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WWW.KITCHENGARDEN.CO.UK | DECEMBER 2018

THE UK'S BEST-SELLING GROWING YOUR OWN MAGAZINE

8 PAGES OF GARDENING GIFT IDEAS FOR CHRISTMAS

GRAND DESIGNS CREATE A PERFECT FRUIT PATCH & CHOOSE YOUR IDEAL GREENHOUSE

YOUR GUIDE TO GROWING EXOTIC TUBERS

4 pages of advice

MAKE A POTTING BENCH & SUN-POWERED COMPOSTER  JERUSALEM ARTICHOKES 


EDITOR’S LETTER

WELCOME

So another year is over on the veg plot – I hope you’ve had a successful and rewarding one. As ever it brought its challenges – the late spring and hot summer certainly made things interesting. My polytunnel crops were the best ever (although one arm is now longer than the other from carrying watering cans) and many of you have told me you’ve had some wonderful soft and tree fruit. That, however, is in the past and we need to prepare for the fun and challenges ahead. With that in mind we have some great features for you this month. Fruit expert David Patch offers his advice on planning a fruit garden, while Ben Vanheems encourages you to leave the spade in the shed and to join the ranks of converts to no-dig gardening. As usual we have features on growing a diverse range of crops and get out and about to meet readers from the North East to the South West. I hope you enjoy seeing the pictures of their wonderful plots as much as I did.

E

O ON DE O VI

CHANNEL

SEE THE

YOUTU B UR

@GrowWithKG

KitchenGardenUK

KitchenGardenMag

Steve Ott, editor Contact me at: sott@mortons.co.uk | 01507 529396 Find us at www.kitchengarden.co.uk Contact subscriptions: 01507 529529

@GrowWithKG

/kitchengardenmagazine

CHECK OUT OUR GREAT GIVEAWAYS AT WWW.KITCHENGARDEN.CO.UK www.kitchengarden.co.uk

DECEMBER 2018 | 3


CONTENTS

EXPERT ADVICE TO HELP YOU GROW GREAT FRUIT AND VEGETABLES

31 ✪ ON THE COVER

42 YOU

@GrowWithKG

YOUR PLOT

6 ON THE VEG PATCH

KitchenGardenUK KitchenGardenMag

On the plot this month veg expert Martin Fish takes currant cuttings, starts winter digging, harvests winter veg and prunes soft fruit

10 IN THE GREENHOUSE

@GrowWithKG /kitchengardenmagazine FOR OUR CONTACT DETAILS TURN TO PAGE 15

In this issue Joyce Russell feeds the border soil, sows early salads and tends to spring cabbages and Florence fennel

The latest news, comment and advice from the world of kitchen gardening

14 YOUR LETTERS AND TIPS

Learn what other KG readers have been up to and pick up some great first-hand advice

20 KG PROBLEM SOLVER

NEVER MISS AN ISSUE...

£20

52

12 WHAT’S NEW?

This month our experts solve readers’ problems with carrots, parsnips, rhubarb and pears

85 NEXT MONTH

Some of the highlights to be found in your January 2019 issue

98 LAST WORD

A seasonal short story from KG reader Barbara Pollock

69

ON PAGE 24 HAVING TROUBLE FINDING A COPY OF THIS MAGAZINE? Just Ask your local newsagent to reserve you a copy each month

4 | DECEMBER 2018

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DECEMBER 2018

92 Scan this, and we’ll tell you!

57

Cookery expert Anna Cairns Pettigrew brings us some festive recipes using carrots, red cabbage and mushrooms

GET GROWING

Pg 92

16 ON THE PLOT WITH THE THREE MUDKETEERS

This month the intrepid trio are making a cheesy sprout recipe to convert even the stoutest Brussels sprout hater

48 GROW GREAT CROPS WHATEVER THE WEATHER!

18 CHRISTMAS QUIZZES

Can you solve our Christmas conundrums?

