Saffron Basics

With a bit of luck my last post sold you on the joys of growing saffron. Now for the nitty-gritty. I can’t pretend this is a crop for a very small garden, though you might try growing it in a lawn or a regular bed like any other crocus. If you do, please be warned:…

The Joy of Saffron

What could be more of an event than saffron? Punishingly pricey to buy in the shops, it never gets cheap. The vaguely affordable stuff only gets to be so because it’s bottom-end quality but it’s one of the easiest events a gardener can have. Just because the saffron that appears in the shops is from…

Event: The First Asparagus of Spring

The original point of this blog – before the craziness that is coronavirus – was to discuss ‘event’ vegetables: low-yield, high maintenance veg that provided just one or two ‘events’ in the gardener’s life. High-flyers that made just one or two memorable meals that would remain in the imagination long after they had faded on…

Coronoveg project: Testing Seeds for Viability

Yeah, we’ve all got ’em: those packets of seeds we got ages ago and meant to sow but somehow they got stuck at the back of a drawer and, well, the sow-by date is 2016 but… I’m very much of the ‘stick it in the ground and see if it will go’ school of thought…

Coronoveg: Spring onions

Another one for everyone today (unless you hate onions, of course…) These versatile little veg are salad staples but are great in all manner of cuisines, and they’re really handy to jazz up plain stuff or use if you’ve run out of actual onions (which take much longer to grow). They are easy to grow…

Coronoveg: Seedlings – from babies to toddlers…

My friend Sue has asked a couple of eminently sensible questions, which are worth answering in a bit more detail. Firstly she is wondering: “When to remove the propagator lid, I have a memory of waiting till they have two leaves.” Two leaves is good – though be wary of the two leaves that first…

Coronoveg: Don’t peak too soon with the Three Sisters.

These last few days have been sunny and warm. I understand the clocks go forward on Sunday. I, for one, have been on the allotment for the past few days. But that doesn’t mean we should be sowing every seed in the back of the garden shed. Even if we don’t get actual frost yet,…

Coronoveg: Figs

Figs are different from practically all other fruit trees, and many people assume they’re no good for British gardens. This is completely untrue – last year I visited the secret fig garden in Tarring near Worthing in West Sussex which, allegedly, was planted in the middle ages. Officially it dates back to 1745, but that’s…

Grafting: The good, the bad and the very, very wrong. Part Two: Veg

In Part One, we looked at fruit grafting, where decent varieties of, say, apple are grafted onto root stocks that will keep them in check and stop them going crazy. In this part, we’ll look at the relatively recent trend for grafting vegetables, which is usually taken on for the exact opposite reasons. It’s not…

Coronoveg Project: Let there be light: A reflector for seedlings

Lucky are they who have a greenhouse or anywhere in the house that’s bright, especially this time of year when seedlings are teeny-tiny. The only space I have for seedlings is my kitchen window which faces north-east, just about the worst possible angle for light. You can buy special plant-lights but they’re stupidly expensive and…

Coronoveg #2: Tomatoes

There’s still just about time to start tomatoes. I begin mine in January but there should be enough time to catch up if you get your horticultural skates on. In fact I have just sown some Tumbling Tom, in solidarity. Tomatoes can be grown anywhere there is going to be lots of sunshine and heat,…