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Down-to-earth aDvice for growing fruit & veg

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JUNE 2014

kitchengarden.co.uk

incorporating

60

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EAT YOUR WEEDS! COOK UP A FEAST WITH WILD PLANTS

ExpERT ADvicE

WHAT TO SOW, PLANT & HArvEST NOW

DWARF BEANS

COLOUrFUL & TASTy

TOmATOES

DO GrAFTED PLANTS GIvE BETTEr CrOPS? TOP 10 HErBS FOr FLAvOUr

cELEB cHAT

No. 201 June 2014

Strawberries iN jUST DAYS

£4.99

KG GUIDE TO

AN EASy CrOP FOr PLOT Or POT

HELP SAvE OUr BEES


& YOUR PLOT YOU GET GROWING

Top jobs for June

■ Keep grape vines under control ■ Tie in tomatoes and remove sideshoots ■ Feed tomatoes every seven to 10 days from when fruit starts to swell ■ Ventilate well, control weeds, and keep soil damp around growing plants ■ Plant out any summer-cropping plants in their final-home pots ■ Pollinate female flowers if necessary, eg squashes.

S

ummer settles in with June and the days can be hot. It’s all about growth this month and plants will grow fast. Keep them fed, watered and make sure enough light and air can reach where it is needed. You may be able to pick the first cherry tomatoes, along with cucumbers, strawberries, courgettes, French beans, carrots, basil and plenty of salad.

The tunnel starts to fill up in June

...IN THE GREENHOUSE WITH JOYCE RUSSELL

Pictures by Ben Russell.

TIME TO SOW Dwarf French beans do very well under cover and it’s worth sowing a row in June to crop in the autumn. Sow direct, over a trench of compost, if you have the space. Place seeds 15cm (6in) apart in a double row spaced at 20cm (8in); or, you can sow in deep tubs, or pots, to plant out when space clears. French beans transplant well, but they establish faster if the roots aren’t disturbed too much. You can also sow climbing varieties in June for a late harvest. Sow these 20cm (8in) apart in a single row and push a stick into the ground at each sowing point. Strings can be tied from the sticks up to the frame: growing stems will twine around the string and haul themselves upwards. Be aware that climbing beans can form a dense curtain of leaves that will overshadow other crops.

OThEr SOWIngS

French beans can be started in deep tubs now.

10 | JUNE 2014

■ Sow beetroot in situ if you have the space. Some roots will be ready to use pre-Christmas and others will swell in the early months of next year. ■ Rocket will grow fast from a June sowing. Try a variety, such as ‘Esmee’ www.moreveg.co.uk, that is slow to bolt in hot conditions. ■ Swiss chard, spinach, Florence fennel, parsley and kohl rabi can all be sown this month for autumn and winter harvests.

Time to plant out Peppers, aubergines, cucumbers, sweetcorn, pumpkins etc should be out of small pots and into their final growing positions as soon as possible. This might be into large pots, growing bags or directly into the ground. www.kitchengarden.co.uk


EDITOR’S LETTER

WELCOME As always this issue is packed with great advice to help you get the best from your veg patch. We have expert tips on growing dwarf or French beans, cauliflowers, herbs and strawberries (the latter including a great offer on young plants) as well as three simple ways to make your own planters and save some money into the bargain. Following an interview we published back in February with Charlie Dimmock, we are very excited to be able to bring you exclusive interviews with the other members of the Groundforce gang who proved so popular with audiences for eight years until 2005 – TV’s Mr Gardening, Alan Titchmarsh (p36), and landscaper extraordinaire Tommy Walsh (p47). Biodynamics – gardening in tune with the phases of the moon – is a mystery to many. However, to some, like KG contributor Julie Moore, it is a no-brainer. She explains the principles behind it starting on page 74. And if you see weeds as an eternal problem, think again. Lucy Halliday urges us to see at least some of them as every bit as tasty as our more familiar harvests. Happy plotting, Steve Ott, editor Contact me at: sott@mortons.co.uk | 01507 529396 Find us at www.kitchengarden.co.uk Contact subscriptions: 01507 529529

Follow us at facebook. com/KitchenGardenMag

Your experts in this issue include:

JULIE MOORE

TOBY BUCKLAND

JOYCE RUSSELL

JOE MAIDEN

CHARLES DOWDING

ANNE SWITHINBANK

Julie is a keen biodynamic gardener and this month seeks to take some of the mystery out of this technique. She also contributes to KG with gardening projects based on green ideas.

