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Kitchen

DOWN-TO-EARTH ADVICE FOR GROWING FRUIT & VEG

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MAY 2014

kitchengarden.co.uk

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No. 200 May 2014

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HERB SEEDS + 24 STRAWBERRY PLANTS!*

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EXPERT ADVICE

DOUBLE YOUR HARVESTS! Get growing

Small plots

OF TASTY 11 PAGES CROPS FOR POTS

REVEALED ANNE SWITHINBANK’S TOP 10 CUT FLOWERS

SWEET POTATOES WITH BOB FLOWERDEW ★ MAKE A HERB TABLE


SEEDS

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EDITOR’S LETTER

WELCOME This issue marks a milestone in KG’s history; it is the 200th edition since founding editor, Andrew Blackford, first launched the title back in October 1997 and I know a number of you have read us since that first issue. Andrew really had his finger on the gardening pulse because at about the same time the popularity of fruit and veg gardening on the allotment and back garden veg patch really took off and there is no sign that the trend is about to slow down. Every year more and more people begin to appreciate the value of good home-grown food. To help celebrate, we have put together a fun competition in conjunction with leading tool supplier, Fiskars. Turn to page 82 to find out how you could win one of three superb tool packages, together worth £365. May is a busy month for many of us as we start to plant out greenhouse-raised crops and continue sowing others direct into the soil. We have bags of expert advice on growing courgettes, Savoy cabbages and kale this month and for those of you with limited space in which to grow your crops, we have 11 pages of top tips to get your season off to a great start. 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:

LIZ DOBBS

ANDY CAWTHRAY

SUE STICKLAND

BOB FLOWERDEW

NAOMI SLADE

ANDREW TOKELY

As well as writing several gardening books, Liz was editor of Gardens Monthly magazine. In this issue she visits UK veg breeder Tozers Seeds to see how it goes about producing new varieties for our plots.

Andy is based in Shropshire and is a gardening writer, a gardener, poultry breeder and DIY enthusiast. This month he brings us his plans for a simple, but effective herb table (p88).

Author, gardening writer and a long-time writer for KG, Sue is a former head gardener at Garden Organic’s Ryton Gardens. In this issue she brings you a four page special feature on growing crops in pots.

An organic gardening expert, Bob is a familiar voice on Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time and has written for KG since the beginning. This month he has some great advice on growing sweet potatoes (p84).

Naomi is a prolific gardening writer and blogger and also a keen allotment gardener. This month she visits a little garden in Berkshire where flowers share the packed borders with delicious fruit and veg.

Andrew has been growing veg for 30 years and contributing to KG for 14 of those. His day job is as horticultural quality manager for T&M. In this issue he brings you his guide to growing courgettes.

SAVE ££s: FOR MONEY-SAVING OFFERS & GIVEAWAYS – SEE PAGES 87, 98 & 100 www.kitchengarden.co.uk

MAY 2014 | 3


CONTENTS

EXPERT ADVICE TO HELP YOU GROW GREAT FRUIT AND VEGETABLES

WIN

PLANT FOOD

32

PAGE 70

10 YOU

✪ oN THE CoVER Follow us AT facebook. com/KitchenGardenMag 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

&

YOUR PLOT

20 KALE MAKES THE CUT

10 IN THE GREENHOUSE

24 BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO… COURGETTES ✪

This month sow, control weeds and maintain the compost heap.

sow squashes, plant basil and cucumbers, install a watering system, watch for pests.

12 CONTAINER CROPS

sow runner beans, feed and water.

13 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.

News and views from the KG forum and Facebook friends.

110 NEXT MONTH Just Ask your local newsagent to reserve you a copy each month

4 | MAY 2014

GET GROWING

JOBS THIS MONTH: 6 ON THE VEG PATCH

96 LET’S TALK VEG

hAvINg TROUbLE FINDINg A COPy OF ThIS mAgAzINE?

20

what’s in store for your June issue.

114 LAST WORD

This with KG reader, Mick Poultney.

This reliable and hardy crop is a winter must-have. Gardening expert Charles Dowding explains how to grow it.

Andrew Tokely offers his top tips for growing this most popular and speedy of squashes.

28 A TASTE OF TULIPS

Horticulturist and keen cook lucy Bellamy encourages us to try something new – to brighten our salads with tasty tulip petals.

32 TRIED AND TASTED

This month regular KG expert Joe Maiden brings us the results of his trials on nutritious and hardy savoy cabbages.

36 THE LOWDOWN ON… SWEET BAY

Gardening expert lucy Halliday with all you need to know to grow this cooking essential and attractive shrub.

38 BREEDING NEW STARS OF THE VEG PATCH liz Dobbs visits Tozer seeds, a British breeder of vegetable varieties to ask if modern varieties mean better taste.

www.kitchengarden.co.uk


MAY 2014

RECIPES

KG cooks Gaby Bartai and Anna Pettigrew bring you some delicious recipes for spinach, asparagus and chard.

