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.
Guanock House needs a trainee topiary artist! Some of you may know it as the first home and garden of designer Arne Maynard, but is now owned and maintained by Michael Coleman and his wife Michelle. They offer meditation workshops and retreats there and it is as beautiful a house and garden as you could wish to visit. They called me in last Autumn to help shape up some of the topiary as it was all getting out of hand, but what it really needs is someone with a steady hand and lots of patience to take over the clipping …
Here are some photos of work I have been doing at the garden of Charlotte Molesworth in Kent. Snow and ice brings out the depth of the different planes and angles carved into the boxwood. A garden has to look beautiful in winter – and topiary (green architecture) helps do that! For more topiary pictures, click here.
I am an experienced teacher of topiary and pruning, running workshops in the topiary garden of Charlotte Molesworth in Kent, as well as for The English Gardening School and The European Boxwood And Topiary Society. So if you are a keen gardener, a garden club, a group of friends who want to know more or even an absolute beginner who has been bitten by the gardening bug, then do contact me about what you might like to learn. What a laugh we are having in this workshop session I ran for a group of friends in Essex… Many people employ …