Former Gardeners’ World presenter Toby has just returned from a trip to India where he was fascinated by the crops and growing techniques he found there. Read his report starting on page 54.

A gardening author and KG regular, Joyce is based in Ireland. This month she brings you three plans for simple, low cost planters that can be made in a few hours and with limited tools and equipment.

Joe has been BBC Radio Leeds’ gardening expert for many years. This month he seeks out the tastiest varieties of summer and autumn cauliflowers for you to try and offers his top tips for sure-fire success.

Charles has been growing organic veg for over 30 years using a no-dig approach. His fertile beds produce year-round salad leaves and a wide range of veg. This month he looks at controlling weeds with various mulches.

Anne trained at Kew and worked in horticulture for 12 years before becoming a broadcaster (she has been a panellist on Gardeners’ Question Time for 20 years) and writer. In this issue she reveals her top 10 herbs.

SAVE ££s: FOR MONEY-SAVING OFFERS & GIVEAWAYS – SEE PAGES 29, 92 & 94 www.kitchengarden.co.uk

JUNE 2014 | 3


CONTENTS

EXPERT ADVICE TO HELP YOU GROW GREAT FRUIT AND VEGETABLES

42

49 YOU

✪ oN THE CoVER

&

YOUR PLOT

JOBS THIS MONTH: 6 ON THE VEG PATCH ✪

Follow us AT facebook. com/KitchenGardenMag

Harvest new potatoes, put in plant supports, sow beetroot, peas, lettuce and more.

10 IN THE GREENHOUSE FOR OUR CONTACT DETAILS TURN TO Pg 17

SUBSCRIBERS’ CORNER

This month new subscribers can receive three issues for just £3, plus 10 packets of seeds!

See page 30 for details

sow French beans, thin grapes, tend to cucumbers and pollinate squashes.

12 CONTAINER CROPS

Plant tomatoes in baskets, feed fruit in pots, grow beans on the patio.

14 HOT TOPICS

The latest news and comment from the world of kitchen gardening.

16 YOUR LETTERS AND TIPS

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

18 QUESTION TIME

Bob Flowerdew and Anne swithinbank answer your fruit and veg growing conundrums.

91 LET’S TALK VEG

Tips from the KG online community.

102 NEXT MONTH hAvINg TROUbLE FINDINg A COPy OF ThIS mAgAzINE? Just Ask your local newsagent to reserve you a copy each month

4 | JUNE 2014

what’s in store for your July issue.

106 LAST WORD

This month with KG reader, Janice sharkey.

38 GET GROWING 20 A BLANKET BAN ON WEEDS

Charles Dowding prepares some new beds and simply smothers the weeds.

24 BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO DWARF FRENCH BEANS ✪

Andrew Tokely has all the information you need to produce great crops of dwarf French beans for plots and pots.

28 STRAWBERRY TIME ✪

Everyone can grow strawberries even if space is at a premium as steve ott explains.

32 TRIED AND TASTED

This month Joe Maiden trials summer and autumn cauliflowers.

36 IN CONVERSATION WITH ALAN TITCHMARSH ✪

In an exclusive interview we chat to Alan about his take on veg growing and why the nation’s gardeners are embracing it.

38 HOW TO MAKE THREE SIMPLE PLANT TROUGHS

Joyce Russell explains how to make some wooden, rustic containers.

42 LONDON’S EDIBLE SECRETS

sue stickland takes a sneak preview at some choice veg plots open to the public this month in the capital. www.kitchengarden.co.uk


JUNE 2014

RECIPES

KG cooks Gaby Bartai and Anna Pettigrew bring you original recipes for lettuce, rocket and strawberries.

98

Pg 98

28

52

47 ON THE PLOT WITH TOMMY

WHAT TO BUY

TV gardening celebrity, Tommy Walsh talks about gardening and life after Groundforce.

