THE MODERN MINT BLOG
Previously on Modern Mint….
We shared this piece by Val Bourne – 5 Golden Rules of Planting
Last week we were speaking at the Blenheim Palace Flower Show, when lo and behold Val Bourne herself came on to talk after us. We have always been a fan of her writing and books, all steeped in gardening experience, so we took this opportunity to sit down,listen to her speak and make some notes.
She spoke about vegetable gardening, and these notes are below – handy for us here at Modern Mint to remember what she said – but you may have to make of them what you will!
Notes from A Talk by Val Bourne
Important for vegetable growing? Soil. Timing. And EXPERIENCE.
Don’t give nitrogen to legumes.
Ask – is the plant shallow-rooted? Or tap-rooted? That will tell you a lot. As does the question – how and where does it grow in the wild?
Shallots – from the word Echelon in Palestine. Traditionally, you plant on the shortest day, harvest on the longest.
When you plant peas, plant 4 for everyone one you want – one seed to rot, one to grow, one for the mouse and one for the crow.
Sow every fortnight from March to July, in a little shade.
When potatoes were introduced, they were planted on Good Friday, as in the 16th century people believed the potato to be the devils food. Holy water was used and prayers said for protection. Nowadays, eat organic potatoes as they are likely to have been sprayed with a fungicide 16 times….
Tap rooted vegetables? Evolved in dry places, use less manure and grow in lighter soils.
Tozer seeds are good. (We like Real Seeds.)
Vegetable growing can be all about feast or famine. That is why you need EXPERIENCE.
Prefers winter vegetables for that reason – long season of harvest.
Purple carrots taste better grown in warmer temperatures, like Turkey where it is thought they come from.
Stressed food tastes unpleasant, because the crop tries to make itself uneatable to pests.
AGM varieties are a good place to start – they have been thoroughly tested by experts.
Winter squash is a good harvest and good for eating.
Tuscan kale is another brilliant winter vegetable.
‘Puddling in’ is an ancient technique you use for leeks and brassicas.
So there you go! Our notes from a talk by garden writer and organic vegetable grower Val Bourne.
Just inc are you are free in the following dates in June, you can visit my mentor Charlotte Molesworth’s topiary garden… Check out the dates the garden is open here. And you can of course join both Charlotte and I for a topiary workshop in the garden in July, as well as September. Hope to see you there!
The Nunki weeder has been talked about by Jane Perrone in the newspaper (the Guardian, if you are interested. At the weekend.) She said this about our lovely weeding tool… “Getting on top of annual weeds such as hairy bittercress and speedwell can be tedious. The Nunki weeder has a curved blade that allows for precision work around plants….” There you go – a weeder for precision work, not an avocado destoner as someone once said to me. Take a closer look at the Nunki weeder now.
There has been some great articles around recently, what with the gardening season upon us and the Extinction Rebellion happening. I particularly liked this from Alys Fowler – Turn Your Lawn Into A Meadow “(Most lawns) are biodiversity deserts… and worse still, we pursue this. There are aisles in garden centres promising ever-greener sward, with no moss and weeds. Let there be no misunderstanding; these are chemicals that silence the soil.” Raise your mower height. Don’t cut until June. Then just once a month afterwards. Love that advice. And it is saving petrol for your mower too! This article also …