Veg Growers' Blog
Growing veg in North Devon can be challenging. It's
always good to share tips and techniques with other local
Drawing By Clifford Harper, 1976
I live in a terrace of estate-workers' cottages at Eggesford
above the Taw Valley about 15 miles north of Crediton. It's 5
miles from the nearest food shop and about 15 to the nearest
supermarket. Popping down the road for a loaf of bread is not
really an option. It's good to be able to pick some veg
straight from the garden.
Each cottage has a one-third acre garden and mine is mostly
given over to veg. The climate is a bit wilder ('one coat
colder') than Crediton, so the growing season is shorter.
The polytunnel is a very important feature of the garden.
I'm also very keen on apples and soft fruit.
There is also a small flock of hens, just one Black Rock and 2
Marans at present.
I grow organically - John Seymour and Lawrence D Hills
were early influences. I also share some ideas with the
permaculturalists. It's not a tidy garden, not RHS or TV
material but it's quite varied and usually yields something to
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31st January 2017
Blueberries are an amazing fruit, both in terms of flavour and
their incredible nutritional profile. They're jam packed with
antioxidants - polyphenols, catechins, flavonols - along with lots
of essential vitamins and nutrients.
To continue reading please go to this link
Another article on growin ...
20th September 2015
Hens in the Garden
One day I was chatting with the editor of a smallholding
magazine. She told me that sales of the magazine increased by
a significant percentage if pictures of chickens were on the
cover. Chickens can be cute, but do they have any place in
the veg garden? Before that qu ...
2nd September 2015
Fruit and Nuts
September brings the very pleasant days of early autumn.
The apple harvest is gathering pace and the very early
varieties, such as Exeter Cross have already finished.
It's easy for other fruits (and nuts) to be overlooked.
My plum tree (variety unknown) is fruiting ...
23rd August 2015
August is the month of tomatoes and courgettes glut. Tomatoes
are 'pomodoro' (golden apple) in Italian, which reflects the fact
that the first tomatoes to come from the New World were
yellow. At some point in French they were known as 'pommes
d'amour' - the apples of love - but t ...
13th August 2015
The permaculturalists, those people who want to
explicitly design a sustainable world, have a design tool
constantly in their mind called 'zoning'. It's pretty much the
common-sense idea of putting things in the right place and, in
particular, of putting those things tha ...
9th August 2015
A row of red-flowered runner, or string, beans is a familiar sight in
a British veg garden. In a good year they
can be hugely productive and give you a green vegetable through the whole of the
If I grow runner beans then I usually go for a standard variety
such as Scarlet Emper ...
1st August 2015
The First Harvest
It seems like only yesterday that it was May; the days were
lengthening and the landscape was filled with uncountable
variations of shades of green. Now many of those green shoots
are ripe and brown. The thatching straw is stooked in the
fields and the deep lanes are ful ...
27th July 2015
Brassicas - The Cabbage Family
The brassicas are the cabbage family of
plants. This family includes cabbages, cauliflowers,
broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, mustard, swedes, turnips, rape,
kohl rabi, cress, pak choi and many other familiar vegetables.
Nutritionally they are very importa ...
20th July 2015
It's not all grim rows of vegetables in the veggie plot.
Some flowering plants are allowed or even encouraged.
Why would this be? One key reason is that every
flowering plant is a source of nectar and therefore food for bees,
which will visit your garden and pollinate your vegetable flowe ...
2nd July 2015
When I noticed last week that every time I walked down the
garden a guilty blackbird flew noisily out of the soft fruit I knew
that the redcurrants must be nearly ripe.
Many berries and currants seem to like a cool climate and
slightly acid soil and this means that t ...
27th June 2015
Summer Herby Salad
As a rule I used to be not that keen on salads. Maybe
that's because the Saturday evening salads of my childhood days in London were limp lettuce,
tomato, cucumber from the street market, with the addition of salad cream. It took me well into
my adult life to overcome t ...
21st June 2015
Summer Solstice: Preparing Christmas Dinner
At this time of summer
solstice, with its 16 hours of daylight, verdant green growth
and long sunsets, summer in its
prime but it's actually a good idea just to check that our Christmas
dinner at the other end of the year is coming on nicely.
14th June 2015
"Elder is the Lady's tree - Burn it not or cursed you'll
A few months ago, whilst hedgelaying with a SusCred group, I was told not to burn Elder
because 'it is the witches'
tree'. It also has the reputation of being the tree on
which Judas Iscariot hanged himself. Clearly this species ...
5th June 2015
Produce No Waste
One of the
permaculture design principles is '
produce no waste'. Waste is either an unused resource
that should be used or else some noxious substance that is being
discarded in order to make sure that it injures someone else and
My new neighbour i ...
30th May 2015
Banned from the garden!
If future generations ever manage to write a history of the
early 21st century they might have some comments to make
about the integration of the Chinese economy into world
markets. Suddenly there was a flood of ridiculously cheap
goods in the west. The wester ...
24th May 2015
Whose seeds do you plant?
Are you one of those gardeners who orders all their seeds
through a catalogue in the first week of January? Do you have
a great loyalty to one seed merchant? I've moved away from
the 'one big order' idea. Seeds can be very expensive and I
look for bargains ...
18th May 2015
Seems like a good year for apple blossom in garden and orchard,
perhaps '9 out of 10'. Even some of those trees that might be
considered biennial are flowering. We are in the middle of
the blossom season now and the early fruit seems to have set.
There are plenty of ins ...
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