercial etc., even a whole super full of them if you because the frames can be different. prefer. This makes it possible to remove The steps on building the frame are honey more than once a easy, if a bit fiddly, but season without overburyou’ll soon be hard at it the bees. Remember, making all your frames YOU’LL SOON dening when you remove frames you on a winter’s evening ready for the coming BE HARD AT IT also remove wax, and this is higher. So to remove a spring. MAKING ALL much honeycomb represents a The frame is fundamental to modern hives YOUR FRAMES greater charge on the hive than simply extracting a because it allows us to do so many useful things ON A WINTER’S frame. In normal years empty in the hive. Firstly, you EVENING frames are returned to the can remove a part of the hive for the bees to glean the colony and examine the honey from and refill. I do bees, the eggs and the wonder if this practise should continue developing grubs frame by frame. in these troubled times to cut down the Secondly, it gives you an easier way to chances of passing on disease. check on the health of the queen. So, frames are fundamental to You can remove the frames one by modern beekeeping and without one and look for the queen, and them the process is a lot more hit and should she be completely miss. You cannot always see where the impossible to find you can be sure queen is, you cannot look at brood she is fit and laying by recognising so easily and harvesting, and eggs and grubs in the cells. moreover extracting, honey is so Then, of course, frames are a much more difficult. convenient way of removing

HF 4 P50-52 BEES




Page 52


Above: Even last year’s frames can carry disease and I The beekeeping year really starts believe while times are bad we should consider replacing when you have to make frames. If you don’t make frames in the spring you will as many old frames as we can. end up with a few problems. In these goes for old frames that need new times when bees are under all sorts of foundation – give them a complete stress, we need a way of removing burning, getting into all the nooks and disease from the hive. My beekeeping crannies. It is probably best, in these association has lost six out of a dozen days of bee problems, to hives in the last year. On make new frames with new examination, many of the wood and replace as many hives had nosema, the CLEAN OUT of your old ones as possible. dysentery causing bug, and there were also HIVE BOXES I know it is expensive and I know this doesn’t mean that assorted problems with BEFORE your hives will be disease other diseases. free, but think of it as a way One of the ways of PUTTING of investing in the future. dealing with this is to THEM ONTO Besides, a few extra pounds make sure the hives are on the annual spend is clean as possible at the THE HIVE nothing compared to the beginning of the season. loss of a colony. Do not simply rely on the These days it seems that fact that the previous every colony lost is not just a loss to the frames are good enough, and certainly beekeeper, but a loss to the nation. Bees do not transfer frames from one hive to are that important! So every attempt to the next. This is an important point – keep and multiply them should be disease travels fast around here! taken. In future issues we will be Clean out hive boxes before putting looking at dividing and increasing them onto the hive, making sure they colonies, or the reverse, combining two have been blow-lamped and the wood colonies into one. E has become very hot indeed. The same

June/July Jobs E Be vigilant against swarming. Assuming you have a young queen, remove queen cells, make sure there is plenty of space in the hive. Add another super if you wish, and you might just be able to take a couple of frames of capped honey. E If the weather is poor consider feeding your bees. E Look for increasing numbers of bees and healthy stocks of eggs and grubs. E Do a varroa count and consider treating with the appropriate materials. E Go along to a bee auction and grab yourself a bargain E In late July close down the entrance to a small gap to allow the bees a better chance at fighting wasps.




Page 53





Page 54


Your chicken’s health






Page 55


and performance will have a lot to do with diet says Janice Houghton-Wallace

Feeding Your Birds FEEDING POULTRY A correct ration is PELLETS FOR BREAKFAST easy these days as commercially bagged AND GRAIN FOR TEA feeds come in ranges for all species. Pellets are fed in the morning as they The feed should contain all the are easily digestible and it is important nutrients needed to grow muscle, bone, that the birds have a good nutritional internal organs, fat and diet at the start of the day. feathers. These will be in When the young are twelve the form of carbohyweeks old they can be introJUST GIVE A drates, proteins, fats, duced to grain. Grain is not minerals and vitamins. fed before this age because SMALL The protein levels will be the digestive system will not AMOUNT AT higher in the crumb form have developed sufficiently for day-olds onwards and be able to deal with it. FIRST AND DO to decrease in the grower Grain is normally in the SO IN THE and layer/breeder rations form of wheat but naked as the birds develop. can be given, especially AFTERNOON oats Layer and breeder to meat birds. Just give a rations also contain extra small amount at first and do calcium to prepare the so in the afternoon. It birds for egg production. Good should always be the second feed of the nutrition is essential for birds to day because it is less nutritious than the produce good quality eggs and in turn, formulated pellet feed. Also, grain stays if hatched, for strong, healthy youngin the crop longer so will help to keep stock. the birds content overnight. Cut maize can be given in small amounts; however, it should only be fed during the winter A GUIDE TO FEED as it is a warming feed. CRUMBS Organically reared poultry need feed Chick crumbs are essential for day-olds that is organic itself. This can be until four to six weeks old. purchased as specific organic feed or can be conventional feeds that are GROWER PELLETS suitable for organic systems. For youngstock, gradually weaned from Buy your feed from a reputable crumbs. These are fed from about six manufacturer. It may be a little more weeks until 15 -16 weeks of age. expensive but feed that is markedly cheaper than others usually LAYER PELLETS contains inferior raw Chickens are gradually introduced to materials. Always read layer pellets or ornamental breeding the label pellets from 14 -17 weeks. and MEAL This is an alternative to layer pellets and can be given dry or have just sufficient water added to make a mash. It is more wasteful and less hygienic than pellets as fouling of drinkers and ground around the feeders is usual.

check you have the feed you require before leaving the agricultural merchants. Often, a manufacturer’s range of bagged feed can look similar in pattern and colour and the label may be the only distinguishing mark between different feeds for different species. Once you have the feed it should be stored in a cool, dry place away from any rodents or wild birds. Ideally, the feed should be emptied out of the bags and put in a rodent free container because paper bags are subject to being nibbled and susceptible to damp. A plastic or galvanised dustbin will hold two bags of feed.

KEEP AN ADEQUATE LARDER Always order the feed you require in advance so that it is available when you need it. However, don’t be tempted to order too much at a time because the last thing you want is for feed to be sitting in your containers beginning to go mouldy. Freshly made up pellet feed has a shelf life of about three months, so aim to order an amount that will be easily used up before it goes stale and past its sell-by date. For poultry to be able to digest feed they will need a supply of grit. The hard work of grinding up the feed to





Page 56

HEN HOUSE DIARY All species produce the goodness the bird of poultry needs is done in the gizzard. Feed is will welcome taken up by the beak, swallowed and being out stored in the crop. From there it passes on grass. to the proventriculus (stomach) and Short grass then to the gizzard. The gizzard is a is more very strong muscle and with the added beneficial and assistance of grit it grinds the feed safer than long until it is fine enough to pass through grass, which into the small intestine. Although freecould impact the ranging birds will find small stones crop. Lawn or hedge suitable for their needs, all poultry will trimmings should benefit from having extra never be given to grit provided. By starting poultry. Wilting to give grit at an early age ALL SPECIES grass and leaves you will be helping the go digestive system to OF POULTRY quickly mouldy and develop. WILL these can Chick grit is especially ferment in the fine - almost sand-like WELCOME crop and and a little can be added to BEING OUT cause toxicity chick crumbs when the problems. birds are a few days old. At ON GRASS Poultry will also enjoy the grower and adult stage looking for insects, mixed poultry grit is given. especially in the early This may contain broken autumn when they are plentiful. If you pieces of oyster shell but never give need to keep birds housed hang up oyster shell alone as this is far too some greenery - either cabbages, smooth and can lead to crop impaction Brussels sprout tops, kale or lettuce and even death over time. Place a small heap of mixed poultry grit in a container whatever is in season and plentiful. Do not feed household scraps unless either in their shed or outside pen, near they are raw vegetable or fruit material the feed trough or even mixed in the or stale brown bread. feed on a monthly basis.

Finally, try to feed and water your poultry away from wild birds. This will help reduce the risk of spread of disease. E




Page 57





Page 58


Marek’s Disease Otherwise known as MD, it is likely that infected poultry will die and that the rest of your flock will become infected. MD is a world-wide killer of poultry that has disastrous effects JOZSEF MAREK FIRST described this condition in 1907, though he had no way of knowing what the cause was. In fact it is a viral infection of chickens of the herpes type. In the last hundred years various mutations have appeared throughout the USA and Europe, particularly in response to broiler production.

SYMPTOMS The main problem first noticeable is the grey iris and eyes with a granular or lumpy appearance. This is caused by tumors forming in the eyes and the bird becoming blind. Associated with this is a definite and worsening paralysis, first of the legs, then the wings and neck. The bird loses weight and becomes blind and hair follicles become tumorised, making it rough and lumpy. Birds also suffer from ‘floppy broiler syndrome’ that is caused by tumors in the central nervous system. Then tumors occur internally in the major organs. Clearly, when under extreme physical stress from MD, birds often fall to other diseases. Once the birds are infected, and if they don’t die, they will remain infectious for the rest of their lives. On the whole the disease is spread by infections in the lungs. The dust in a broiler

unit or communal hut is infected and this is how most birds get the disease. It has been suggested that various insects have become a pool for infection too, though the actual mode of transmission is unclear. It is known that vertical transmission does not occur, so eggs are hatched virus free and this gives a plausible way out for the home keeper. The virus does survive well out of the bird and has been known to be resistant to certain disinfectants. But keeping young birds away from older ones is an important step.

TREATMENTS There is no known treatment for MD, although chicks from large, commercial hatcheries are routinely vaccinated with a number of serums. There are increasingly suppliers who treat the disease in the egg, probably for commercial reasons. Genetic selection for a gene that infers some natural resistance to the virus was under way with white leghorns, which have a large measure of immunity, were crossed with other breeds. However, the use of serum immunisation has put this research on the back boiler for economic reasons. The problem with this way of dealing with disease is that, as new strains of the virus appear, new serums will have to be designed to counteract them. This way of looking at things is somewhat dangerous because, as we see in beekeeping, who knows if a virus will appear that effectively wipes




Page 59

59 a clean, well mucked out shed and run out the population before we are able for the home keeper is an important to deal with it? and helpful factor. Prevention is further improved by If you are interested in rearing the way we keep hens. Commercial young chicks they should keepers use a combination be kept away from older of excellent hygiene and birds for the longest an all in – all out system KEEPING period, possibly 16 weeks. of farming. If you YOUNG BIRDS This allows them to develop introduce new birds to a immune system to its large number of old ones AWAY FROM their fullest extent before being you are more likely to pass on the disease. Similarly, OLDER ONES IS exposed to possibly material. hen material left behind AN IMPORTANT infected Finally, some reports in the hut will be contahave shown that the gious, and therefore sheds STEP provision of plenty of need to be completely calcium in the diet, cleaned and disinfected crushed shell and the like, before new stock arrive. We said earlier that insects could act helps the young bird to develop a strong immune system, and this might as reservoirs for infection. Making an help in the fight against many diseases environment that is not conducive to insects is not an easy task, but certainly as well as MD. E

Quick guide to bacterial, viral and fungal diseases This is not an exhaustive list, but is just enough to give you a clue if your birds are poorly. Next month we will look at the other diseases, parasites and psychosocial problems that can appear in your flock. Please do not rely on this list for diagnostic purposes, it is not meant as such. BACTERIAL DISEASES Botulism Birds are weak and then paralised E. coli Can be listless and have ruffled feathers, often die Necrotic Enteritis Become listless and die rapidly Ulcerative Enteritis Can be listless and have ruffled feathers, white diarrhoea Erysipelas Yellowish or greenish diarrhoea, listless, dead birds Infectious Coryza Facial swellings around the eyes and wattles, nasal discharge Mycoplasmas CRD Nasal swelling, wheezing, discharge Omphalitis Drowsy chicks, no interest in food, stood near lamp Pullorum Salmonella type disease causing chick mortality VIRAL DISEASES Fowl Pox Infectious Bronchitis Infectious Bursal Disease Marek’s Disease Newcastle Disease FUNGAL DISEASES Aspergillosis Moniliasis Thrush Mycotoxicosis

White scabs on skin Difficult breathing, gasping, sneezing Ruffled feathers, tremor, strained droppings, wobbly gait Paralysis of legs, wings and neck Nasal discharge, mucous in the trachea, cloudy air sacs, cloudiness in the cornea

Loss of appetite, coughing, loss of weight Listless, pale, ruffled feathers Reduced growth, loss of egg production

PROTOZOAN DISEASES Blackhead Loss of appetite, increased thirst, droopiness, darkening of the bottom Coccidiosis Young birds appear pale, huddle for warmth, off feed, diarrhea Heximitiasis Watery diarrhoea and rapid weight loss




Page 60




Page 61


Home Farmer Clubs In response to demand from our readers we are thrilled to announce that Home Farmer Clubs are about to hit the nation. So what are they, where are they and how can you join in? IT ALL STARTED when one of our forum members ( posted an idea. “I was wondering whether there would be a possibility of Community Home Farmer Clubs being set up so we could meet up and build a more community feel, support each other and get advice from others with more experience. We could swap produce, seeds, young plants etc. and have tea and cake!” That was Gail Macer who lives in Woking with 6 chickens, 3 rabbits, 2 gerbils, 1 hamster, 2 collies, 3 ponies and a horse, but she describes her home as ‘tiny’. She works her allotment and grows her produce in raised beds, pots and anywhere she can fit them in! Little did she know her suggestion would cause an avalanche of replies and requests from people around the country keen to get together, learn some new skills, swap tips, just to get to know each other and make new friends, and eat cake. New venues are popping up all the time and eventually we hope to have a representative in each county who can then put people in touch with others in their locality. But for now, until we get up to speed, we are asking people to write to us.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED At the moment we don’t want to put telephone numbers and contacts in the magazine. But if you would like to attend a local meeting, or even host one, please write in to the office and mark your envelope Home Farmer Clubs. We will then get in touch and pass your details to the various people in your area who are holding a club. E

Areas We currently have people willing to house in the following areas E Bury, Lancashire E Mid Wales E Staffordshire, E Guildford, Surrey E Bacup, Lancashire E Cumbria E Bedfordshire E Shetland – yes! All the way up there! E Woking, Surrey E Kent E Middlesex E Cheshire E Worcestershire E Newcastle – the ‘up north one’.

WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN? In a way this is up to the host. Obviously this is a chance to see how they do things, how their veg grows, how they deal with their livestock and find out where they are at. One thing is true, you will learn a lot from every single person involved.

ONLY ONE RULE There is only one rule, but it has two outcomes. The rule is never, ever criticise someone else’s situation. I know, I am teaching you all to suck eggs, but if we are tempted to have a go about something we have already missed the point of what they can teach us and secondly, they won’t learn from you if you do.

Write to: Home Farmer Clubs, The Good Life Press Ltd., PO Box 536, Preston, PR2 9ZY. Or email:


HF 4 P62-63 BEES




Page 62


SAVE OUR B Around the country a number of diseases are threatening our honeybee populations. We need people to come forward and SAVE OUR BEES! Paul Peacock throws down the gauntlet LAST YEAR WAS an awful one for beekeepers. The rain all but wiped out the summer and the winter dragged on, wet and cold into the spring. Then there is the problem of varroa, which seems to be more serious every time you open a beekeeping magazine, and fueled by fears that colonies are collapsing all over the United States, beekeepers have been on tenterhooks to see how things are shaping up now the warmer weather is appearing. Well the news is bad. Scarily bad. Most people have lost a large number of colonies. On average about a third of honeybees have died out. This is a huge number. In the United States the situation has got so bad that the traditional almond and top fruit pollination is now under threat. Something that has gone on every year since before 1776 might now fail! Back home, to lose an average of a third of colonies means that some people have been totally wiped out and there have been examples of this all over the country.

problems in over 100 years when a disease called acarine all but completely wiped out our native honeybee population. Certainly in Spain the previous year (2005/2006) there were massive colony losses, and this seems to be repeated here. The Spanish colonies were largely infected with Nosema ceranae. The immediate problem for beekeepers that have lost stock is replacing bees. Last year a nucleus of bees (simply a box with frames, a queen and some attendant workers) sold for around £100. This year the same is selling at twice this

WHAT’S HAPPENING? Manchester Beekeeping Association lost around half of its hives this last winter and of these nearly all of them had a single celled parasite, Nosema ceranae. This organism is native to Far Eastern colonies and is related to Nosema apis, the dyssentry causing infestation. However, this new one is symptom free and largely affects flying insects that forage, leaving the hive, but are so ill as to make returning unlikely. So you don’t know if you have the problem, almost until it is too late. The colony gets smaller and smaller. This can happen quite rapidly depending on the time of the year. The colony can be wiped out in just 8 days! Research around the world has suggested a link between Nosema ceranae and the so-called Colony Collapse Disorder, but it is not as simple as that. Colonies with the pest have gone on with little trouble, so there has to be other factors at work. Meanwhile colonies are dying off and should we have another bad year then we will be witnessing one of the biggest

amount at auction. Furthermore, the availability of clean stock is in doubt. I heard of one man who was collecting swarms and trying to sell them on at £150 a time, a very dubious occupation.

TREATMENTS The treatment for Nosema apis has been fumagilin, a huge molecule that has worked well. However, it isn’t proven on Nosema ceranae. This treatment is being tried by beekeepers all across the

HF 4 P62-63 BEES



Page 63


R BEES! UK, but it is just too early to say if it is actually working.

WHAT CAN YOU DO? I am completely sure, based on the response from our features, that Home Farmer readers are interested in beekeeping. What is needed is a whole lot more beekeepers. And it is such a rewarding and absorbing subject I am sure you will get hooked as soon as you get into it. So this is a plea to

equipment without having to spend a fortune on either equipment or bees. Almost all of the local beekeeping associations run beginners’ courses, and you can go along, get involved and join in the course as soon as it is convenient for you and the association. The other important point is that on the whole new beekeepers buy new equipment, and so long as the bees you get are clean, the equipment is clean – at least the wax and frames are clean and the hive burned out – then the likelihood is that there will be fewer problems. E

Your local beekeeping association

anyone out there who is thinking of keeping bees: please get out there and get on with it!

There are local associations in every county and more or less every town in the UK. Some associations are losing members, so you might need to shop around to find one where you can get on a course. May and June is the most important swarming time of the year, so you never know, there might be one or two more colonies out there too! To find your local bee club, go to the BBKA, who organise the insurance scheme for beekeepers, and therefore most of the associations are members. They have a web site that has all the details of the associations and you can download all kinds of materials and publications of interest.

TRAINING Beekeeping is not something you can learn just out of a book. You need to gain confidence and pick up skills, so please go along to your local beekeeping association. It is here that you are most likely to get a colony and

The British Beekeepers Association, The National Beekeeping Centre, National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG. Tel: 02476 696679 Web:

HF4 P64-64 HERBS




Page 64


Spiralling into Control Father and son Dick and James Strawbridge build a spiral herb bed HERBS ARE A key component of most good cooking. They add huge amounts of flavour and are often inextricably linked to certain dishes, for example; salmon and dill, lamb and mint, beef and rosemary and so on. However, lots of us don’t grow the herbs we want due to a slightly lazy mindset and end up resorting to expensive plastic wrapped plant pots from the supermarket or a sachet of dried herbs to be kept in a cupboard for occasional use. Now imagine an extra dimension! Fresh, fragrant and cheap, growing your own herbs has never been easier. You don’t even need much space as most people start by attempting a few pots of basil and coriander or maybe some parsley on window sills and patios. But, sadly the perennial herbs like sage, thyme and rosemary often get neglected. Here at New House Farm we have been growing in containers for ages, and

have only recently started to put down some herbal roots. The latest development was our herb spiral. An herb spiral works on basic ‘permaculture’ techniques that consider the ultimate growing conditions for each different plant in relation to each other, a kind of compatibility arrangement. Another massive advantage of an herb spiral is that if you are short of space then you

are using the vertical potential as well as horizontal, almost like a gardening skyscraper! We used stones that were lying around for ours but there is no end to the different materials you could try; from wood to old wine bottles. Additionally, if you locate it close to your kitchen it makes collecting herbs for cooking incredibly easy and accessible. The rationale behind the shape works on the basic premise that some plants require more

HF4 P64-64 HERBS



Page 65

65 sunlight and drainage, others like shade and damp soil. So, the design of a spiral allows some herbs their own little microclimate; oily herbs like rosemary, thyme and sage on the top southerly side whilst the moist north side is ideal for green foliage herbs like mint and wild garlic. From the top of the spiral downwards towards the bottom: SOUTH FACING







Sweet Violet


Lemon Balm






Wild Garlic


Water Mint

I don’t believe in the Gardening Police and this is all a guideline rather than a rule. Since building an herb spiral we’ve found it has been much easier to collect herbs for cooking and it looks great in the garden! There are also lots medicinal uses for herbs which we are slowly learning about and one which I do regularly is a nice mug of mint tea. Mint was highly prized in Ancient Egypt and is great for the digestion system as well as growing in abundance. Simply pick a big handful of young leaves and add boiling water to make a refreshing infusion. Another really easy way to get hold of herbs is by foraging. I think foragers get MUCH

a bit of bad press, they are thought of as survivalists VIRTUE with camouflaged trousers and big beards but really IN HERBS, what makes more sense LITTLE IN MEN. than getting food for free? Some easy herbs to look BENJAMIN out for over the summer are white wild garlic FRANKLIN flowers which are great to (1706-1790) add to salads, Salad Burnet which is common in grassy places and also tasty in salads or as a garnish for summer drinks, Chicory with cornflowerblue blossoms found especially on grassy chalk and limestone areas, Parsley which is easy to recognise and can be found wild on sandy and rocky banks near the sea, and my favourite Borage, a blue flower that is awesome in salads and quite good in Pimm’s too! The best way to learn about free food really is to buy a decent book with high quality pictures so that you don’t make any costly mistakes. E To finish here is a poem: In the garden, I caught the sense of thyme, Passing.

Top Tips E Use good earth, but don’t overburden it with added nutrients E Try to site it in good sunlight, and shade the plants that need it separately E Water the rocks, not the soil, to solve erosion problems E Keep the lower plants well trimmed E Use slow release fertilisers instead of soluble fertiliser E Don’t pack it with plants when you first start E Try to buy good quality plants rather than supermarket ones E Don’t harvest your plants until they are well established

HF4 P66-67 SPACE




Page 66


Cramming it all in If you haven’t got space you have to be creative about turning your tiny farm into a TARDIS farm. Paul Peacock crams ’em in SOMETIMES YOU GET to see your heroes and one time I had the opportunity to interview Professor David Bellamy about the environment, about wind turbines, which he hates, and about self-sufficiency. It turns out that he was one of those people who were all for it, but didn’t have time to do it himself because he was always off on some campaign or other. He said that to be self-sufficient you

needed about an acre of land, less if you were going to be vegetarian, but if you were vegetarian you would have to bring in a lot of outside nutrients into your acre, just as you would have to bring in a lot of animal food if you weren’t. Those of us with a small garden, or worse still, no garden, would have to lump it, or would we? There are plenty of ways of cramming together at least something, even if we live in a high rise flat.

have radiators near every window. But if you turn this off, you have a greenhouse! Anything from tomatoes to chillies can be grown indoors. There is nothing to stop you shelving the window space and growing plants all the way up! If you don’t have windowsills you can fix a box to the wall. This is probably the safest way because at least it isn’t going to blow off! You can grow, in a box a metre by 10cm by 20cm deep, summer salad leaves, herbs of all kinds, peas, dwarf beans, shallots, outdoor tomatoes, strawberries, the list goes on…


The best way to harden off plants.

You might be in a position where the new PVC windows have taken away all your window ledges, so you cannot stand anything on them. In that case there is no reason why you cannot fix a wooden box to the wall underneath. Window sills are excellent places for growing because, even with double glazing, there is some warmth coming out of the house at night. I confess to growing herbs of all kinds on my ledges, and it is also a great place for the plant hospital, where you are giving a bit more TLC. There is also the inside of the window too! Now most modern houses

Herbs are perfect for pots.

HF4 P66-67 SPACE



Page 67

67 bags you can fit along your paths? It’s amazing how quickly they stop looking like bags and start looking like growing plants. If you are too garden-proud, then why not line your paths with grow-bags? Flat they will grow potatoes, outdoor tomatoes, courgettes, and cucumbers. But who says you have to open them flat? If you stand them on their edge, leaning against something for support, you can grow a brilliant crop of carrots in them. Of course, there is nothing to stop you growing vegetables in pots, and you will get some brilliant surprises too. Cabbages in pots go to seed easily, and A very old friend in a huge pot – notice the last of the do not grow like cabbages. As tall as me, bluebell leaves hanging over the side. my cabs are still cabbages, still edible as greens, and they just happen to look There is nothing to stop you having a good on the patio. The same goes for series of containers fixed to the wall that caulis and broccoli. you plant up. Walls are brilliant for You can grow peas and beans in 30cm growing. They provide shelter, heat stored from the day’s sunshine and water, pots quite easily. Simply sow two beans per pot. Even now isn’t too although you do need to late. You can also sow 4 peas water your boxes. It is no in a 30cm pot and give mistake that weeds grow YOU CAN them some support. They most where the wall and grow just as well as in a floor meet. GROW PEAS will field, and produce a crop. If Don’t forget the AND BEANS you have room for ten pots, swinging window box that you probably have as many is otherwise known as a IN 30CM pea plants as you get on hanging basket. Personally I wouldn’t like to keep a POTS QUITE most allotments. If you go to the garden centre you can hanging basket ten stories EASILY buy these plants already up, the do an awful lot of growing – just transplant damage when they fall! them.