Graham Strong recommends grafted tomatoes for the heaviest harvests.

Enter our competition and win some great prizes worth over £1300 including a Haygrove polytunnel, fruit cage from Harrod Horticultural and a heated propagator.

52 ANNE’S TOP 10 ✪

This month broadcaster Anne Swithinbank reveals her top 10 herbs for flavour.

83 GARDEN STORE

News of the best new products and services plus 10 Potta System pot makers to win.

54 A TASTE OF INDIA

Toby Buckland on the horticultural highlights of his recent trip to India.

85 PRODUCT ROUNDUP… TRUGS

Joyce Russell looks at a range of trugs and baskets and recommends her best buys.

58 PIGGING OUT...ON vEG

We visit a restaurant garden in the New Forest where both flowers and vegetables are on the menu.

90 GROWING GUIDES

6

62 CREATE A BUZZ ✪

66 THE LOWDOWN ON BASIL

Lucy Halliday has some great tips on growing this popular herb.

70 HAvE YOU TRIED... EATING YOUR GARDEN WEEDS? ✪ Lucy Halliday encourages us to look differently at our veg plot interlopers. www.kitchengarden.co.uk

£

80 ARE YOU OUR MOST PASSIONATE PLOTTER?

49 JOINED UP THINKING ✪

Bumblebees are vitally important to our crops as Ben Vanheems explains.

12

Helen Gazeley reviews the very best gardening blogs and websites.

92 GIvEAWAYS WORTH £1729 ✪

74 MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU

This month we have four Vegtrugs, Weber barbecue, Solufeed organic fertiliser, tickets to the Homebuilding show and Duck Tape.

96 DIARY DATES

A free* dwarf orange tree worth £12.95 (just pay p&p), plus great offers on second cropping potatoes, Asian pears, patio lemon trees, grapevines, kiwi plants and giant raspberry ‘Glen Coe’.

Biodynamic gardener Julie Moore explains the principles behind this growing method that uses the position of the planets to plan when to sow and harvest.

Plus full details of seed and young plant suppliers and giveaways entry form.

94 READER SAvERS ✪

JUNE 2014 | 5


& YOUR PLOT YOU GET GROWING

JOBS THIS MONTH... JOBS TO CARRY OUT ON YOUR PATCH AND UNDER COVER IN JUNE

10 MINUTE JOBS FOR JUNE KEEP UP WITH HOEING

Hoe your plot regularly. It takes seconds to knock off a few weed seedlings but hours to weed a whole plot of mature weeds. Hoeing also loosens the soil surface allowing rain to penetrate deep to the roots. Take care not to damage the stems of your new crops and hand weed close to the rows.

CHECK WATERING

Keep well watered crops that are flowering now such as overwintered peas and broad beans and also potatoes. It will result in better harvests later. When watering give a good soaking rather than applying little and often. This encourages deep roots and drought resistance.

INSTALL PLANT SUPPORTS

Start to put plant supports in place. Twiggy sticks or netting is ideal for young peas. Good strong stakes about 1.2m (4ft) high are best for outdoor tomatoes. Strong, thick 1.8m (6ft) bamboo canes are fine for climbing beans. Broad beans may need support too. Tie a string around the rows.

HARVEST NEW POTATOES

Early varieties planted in March may be ready to lift by the end of the month. Look for signs of flower buds and scrape a little soil away to see what size the tubers are. Dig a little way back from the stems to avoid damaging the tubers below. You always spear the biggest one!

6 | JUNE 2014


PLOT TASKS soW noW

planT squashes

Turnips, sweetcorn, swedes, radish, winter cabbage (early June), beetroot, peas, kohl rabi, kale, lettuce, endive, chicory, carrots, beans

It’s time to plant out tender vegetables that have been gradually hardened off (got used to cooler temperatures) during May. These include squashes such as butternut and courgette, pumpkins and other cucurbits such as outdoor cucumbers. When planting, if you have some rotted garden compost or manure, dig this into the soil. You don’t have to spread it over a wide area. Concentrate by tipping a small bucketful where you are going to place one plant, dig it in and create a mound of mixed soil and compost. This means you don’t need as much manure or compost. Level the top of the mound before planting to allow water to collect rather than just spilling down the sides. Sometimes, squash plants are quite floppy when planted. It is a good idea to either cover with a plastic bottle or tie them to short bamboo canes to prevent the wind whipping the plants and damaging them. Use a slug control such as animal-safe pellets until they establish.

