THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Jun30

Seeing A Talk By Garden Writer Val Bourne

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.

Mar19

Wasting Water

Well worth a read in the BBC today – a note on how wasting water in the UK “as socially unacceptable as blowing smoke in the face of a baby.” Read the report here. I have written a talk about how we use water in the  garden. It was written when I moved from Hampshire to Essex and found out for myself just how dry this area of the UK is. It completely changed the way I garden. The lack of such a precious resource as water made me question what we can do to save it, store it and …

READ MORE

Mar14

The Foie Gras That Tastes Like Nature

Ethical Foie Gras? Is That A Real Thing?   Foie gras – can it be ‘grown’ ethically? The video showing how this farmer works suggests it can… We first read about this in a book called The Third Plate by Dan Barber. I loved it and I love how Eduardo the farmer, who farms on the Dehesa in Spain, has a ‘take half leave half rule’. When talking about how the geese eat his olives… “They’re always quite fair. If you make sure the geese are relaxed and happy, you’ll be rewarded with the gift of fatty livers. That is God’s …

READ MORE

Mar04

Hardy Orchids Via James Wong

Hardy orchids – here is a subject I would love to know more about – so lo and behold, James Wong has written about it in the Guardian! Read the article about hardy orchids here. I love having orchids in the house, just your usual run of the mill buy them in any shop orchids, but it is a pleasure to read about the plants that will grow outside and cope with this weather. (This insane weather! From the hottest days of February on record to Storm Freya, all within a week. Weather is always such a factor in gardening, but …

READ MORE