Don’t miss a space, these are baby carrots growing in concrete hollow blocks.

producing one meal, so I have dozens of pots around the patio. If I needed to I would have pots growing on the shed, on the drive, on the roof and even outside in the street! I suppose my ordinary semidetached house in urban Manchester has room for over a thousand 30cm pots, so there is plenty of scope for expansion.


A patio is the posh way of describing a wide path. Areas from paths to patios present perfect growing opportunities. Take advantage of paths by lining them on either side with bags of compost in which you grow food. This is an ideal way of using up a few plastic shopping bags. Push a few inside the other and then fill with compost and grow a potato in each bag. It will need feeding and watering for sure, but each bag will give a family a meal, and you can start now. Don’t worry about planting times! I wonder how many


It is easy to plan the number of meals you will get – I try to aim for a pot

This is the view from my front window: a large factory with a lorry park that is full of wooden pallets piled high. The lorries that are there are rotting away and the pallets are crying out to be made into containers. Then there is some wasteland next to it, and then a canal. Without anyone bothering about them too much I have grown bags of potatoes by the lorry park, and jolly nice they were too! I used carrier bags and once the potatoes had grown through the top I taped them up to stop cats doing what cats do on them. Every now and again I poured a bottle of feed and water into them. Now I am not advocating breaking the law. The factory owners knew what I was doing because I had asked. But if you look around, and are prepared to look a bit country-bumpkinish, there are plenty of places where you can grow lots of food. E

You need something pretty anyway!

Cabbages grow different in pots and look good!

Cauli’s in flower on my patio.


In pots there is no clubroot and no longterm soil borne diseases. It is easier to control slugs and snails and you can move your plants according to your needs. You can bring them indoors if it is frosty, cover them up, take them to the greenhouse, or just move them around because you’re fed up with looking at them!






Page 68


Getting Help Self-sufficiency is a fit person’s game, so what happens when you start to slow down? fifty years old I still play prop forward for JOHN SEYMOUR, AUTHOR of all those Oldham RUFC, but this is making me self-sufficiency books, rented his first unfit and I am having to cut down on farm when he was in his mid-forties and competitive sport because all that by the time he was fifty he had bought bashing around is hurting my body, and his second farm in Wales with land to tend, drainage to dig, fences to erect and it doesn’t do very well when you can’t kneel down to sow seeds because your buildings to repair. He was still at it knees have gone. when, in his sixties he moved to Ireland Gardening gets you fit, not Olympian and rented another smallholding. fit, but fit enough. So Indeed, his neighbours despite your twinges, get out were worried about this and get on with it. A old man turning over a GARDENING there day in the garden is a better field with nothing but a sleeping pill than a tablet rotavator, so they tried to GETS YOU from the doctor or a intervene. FIT, NOT bedtime whiskey any time. They nagged him continuously to let them OLYMPIAN plough the field with a PLAN AND SCALE FIT, BUT FIT tractor, but he refused help As the children flee the nest and subsequently the physical amount of ENOUGH broadcast the field with produce you need to grow wheat seed and grew his decreases. So plan this crop. He intended to decrease into your regime. harvest the two acres with a scythe and You might not need twenty hens any then thresh it over a chair. His neighbours more or you might have only two wouldn’t have it so they had to resort to beehives instead of six, and so on. But subterfuge. They took him to the pub and this doesn’t mean that self-sufficiency got him drunk, and while this was going suddenly gets easy, and there will come a on someone put the combine in the field, time when you need help. cut, threshed winnowed and stored the grain and bailed the straw. John was FAMILY indignant. “Didn’t you think I could do If you ever wander the country lanes of it?” “Not in two hours!” came the reply. Wales you will see the farms are arranged vertically. The topmost farms, the Uchafs, are where the young men GET FIT used to live with their young families. Working everyday, eating homegrown Next came the main hill farm where the food, breathing fresh air, drinking good father and mother would do the main bulk water (well, beer – Ed.) makes you fit. It of the farming, and at the bottom of the is a truism that our soft, urban lives are hill the grandparents had their cottage killing us. Anyone over forty-five considand cottage garden. When the changes ering self-sufficiency should embark on came the families would move down the a fitness regime. This doesn’t have to be hill and the next generation would start a running, sporting fitness regime. At

again at the top. People left home and made their own way in relation to this system. Nowadays, children leave home, a very long way from home. This way the old have to fend for themselves and people complain that councils and hospitals are not doing their best. But if we can rely on our family for self-sufficiency, then we have given our children valuable skills. We often say the children have gone off to fend for themselves, when the self-sufficient way is to fend for each other.

SHARE AN ALLOTMENT You will doubtless have read elsewhere that allotments are thin on the ground. The archetypal image is of old men in flat caps doing their own thing year in and year out. Wouldn’t it be so much better if we could somehow share our allotments and gardens with the young. Teach them our ways, our routines, how to grow things and care for food? This way new blood would learn old ways, and the gluts of food would find a more appreciative audience.

LAST RESORT All local authorities have a handy person scheme. If you are over sixty you can get the help of a person in the garden, but they don’t do much more than tidy up. All you need to do is contact the local authority and you will be visited by someone to assess your needs. You can also get help with an allotment if you are disabled. Almost all allotment societies have been given Lottery Fund money to help with disabled plots, but there are not that many takers in some areas. So if you think you qualify, get yourself down to the plots. E




Page 69


Try us and buy us online You can find HOME FARMER magazine on the website at where you can access the latest blogs, recipes, tips and information - and if you would like to contribute – just email the editor!

The Kitchen Table More than just cakes and bread, but cheese, pies, fish, your recipes, jams, preserves – in fact if you can make it yourself it will be there!

Getting Started If you are a first timer – or even just thinking about it – these pages will be packed with useful information. Tips, hints and contacts for everything from beekeeping to deep sea fishing!

The Editor’s Blog Well that’s Diana and me sounding off, most of the time, with all the expletives deleted!

Plus... ...the usual links, subscriptions and more – so if you are on line, come along and say hello!


E Don’t miss out, just ask your newsagent to place a regular order for you. Once set up, your copy of HOME FARMER will be held for you to collect and will save you having to search the newsstand. E Some newsagents may even offer home delivery so just ask them about this service as well. E Don’t miss an issue. Simply complete the form to the right and take to your local newsagent. E To be sure of future copies of HOME FARMER, fill in your details and hand this form to your newsagent

Please reserve/deliver* a copy of HOME FARMER on a regular basis, commencing with the ............................................................ issue *delete as appropriate

Title/Mr/Mrs/Ms ................ First name .................................................... Surname ......................................................................................................... Address .......................................................................................................... ........................................................................................................................... ........................................................................................................................... Postcode ........................................................................................................ Daytime Telephone No ..............................................................................


HF4 P70-71 GUIDE




Page 70


Vegetable Planner from A to Z We all need a prompt to set us off, and sometimes it is hard to know just what to do with a packet of seeds or a young plant THIS LIST IS by no means exhaustive, but is a good starting point. You can grow all these plants in a single allotment or garden and more or less get a decent supply all the year through. Combined with fruit and herbs, you will be well under way on your quest for self-sufficiency.

ROTATION Now, I can hear many of you shout as you read this, but none the less it is true. Rotating crops is such an important field-scale technique for maintaining fertility, but means little when you translate the practice to gardens. We need to keep up fertility, but a garden is too small a place to rely on rotation to maintain it. By all means

move your crops around, but don’t get hung up over it. Maintain your fertility with well-rotted compost. Keep disease at bay by not walking on your soil, but if you don’t have room to rotate your crops then so be it. It is far more important to move your chickens about to keep parasites at bay. E






Indoors in February seed trays.

Transplant to pots when 5cm and then into the garden in May or June.

Rich soil. Feed monthly. Water weekly.

When the buds are large but not yet open.


Indoors in pots in March.

Buy young plants and plant in light soil 50cm apart.

Leave for year 1 and 2, feed with a mulch of compost in Spring.

Take a few spears in year 3, increase to 50% in year 5 and onwards.


Indoors in April in pots. Three seeds thinned to one.

In polytunnel. Carefully transplant in June.

Feed fortnightly, water weekly or if dry.

Any time after the fruits are10cm or larger.


Late April indoors or early May outdoors 10cm apart, 40cm between rows.

Transplant to 10cm. Thin to 15-20cm.

Water if dry. Use rich soil and feed with bonemeal. Use lime to beat clubroot.

Harvest when roots are just bigger than eggs.


Indoors in April or outdoors in June.

Transplant when plants are 10cm. Space at 40cm with 30cm between rows. Firm well.

Monthly add bonemeal or another organic fertiliser.

When the heads seem large enough.


Indoors in April or outdoors in June.

Transplant when plants are 10cm. Space at 40cm with 30cm between rows. Firm well.

Use a mulch of good compost and repeat every 2 months. Use in soil enriched after a potato crop.

All through the winter.


Runner: Up a trellis or wigwam in May 50cm apart.

Sow 2 plants per pole or station and thin to 1.

Feed with organic fertiliser monthly.Water weekly – don’t let the plants dry out.

As required.

Broad: double rows in April or May 30cm apart. 20cm between close row. 50cm between double row. CABBAGE

Indoors in March in pots. Outdoors in Autumn.

Transplant to 40cm apart.

Feed with organic fertiliser monthly.

When heads form.


In pots indoors from March.

Transplant to greenhouse or polytunnel at 40cm.

Grow bags are good, water every couple of days at fruit set, feed weekly.

When fruits are full.

HF4 P70-71 GUIDE



Page 71




Successional from May to July in drills 40cm apart.

Thin to 10cm and feed with Protect from carrot fly in organic fertiliser monthly. early summer.

As required from June onwards.


Indoors in March in pots. Outdoors until Summer.

Transplant to 40cm apart.

Feed with organic fertiliser monthly.

When heads form.


In pots in March.

Transplant to 40cm apart.

Needs very rich soil. Water frequently. Full sun needed.

Cut and come again when sticks are large enough.


Indoors in April.

Transplant to coldframe from late May.

After flowering water every As required. couple of days, feed weekly.

Plant bulbs in November.

Mulch with good compost.




In late summer.


Indoors in April. Outdoors in May.

Transplant or thin to 40cm apart.


Outdoors in May.

Thin to 40cm.

Water at least weekly – don’t let them dry out.

Anytime after the stems are 5cm.


Indoors in April in pots.

Transplant when pencil sized to 40cm apart.

Keep moist in a sunny spot.

Throughout winter.


Outdoors from late April.

Thin to 30cm.

Water weekly and feed with Successional sowing from organic fertiliser monthly. April to August.


Indoors in March. Sets in late April.

Thin to 20cm.

Best on ash, keep moist but not wet. Fertilise monthly.

When tops fall.


Outdoors in April.

Thin to 30cm. Treat as carrots.

Feed monthly. Protect from Carrot root fly.

Harvest all the winter.


Outdoors from April. 5cm apart.

Thin to 10cm. Provide support.

Thin to 10-15cm. Protect from birds and mice.

As pods fill.


Plant seed tubers from April to June at least 50cm between plants.

Feed with well rotted manure.

Earth up tubers as the plants grow.Water from base at least weekly.

From June (First Earlies) to September.


Outdoors from May in drills.

Thin to 20cm.

Water often, do not let them dry. Feed monthly.

Successional sowing all summer.Take when full balled.


Buy crowns in the winter.

Plant into very rich soil in April, give a good mulch of compost.

Leave in Year 1.

Take a few stalks in Year 2, more in later years.


In trays in April indoors. Outdoors from May and through to July.

Thin to 30cm with 30cm between rows.

Water weekly and feed monthly.

When leaves are mature.


Outdoors in April.

Thin to 40cm apart.

Feed with organic fertiliser monthly.

When heads form.


Indoors in pots in March.

Transplant to 75cm in a square formation to aid pollination.

Mulch with compost when growing. Feed Monthly. Water weekly.

When ‘milk’ appears from seeds when pressed.


Indoors from March.

Transfer to ring culture pots or growbags when plant is 30cm tall. Outdoors in June.

Feed weekly, water every 3 days. Use tomato feed. Remove side shoots. Stop plant at 5 trusses.

When they’re red.


Outdoors in drills from April to August.

Thin to 30cm.

Feed monthly. Otherwise easy care.

When the root is cricket ball sized.

When ready.