KG editor Steve Ott just loves his greenhouse and encourages us all to put one on our Christmas lists

22 GROWING ONLINE

52 DITCH THE SPADE ✪

Our pick of gardening social media and websites

26 PLANNING AN ORCHARD

Our resident fruit expert David Patch goes right to the core of the matter with advice for those planning to plant a fruit garden

31 SUPER TUBERS ✪

This month veg expert Rob Smith turns the spotlight on Jerusalem artichokes

In two minds about no-dig gardening? KG's Ben Vanheems is a convert and hopes you will be too

57 GROW YOUR BEST BULB ONIONS EVER! ✪

KG editor Steve Ott knows his onions and aims to help you boost your harvest in 2019

61 RECYCLING, TEAM WORK AND TRADITION

6 WHAT TO BUY 76 INSTANT SAVERS

We visit a thriving allotment site in Somerset, where community spirit is alive and well

This month make some great savings on crop protection, baking essentials and more

Composting guru Andrew Davenport reveals plans for a sun-powered super composter for your garden

66 GROWING ON THE WEB ✪

78 GARDEN STORE ✪

39 TULIP POWER

69 CRUNCH TIME ✪

80 GREAT READER OFFERS – SAVE OVER £22!

36 SOLAR ASSISTED COMPOSTING ✪

Set your spring plot ablaze with our growing guide to tulips as cut flowers

40 HAVE A YAMBOREE! ✪

This month we meet a northern lass who was bitten by the gardening bug at an early age

It’s party time and making healthy vegetable crisps for the festivities is easy, says chef and photographer Anna Cairns Pettigrew

74 VEG AT A GLANCE – LEEKS ✪

Unusual veg lover Sally Cunningham encourages you to take the yam tuber challenge

KG’s own Tony Flanagan brings you his top tips for success with this hardy winter crop

42 A GARDEN FOR GOURMETS

82 MAKE A POTTING BENCH ✪

Wendy Pillar travels to Barley Wood Walled Kitchen Garden – producer of fabulous food for more than 100 years www.kitchengarden.co.uk

DIY expert Joyce Russell has some advice on making a mobile potting bench for your shed or greenhouse

More great new products and services to help to boost your harvests

Claim your free* Autumn Planting Seed Collection worth £20 (*Just pay p&p) plus many more great savings

86 GREAT GIVEAWAYS WORTH OVER £1450 ✪

Don't miss your chance to win super prizes

88 TRIED AND TESTED ✪

This month the KG team keeps warm by testing out some super garden clothing DECEMBER 2018 | 5


GET GROWING

TASKS FOR YOUR VEGETABLE PATCH IN DECEMBER BY MARTIN FISH SORT OUT SEED BOXES

If like me you seem to accumulate far too many packets of seeds, it’s well worth sitting down with a cup of coffee to go through your seed box. Packets that are way out of date or part packets of old seed can all be thrown away.

CLEAN FLEECE AND NETTING

Garden fleece and netting that was used in the growing season can be neatly folded up and stored away until it’s needed again. If it’s dirty, soak it first in hot soapy water with a dash of disinfectant to kill any fungal spores.

PROTECT OUTDOOR TAPS

Make sure outdoor taps are protected from freezing over the winter. If not being used, turn the tap off at the stop-cock; otherwise, insulate the pipes and protect the tap with one of the insulated covers that can easily be removed when you want water.

CHECK STORED BEAN SEEDS

If you save and store your own runner bean seeds, check them occasionally and make sure they are still firm and dry. Any mildew developing on the seed coat is a sign of dampness and will spoil the seeds. A dry, frost-free place is ideal until the spring.

www.kitchengarden.co.uk


JOBS FOR THE MONTH XXX

TAKE CURRANT CUTTINGS STEP 1: Now is the ideal time to take hardwood cuttings from currant bushes to get some new plants for free. Only propagate from healthy bushes and prepare the cuttings from this year’s growth using stems that are pencil thickness or more. Make the cutting about 20cm (8in) long or roughly the length of a pair of secateurs, making a straight cut below the bottom bud and a sloping cut at the top.