planT noW

Sweet potatoes, tomatoes, squashes, cucumbers, celeriac, celery, leeks, peppers, cauliflowers, summer cabbages, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli

harVesT noW

Spinach, rhubarb, radish, leafy salads, early potatoes, gooseberries, strawberries, first new potatoes, broad beans

...ON THE VEG PATCH CoVer Crops

If you prefer to be organic, crop covers are the best way to control a whole host of pests. Choose carefully which cover type you use. Fleece is really to protect from cold temperatures. The best crop protection material is a fine mesh. These are traded under names such as Enviromesh or Veggiemesh and will let enough light and rain through yet will control pests including carrot fly, pea moth, cabbage root fly and caterpillars.

salaD leaVes

Chinese Cabbage

These oriental veg are fast growing and perfect for sowing now. The green heads can be used like cabbage or stir fried or used raw in salad. Often sold as Chinese leaves. Sow in a fertile soil and thin seedlings to about 15cm (7in) apart if growing to cut just a few leaves off at a time. If you want mature, full hearted plants, space about 30cm (12in) apart.

Turnips

When planting squashes bury a plastic milk bottle next to the plant (cut base off the bottle). Insert a cane through it. It pinpoints where to direct the water.

A fast growing vegetable that is harvested from about golf ball size if you wish to eat them raw or tennis ball size if you plan to cook them. Sow in rows 23cm (9in) apart and when through the seedlings can be thinned (you can eat the thinnings) and spaced about 15cm (6in) apart.

Kohl rabi

This is a member of the brassica family, but it is the swollen edible stem bases that you eat. They are easy and fast to grow; start with a level, well raked seedbed that has been firmed well. Make seed drills about 13mm (1⁄2in) deep and water the row then sow seeds an inch or so apart down the row. When they emerge thin to leave about 15cm (6in) apart.

Time to sow

Keep sowing salad crops such as lettuce, rocket, lamb’s lettuce, mizuna and mixed salad leaves every two or three weeks. Instead of sowing a whole seed packet, sow just enough to fill a short row. This will ensure you don’t have a glut but you have a succession of fresh salad leaves throughout the summer.

KG top tip

JUNE 2014 | 7


GET GROWING

KG Beginner’s Guide

Dwarf

beans Dwarf or French beans are expensive to buy from supermarkets and often imported too but they are really easy to grow as Andrew Tokely explains

Sow outside from late April in drills.

TOP TIP Coloured varieties (e.g. purple or yellow-podded types) look very attractive and grow well in hanging baskets where the pods hang over the side for easy picking

K

nown as dwarf, or French beans, these productive little plants produce masses of beans and are very easy to grow. As a bonus they are one of the few bean crops that are self-fertile, so will grow just as well under glass or in a polytunnel early in the year when there are few pollinating insects about as they do outside. Although individual plants crop over a relatively short period, regular sowings throughout the year will ensure a bumper harvest of tasty succulent beans all season.

When to soW

Early sowings can be made in a frost-free greenhouse or polytunnel from mid-February to early March. I like to sow a few in 25cm (10in) pots, sowing four to five beans in each pot and growing them on the glasshouse staging early in the year to ensure they get maximum light. This gives me a delicious early harvest of beans. As this crop is frost tender it cannot safely be sown outside until late April/early May once the risk of frost has past. For a succession of harvests sow a first batch of beans outside in the last week of April, followed by another batch the middle of

Newly emerging seedlings on Andrew’s plot. www.kitchengarden.co.uk


DWARF BEANS

DWARF BEANS

AT A GlANCE Sow

Harvest

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Keep rows well watered and weed free.

May, a third batch in mid-June, a forth in early July and a final row in early August. The later sowings will ensure you are picking beans well into October, weather permitting. Later sowings may need covering with a cloche if the weather turns very cold before you have had a chance to harvest the crop. Sowings can only be made as late as July and August if you live in the southern part of the country, those in the north would have to make these later sowings under glass.