Page 72


Livestock Lineup ! Which animal is best for you? Our line up gives the pros and cons of the top six THE VERY FIRST consideration for which animal (or animals) you need in your garden or smallholding should be the animal itself. You should not be considering a sheep if you only have a balcony and as for a cow, well you need a field. But at the end of the day you need to be able to keep livestock without any problems for the animal. But then you have to consider cost, legality, access to feed

4’ 6” 4’ 3’ 6” 3’ 2’ 6” 2’ 1’ 6”

Rabbits You don’t have to keep rabbits, you can shoot them on someone’s field. PROS: Quiet Eats anything green Excellent, healthy meat Rabbit skins for slippers CONS: Have you tried killing an animal that is so cute?

and if you actually like the animal. It is no use keeping an animal that you can’t stand. Similarly it is no use keeping an animal that you can’t use either. Before you actually go ahead, learn about the animals you intend to buy. Talk to people who know about them, who keep them. Try to go along to their farms and look. Our Home Farmer Clubs will have people that can help you out with the ins and outs of many of the animals kept by smallholders. Also the Home Farmer Forum is full of experts who can help you out on and click on the Forum button. E

Cows PROS: Lovely animals, mostly self caring Lots of milk, cream and meat Pays for itself with a calf each year or so Can earn money in some circumstances on calves and milk products CONS: Space, they need good grass and housing in winter Milking is a 365 day, twice a day, experience Expensive to buy Need strength when handling Some diseases




Page 73





PROS: Great grazers and will eat poor quality feed The most Eco-friendly animal you can get Very Hardy Can be milked Great meat Wool

This includes turkeys that you need to keep more than one and ducks that need a little water.

PROS: The best animal for human companionship Very intelligent Convert all sorts of food to meat Pigs are completely edible – except the squeak Much of our food is based on pig Easy to house, easy to learn Can be used as a plough

CONS: Need a few acres Needs a ram each year Males need castrating Very prone to disease Labour intensive at various times of the year Lots to learn

PROS: Birds give eggs and meat Very efficient converter of food Easy work Cheap to buy Lots of backup Loads of fun Easy kill, excellent meat Lots of fat from ducks CONS: Smelly – they need to be kept clean Lots of diseases Quite a lot to learn

Goats PROS: Easy to keep Get meat and milk and skins Fun, interesting animals CONS: Need good fencing and proper housing Labour intensive Need more than one Not very hardy, needs good shelter Labour intensive

CONS: Will ruin good crops when they escape Need lots of care throughout the year Many diseases Lots of paperwork Need more than one Lots of attention Controlling them can be difficult

4’ 6” 4’ 3’ 6” 3’ 2’ 6” 2’ 1’ 6” 1’ 6”



r e m r a F n a b r U The Mike and Sue Woolnough are on the horns of a dilemma after a very traumatic first kidding season REGULAR READERS WILL know that we had been eying up our approaching kidding season with more than a little trepidation, both from the point of view of the actual births and from our first attempts at milking. Experienced goat keepers kept telling us that there are rarely any problems and the goats sort things out for themselves. Our goats are Golden Guernseys, which are classified as a rare breed and are quite difficult to find. We researched goats as much as possible, talking to as many goat keepers as we could and reading everything the library could find for us. We settled on Goldens as they are described everywhere as the ideal smallholder’s goat, being of manageable size, fairly easy to keep, having a gentle temperament and producing enough milk for a family without drowning you in great white lakes of the stuff. We added to the difficulty of locating some by insisting that we wanted goats with their horns intact and by being honest with potential vendors about the fact that we would be keeping them on allotments. Many, if not most, goat keepers insist on dehorning newborns when they are very young by having the horn buds burnt out. This must be excruciatingly painful for the young kids and they often don’t survive. We consider this practice to be barbaric, and it goes against all the ethics of why we are trying to go it alone and produce all our own food. The main reason

Above: Rosie’s kids are a pretty pair of babies, but they face an uncertain future as they are both boys. Pretty young kids very rapidly become very smelly, oversexed and generally antisocial. Left: Gertie’s one surviving kid is also a billy, and has thicker and longer hair than his cousins.

put forward for dehorning is that accidents can happen with horned goats if they turn their heads suddenly and catch you unawares. This is something that we are prepared to risk for the welfare of our goats, and so far I have hung onto my personal bits, although there have been one or two close shaves! You should not keep horned and dehorned goats together as the horned one will always have an advantage when the inevitable herd leadership squabbles take place and may cause injury. We intended to breed them




Page 75


Right: Billy the Kid was very quick to look for mum’s milk, but her huge pendulous udder means her teats almost drag on the ground and he had difficulty finding them at first.

from the offset, and so needed horned starter stock. The other obstacle to locating some girls was the hostility of many goat keepers towards our plans to keep them on allotments. Many refused to sell to us and some were quite rude to us when we phoned around. We even found that the bush telegraph had preceded us and I would be greeted with “Oh you’re the ones with the allotment, aren’t you?” when we rang enquiring about stock availability.

Helpful The officials of the Golden Guernsey Society were extremely helpful, however, and eventually we located a lady in Surrey who was cutting back on her stock, and Gertie and Rosie joined us. Gertie was a two-year-old, and Rosie her one year old daughter. Gertie had accidentally fallen pregnant at a very young age and was rather thin when we got her, but she them. We came to the conclusion that specimens. All are very quickly put her mass considered to be true GGs. Rosie was probably only carrying two back on with the kids, whilst Gertie was likely to have Our two are short plentiful supply of feed I THEN HEARD two or maybe three. haired auburn girls, and from our allotments. A FUNNY Three days before Rosie was due, I last autumn they spent a These aren’t their formal went to the allotments early in the week’s holiday at Baylham names by the way as, like LITTLE morning to feed and water all the Rare Breeds Farm just most pedigree animals, SQUEAK FROM outside Ipswich, and were stock, and when I opened the door to they both have posh their house I was greeted with a dead mated with Peter, their registered names. BEHIND kid just inside the door. My heart sank GG billy. He is a long The Golden Guernsey ROSIE haired blonde with a truly and I felt so sad, but Rosie looked to breed was very lucky to impressive set of horns, so be fit and well, which was the most survive the Second World important thing. we were intrigued to see War as the Channel I then heard a funny little squeak what characteristics any Islands were occupied by from behind Rosie, and when I looked young would have. the Germans and many goats found in the corner I found two beautiful Our chief aim was to get one of the their way into the kitchens. A few billy kids! The dead kid was also a girls into milk, but we had to mate both dedicated people managed to conceal billy. Both survivors were a bit weak in order to be fairly confident of one their goats, however, and kept the and so had to be bottle mating taking. We hoped breed alive. In the 1960s GGs began fed for the first couple of to get at least one female to be exported to the mainland, and days to ensure that they kid, with any billies their popularity caused them to WE WERE both got their fill of the being raised for meat. spread rapidly throughout the UK. all-important colostrum The five months There are only five separate bloodDEEPLY antibodies to get the lines, however, and so the Rare Breeds gestation period seemed SHOCKED BY and rumen working properly. to pass excruciatingly Society is endeavouring to keep a So, having got it slowly, but Gertie grew bank of sperm from the most THIS, BUT wrong with our to gigantic proportions, important and rarest lines. WORSE WAS assessment of Rosie’s likely whilst Rosie remained Although called Golden, their coat offspring, we began to quite slim even though colouring ranges from a very light TO COME worry about the fastshe was due to kid first, blonde to a lustrous deep auburn, and approaching big day with a week separating from short haired to extremely shaggy





Page 76


for Gertie. How many was she carrying? Would we get some girls? Whilst we had lost one kid, the overnight kidding had been relatively problem-free for us, which made the guidance we had been given on how easy the kidding would be seem true. Just like Rosie, Gertie produced slightly early. As I approached her house early one Saturday morning I was aware that she was being very vocal, and sensed that something was about to happen. She continued to call after being let out into her run, and at 10am her waters broke. She carried on as if nothing had happened and ate and drank normally until 2pm when she very suddenly went into labour and very quickly produced a small dead kid – again a billy – that hadn’t formed correctly and had its eyelids sealed shut and a sizeable hole at its navel. We were deeply shocked by this, but worse was to come. Gertie had quite strong contractions for about an hour, and then they stopped. She stood up and walked about, accepted some cabbage leaves that I offered her, and ate hay and chewed the cud. We began to wonder if it was all over, despite her large size. Sue went home Above: Our girls were mated with Mutty Peter at and brought back sandwiches and a Baylham Rare Breeds Farm. He is a magnificent lad flask of tea, and just as we started on and we wondered what characteristics he would pass them Gertie again went into labour and on – but we didn’t expect it to be six billies! began to scream in pain. Examination service, but we obviously had to do of her showed a head emerging but no something. Although terrified, and with front hooves as is usual. With my large Gertie screaming continuously, I hands I struggled to find the front legs, somehow managed to ease which were obviously the dead kid back in a bit tucked back and jammed, EXAMINATION and allow enough room to but when Sue had a try turn the live kid she found a hoof and OF HER SHOWED gently slightly so that I could brought it forward... and it find a front leg. I couldn’t turned out to be a very A HEAD the other one but dead hind leg! We were EMERGING BUT find Gertie was pushing strennow facing the prospect of uously now, and with a losing not only the kids NO FRONT little help from me it was but Gertie too, as she had delivered safely, leaving a a very large live kid with its HOOVES AS IS dead rear leg hanging front legs tucked back, USUAL from poor Gertie’s rear jammed side by side with a end. The body came free dead one in breech quite easily and turned out to be a very position. The kid’s eyes were open and looking small foetus with no eyes that had obviously been dead for some time as it at me beseechingly, and it was was nothing more than skin and bone. breathing with difficulty. We couldn’t Unbelievably, all three kids were billies! raise the vet as it was out of hours on a The vet finally rang us and ran Saturday evening and we were waiting through what we had done, and for a call back from a messaging

congratulated us on managing so well. She instructed me to do a full internal examination to check that there were no other kids present, which wasn’t the most pleasant task I have ever carried out! As Gertie was now up and licking the youngster, and he was trying to find her udders, the vet didn’t feel it was necessary for us to have an expensive weekend callout, and arranged for me to pick up some antibiotics on Sunday morning. By now there was a lot of afterbirth hanging free, but the vet had assured us this was normal and so at 8pm we finally reluctantly left as dusk settled over the allotments, having bottle fed the kid first. Gertie’s udder and teats are pendulous to say the least and he had been looking too high for them so we fed him to be on the safe side. We walked home together, with me looking like a mad axeman covered in blood – luckily there were no passing policemen. We have been called Tom and Barbara for some time because of our Good Life aspirations but now some




Page 77


Right: Castrating rings are very easy to fit using a special tool, but you have to ensure that both testes have been captured and that the nipples haven’t been caught up in the ring. It is actually possible to get billies to produce milk after they have been castrated, although I’m not sure I would fancy drinking it.The ring cuts off the blood supply, and after a few days their manhood shrivels up and eventually drops off.

people are calling me James Herriot! The vet called to see Gertie on Monday morning, and pronounced herself very pleased with her condition, so we breathed a sigh of relief. When the kids were five days old we fitted them with castrating rings. This isn’t difficult to do if you are careful, but there is an element of sadness (and sympathy) to it. By three months old a billy will begin to get that distinctive billygoat odour and try to mate with his mother/sister/cousin or probably the dog if it stays still long enough! Castration solves the problem and also ensures a heavier carcass when it is time for the deadly deed to be done. When the time comes, if we are unable to bring ourselves to slaughter them, then this also gives us the option of selling them as pets. We are not keen on this idea though because most people have the misconception that goats are great lawnmowers, and they are very misunderstood creatures. They are herd animals and not happy kept on their own, and are browsers, not grazers, so grass doesn’t interest them unless it is very long. Hopefully we will find the strength of will to follow the plan through. We have always been highly critical of chicken keepers who hatch eggs without giving any forethought to what they will do with hatched cockerels, so wish us luck for six months time when we have to make that hard decision. The situation has been exacerbated by Rosie’s decision that she is now the herd leader. When we re-introduced the mums and kids together, all hell broke loose, with the adults fighting continuously and Rosie butting Gertie’s poor kid into the air with her horns. We have had to separate them, but our secondary housing isn’t really adequate. Gertie is producing such copious quantities of milk, and we have been assured that with careful feeding this could last several years, so we are debating whether we should keep just her and her kid for company. Decisions, decisions, decisions... E




Page 78

Contact us now for a copy of our free brochure or

visit us online

Build and Buy Online




Page 79

POLYTUNNELS Greenhouses are not cheap these days and polytunnels can cost an absolute fortune. Traditional glass greenhouses once in situ are extremely difficult to move and are often subject to the vagaries of breakage; children and animals do not help. So what do you do if you need more covered growing space on a budget? It’s simple, you build it, says Joe Jacobs