STEP 2: All types of currant – red, black and white – root very easily and can be planted directly into the garden. Fork over an area of soil and using a spade take out a ‘V’ trench around 15cm (6in) deep. Space the cuttings along the trench 15-20cm (6-8in) apart before backfilling with soil and firming. When finished, the top couple of inches of the cutting should be above soil level.

STEP 3: Alternatively, cuttings can be pushed into pots of multipurpose compost and then stood in a cold frame. No heat is needed and over the winter roots will develop, followed by new shoots in spring. If rooting in small pots, you will need to pot into larger pots in summer. Rooted in pots or the garden, by next autumn you’ll have plants ready to plant out into their final position.

SOW NOW

Broad beans, endive (winter types), exhibition onions

HARVEST WINTER VEG In December there’s a bountiful supply of fruit and vegetables to choose from. Some are freshly picked from the garden and others have been harvested and stored. The great thing about many winter vegetables, such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, parsnips and leeks, is once gathered from the garden they will stay fresh and in good condition if you keep them cool. This means that if the weather forecast is very wet or cold, you can plan ahead and harvest your veg in advance. This can then be supplemented with stored fruit and veg such as apples, onions and beetroot and maybe some crops that you are growing undercover in a greenhouse or polytunnel. www.kitchengarden.co.uk

START SOIL PREPARATIONS

PLANT NOW

It’s always a good idea to start Gooseberry, currant bushes, soil preparations as soon as raspberries, cane fruit, all possible. As soon as I’ve cleared types of fruit tree the beds I like to make a start and December is the ideal month to try and get ahead. If you leave it until January or February, the soil can be very wet or frozen and you should keep off. On next season’s legume (peas, HARVEST beans) and onion beds, I spread Winter cabbage, cauliflower, a few inches of my home-made kale, leeks, Brussels sprouts, garden composst. I’m I’ celeriac, l lett l tuce, celery, a digger and th he beetrooot, chicory, compost will be e carroots, Swede, dug in at a laterr Jerusalem J date, but if artichokes, you don’t spinach Get yourself a small garden dig, it’s still notebook and make a note of a good idea new ideas and different types to spread of plants that you want to the compost grow next year in the garden. so the worms If you don’t write them down get to work. you’re likely to forget! ER 2018 | 7 DECEMBE


GET GROWING

START SOFT FRUIT PRUNING ■ Now is a good time to carry out a soil test in the garden to determine if your soil is acid, neutral or alkaline. Kits only cost a few pounds and are easy to use.

With blackcurrants the aim is to prune out as much of the old wood that’s already fruited as possible, leaving behind the new growth to fruit next summer. It’s a bit of a balancing act because as you cut out the old wood, inevitably you also remove some new growth. By removing up to one-third of the old stems low down in the bush, you keep enough new wood for a crop next year and encourage new shoots for the following season. Redcurrants and gooseberries are a little easier and what you are trying to create is an established framework of older branches with new sideshoots. At this time of the year cut back the new sideshoots by half or two-thirds and thin out congested growth in the centre of the bush.

CHECK APPLES BEING STORED

■ If rabbits are a problem in your garden, protect newly-planted fruit trees with a tree guard to prevent the bark being chewed.

■ December is a good time to start winter pruning apple and pear trees by removing weak growth and crossing branches to open the canopy.

■ Parsnips are hardy but when the soil is frozen they are difficult to lift. To prevent the soil freezing, cover part of the row with old compost or autumn leaves to act as a blanket.

■ If pigeons are a problem in your garden, net the brassicas to protect them from damage through the winter.

8 | DECEMBER 2018

Apples picked in October tend to be good keepers and in the correct conditions many varieties will keep through until early spring. Ideally, they should be kept as cool as possible, but frost free, in a dry, dark place. I prefer to store them unwrapped pp in trays so that the fruits are not touching. This way if one starts to rot it won’t spread as easily to its neighbour.