Sowing outdoorS

Sow the seeds into drills drawn out with a swanneck hoe or similar approximately 5-7cm (2-3in) deep spacing each bean along the drill 5cm (2in) apart and spacing the rows 37cm (15in) apart. Once sown the soil is raked back over the drill and gently firmed with the back of a rake.

GENERAL CARE In the autumn when winter digging incorporate a good quantity of organic matter, this helps to retain moisture in the soil, which is very important for healthy beans. In the spring rake down the surface to a fine tilth, and add some Growmore fertiliser at the rate of 60g sq m (2oz per sq yard). During summer it is important to keep beans well watered, especially as the flowers are developing and the bean pods are swelling. Without water the beans will not develop properly and will quickly become tough. I always water along the rows in the evening, as this gives them time to absorb the water overnight. Keep the plants free from weeds as they grow, by hoeing regularly and hand weeding around the stems.

Keep plants well watered during the summer.

Sowing into potS

When space is limited outdoors, sowings can be easily made in pots or multi-cell trays. This method is ideal for early and later sowings (April and August) as they can be planted out when it is frost free early in the year or used to fill gaps as space becomes available on the plot later in the year. These sowings require a free-draining compost. I like to mix a soil-less multi-purpose compost 50:50 with perlite. Sow two seeds per pot or cell, pushing them into the compost so they are just under the surface. Once sown the compost is lightly watered so it is just moist; then the pots or trays should be placed in a warm greenhouse or on a warm windowsill at a minimum temperature of 10-18ºC (50-55ºF) where they will soon start to germinate. Before transplanting these to the plot, make sure the plants have been hardened off in a cold frame for a few weeks. ➤

Beans grow quickly and can be ready to plant out in as little as three to four weeks from sowing.

PLANTING IN CONTAINERS Dwarf beans grow very well in containers on a sunny patio. Simply sow or plant four or five seeds or cell-raised plants into 25cm (10in) diameter containers, or six or seven plants in a 45cm (18in) diameter container. Containers should be filled with a mix of John Innes No 3 compost mixed 50:50 with a multi-purpose compost. This mix gives the containers a little extra stability as the plants grow, but won’t be too heavy if they need moving around the patio. All containers will require regular watering and feeding to prolong the bean harvest; start feeding with a high-potash tomato food once a week after the first beans have set.

Dwarf beans are ideal for containers.

JUNE 2014 | 25


get growing

In conversation with

Alan Titchmarsh

If there’s anyone more greenfingered than Alan Titchmarsh we’ve yet to meet them. Yet after three decades on our screens and an entire career dedicated to the flora and fauna of our gardens, the 65-year-old remains as passionate as ever, as Kitchen Garden discovered.

why Do you think fruit anD veg growing has become so popular?

I think people are much more aware of where things have come from – they like to know where things are being grown and how they are being grown so they are safe to eat. If you grow your own, you have got the satisfaction of doing it, but also you’re safe in the knowledge you know exactly what has gone on them all and what hasn’t gone on them. So, having an organic garden is of good use. Knowing what I grow, knowing it is well grown with no chemicals on, suits me and I think more and more people are coming round to that.

what aDvice woulD you offer to anyone starting to grow their own veg?

Grow what you like eating – that is the biggest thing. There is no point in me saying to them ‘grow lettuce because it is easy’ or ‘grow onions because they are easy to grow from those little bulbs’ if people don’t like eating them. Find the thing you most like eating then learn how to grow it.

Do you stick to the same varieties each year or try new ones?

I do like to chop and change and try new things, but I do have my old favourites as well, like asparagus, no doubt about it.

If you could grow only one veg or fruIt what would It be?

Oh, I’ve got an asparagus bed and I do French beans and onions, a few potatoes, leeks, all kinds. But I would say asparagus was my favourite. You have to wait three years before you crop an asparagus bed because it needs to mature and I’ve been cropping this one for about five years now. It’s wonderful. Every April – marvellous!

Does garDening help you switch off or is it a great time to problem solve?