Building a Low Cost Polytunnel A NORTH/SOUTH orientated Yorkshire dale, elevation 550ft, is not the sort of place that one is going to easily be able to germinate vegetables due to persistent late frosts. Although at this establishment, we do own a very tidy plastic green house, it is not noted for its aerodynamic qualities and in all probability it would soon get blown away if left erected all year round. The solution was to build a small 10ft x 15ft polythene greenhouse that would be both movable and resilient to the gale force winds that unpredictably sweep through the dale. Perhaps this is the solution for high and low altitude gardeners alike, a moderately sized transportable greenhouse/animal shelter/bike shed on a shoestring. Using materials to hand and a £40 order of horticultural polythene from polytunnel suppliers, the tunnel greenhouse

evolved with minor modifications over a period of a couple of days. Hoops were constructed from 25mm MDPE blue plastic water pipe (in retrospect, 32mm would have been a better choice). The cost per metre of plastic water pipe is not great and would in theory equate to somewhere between ten and fifteen quid’s worth. Four 5m lengths of pipe were drilled and screwed between two parallel 4.5m lengths of 3x2” timber. One inch roofing batten was then bolted along the midpoint of all the plastic pipes. The theoretical width and height of the tunnel was worked out in accordance with the availability of standard polythene ‘off the roll’ sizes. As at the time it was determined that 6 meters width was available, it was

decided to make the external hoop measurement slightly under this. Using some convoluted maths I worked out that theoretically we could have a greenhouse 1.75m high and 3.5m wide. In reality, there is some latitude in sacrificing width for extra headroom during construction. The whole affair was erected by bringing the heavy 3x2” ground timbers together to achieve the desired width and roof height. Nailing 2” battens across the ends of the 3x2” timbers to form a rigid rectangle completed the base. Both ends of the tunnel were braced with A frames including cross members. The A frames were made






Page 80


from 2x1” roofing laths. All the timber/timber and timber/pipework joints were made using 6mm coach bolts. The mid point in the tunnel was also braced to the apex using an ‘A’ frame of laths without a cross member. Horticultural polythene is fixed directly to the base structure of the tunnel using battening and nails. It’s a two-man job putting on the skin and achieving a degree of tightness over the structure; it can be done but don’t

The polytunnel was constructed using blue pressure pipe..

expect to achieve a perfect finish as the design has a degree of flexibility in it. The polythene passes underneath the base timber and is fastened on the inside of the greenhouse. The structure is anchored to the ground on the inside by four posts driven into the ground and nailed to the base structure. A door was made by first nailing in two upright lengths of batten to create doorposts. The door itself was a simple wooden frame with a cross bracing covered in polythene. The door is very light and is hung on 2 small steel hinges. Total cost? I reckon it to be about £65. The finished product didn’t look too bad and was an instant success with Mrs J. An impromptu bench was constructed from brick piers and scaffold boards and in no time at all, the monstrosity was filled with sprouting seedlings. An unexpected night of turbulence brought the addition of several fence posts driven into the ground along each side of the tunnel to which a mooring rope was tied. The tunnel is orientated the same way as the valley and to date has withstood winds of at least 50mph.

The polytunnel has celebrated its third anniversary so it certainly has been a cost effective project. Maintenance to date has included replacing lost bolts (the buffeting of the wind occasionally loosens and loses them) and minor fabric repairs. A modification that later ensued was the opening of a ventilation window in the top of the closed end. Quite simply, the structure was getting too hot on sunny days and required a through draft to ventilate it.

Tomatoes thrive under plastic.




Page 81


push fit corner fittings and a plastic If a wigwam doesn’t suit you then cover? Push fit waste pipe and fittings another simple idea is to use a Using this idea as a template, it provide an inexpensive and viable framework of wooden laths and rope to certainly isn’t difficult to start considproduct from which a simple greenbuild, in effect, a large frame tent. The ering variations on a theme. Essentially house frame can be made and covered apex and ridge will a cheap covered growing in polythene. By an estimate based on obviously need to be high area needs to have a Screwfix prices, I could buy enough enough to provide standing framework and a HORTICULTURAL room inside. Aim to make 32mm waste pipe and fittings to build a covering. At the time of greenhouse shaped frame for the ridge 2.5m high (about writing, horticultural POLYTHENE IS 8ft in old money). This will regular £25. The finished greenhouse would polythene is available for AVAILABLE FOR give you plenty of head measure about 3 x 2.3m (7’6” x 10’). £5.45 per metre for a There are enough shapes and sizes of room across a workable 7.3m width. For between £5.45 PER fittings available to form all the various width of greenhouse. You thirty and forty pounds METRE FOR A could simply drill holes in corner various joints. For a very basic enough material can be you would need a pack of 10 x 3m the end of the laths and tie procured to cover a 7.3M WIDTH the joins together with cord frame lengths, 6 T pieces, 6 x 90 degree sizable area. elbows and 4 obtuse bends. You would or make a tidier job with Designing a framework need to cut 4 lengths in screws and a to support your half and these would be saw. The problem that you polythene cover really depends on the used at each end. Five of will have is that the degree of permanency that you wish to POLYTHENE the remaining lengths are polythene may puncture achieve. I have considered the simplest used longitudinally as on rough edges, points and form to probably be a wild west style MAY follows, 2 at ground height, corners. Whilst a few air tepee covered in polythene, you could PUNCTURE ON two at shoulder height and holes are not really a say designed by a cowboy. Roofing as a ridge pole. The problem to the functionbatten from timber merchants is ROUGH EDGES, one final 3m length is used as a ality of a polytunnel, they available in 4m lengths at about £1.50 POINTS AND shoulder height cross do often provide a start to £2 a length. Ten or twelve lengths member at one of the ends; would be easily enough to construct an point for further tears and CORNERS by the addition of more damage. Imaginative use of enclosure of approximately 4m pipe and fittings a doorway padding (material, rubber, diameter. Whilst this particular idea could easily be contrived. foam, plastic) in potential might not provide an article of great This project would be extremely light abrasive hot spots will help prolong the beauty, it would provide plenty of and would have to be tied down with life of your poly covering. growing space and it would be quick to Can you remember those kids’ wendy some stakes driven into the ground to erect and dismantle and should cost stop it blowing away. houses put together with plastic tubes, less than fifty pounds.





Page 82

POLYTUNNELS side of the length of plastic using screws and they also protect from poultry and Fitting polythene to homemade and washers. Bend the plastic over to other pests. inventions is not a task that is particuform a tunnel shape. By banging four When seedlings are small, cut off larly easy. Even with a steel polytunnel it pegs into the ground plastic demi-johns and isn’t easy to fit the plastic so that it is corresponding to the width clear plastic pots can both taught and wrinkle free. I have and length of your plastic suffice for protection. used a combination of roofing tacks, USE CARPET tunnel, you will be able to When it comes to buying lats and staples to fasten polythene to several metres of cloche, my creations. Although the manufacOR DUCT TAPE wedge the bent over sheet in between the pegs and turers wouldn’t recommend it, carpet or things can start getting a WHICH HAS screw the bottom edge of it little expensive. First decide duct tape works adequately well for to the wooden pegs. how wide and how high you small tears and repairs. I’d suggest EXCELLENT Polycarbonate sheet is wish your cloche to be and fastening the polythene to the inside ADHESIVE now used for greenhouses work out the width of floor tube (or lath) of your greenhouse, polythene accordingly. The go underneath that rail to the outside, PROPERTIES as well as conservatory roofs. It doesn’t last forever hoops are another matter. up the side and over the top. Find some but long after it’s come For a small cloche 20cm additional hands to help tension your from a roof, it can be put high, coat hanger wire polythene, and again fasten it on the to other uses. Cut two pieces to size made into hoops every 40cm would inside of the greenhouse. The best suffice. As the wire is thin, it would need and, using duct tape, adhere the lengths method of securing the fabric to the together with a long flexible tape hinge. to be attached to something with a frame is to double over (or treble) the Position the plastic tent over your greater diameter (eg. pegs of edge you want to fasten. plants and if necessary fasten it to the wood) that can be pushed Using a length of lath to ground with some pegs. into the soil and remain hold the plastic in place, MAKE As we draw to a close, you may in fact upright. For a larger cloche, screw through the lath, be wondering “what the hell, why off cuts of 15mm flexible through the poly and CLOCHES OUT plastic piping can be used to bother?” Just go and take a look at the into the greenhouse OF CLEAR price of greenhouses and you will see form hoops that will push frame at regular intervals. that for viable inexpensive gardening, into the ground. If Covering the ends of LENGTHS OF straight these ideas are not so bad after all. you don’t have anything one’s greenhouse is a CORRUGATED suitable to form hoops, make Whilst admittedly, a manufactured combination of previgreenhouse may last longer, these a triangular (or square) ously described PLASTIC projects will last at least 5 years if frame out of garden twine techniques, folding and maintained and looked after. When you and canes and cover that careful cutting. A with polythene. To fasten the finally see your own creation filled with doorway can be made as seedings and greenery, you do have that polythene to the frame or hoops, use illustrated in the previously described added pride that you did it yourself. carpet or duct tape which has excellent conventional polytunnel. With spring in the air, now is the time adhesive properties as long as it’s Offcuts from your greenhouse to plan for a bumper crop of cucumbers applied to a dry surface. project can be used to construct and tomatoes. Go get those tools out It’s possible to make cloches out of modestly priced cloches. Gardening in and start building yourself a plastic clear lengths of corrugated plastic. Add a bleak area, cloches are essential in greenhouse. E a piece of wooden batten down each keeping seedlings safe from late frosts




Page 83


The Great Little Cupcake Company RAINY IS A lady with a passion: poultry. When we arrived there was a turkey tapping at the door, who continued to tap at everything including legs, trousers, handbags, cameras and cupcakes! Her chickens have been something of an obsession. They go into outbuildings, arcs, and emergency quarters when she gets them dropped on her by the rescue. When the cost of feed, as we all know, nearly doubled, she wondered how she could make them pay a little. “After all,” she said, “there’s nearly always a lot of eggs, and I either make lemon cheese or cakes with the excess.” So she wondered if anyone would like to buy her cakes. “It has grown out of all proportion,” she said, speaking from her converted farm worker’s cottage in Lancashire. “We get orders from all over the world. We even had an order from Afghanistan from a soldier who wanted to send his loved ones a cake as a surprise!” The cakes are looked after as much as the hens. She only puts into the cakes ingredients that she would like her own family to eat. So the butter is real butter, the flour is organic and there are no preservatives or other chemicals anywhere near. And then there are her own eggs, and I get the impression that she is proudest of these most of all. Setting up the Great Little Cupcake Company was by no means a simple affair. She had to register with the Local Authority as a food producer. Since she was a low volume, cottage producer, she only had to fill in a questionnaire about her working practice, but then she had to take and pass her food hygiene certificate and she also bought third party insurance. The business is a great success. The cakes are great (he says with his mouth full!) and that’s the bottom line. Great food is worth eating, and for many, great food is worth paying for. Rainy makes cakes for all sorts of occasions; parties, anniversaries, corporate events and functions and she can be found from time to time on local farmers markets. E



Write to: Home Farmer The Good Life Press Ltd. PO Box 536, Preston, PR2 9ZY. Or email:

You can buy from The Great Little Cupcake Company by visiting: Telephone: 07788 918024






Page 84

FAT MAN IN THE KITCHEN Desperate Dan Pie was made from cow heel and had horns sticking out of a huge dish which was invariably eaten by Dan as well as the pie itself. This is a more genteel version!

Desperate Dan Cow Pie ESSENTIALLY THIS IS food for heroes. It is what makes Desperate Dan desperate, strong and scary. His mother’s original recipe called for ‘orns, sometimes ‘oofs and, every now and again, a tail. The pastry was sometimes old car tyres, every now and again cement, and the odd paving slab. But, alas, we are not all Desperate Dan and a more delicate and genteel version is necessary. Something nice and soft to start with so we can work our way up to paving slabs and cow ‘orns when we have our false teeth! This dish needs to be cooked long and slow, and can take on any cut of beef, but don’t

waste your money on fillet steak. It is much tastier with shin, skirt or shoulder. The very best is shin beef, basically the cheapest you can get. It cooks for hours and gets better every minute as well as giving you the very best gravy too. The higher amount of connective tissue makes the meat gelatinous and sticky. Marvellous! This is also a pie that gets rid of any root vegetables, potatoes, carrots, swede, turnip, parsnip (though I prefer it without) along with any green vegetables you might have, small amounts of celery, bits of cabbage and in fact anything. It is not overtly spiced, no garlic but does well with a couple of sprigs of thyme.

The following ingredients should satisfy six hungry men, or one desperate one.

INGREDIENTS 1.5kg beef cut into 3cm pieces 3 large onions roughly chopped A collection of washed vegetables cut into 2cm pieces, the vegetables should weigh about 1.5kg 4 sprigs of thyme

METHOD 1 Add a little oil to the pan and slowly cook the onion for a couple of minutes. Then add the meat and fry until all the meat has changed colour. 2 Add 350ml water as season well, and also add the thyme. Keep on a low simmer for 2 hours and then add all the vegetables except for any potatoes. 3 Cook for a further 30 minutes and then add the potatoes. Cook for another 30 minutes or until the potatoes are just becoming soft. (The potatoes will be cooked further, so they do not have to be completely soft. 4 At this point you can take off some of the liquid into a separate pan. Bring this to the boil and thicken in your usual way. (I have to be honest and say I use pretty bog standard gravy mix, but you could use a roux or flour or cornflour.)