PROTECT FIGS WITH FLEECE Fig trees are hardy and will survive very cold winter conditions when they are dormant. However, the growth buds at the tips of thee shoots and the tiny embryo fruits can be damaged by heavy frosts. If we can get the small fruits to overwinter, they will give an earlyy crop next year, so to protect them cover them with a couple of layers of fleece in frosty weather.

FRUIT TREE CARE

Gardening is all about planning ahead and in the case of fruit trees what we do now can help the health of the trees and the crop next year. The past growing season has been difficult at times! We had a wet winter, cold spring and very hot and dry summer, all of which can stress fruit trees. Having said that, in many parts of the

country, apples, pears, plums, damson and cherries all did well and despite the extremes of weather produced a good crop. However, pests and diseases on fruit were a problem in some areas, but by doing a little work on or around your tree now, hopefully they will be less of a problem next year. Fruit trees can be affected by many fungal diseeases, but there are no fungiciides available for garden use tto deal with them. One off the main problems tthat affected apples and plums this year was brown rot, which rots the fruits very quickly on the tree. The spores enter through a wound and the disease spreads quickly from ffruit to fruit. Very often mummified fruits will m ng on the tree through han

winter and these along with any fruit that is still on the ground should be collected and disposed of, but not on the compost heap. It’s also important to collect all fallen leaves from around fruit trees, especially if the trees suffered from aphid attacks and fungal diseases such as mildew. This helps reduce the amount of overwintering eggs and spores. Bare soil below the trees should be kept weed free as some weeds play host to a range of pests and diseases and occasionally raking the soil over exposes the pupae of codling and pink plum moth for the birds to eat. A winter wash is also beneficial and Vitax and Growing Success both sell a winter tree wash based on natural plant oils. Applied when the tree is dormant, the wash will help to control overwintering pests, eggs and help to reduce dormant spores on the bark. www.kitchengarden.co.uk


WITH JOYCE RUSSELL Pictures by Ben Russell

A NEW GREENHOUSE: PREPARATION ■ Bring manure or other soil food into the greenhouse

■ Clear plant debris to reduce disease problems next year

■ Wash polythene and glass to allow maximum light through

■ Wash used pots and scrub benches

■ Plant out broad beans and peas or sow direct in drills

■ Look at seed catalogues and list what you want to grow

■ Bring strawberry plants into the greenhouse

■ Put extra layers of fleece over plants if needed

10 | DECEMBER 2018

December isn’t the best time to put up a polythene structure and it isn’t ideal to handle panes of glass on a cold windy day. A new greenhouse is a big investment and with care it will help you to grow great crops for years. Don’t rush the process just for the sake of a few extra weeks (nothing grows at temperatures below 5C/41F anyway.) Do your research and consider what you want: size, shape, material, layout, paths, raised beds and so on. There’s a lot you can do to make sure you get the best possible structure for your garden. Once you have chosen, then you can start to prepare the ground. Dig trenches around the edge if needed or footings for posts. Dig over the ground and assemble materials for raised beds, paths, shelves and benches: all will be ready for when the structure goes up. www.kitchengarden.co.uk


JOBS THIS MONTH

FEED THE SOIL

■ Think about varieties. A tomato plant takes the same work to grow whether it is a poor cropper or one that produces long trusses of tasty fruits. Make a note of what did well for you. Ask neighbours and other gardeners too. A good recommendation is always worth a place on the new yyear seed order.

A greenhouse may never be completely empty, but this is about the best it gets for clear spaces in beds. Bring in some soil food now to help build up nutrients and improve soil structure. Fresh manure should be stacked in a corner for a week or two. It will heat up and provide a bit of extra warmth. It can be spread over the surface and dug in as time allows once it has broken down. Well-rotted compost can be dug in straight away and if you can get hold of fresh seaweed then this is the absolute best tonic for depleted or diseased greenhouse soil: spread between plants and water to let the goodness wash down.