106

Pg 106

52 62

WHAT TO BUY

42 GROW IT IN A POT ✪

82 WIN IN OUR 200TH EDITION COMPETITION ✪

Sue Stickland explains how you can grow tasty crops in the smallest of spaces.

Spot the secateurs and win a super prize package of gardening tools worth £365.

49 MAKE YOUR SOWINGS HERBY-LICIOUS ✪

42

Expert advice on growing four of your favourite kitchen garden herbs from seed.

52 ANNE’S TOP 10 ✪

72 HARDEN UP

Gardening writer and broadcaster Anne Swithinbank reveals her favourite flowers for cutting.

KG’s Emma Rawlings explains the importance of hardening off your young crops and how to do it.

54 GROW YOUR OWN SALAD BAR ✪

76 HAVE YOU TRIED…

Gardening writer and broadcaster Pippa Greenwood explains how to harvest delicious salads all year round.

58 IT TAKES TWO ✪

Keen plotter Benedict Vanheems encourages us to make better use of valuable space by intercropping.

62 SMALL BUT PERFECTLY FORMED

This month professional gardener Lucy Halliday explains how to make fertilisers and compost tea.

80 DREAM TOOLS

In this series we put a new product through its paces. This month the latest Brother electronic labeller.

84 SWEET POTATO REVIVAL ✪

Gardening writer Naomi Slade visits a little plot in Berkshire which packs in the produce.

Sweet potatoes are a rising star of the veg world. Bob Flowerdew offers his top tips for growing this tender crop.

68 IN CONVERSATION WITH

88 MAKE A HERB TABLE

We track down top TV chef Tom Kerridge to find out what lies behind his love of cooking and pick up a great chicken recipe, too! www.kitchengarden.co.uk

£

Andy Cawthray has a simple weekend project to help you display your favourite herbs and to make harvesting easier.

87 SAVE £10 ON A SWEET POTATO PLANT COLLECTION 90 GARDEN STORE

News of the best new products and services to reach the KG offices this month.

92 PRODUCT REVIEWS

This month expert allotment gardener Joyce Russell turns her attention to long handled weeding gadgets.

97 GROWING GUIDES

Helen Gazeley reviews the very best gardening websites.

98 GIVEAWAYS WORTH OVER £1706 ✪

This month we have organic slug control, wildlife homes, wellyboot socks, gardening shoes and repair putty for you to win.

100 READER SAVERS – SAVE OVER £24! ✪

A free* 24-plant strawberry collection worth £19.90 for every reader (*just pay p&p), plus save on a strawberry mats, a mouthwatering blueberry collection and blackberries. MAY 2014 | 5


GET GROWING

A taste of tulips

We love to see the cupped flowers of colourful tulips in our gardens, but did you know you can eat the petals of this much loved spring bloom? Lucy Bellamy tells us more

B

right, brilliant tulips are the spectacle of spring, a sure sign of home-grown treasures to come in a spectrum of jewel-like colours. From vibrant reds to crisp whites via sultry blacks and purples, tulips are a visual feast. But they are not only food for the eyes. Tulip petals can be food for the stomach and make a tasty and glamorous addition to the salad bowl. They will certainly make your salads a real talking point, adding flavour, texture and a splash of colour. Our helpful guide helps you pick the tastiest.

SCenT

Tasting broadly of peas or beans, many tulip petals have a sweet flavour like ‘Little Gem’ lettuce. Lots of tulips are fragrant and choosing a perfumed cultivar gives this sweetness a floral note. Single, early tulips are the most scented. Blushing ‘Apricot Beauty’ has a subtle, fruity fragrance, rose-scented ‘Veronique Samson’ is early and flaming orange, and ‘Princess Irene’, also orange, smells sweet. Later flowering tulips with scent include ‘City of Vancouver’, which tastes of violets; freesia fragranced parrot type ‘Orange Favourite’ and the sweetly perfumed, intensely coloured ‘Couleur Cardinal’.

MAKING A SALAD

Experiment with the tulips you have growing, combining textures and colours as well as flavours. We love ‘Spring Green’ or ‘Pax’ tulips with rocket, pea tips, feta cheese and mint. Also, thinly sliced green and yellow courgettes with yellow ‘Sapporo’ tulip petals, sorrel leaves and lemon zest drizzled in olive oil and lemon juice. For a sultry option, try ‘Rococo’, torn into red peppers, roasted squash and pecorino.

Lucy Bellamy is a full time horticulturalist having studied at the Chelsea Physic Garden. Last year she used another talent and passion for cooking by entering the BBC Great British Bake Off programme.

Scent is a brilliant indicator of taste. Poking your nose into the tulips you have growing will tell you if they’re likely to be tasty.