Transfer the mix to a roasting tin or large casserole.




Page 85


How to make pastry INGREDIENTS 220g plain flour 80g lard 80g margarine Pinch of salt (big one!) About 125ml cold water

METHOD 5 Keep some of the gravy for serving and pour the rest back into the meat dish to thicken. 6 Transfer the meat and vegetable mix to a roasting tin or large casserole, or a dustbin lid if you happen to be Desperate Dan. Cover the pie with a sheet of pastry. 7 Make holes in the pastry with a knife and cook in the oven at 200oC, Gas 6, for 30 minutes or until the pastry is cooked. 8 Serve the dish simply, with a single or two vegetables. It is traditionally eaten with piles of onion soaked all day in vinegar. It is remarkable how moreish gravy and vinegar can be.

The point of this dish is that you can serve a lot of people with a little meat, and indeed it is the basis for a number of other traditional dishes. If you leave the pastry off you have scouse or hotpot or Irish stew. If you cook it with fish and no meat, and especially if you put herring peeping out, you have stargazy pie. If you cook it with lamb and rosemary you have a Lancashire hotpot. This dish is actually Medieval in origin. It comes from the time when the cuisine of this country was based on the ready availablity of cheap fuel. Dishes were cooked for a long time over a slow fire. There was no such thing as a rare steak five hundred years ago! These days this dish can be cooked for a long time without spoiling because the cut of meat can cope with it. Finally, this dish will keep. It is one of those that can be warmed up the following day and probably it tastes better this way. Another way of eating it is to fry the pie in hot oil, especially if there is some cabbage in it.


Make holes in the pastry with a knife and oven cook.

It is possible to make this dish, a tasty one for six people, for around ÂŁ5. That is about 80p per portion, and believe me, once you have finished your plate you really do feel as though you have had a meal. E

1 Cool the fats and chop them into 1cm cubes. Add these to the sifted flour and rub the fat in with the fingers.Try to be as light as you can and incorporate as much air as you can into the crumbled mix. 2 Then add half the water and knead the mix. Carefully add the water until you have a good paste.You might need more water or not, it depends on the flour and the weather. 3 When you have a paste, wrap it in cling film and keep it in the fridge for at least 30 mins before using. 4 Or you could cheat with bought pastry!

HF4 P86-88 MED. COOK




Page 86

COOKING THROUGH THE AGES In this first of a series of features on what has made our kitchens what they are, Paul Peacock looks at medieval cooking and how different (or similar) it is to today’s fayre

Medieval Kitchen THE HISTORY OF British food is so full of remarkable discoveries that a quick study of medieval cooking will bring us so many useful insights into our cuisine. For example, do you know why the French have sauces and the English have gravy? It’s all down to the fact that in this country we didn’t use forks through the middle ages, and our meat was either cut up into pieces big enough to be eaten with a spoon, or cooked whole and plain so it could be eaten with a knife and fingers. Gravy was often served separately so that meat could be dipped. When it comes to medieval cooking it is interesting to remember that there are no potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, chocolate, sweet-corn and turkey, although there were pasta and pulses and almonds and more herbs than you ever thought possible. This is one of the reasons for trying out some of the recipes; they are very healthy, simple to prepare and nutritious. People in Medieval times lived to be quite old, often seventy and more years were not uncommon, but more than anything they were a fit, strong and healthy people. They had not invented those things that take years off our lives, and their food was an important part of their wellbeing. It has to be said that there are plenty of reasons for believing that the ordinary people of four or five hundred years ago ate much better than we do today. The big spenders, as far as food goes, were the nobility, who would think nothing of putting on dinner celebrations that cost the equivalent of many tens of thousands of pounds.

HARD WORK The kitchen was really a food factory, even the poor ones. It required constant attention and was a place of work. Everything was made by hand, and the poor homes would have just as much work in their kitchens as the rich ones.

THE MEDIEVAL KITCHEN There were a huge variety of implements that we would recognise and even use today. There were long handled pans, cooking pots, an array of knives, spits and cauldrons. Nearly all the cooking was done on open fires; saucepans often had three legs to allow the pot to be

stood directly over the flame and others had wire handles in order to hang the pot from various heights over the flame, which is how they controlled the temperature. Frying skillets or griddles were simple iron plates suspended above the flame – ideal for cooking bacon and eggs – which became our national dish in the medieval period. Baking was done in ovens, or clay covered pots or braziers – an enclosure for embers that provided a gentle heat. The basic idea was to get the bricks hot and then allow their cooling period to bake a variety of foods. Large houses would have a bake house, smaller ones an outside pit. Sometimes, in larger villages, bread was prepared and taken to the bakers for cooking.

THE DIET Research has shown that the medieval diet was far more than gruel and slops, even for poor people. They had a range of dishes that remain standards even today, and they were far more adventurous than we are. There was a lot of fruit and fresh fish made up a large proportion of it. Meat was much less on the agenda, partly because of its expense and partly because there was too much trouble needed to keep it fresh. A dead pig gave an awful lot of meat that needed to be preserved or eaten. Only the large houses could afford to eat a pig in a couple of days. The other side to this is the money economy. Pigs were sought after by rich houses for meat, and they would pay for them. In fact this payment constituted the rent for the farm, so many poor people would keep pigs, but never tasted them because they were to sell to the Lord in order to be able to pay it back as rent. The Lord’s food catcher – ordinary folk couldn’t afford a falcon, and had to trap their game.

A typical scene, people preparing food – much like today. Onions were a staple, grown on ash, a long standing way of getting extra nutrients.

HF4 P86-88 MED. COOK



Page 87


Pots on legs, a fire on a brazier, a skillet for frying and hooks for hanging.

Chickens were much too valuable as egg layers, and chicken was always expensive meat, even until the 1960s. A misconception is that spices were used in order to disguise the flavour of rotten meat. In actual fact this was not the case; they were used only for their spiciness and their food preserving abilities.

HEALTHY FOOD Medieval cooking was almost entirely healthy cooking. Low in salt, sugar and completely additive free, the recipes are well worth incorporating into today’s diet on health grounds alone. Since simple techniques such as dentistry was very likely fatal in those days, foods that rot the teeth simply did not exist. Over 25% of mouth abscesses were fatal. The poor became adept at using the local wildlife, in greens and game, to fill a pot each day with food that not only kept them alive, but was enjoyable to eat. Malnutrition only appeared in two periods of medieval England. Once when the country was taken by the Normans in 1066, and again in the 1200s when a mini ice age destroyed the crops for many years. Almost all years since then have been ones of plenty, although now we only grow 30% of our national food requirement. It just goes to show how our lives have changed, and how they might change in the future! Of course you do not have to dress up in sackcloth and hose to enjoy these recipes, but it’s supposed to be fun if you do.

Frumenty This is a side dish, often eaten with meat or fish. It was the equivalent of ‘chips’ in medieval times. With deep fat frying and the potato, this dish slowly disappeared from the diet – though it is much healthier than modern accompaniments.

HF4 P86-88 MED. COOK




Page 88


Stuffed Cabbage

INGREDIENTS 250g kibbled (cracked or bulgar) wheat. 1 litre water 100ml beef stock 100ml milk (or almond milk) 2 egg yolks, beaten Pinch of saffron Salt to season

You need a good, tight cabbage for this so that when you boil it you can peel back the outer leaves easily.


METHOD 1 Boil the wheat for 15 minutes or until soft. 2 Remove from the heat and allow to stand until the water is absorbed. Add the stock and milk together and heat until boiling. 3 Simmer and stir on a low heat for a further 5 minutes. 4 Stir in egg yolks and saffron and continue stirring, keeping off the boil, until the mixture starts to thicken. 5 Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Almond Milk This was a substitute for ordinary milk, but clearly had quite a different flavour. It was used as a seasoning, and is packed with vitamins. It was also high in fat, and could even be churned to make almond butter!

INGREDIENTS 225g ground almonds 450ml boiling water

METHOD 1 Steep for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 2 You can then either sieve the mixture or use a blender until all of the ground almonds are combined. 3 This liquid will last for three days in the fridge.

Garlic Sauce This was an absolute standard, served with almost every meal, and accounts for why, with their consumption of honey, they were so healthy.

INGREDIENTS 200g almonds 4-10 cloves garlic 2 slices dry white bread 150ml chicken stock 1 tsp salt

METHOD 1 Cut up the garlic cloves, and begin grinding the almonds in a mortar. 2 As a paste is forming, add the garlic cloves. Beat into a paste, adding a few

1 cabbage 500g diced pork 2 eggs and salt for seasoning


drops of stock as necessary. Empty into a separate bowl. 3 Crush up the dry bread in the unwashed mortar, gathering the rest of the paste. 4 Combine the ingredients with the chicken stock and salt to taste.

1 Boil the cabbage whole for 30 minutes, remove and drain. When cooled enough to easily handle, open back the outer leaves revealing the heart, which you remove. 2 Mix together the egg and seasoned pork and pour into the cavity, replacing the outer leaves and securing with cocktail sticks if needed. 3 Bake at 175ºC for 50 minutes. 4 Serve with Frumenty.

Powder Fine

Meat Pyes

This is a set of spices which would simply be referred to as Powder Fine in the same way that Bouquet Garni is today. Grains of Paradise are hard to find and expensive, and can be omitted.

Simply my favourite. The crust will be very short, using just butter as the fat.

A good fry up. It takes a lot of skill to cut bacon that thinly with a knife.

11/2 tbsp cinnamon 1 tsp cloves 3 tbsp ginger 1 tsp grains of paradise 2 tbsp sugar Simply grind into a powder.

Cormarye Such a simple recipe and has a fantastic taste. The spices really do come out in the sauce.

INGREDIENTS 1 kilo pork loin (Can be almost any pork cut) 11/2 tsp coriander 11/2 tsp caraway 1 /2 tsp pepper 1 /2 tsp salt 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 cups red wine 1 cup broth

INGREDIENTS Filling: 1kg minced beef 100g chopped prunes 100g chopped dates, 100g raisins 2 Tablespoons vinegar 1 /2 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp salt Crust: 400g flour 1 egg yolk, beaten 6 Tablespoons butter Water and a pinch of salt

METHOD 1 Mix all the filling ingredients and leave to marinade together. 2 Rub in the butter to the flour thoroughly and mix in the egg yolk. 3 Slowly add water, just enough to allow the paste to hold together. 4 Separate into eight portions and roll out to the size of a saucer. 5 Place one eighth of the filling into each and fold over to make a parcel and seal with water. 6 Bake at 200ºC until crust is golden, around 30 minutes. E

METHOD 1 Mix all the ingredients and pour over the pork in a roasting tin. 2 Cover with foil and bake at 175ºC until cooked, basting regularly. 3 Remove the spices and juices from the roasting tin into a saucepan, 4 Bring to the boil and simmer for about 15 minutes to reduce.

Next Month Next Month we look at some of the worst times that happened to the country’s poor, the enclosure of land and the invention of poaching!




Build It! DIY Projects for Farmers, Smallholders and Gardeners BY JOE JACOBS # PAPERBACK # 192 PAGES # BLACK & WHITE PHOTOGRAPHS AND ILLUSTRATIONS # £12.99

Using recycled materials wherever possible engineer and smallholder, Joe Jacobs, provides step-by-step instructions for over 50 DIY projects for the home farm. From poultry houses to fences, Joe guides the reader through the equipment needed, the tools and materials and the plans all accompanied by clear instructions. Projects include beehives, chicken arcs, gates and fences, incubators as well as a section on renewable energy projects and plenty more making this an essential book for any keen enthusiast.


One of the UK’s most respected vegetable growers shares the philosophy, tips and techniques which have enabled him to run a successful organic garden. Based on his experience of a system of permanent slightly-raised beds, he takes you through a delicious variety of fruit and vegetable: what to choose, when to plant and harvest and how best to avoid pests and diseases.

Page 1

Flowerpot Farming

First Buy a Field The Realist’s Guide to Self-Sufficiency BY ROSAMUND YOUNG # HARDBACK # 144 PAGES # £9.99



“Before you can make your first recipe from home grown ingredients you will need to buy a field.” As though passing her knowledge and wisdom, as well as her personal beliefs down through the generations, Rosamund Young has brought together a lyrical narrative charting the long, hard and realistic journey towards self-sufficiency, making this a delicious collection of anecdotes, country knowledge and recipes as well as plenty of her own thoughts, all told beautifully and lovingly by one of the UK’s most passionate advocates of the self-sufficient, organic lifestyle. Rosamund, together with her mother and brother, farms Kite’s Nest Farm in Worcestershire. They are widely acknowledged as being at the forefront of the organic movement. Kite’s Nest has been described as one of the most self-sufficient farms in the country and has provided inspiration to many including Prince Charles who used it as a source when he established his own farm at Highgrove. Rosamund’s first book, The Secret Life of Cows, received ecstatic reviews worldwide and is accepted as a leading text on animal sentience.