GREENHOUSE GADGETS: LABELLER

If you only grow one variety at a time and are a whiz at recognising different seedling brassicas, then maybe you don’t need to use labels at all. For other gardeners some form of labelling system is essential. You can make your own from cut-up plastic milk bottles or use lollipop sticks. You can buy a whole host of labels, but a good reliable option is a machine that prints stick-on-tape. This way you put the label directly on the pot rather than pushing something into the compost. The label won’t fall out and the writing won’t wash away. You can see the name of every variety and every brassica that you grow.

FLORENCE FENNEL Plants may be smaller than you imagined and they may look a bit tatty too. Protect plants from slugs and don’t worry too much about appearance. Most bulbs will start to swell significantly over the next few weeks. You can end up with monsters in March and April, or lift them while small to add some summer flavour to your cooking. Discard the outer layer if unfit for use: the inner layers and fresh leaves will be delicious.

SOW & GROW It isn’t the ideal time to sow seeds and small seedlings struggle to grow at low temperatures. But some years, and in some parts of the country, December may be mild enough for the gardener to take a few chances. Try sowing rocket and mizuna in drills. If any salad crop will grow now, then these two will. Sow lettuce too and remember that pot-raised seedlings are transportable: bring them in to a cool window ledge in the house for a night or two if low temperatures persist. Try some early carrots in a pot and plant some early seed potatoes in a bucket of compost: provide extra coverings and these can provide early crops.

■ Red-veined sorrel is an easy and delicious salad plant. It looks pretty and grows well in a winter greenhouse. One sowing will keep you in plants over many seasons if you let just one plant drop seed where it grows. ■ Keep harvesting, but don’t pick any plant too hard. Take a few leaves from each plant on salad leaves growing in rows. Cut out any tops that try to set seed and rows will keep cropping for several weeks. ■ This is a good time to look at fixtures and fittings. There is some space to work in the greenhouse if you want to change paths, add in shelves, or redo the edging on existing beds. ■ Remember that wind can wreck a greenhouse if it can blow in and has no other way to go out.

SPRING CABBAGE Winter greens do well in the protected space of a greenhouse. Spring cabbage should ha ave made strong small plants and you may be eating kale, Brussels sprouts, and early sprouting broccoli. Keep an eye out for slugs that hide between the leaves, and pick off any leaves affected by grey mould. Plants benefit from an application of liquid feed watered on the soil. Do this once at the end of December and repeat again in the following month. This gives a nutrient boost for spring growth.

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DECEMBER 2018 | 11


YOU

YOUR PLOT

WHAT’S NEW?

ALL THE LATEST NEWS, PRODUCTS & FACTS FROM THE WORLD OF KITCHEN GARDENING

BATTLE OF THE GIANTS There were plenty of giant vegetables as usual at this year’s Harrogate Autumn Flower Show. One of the highlights was the giant onion competition, sponsored by KG. This year’s winner was Nick Brake, from Chard in Somerset. A newcomer to a major competition like this one, Nick’s onion weighed in at a whopping 7.755kg. Top marks also to 75-year-old Ian Neale from Newport in Gwent whose winning cabbage weighed in at a mighty 30.2kg. Mr Neale won the heaviest carrot and heaviest beetroot categories too.

New for 2019, the Jekka’s Herbs display from Johnsons will feature free recipe cards for customers to take away and use at home. Taken from her illustrated book Jekka’s Herb Cookbook, each uses some of the more unusual varieties in the Jekka’s Herbs collection. Recipes include sautéed chicken with lovage and cider, spicy lemon grass and butternut squash soup and hyssop fish cakes. There are also tips on how to make fresh and light salmon with dill and chervil and Asian-inspired scrambled eggs with garlic chives. Helen Clayton, Johnsons brand manager, says: “Jekka has such passion for herbs and their uses and we are delighted that we have been able to pass on some of her delicious recipes to our customers.”