It is a bit of both, actually. If I am writing a novel, say, and I want to take a break from it I will go out and mow the garden and have a walk up and down to think about it, but my mind wanders. I would not say it was concentrated thought. And I think that is the great joy of gardening – you can think of other things while you are doing it and get a double whammy of enjoyment out of it.

how can we attract more people into garDening, especially veg growing?

By making it more interesting and exciting and by saying to people ‘you can do this!’ We need to banish the mystique and stop people from assuming they can’t do it, or stop them from being too frightened to do it. We need to show people that they definitely can and that, actually, 90% of it is just simple common sense. www.kitchengarden.co.uk


WHAT eSSenTiAl Tool kiT Would you AdviSe A Beginner To inveST in?

You don’t need elaborate equipment. Everybody can do it with a spade, a fork, a rake and a hoe. But with spades and forks, don’t necessarily buy the full-sized one. You would probably be able to work a lot longer with a border fork and a border spade which are smaller, even if you are a man, because you are not digging up huge lumps of ground. The smaller tools are very easy to work; the bigger ones will just tire you out and give you a bad back.

Do you have a favourite garDening tool?

I would say that would be my grandfather’s spade; and that is treasured. I use it every now and again for some light work. I don’t want to do anything too heavy with it in case it breaks, it’s so old. I also have a small, well-worn border fork and I love using that. That is my tool, my favourite one that I use most often.

www.kitchengarden.co.uk

Bring Me Home by Alan Titchmarsh is published now in hardcover by Hodder & Stoughton priced £18.99.

JUNE 2014 | 37


GET GROWING

Top Anne’s

10

CULINARY

1

ROSEMARY

(ROSMARINUS OFFICINALIS)

Another reliable evergreen, rosemary is indispensable for flavouring roast meats and vegetables. Shrubs can rise to 1.8m (6ft) but ours are constantly pruned by harvesting. Most are bushy but ‘Miss Jessopp’s Upright’ produces neat, vertical shoots and there are prostrate forms to trail from walls and containers. They’ll flower in early autumn and again from late winter to summer.

2

THYME

(THYMUS VULGARIS)

HERBS

There is nothing to beat fresh herbs chopped and added to the cooking pot. Anne Swithinbank recommends her favourites for flavour

3

MARJORAM

(ORIGANUM VULGARE)

Years ago our son bought a pot of Greek marjoram at a school sale and after much dividing and replanting (in autumn or spring) it now forms an aromatic patio edging. In summer, it rises to 45cm (18in) and the small white flower heads are a great late nectar source for insects. In winter it sits as a mat of short shoots, only dying right back in extreme cold.

Common, evergreen garden thyme (Thymus vulgaris) earns top spot for its mouth watering, savoury aroma and ease of cultivation. Despite loving sun and well-drained soil, it survives our nutritious clay if well-trimmed after flowering and in spring. Common thyme is easily raised from seed or cuttings. Take cuttings of pretty ‘T.v. ‘Silver Posie’ and delicious lemon thyme T.x citriodorus.

A

lthough the name ‘herb’ can be short for herbaceous plant (meaning any non woody perennial), we mostly use it to cover the vast number of plants used for flavouring food, medicinally, in cosmetics and to make dyes. Here, I’m narrowing the field to culinary herbs, then down to those I grow in my kitchen garden and finally to the 10 most regularly used. This meant leaving out lavender (indispensible for lavender biscuits), Pelargonium radula (for lemon-flavoured cakes), lemon balm and coriander (how could I?). Never mind dill and fennel. Herbs are ornamental too and when in bloom, great for attracting insects. I line pathways with them but they look great in a designated herb garden. To learn more about these fascinating and useful plants, join The Herb Society www.herbsociety.org.uk

4

MINT

(MENTHA SPICATA)

Over the years I’ve been advised to use peppermint (Menthe x piperata) for tea and apple mint (M.suaveolens) for mint sauce but at the risk of being boring, good old spearmint (pictured) is our family favourite for everything culinary. I even cut the flower spikes for vases or making aromatic tussie mussies (posies). Mint spreads but as I hate constricting it to a large pot buried in the ground, ours has its own bed.

www.kitchengarden.co.uk


HERBS

5

SAGE

(SALVIA OFFICINALIS)

Ordinary sage has a sharp, distinctive aroma and many uses. Plants rise to 60cm (2ft), produce attractive blue flowers in summer, much visited by insects including humming bird hawk moths. Shear after blooming. New plants are easily raised from seed or cuttings. Add purple sage and gold sage (S.o.‘Icterina’) for a tapestry of leaf colours.