TexTure

Nobody likes chewy salad. Choose petals that are brittle and snap crisply like a leaf of iceberg lettuce. Larger petals with a stiffer texture have more crunch. ‘Menton’ is a single, early tulip with blooms the size of a goose egg in soft pink. It breaks with a snap when eaten and has a spicy kick similar to mizuna or rocket. Lily flowered ‘Ballerina’ is crisp and scented too. Double or peony types, which look fantastic, can be chopped or torn before eating.

Colour

Everything tulips bring to the border they also bring to the salad bowl. Cool and ethereal or deep and dramatic, they turn any bowl of simple leaves into a show-stopping lunch. Tulip petal colour affects flavour. Red tulips are the sweetest; think ‘Red Hat’ or ‘Roulette’, which have honey notes. The deeper purples and near-blacks will give your tastebuds an initial tang followed by the sweetness of a Romaine lettuce – try nibbling ‘Queen of the Night’ or ‘Paul Scherer’ (AGM). White ‘Pax’ and ‘Purrisima’ have a hot, peppery kick, like rocket. Yellow tulips ‘Monte Carlo’ (AGM) and ‘West Point’ have a ‘green’ taste like broccoli and the bitterness of chicory – delicious with toasted hazelnuts, pancetta and soft cheese. ■


EDIBLE TULIPS

Top five tulips for eating 1. Tulipa ‘apricoT BeauTy’ Early single, sweetly scented

2. ‘MenTon’ Huge, single flowers in soft pink with hot flavour

3. ‘orange FavouriTe’ Late flowering parrot-type with the scent of freesias 4. ‘pax’ Beautiful green-white, with spicy kick. Triumph type. 5. ‘rococo’ Frilled crimson parrot, with crisp texture.

*Petals only - do not eat any other parts of the plant.


GET GROWING

Make your own

herb table Why not raise your herbs off the ground to make harvesting easy and provide an attractive focal point? Andy Cawthray explains step by step how to make a herb table

F

or me, herbs are an essential part of the whole growing your own philosophy. Fresh herbs can be the absolute making of a meal and it seems a shame to restrict them to the confines of the vegetable plot. In fact the nearer to the kitchen the better, and the more likely you are to make maximum use of them. Many years back I recall Geoff Hamilton suggesting the use of a herb table to not only lift the plants up to a level where you can easily access them, but also to keep them together and out of the way of any passing pets such as dogs or cats. This is a simple project that can be completed in a couple of hours and will cost around £15 for all the materials. You can either use it as a table by putting pots of herbs directly on it, or as in my case, plant it up to create a functional feature in the corner of the courtyard or patio.

What you will need Tools: ■ Power drill ■ 15mm spade drill bit

■ Screwdriver ■ Set square ■ Tape measure

MaTerials ■ 610mm x 915mm 12mm exterior plywood (base) Tanalised timber ■ 50mm x 50mm x 760mm x 4 (legs) ■ 36mm x 22mm x 610mm x 2 (leg batons) ■ 36mm x 22mm x 965mm x 2 (leg batons) ■ 100mm x 20mm x 915mm x 2 (front edge) ■ 100mm x 20mm x 655mm x 4 (sides) ■ 100mm x 20mm x 1010mm x 2 (front edge) ■ Broken pot pieces ■ Peat-free compost ■ A selection of herbs

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WEEKEND PROJECT

Step by step MAKING tHe tABLe

Step 1 Drill and screw the short leg batons

Step 2 Drill and screw the long leg batons to

Step 3 Drill and screw the planter base into

Step 4 Allowing for a 2cm (3⁄4in) overlap, drill

Step 5 Once again, allowing for a 2cm

overlap on to the planter base, drill and screw the next two sides on to the legs. This completes the base of the planting tray.

Step 6 Repeat the above step, drilling and

screwing the second pair of side pieces to the bottom ones, again allowing a 2cm overlap to ensure better rigidity in the overall structure.

Step 7 Now attach the second slightly longer

Step 8 Using the spade drill bit cut out

Step 9 Put the planter in the desired position. Cover the drainage holes with the broken pot and fill with some good-quality peat-free compost. You are now ready to plant up. ■

to the legs making two ‘H’ structures. The batons should be a minimum of 200mm from the bottom of the leg.

and screw into place the first front and back edges on to the legs. The planks should sit flush against the legs and base.

set of front and back edges. Again allow a 2cm overlap and note the overlap on to the ends of the side pieces. www.kitchengarden.co.uk

the two ‘H’ structures to make the basic support structure. Use the set square to make sure you have a right angle. Notice the overlap.

drainage holes across the planter base. If you wish you can now treat the herb table with a colour wood stain.

place. Ensure the legs fit flush with the corner of the planter base to achieve a neat, professional finish.

MAY 2014 | 89


DISCOVER THE BENEFITS OF GRAFTED TOMATOES

GROW YOUR BEST-EVER DWARF & CLIMBING BEANS

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Kitchen Garden - May 2014 - Sample Issue