Mushrooms are one of those edibles that most gardeners tend to shy away from growing – too difficult, too strange, too much space? None of these reservations, however, are true, as experts Magdalena and Herbert Wurth demonstrate in their detailed growing guide, Home-Grown Mushrooms From Scratch. The book covers cultivating mushrooms in the garden, indoors, in woodlands and fields, and in courtyards, balconies and patios – so plenty of options to suit your preferred place and space. It then takes you through the various stages of growing – from spore to spawn – and there are chapters on using mushrooms for medicinal purposes and recipes. Whether you are an absolute beginner or a seasoned mushroom-grower, you will find this book an invaluable point of reference. Home-grown Mushrooms from Scratch is published by Filbert Press at £20. However, KG readers can obtain a copy for only £14.99 (free UK p&p). To order call 01206 255777, quoting the offer code KGMUSH2018. Offer closes December 31, 2018.

STAND UP FOR BRASSICAS New research from Australia’s Edith Cowan University (ECU) has found eating a serving of vegetables from the brassica family, such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli, reduced the risk of falls later in life. The study tracked the diets of women over the age of 70 over a 15-year period. Those who had at least one serving of these vegetables a day were less prone to falls, as were those who consumed more vegetables generally.

DO YOU HAVE SOME HOT STORIES FOR OUR NEWS PAGES? SEND THEM TO TFLANAGAN@MORTONS.CO.UK 12 | DECEMBER 2018

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WHAT’S NEW?

PLAS STICEATING FUNGUS

This year’s Allotment Shed of the Year £250 prize has been awarded by Shield Total Insurance in conjunction with the National Allotment Society. The winners were Sarah Jones, Matt Cox, Neil, Claire and Rufus from Birmingham. Their shed looks out on Rea Valley and has been constructed using doors from skips, old floorboards, shed panels and UPVC windows, all elements recycled and reused. Inside is a table found in a garden, chairs from a pub, a blackboard for messages and plans, and a to-do list.

A fungus discove ered in Islamabad, Pakistan is offerring some exciting environmental benefitts when it comes to the biodegrading of certain plastics. According to a Kew Gardens report,, Aspergillus tubingensis breaks down plastics such as polyester polyurethane (PU) wiithin weeks rather than years. PU is used in a wide w range of products, including refrigerator insulation and synthetic leather. For more e information visit: https://stateofftheworldsfungi. org//2018/

KING OF KINGS Now here’s a man who know his onions, or in this case, his leeks. Kings Seeds’ horticultural director and KG contributor Andrew Tokely swept the horticultural boards at the 2018 Capel St Mary Allotment Association Village Show, Suffolk, with 14 firsts, 15 seconds and three thirds. He won the trophy for the Best Exhibit in the vegetable section with his leeks and the trophy for the Best Collection of Vegetables. And if that wasn’t enough, he won Best Kept

Allotment and Best Kept Polytunnel plot. Andrew said: “I was over the moon with the results at this year’s show, especially in a growing year that has been very challenging due to the hot dry weather. Congratulations should go to all the exhibitors that supported the show and the committee for putting on such a well-organised event.” Formed in 1977, the Capel St Mary Allotment Association has over 360 members, 90 of which rent a plot. For more information, visit: www.capelallotments.co.uk

SEED COMPANY EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS

Seed company Mr Fothergill’s reports that sales of seeds endorsed by the RHS have exceeded initial expectations and the collections have beaten the season’s forecasts. Among the top-selling varieties have been courgette ‘Defender F1’, runner bean ‘Firestorm’ and lettuce ‘Sioux’. New for next season the company has introduced spring onion ‘Matrix’ (RRP £2.50 for 350 seeds), a winter-hardy variety which is slow to form bulbs and shows good disease resistance, and sweetcorn ‘Mirai Gold F1’ (RRP £3.05 for 35 seeds) which produces sweet-tasting cobs and extra-tender kernels. There’s also pea ‘Starlight’ (RRP £2.75 for 300 seeds) and self-fertile runner bean ‘Stardust’ (RRP £3.55 for 50 seeds). For more information visit: www.mr-fothergills.co.uk