Hedgerow Medicine


The Pocket Guide to Wild Food BY PAUL PEACOCK



The modern guide to storing and preserving your garden produce, enabling you to eat home-grown goodness all year round. The easy-to-use reference section provides storage and preservation techniques for the majority of plant produce commonly grown in gardens and allotments.

Name: ............................................................ Address: ......................................................... ........................................................................ Postcode: ....................................................... Tel No: ............................................................ Book/DVD title(s): ............................................ ........................................................................

It would help us if you let us know where you got this copy of Home Farmer I I I I I

Already Subscribe Through a friend W H Smith Local Newsagent Other (please specify)





Postage £2.80 for one item, £4.00 for 2 or more – REMEMBER if you subscribe to Home Farmer you get postage free – why not subscribe at the same time as ordering? We can make sure you get the very next issue straight through your door for only £2.75 a month!

You don’t need acres of land or even a big garden to enjoy your own garden produce. The balcony, back-yard, patio or even the doorstep can all be turned over to vegetable production, albeit on a small-scale. This resourceful and informative reference book details all you will need to know to turn slabs of concrete into your very own grocery store. With plenty of advice on soil preparation and maintenance, the best seeds, the best planting times and propagation, this primer encourages anyone to get started in flowerpot farming, create their own urban kitchen garden and grow practical veg in impossible spaces.

How to Store Your Garden Produce


Packed with practical information on the use of 50 native plants this book gives a fascinating insight into the background of traditional herbal remedies. There are clear instructions on which plants to harvest as well as over 120 recipes showing how to make them into teas, vinegars, oils, creams, tinctures and other remedies.


Conveniently divided into seasons, this handy sized reference book shows what plant is at its peak for picking, which nuts can be gathered where and when or which berries are ideal for preserving in a jam or jelly. Ideal for the novice forager keen to take advantage of nature’s free larder, this guide helps to identify both common and not so common edible free food, their regional habitats, their environment and when best to pick, as well as some advice regarding the law and foraging and plenty of recipes making this book an essential companion for every forager.

TO ORDER By Post. Please send this coupon and your cheque (made payable to The Good Life Press Ltd.) to: The Good Life Press, PO Box 536 Preston, PR2 9ZY By Phone. Tel: 01772 652693

......................................................... Cost: £ ............................................................ Postage: £....................................................... Total: £ ............................................................

As a policy The Good Life Press Ltd. will not sell, trade or exchange your details with any third party.

By Internet. Visit our book website:





Page 90


Easy Biscuits and Cookies Diana Sutton brings us a few easy recipes that won’t stay in the biscuit barrel for long twice. Some of the earliest biscuits were WHEN I WAS at school and cookery rusk like, they used pieces of bread that classes were still an important part of had been cooked once and then baked the curriculum, my teacher announced again to crisp up. This was done as a that the following week we would be preserving method because they kept making biscuits and everybody for longer than ordinary cheered. We made bread due to the lower Shrewsbury biscuits and moisture level. shortbread. I made THEY ARE A true biscuit now is one shortbread so much after that makes a crispy, snapping that I could have made it ALWAYS A sound when broken in half. in my sleep. They are a POPULAR If this doesn’t happen it really good present in a gift box. Biscuits and AND SIMPLE should technically be called a cookie. cookies both make THING TO The easiest of all biscuits excellent gifts and is shortbread. You can really relatives and friends of BAKE get your hands in and work ours seem to enjoy this mixture as it requires receiving them. They are fairly rough handling to always a popular and bring the ingredients together and, simple thing to bake. The following unlike pastry, is better if you have warm recipes are great fun for children to hands. Many recipes list ground rice in make with you or even by themselves, the ingredients. I have made it with and as they are so easy, depending on their without and all my family agree they age of course. prefer it without. But try it and see The word biscuit comes from the which you prefer. French bis cuit, which means baked

Shortbread with/without ground rice INGREDIENTS 120g softened butter




Page 91

91 100g unrefined caster sugar 100g self-raising flour 100g plain flour


METHOD 1 Cream butter and sugar together till soft and fluffy. 2 Sift in both flours at the same time and stir in with a wooden spoon. 3 Using hands combine all the ingredients till they form a ball. 4 Press mixture into a well-buttered tray bake type tin. 5 Prick well all over with a fork and gently press into outer edge with pad of thumb or finger to flute the edge. 6 Bake at 180oC/Gas4 for 30-35 mins till golden brown. 7 Leave to cool for 20 minutes before removing from tin to cooling tray. Cut into 12 equal fingers and sprinkle with a little extra sugar if desired. To vary the basic shortbread, just before baking press halved glace cherries into the dough. This is my favourite as I’m a sucker for glace cherries. The method for the Shortbread containing ground rice is exactly the same but add the rice just before sifting in the flours and mix as above. My next recipe is one my children loved to make when they were little. These are even easier than Shortbread and are very moreish!

INGREDIENTS 100g butter 200g soft brown sugar 180g self-raising flour 20g cocoa powder 1 large beaten egg 50g chopped pecan nuts

4 Press into a well greased, shallow tin and bake at 180oC/Gas 4 for 15-20 minutes. 5 Leave to cool in tin for 20-30 minutes before transferring to a cooling tray.

1 Sift flour and cocoa into a bowl. 2 Melt butter and sugar together in pan over a low heat and add to flour. 3 Mix in beaten egg and nuts. Combine well to form a moist dough.

Don’t overcook, as it is difficult to tell with cocoa browning the mixture if it is cooked, so press on the top of the brownie and it should give a little and remain flat if cooked.This is quite different from a cake which should spring back when cooked.

Sift flower and cocoa.

Mix with melted butter and sugar.

Adding the egg.

Pressing into shape.


Crispy Jumbles INGREDIENTS 100g softened butter 150g soft brown sugar 150g self-raising flour 50g crispy rice cereal 1 beaten egg 100g bar dark chocolate, chopped or dark chocolate chips

METHOD 1 Cream butter and sugar and beat in egg. 2 Fold in flour and mix in cereal and chocolate pieces. 3 Put spoonfuls of mixture onto a greased baking tray about 5cm apart as they spread. 4 Bake for 10-15minutes at 180oC/Gas4. American Brownies are a cross between a cake and a cookie. They are also very easy to make and varying the ingredients can easily change the





Page 92

IN THE KITCHEN finished product. Here are two simple but tasty variations, one for chocolate lovers and the other a vanilla flavoured fruit brownie.

Boston Brownies INGREDIENTS 100g butter 200g unrefined sugar 200g self-raising flour 1 large beaten egg 1 /3 teaspoon vanilla extract 50g raisins

METHOD 1 As above, except add the vanilla after you have mixed in the butter/sugar combination and add the raisins, mixing in well. Another variation is adding cinnamon and chopped apple instead of the vanilla and raisins. This makes a delicious treat for Autumn time. One of my families recent favourites is a recipe I adapted from one I made whilst at school. My cookery teacher was Scottish and we always seemed to be using oats in our baking. We made these originally with chopped almonds but when my children were little they didn’t like chopped nuts so I now leave them out and prefer it that way. They are crispy and chewy at the same time. They are very easy.

Oat Cookies INGREDIENTS 120g butter 120g soft brown sugar 3 tbsp syrup 160g self-raising flour 150g porridge oats


The last recipe calls for a little more effort. These need to be rolled 1 Heat the butter, syrup and sugar in a out and cut with a round, fluted pan till butter has melted. cutter. I prefer the recipes that call for 2 Pour in the oats and sift in the flour, the mixture to be rolled mixing well. into balls because you 3 Roll dough in hands to never have any left over, form small balls about ADD RAISINS whereas when rolling and the size of a ping pong cutting is involved I always ball. Place on a greased TO HALF OF seem to be left with a bit baking tray about 6cm apart. Gently press ball THE MIXTURE that ends up as a misshapen wonder that I have down with fingers or a AND LEAVE to eat! But these are so spatula and bake at THE OTHERS delicious and versatile I 180oC/Gas 4 for 10-15 just have to make them. minutes. PLAIN I usually make a large 4 Place on a cooling tray batch and add raisins to and allow to cool if you half of the mixture and can stop yourself from leave the others plain. They are eating one! deliciously crispy and you can’t just eat one. If you like the sound of almonds add 25-30g of chopped almonds after you have added the flour and oats. This is another oaty cookie, one I used to make with my Aunt Dot when she looked after me when Mum went to her sewing class. It was great because I could test my efforts on my Mum when she came home. These cookies became a standing joke as I grew up when we shopped for biscuits both my Mum and Aunt would wink at me and say “not as good as Melting Moments, eh?” Why they should be called this I’ve never been able to find out, so if anybody can tell me I would love to hear from you.

Melting Moments INGREDIENTS 100g softened butter 80g unrefined sugar 1 medium beaten egg 4-5 drops vanilla extract 150g self-raising flour 2-3 tbsp rolled oats for coating Glace cherries for decoration

METHOD 1 Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy. 2 Beat in egg and vanilla. 3 Fold in flour and mix with hands to bring together. 4 Roll into small balls and coat each one in the oats before placing on a greased baking tray, 4cm apart. 5 Place half a glace cherry in the centre of each ball, pressing down lightly to flatten the cookie. 6 Bake for 10-15 minutes at 190oC/ Gas5.

Shrewsbury Biscuits INGREDIENTS 130g softened butter 150g caster sugar 2 egg yolks 220g plain flour Grated rind of 1 lemon

METHOD 1 Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. 2 Add egg yolks and beat well. 3 Mix in flour and add the lemon rind. Use hands to combine and form a ball. 4 Roll out on a clean, floured surface to about 1/2cm deep. 5 Use a cutter to cut out discs of dough and place on a greased baking sheet. 6 Bake for 10-15minutes at 180oC/ Gas 4. Place on a cooling tray as soon as the biscuits have cooled slightly, they will crisp up as soon as they are cool. These biscuits can also be topped with a little glace icing or some melted chocolate. E

Next Month The easy family picnic, well Summer’s here and what could be better?




Page 93

HOME BEAUTY Diana Sutton used to spend a fortune on handcreams, nail conditioners, foot creams and scrubs yet thought better of it when a friend told me about her remedy for dry ‘washing up’ hands

Natural Beauty Tips for Hair, Hands and Feet AFTER A LITTLE study and research found many natural ways to keep hands, nails and feet in good condition. Many of the products used in the following article can be used on the face so were mentioned last week and if you have had a go at any of those you will probably have most of the things needed to create these potions. As with everything you may wish to put on your skin be aware of any allergic reactions you may have and do not use if you have sensitive skin.

HOPE FOR HANDS As I get older I see my hands ageing before my very eyes! The best thing to do about this is to use a gentle scrub and a good rich moisturising agent afterwards, even though it cannot turn back time it really helps.

Sugar Hand Scrub Mix 1 tablespoon olive oil with 1 teaspoon of sugar and apply to the hands. Gently massage into the skin in circular movements. Continue with this for a few minutes and you will start to feel your hands tingling as your circulation is stimulated. Place hands in warm water for a few

seconds whilst continuing to massage them. Rinse the sugar off with cool water and pat dry.

TIPS FOR TIP TOP HANDS My friend’s remedy for dry hands is to massage a little sunflower oil into her hands then put on her rubber gloves and wash up. The hot water used






Page 94

HOME BEAUTY to the hands and leave to dry. This is a lovely way to relax for 20-30 minutes, as you cannot do much with your hands except rest them on a towel and perhaps listen to some soothing music. Rinse off in warm water and you will notice how soft your hands feel.

FIT FEET Feet take a hammering in our busy lives so looking after them is essential and often we forget how good a little foot pampering feels. It can be as simple as a foot soak that makes all the difference to how we feel. for washing up will help the oil sink deeper into the hands and leave them soft. If they feel too oily after removing your gloves, rinse in warm water and dry. I do a lot of gardening and find it really difficult to get my nails clean afterwards. An excellent tip to prevent this is by scraping your nails along a bar of soap thus trapping a little of the soap under your nails. This stops the dirt from getting trapped under and allows any to be washed away easily afterwards. To stimulate blood flow to nails, whilst watching television or listening to the radio, rub some almond oil mixed with a few drops of lavender essential oil into the cuticles. This is great for softening the cuticles and keeping nails naturally pink.

NAIL STRENGTHENING SOAK If you have soft nails as I have this really helps to strengthen them without drying them out. Soak hands in a bowl containing 1/2 pint of warm water and 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar. Leave to soak for 5-10 minutes. Pat dry and massage a little sweet almond oil into the nails and cuticles.

Hand Smoothing Mask Mix 1 tablespoon coconut milk powder with 3 tablespoon hot water, stir till dissolved. Add 2 level tablespoons of oatmeal and mix to a thick paste, add a little more oatmeal if it isn’t thick enough. Apply

Soothing Foot Balm For a really soothing foot balm, mix 1 teaspoon of cider vinegar into a small pot of natural yogurt and massage over your feet. Leave for 10 minutes then rinse in warm water.

