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Growing your own food

I love my allotment, there is something very special about the experience of eating food you grew yourself. If you have a garden or even a patio now might be a great time to have a think about growing your own food.

If you pick wisely you can get a surprisingly large crop from a small space and vegetables are often very attractive plants. Pick plants that will give you a crop for an extended period as they will make best use of a small space.

Here are some suggestions for vegetables that will give you long cropping periods and easy to grow.

  • beans – runner or french
  • tomatoes
  • courgettes
  • cucumbers
  • kale
  • spinach
  • broccoli

Garden Organic has some good advice on how to get started with a veggie patch and RHS has some detailed advice on common veggies

You can of course also be lazy and gather what is growing wild, possibly your garden already has lots of edibles ready and waiting to be picked. here are some common “weeds” that you can easily identify and are packed with nutrition:

Ground Elder

A low growing invasive plant that lots of gardeners really hate. It is delicious at this time of year and can be used in salads or as a green veg.

Not to be confused with Elder the tree, the leaves of Elder should not be eaten but the flowers and the berries make excellent teas and syrups.

Nettles

Nettles are best when they are young and cook a lot like spinach. Stop picking once there is any sign of flowers. The seeds are edible if a little tricky to collect. If you keep cutting nettles they will keep putting up new shoots.

Cleavers

Also know as goose grass, sticky willy.

They are an annual so make sure you leave some to go to seed. They are a climber and scramble up trees and hedges.

Young shoots can be eaten in salads they are perfect for green juicing.

Dandelions

All parts of dandelions can be eaten the leaves are very bitter while the roots are quite sweet. They grow everywhere so you are unlikely not to have some!

Don’t forget to compost, well rotted compost will boost your veggies

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