www.kitchengarden.co.uk

DECEMBER 2018 | 13


YOU

YOUR PLOT

WINDOWSILL WONDERS

In 2016 you kindly provided a six-month subscription to Kitchen Garden magazine as a prize for a charity event we were running. Tw wo h it years later your magazine has inspired us to raise more money for charity by turning our office green and growing edible plants on the windowsills at work. Chilli and sweet pepper seeds were sown and when demand for plants outstripped the available seedlings, a colleague provided additional tomato plants. The idea really captured everyone’s imagination. With nearly 130 plants entered into the competition, the office windowsills soon filled with plants and we raised more than £200 for our local hospice. At the end of August the plants were judged by the owner of a nearby garden centre assisted by a member of staff who is a keen allotmenteer. The winning growers received prizes of gardening-related items and packets of seeds. Jill Evans, Isle of Man TONY SAYS: Great to see our KG seeds contributed to such a worthy cause – and well done to you growers!

HAVE YOUR SAY CONTACT US WITH YOUR LETTERS AND TIPS: TFLANAGAN@MORTONS.CO.UK

BEET IT! Preparing some allotment beetroot earlier, with large knife covered in beet juice, and ‘blood red’ hands, the doorbell rings... Open door to cold caller, while looking like Sweeney Todd. He did not stay long! Colin Smith, Kent

RUNNING WILD I was very worried about my veggie plot as it had to fend for itself during the heatwave for two weeks while I was on holiday. I was relieved to find on my return that most things had survived, but my courgettes and patty pans had

Send us your tips and pictures and if your letter is published you will get a £10 Dobies voucher. If you are lucky enough to have yours chosen as our Star Letter you will get a £25 voucher. Your voucher will be sent out with a Dobies catalogue and you can choose to spend your winnings on a fabulous range of seeds,

14 | DECEMBER 2018

young plants and gardening sundries. You can get hold of a copy of the catalogue now by phoning 0844 701 7625 or go online to www.dobies.co.uk You can reach us by letter, email or via our Facebook page: FACEBOOK.COM/ KITCHENGARDENMAG

run amok! The biggest ‘courgette’ weighed 7lb, and I picked more than 6lb of tomatoes. Luckily, the giant courgette has come in handy as a weight while making chutney! Sue Wilkes, Cheshire

Email your letters to tflanagan@mortons. co.uk or post to Letters, Kitchen Garden, Mortons Media Group, Media Centre, Morton Way, Horncastle, Lincs LN9 6JR

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YOUR VIEWS

GARDENING CAN BE LIFE-CHANGING Spending time in the garden is one way which can do wonders to improve our mood, aid relaxation and reduce stress. In addition to the aesthetic benefits of proving natural surroundings, gardening has a direct impact on our well-being. There are also emotional, cognitive and mental health benefits to gardening which can be helpful to those suffering with conditions leading to social isolation and lack of self-esteem and confidence. Recent studies support the belief that gardening can also play a vital role in alleviating conditions such as depression. I myself went through a bad time with depression. Gardening helped me turn my life around and now I work in social care as a support worker. I garden organically. Patrick Prior, Kent

EDITORIAL Tel 01507 529396, Fax 01507 371075 EDITOR: Steve Ott, sott@mortons.co.uk DEPUTY EDITOR: Emma Rawlings,

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BEST BUCKET! This is my granddaughter Katie Luccock, aged five, who won first prize in the Wrose & District Gardeners Association children’s potato bucket competition at this year’s show. It’s great to see children with an interest in gardening at such a young age. She is already asking when she can plant up another bucket for next year! Steven Luccock, West Yorkshire

SUBSCRIPTION: Full subscription rates (but see page 24 for offer): (12 months 12 issues, inc post and packing) – UK £59.88. Export rates are also available – see page 24 for more details. UK subscriptions are zero-rated for the purposes of Value Added Tax.