6

(PETROSELINUM CRISPUM)

I’m old-fashioned and like crinkly-leaved parsley. It’s the stuff of garnishes and just right for delicious parsley sauce and fish pie. When it comes to salads, flat-leaved is more palatable. Sow into a seed tray during December or January and under unheated glass, germination takes 4-6 weeks and despite what you read, seedlings do transplant well into pots. Plant out in spring.

(LAURUS NOBILIS)

BASIL

(OCIMUM BASILICUM)

There are many basils and though we’ve tried a few, it is always common or sweet basil we rely on for sandwich fillings, tomato and mozzarella salad, pesto and salad dressings. This tender herb deserves pampering and from spring to autumn I sow and grow it in the greenhouse. In winter, supermarket potfulls last 2-3 months on the kitchen windowsill.

www.kitchengarden.co.uk

Always be sure to buy proper French tarragon rather than its inferior Russian cousin (A.dracunculoides). It is normal for tarragon to look slightly miserable, it must have well drained soil and hates wet feet. We grow ours in 17cm (7in) pots and bring it into an unheated greenhouse to over winter. The unique flavour is excellent in quiches, with chicken, fish and in sauces.

CHIVES

(ALLIUM SCHOENOPRASUM)

For chive butter and fresh snippings on salads and quiches, a ready supply of mildly onion flavoured chive leaves is great to have. They’re easy to grow from seed or divisions made when plants are returning to growth in spring. Their pink flowers are good in salads. Whiteflowered garlic chives (Allium tuberosum) are good too. Cut plants hard after flowering to renew young foliage.

BAY

Bay grows like a weed in my east Devon garden, as we have a relatively mild climate and moist soil. Plants quickly grow bushy and tree-like, before seeding themselves around the garden. They are very tricky to root from cuttings. In pots or in colder areas, bay is more challenging and may need winter protection. Spicy leaves are great for casseroles, sauces, flavouring boiled ham and fish.

8

FRENCH TARRAGON

(ARTEMISIA DRACUNCULUS)

10

PARSLEY

7

9

Expert’s Choice Tucked away in central London, the Chelsea Physic Garden was founded in 1673 to train apprentice apothecaries and is England’s second oldest botanic garden. I asked head gardener Nick Bailey for his favourite culinary herb and he nominated the curry leaf Murraya koenigii. “This is a beautiful looking plant whose leaves are widely used as the base flavour in Keralan curries. The dry leaf is rubbish, so you really need fresh.” The curry leaf is evergreen with small white fragrant flowers. It belongs to the same plant family as citrus and needs a minimum winter temperature of 1015ºC/50-60ºF. Nick stands his plants out for the summer on gravelfilled trays for increased humidity. He says: “For their unique flavour, like coriander with a metallic note, they are worth every bit of effort.” Plants available from The Curious Plant Company 07766 023226 www.curiousplants.co.uk and The Citrus Centre 01798 872786 www.citruscentre.co.uk


PESTWATCH SPECIAL

PIPPa grEENWood

8 great pages of advice to keep your crops pest free, with advice from:

CharlES doWdINg

aNNE SWIthINbaNk

H T N O M NEXT M A G A Z IN E N E D R A G N E H C S U E O F K IT IN Y O U R J U LY IS Incorporating

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FrEE NEXt MoNth plus... inside... 6 packets of seeds worth £10 including

kale, chard, carrot, beetroot, spring onion and watercress + claim 6 more for Just £2.50 p&p. Worth

£10

★KG beginners’ guide to carrots

★make a hanging salad ball

★world

o’worms – start your own wormery

SUBSCRIBE @ www.ClaSSICmagazInES.Co.Uk 102 | JUNE 2014

www.kitchengarden.co.uk


Kitchen Garden - June 2014 - Sample Issue