Footsoak Ideas Stir 2 tablespoons of Epsom salts in warm water and soak feet for 15 minutes. Add some lavender oil to relax or eucalyptus oil to revive. To freshen feet in hot weather add a few drops of peppermint oil to your cool footbath and pat dry. Rub sea salt into your feet before soaking in a warm footbath containing neroli oil if you can find it, if not add a few drops of geranium oil instead. In Winter when feet are cold and tired, an old fashioned mustard footbath really helps. Mix 3 teaspoons of mustard powder with a little water to make a smooth paste. Add to a bowl of water that is warmer than your body and soak for at least 10 minutes. To keep feet feeling clean and healthy, soak them in cool water containing tea tree oil for about 15 minutes.

After soaking your feet, rub a teaspoon of coconut oil into them and wrap in a warm towel. They will feel soft and incredibly comfortable.

HAIR TREATS There are so many expensive hair treatments on the market that you could spend a fortune, but before you do have a go at some of these ideas for healthy, shining hair. This is a recipe for home made shampoo that is very mild and is suitable for any hair type. It needs to be kept in the fridge and stores for 7-10 days as it doesn’t contain any preservatives. The following recipe will allow for 5-7 applications so won’t be wasted if either you wash your hair often or two




Page 95

95 three people use it. It uses soapwort, which is so called because it has the same effect as soap and has traditionally been used to wash the hair and body. Soapwort root can be purchased from herbalists and health shops.

Soapwort Shampoo INGREDIENTS 250ml water 11/2 tablespoons dried soapwort root Juice of 1/2 lemon

METHOD 1 Bring water to the boil and add soapwort. 2 Cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes. 3 Remove from heat and add lemon juice. 4 Allow mixture to cool thoroughly before pouring into a clean bottle or jar. 5 Use as normal shampoo. If you don’t have time to wash your hair but want to freshen it, cut a lime into thin slices, removing pips and rub over scalp. Comb through hair and leave.

HAIR RINSES These are ideal as light conditioning treatments or for using after conditioning to add shine. They are very easy to prepare and can make all the difference to how healthy your hair looks. The first ones use vinegar. It is excellent for smoothing the cuticle of the hair and promoting shine. Don’t worry about the smell, it may linger whilst hair is drying but once the hair is dry this will go. Don’t rinse these out, leave them to get the benefit of the ingredients. Add 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar and the juice of 1 lemon to 1 pint of tepid water to enhance the shine of all hair types. Do the same with malt vinegar for dry or treated hair. Red wine vinegar enhances the shine of auburn hair. Beer makes an excellent hair rinse but does leave hair a bit smelly. It gives fine hair body and shine. Pour 100ml of beer into a jug with 250ml water and use as the final rinse. Herbal hair rinses are excellent for healthy hair. When you have poured the rinse through the hair, massage them into your scalp using fingertips and towel dry. For the full benefit leave in the hair. Rosemary is excellent for dark brown hair. It enhances the colour and shine and smells really clean. Add two tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary to 1/2 pint of boiling water stir and macerate the leaves. Allow to cool before applying to hair. Chamomile is traditionally used on fair hair. It adds highlights and shine to blondes. If you steep 3 chamomile tea bags in boiling water and allow to cool before using, this is an easy way to use chamomile. You may also put a handful of fresh or dried flowers in 1 /2 pint of boiling water. Allow to cool then strain before using. The

lightening effect is enhanced if you add the juice of a lemon to the cooled mixture. Thyme leaves steeped in the same way helps with an itchy scalp, it is soothing and helps counteract dandruff. A few drops of tea tree oil in 1/2 pint of cool water makes a refreshing rinse and has been known to deter head lice.

HAIR CONDITIONERS AND MOISTURISERS An excellent hair conditioner which helps dry and leaves hair soft and shiny is simply using about a tablespoon of pure coconut oil on dry hair and leaving on for as long as you can. Shampoo out and use one of the above rinses to finish the hair.

Banana Conditioner Mash 1 large banana and mix in with 1 tablespoon of honey. Add 2 tablespoons of natural yogurt and stir well. Apply to damp hair and put on a plastic shower cap and wrap a warm towel around the head. Leave for an hour before shampooing out.

Avocado Hair Mask Mash an avocado and add an egg yolk. Apply to dry hair and leave for 30 minutes. Massage into your hair before shampooing out.

Mayo Mask Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise. Apply to dry hair and cover with a shower cap. Leave for 20 minutes before shampooing. E





Page 96

YOUR SAY It has been hot and cold, wet and dry, all we need is a little snow and we will have had all the year in a month. Our forum continues to be busy and already we have nearly 400 members, which isn’t bad for just over a month of being online. Please do keep on writing in. Sometimes we will highlight the forum, others the letters we get through the post. This month it’s the postman that gets a chance... BE HAPPY JUST BEING


DEAR DIANA AND PAUL, I am really writing to let you know how glad I am that I found your magazine.What a refreshing change to read something that is realistic instead of something that assumes you have a large house and several acres of land and pots of money! We have lived all our married life in tied cottages in the middle of nowhere as my husband has always worked as a herdsman on dairy farms.The gardens we have had have always been quite large and we have always been able to keep animals and grow plenty of fruit and veg. Now we have moved into our new house the garden is much smaller, though we are still able to grow fruit and veg and herbs and keep a couple of bantams. In fact it is amazing what you can achieve in a small space, with just a little more thought. Our new home is a rented housing association house and we will never own it but we feel that on coming here we have come home.We intend to live the rest of our lives here and look forward to the garden developing over the years. It resembles a Dig for Victory wartime garden – anyone know where we can get an Anderson shelter? We have always cooked from scratch here, making our own bread and jams and since I have always stayed at home to look after the children, we have had to live quite economically, especially as agricultural workers are so poorly paid. So we have always had to spread the pennies, growing and cooking most of our own food. I totally agree that the crux of the whole self-sufficiency thing is to live simply. It seems to me that most people want everything.They say they want ‘to get away from it all’ when they really want to take it all with them. Everyone seems to be constantly chasing something, no body seems to be happy ‘just being.’ ALI CROOKS, BRAINTREE.

DEAR DIANA AND PAUL, I would like to say what a wonderful magazine is Home Farmer. Coming from the borders of Northern Ireland, I have kept turkeys and pigs over many years. My family got very upset with a butcher who, during the Christmas rush, was very rough with his turkeys and geese, and we thought him cruel. There really is no need to be cruel, take pigs for an example.We always moved our pigs with a bucket and a handful of food. There was never any need for a stick, and we never drove them – only ‘persuaded’ them with the

SEND YOUR LETTERS TO: Home Farmer Magazine The Good Life Press Ltd. PO Box 536 Preston PR2 9ZY Or email them to: editor@homefarmer. Or why not join our forum on:

promise of a tickle on the ear and a handful of grain, and they came so easily. Pigs are animals that respond to kindness and cleanliness.They always go to the loo away from their shelter, which is usually ‘spotless’. It’s the same when killing animals. I used to be part of a cull team and killed many hundreds of animals, watched by an RSPCA inspector.We always killed the animal with an honest, clean, head shot.And the animal died instantly and without pain. The meat tastes better when the killing is spot on and isn’t it better to kind rather than cruel? JIM EMERSON, TYNAN, CO.ARMAGH.




Page 97




2 lucky readers will WIN a year’s supply of Verm-X and fantastic Verm-X Clothing

VERM-X, A TRULY natural herbal parasite control measure, is perfect for keeping your animals parasite free and bursting with vitality. Growing your own produce and rearing your own quality livestock is very rewarding, so it makes sense to use a natural parasite control and health booster on your animals, taking a more natural approach to agriculture and farming. All products within the Verm-X range have been developed using a natural blend of the highest quality ingredients including the herbal stock formula which controls all known internal parasites and are made from non GM ingredients. Verm-X have developed products that cater for all

Poultry, Sheep, Goats, Alpacas and Llamas, Rabbits, Cats, Dogs, Horses, Racing Pigeons, Caged Birds, Game Birds and the latest addition to the range is Verm-X for Cattle. All you need to do is match the two photographs (right) with the pages they come from. Simple! Mark your envelope: Verm-X Competition and post to: Home Farmer, The Good Life Press Ltd., PO Box 536, Preston, PR2 9ZY. Or email your answers to: COMPETION ENDS 30TH JUNE 2008

PIC ONE FROM PAGE ......................................

PIC TWO FROM PAGE ..................................... NAME:........................................................................ TEL: ............................................................................ ADDRESS: ................................................................ ..................................................................................... ..................................................................................... EMAIL: .......................................................................

I think you’re taking this home beauty too far!






Page 98


I]Z WgVcY cZl Ild LZhi  :aa^dii XViVad\jZ ^h hdbZi]^c\ ZkZgn \VgYZcZg bjhi ]VkZ š FWYa[Z \kbb e\ gkWb_jo ]h[[d^eki[ WdZ ]WhZ[d [gk_fc[dj š ;nf[hj ^_dji  j_fi š El[h )) o[Whi [nf[h_[dY[ ;dgndjg;G::&&+eV\ZXViVad\jZeaZVhZXVaa/



Miscellaneous Gofarmer – Online market place for livestock, farm machinery, produce, farm stays, rural crafts.


Ild LZhih  :aa^dii AiY# YZei =; Jc^i )! 8VgglddY GdVY! H]ZZeWg^Y\Z >cYjhig^Va :hiViZ! 8]ZhiZgĂ’ZaY! H)& .G=# LZWh^iZ/ lll#ildlZhih#Xd#j`

Rural Bulgarian Properties for sale from 4000 Euros.Village houses to rent from ÂŁ250 a week Web: Web:


Crafts Fleece and other fibres hand spun to order. Tel Claire Boley for details 01392 682941


FREE ADVERTS FOR PRIVATE ADVERTISERS Maximum number of words is 30. We need your full address, telephone number and email for our database, but only your town/tel/email will appear in the magazine. As a policy The Good Life Press Ltd. will not sell, trade or exchange your details with any third party. Title/Mr/Mrs/Ms... First name............................................................................ Surname .................................................................................................................. Address ................................................................................................................... .................................................................................................................................... Postcode .............. Tel No ................................................................................. Email address: ........................................................................................................ ADVERT COPY Heading: (eg Pig arc for sale) ............................................................................ Manufacturer: ........................................................................................................ Age/condition: ....................................................................................................... Description: ........................................................................................................... ................................................................................................................................... How often do you buy Home Farmer? I Monthly/Subscription I Occasionally Your free ad will appear in the next available issue, subject to space. Simply fill in the coupon on the right and send it back to:

I Never seen before

BY POST Home Farmer Free Ads, The Good Life Press Ltd., PO Box 536, Preston, PR2 9ZY. BY EMAIL Use the coupon as a guide and send your free ad to: ruth@thegoodlife

I am sorry readers’ free ads cannot be taken over the phone. Please note we will not accept 0870 and 0845 numbers.

Poultry for sale Buff Orpington,Welsummer, Cuckoo Maran, Light Sussex, Barnevelder, Exchequer Legorn & Pekin Bantams. Day olds to POL also Fertile eggs available. LEICESTER Tel: 01530 810841 Email:

Cow for sale Welsh Black Cross Jersey in calf heifer very friendly. Mark Johnson. POWYS Tel: 01691 830539

Pheasants wanted Pair/Trio. BENFLEET, ESSEX Tel:Tony 01702 554935

Puppy for sale Bearded Collie Dog Puppy, 7 mths. Working strain with successes in obedience, agility and stock work. POWYS Tel: 01597 840338





Page 99



In August’s crammed issue of Home Farmer we have:


Kim Wilde digs her dinner

8-page special section on living the Good Life

Singer turned gardener Kim Wilde talks about her passion for veg and feeding her family.

E Killing and

The Strawbridges Father and son team, It’s Not Easy Being Green’s, Dick Strawbridge and his son James bring us some more insights into their self-sufficient adventure.

Fat Man in the Kitchen In August the fat man goes into the garden to prepare the perfect barbecue.

Digging for Victory with Sophie Grigson Sophie digs for Victory with courgette and tomato recipes.

It’s no yolk! Hatching eggs at home is exciting, awe inspiring and fun, but we also look at the serious side.

Easy Marmalade From microwave to pan, marmalade is the easiest jam to make at home.

Plus... Regular features on growing vegetables, keeping hens, keeping bees, packing the perfect picnic, learning from vegetarians and saving money by driving sensibly.


butchering your own meat E Preserving, storing and food for every day eating E Using your windowsill to create a tasty herb garden

Alan Titchmarsh We've five sets of tools from his new range to give away, plus he talks about tool care and growing your own food. He keeps Pekins, and thinks they are the best birds in the world.




Page 100

Binder[smallpdf com]  
Binder[smallpdf com]