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TONY SAYS: Great stuff Katie – those potatoes look spudtastic!

THE TALKING KG

Kitchen Garden is available on audio CD or USB at very reasonable rates to anyone unable to read normal type. Details from the Talking Newspaper Association of the UK on 01435 866102. ISSN 1369-1821 © Copyright Mortons Media Group Ltd. Reproduction in any manner, in whole or part, without prior approval in writing is prohibited. The publisher cannot accept responsibility for errors in articles or advertisements, or for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or illustrations. www.kitchengarden.co.uk ADVERT DEADLINE: November 6, 2018 NEXT ISSUE: November 29, 2018

CHICKEN MANURE PELLETS CAZ1967: I am new to allotment keeping and have seen about using chicken manure pellets to help boost the soil. What is the best way to use them? WESTI: I use chicken manure but not the pellets, just the flakey type as I found not all the pellets broke down. I have very sandy soil and I find it really helps and gives the plants a great boost – brassicas love it. Through the season I also use it about three times for the greenhouse crops, along with appropriate tomato feed. It’s really noticeable – plants that were sulking or looked spent get another flush.

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DECEMBER 2018 | 15


Unless they are frost-resistant types, move terracotta pots indoors to protect against cracking.

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BRUSSELS SPROUT CHALLENGE

Tony doesn’t like Brussels sprouts and he is not alone – it’s a common dislike. Steve and I decided we could convert him into a Brussels lover which was going to be no mean feat! We decided to pull out all the stops with our Cheesy Brussels dish, guaranteed to have any Brussels hater pleading for more.

INGREDIENTS

Serves 2-3 ■ Pack of lardons or cut up 3-4 bacon slices ■ Three large handfuls of Brussels sprouts, chopped ■ 1-2oz grated Cheddar cheese or use mozzarella or Gruyère ■ A chilli pepper chopped small ( the amount used according to taste) ■ One large shallot or small onion, chopped finely. ■ ¼pt single cream ■ 1 clove of garlic ■ A small amount of cooking oil ■ Grated Parmesan for topping

16 | DECEMBER 2018

HOW TO MAKE: 1 Put the cooking oil in a frying pan,

ideally one you can pop under the grill later. 2 Fry the chopped onion or shallot and add the garlic and lardons to cook through. If you want the bacon crispy, fry first before adding onion and garlic. 3 Add the chilli pepper and chopped Brussels sprouts and cook for about four or five minutes until just softened but still a bright green colour. 4 Turn heat right down and add the Cheddar or other cheese you have chosen and fold into the mixture. Once melted, add the cream. Turn the heat off or hover pan over a low heat to just warm the cream through. 5 Sprinkle over the Parmesan and place under a hot grill until bubbling and golden. Serve. And the verdict? Tony loved the dish and said he was going to make it for his other half, he liked it that much.

As much as we love growing our crops, it’s really nice to take a bit of a breather over the Christmas period and take stock of what went well in the previous year and what went not so well. So here I am, escaping the festive celebrations in the quiet of my tool shed, giving my seeds a good sort out! I was really pleased with my sweet pepper harvest this year – best ever – so all that copious watering in the polytunnel over those very hot summer months was well worth it. Salad crops did well and tomatoes too,

especially the outdoor ones, and I was pleased with how the courgettes did so well without that much watering. Potatoes were a little less successful – probably because I just didn’t get round to watering them as much as they needed. So bottoms up and all that, have a super-dooper Christmas and remember: there’s always the shed when you’ve youve had enough!

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Kitchen Garden Magazine - December 2018 - Preview  

See more: http://www.kitchengarden.co.uk/

Kitchen Garden Magazine - December 2018 - Preview  

See more: http://www.kitchengarden.co.uk/