Veg Growers' Blog

Growing veg in North Devon can be challenging.   It's always good to share tips and techniques with other local growers.

The Inspiration

Drawing By Clifford Harper, 1976

Collectivised Gardens 2 Web

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 eat.

Comments are enabled on the blog posts, so let me know what you think.

31st January 2017

10 Benefits of Blueberries – Backed by Science (and 4 Delicious Blueberry Recipes)

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

Fowl Play

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

Time to think about planting some fruit trees

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

The Mediterranean diet comes to Snoring Dog Cottage

Tomatoes 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

Why I don't grow carrots...

Container Growing 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

Beans - runner or dwarf, green or dried, red, purple or yellow?

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 summer. If I grow runner beans then I usually go for a standard variety such as Scarlet Emper ...

1st August 2015

Looking back and looking forward in the veg garden

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

From schooldinner nightmare to superfood

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

Flowers in the Veg Garden

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

Berries and Currants

Berries and Currants 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

Healthy Eating from the Veg Garden. It's easy to grow salads that are better than those costing a fortune in the supermarkets.

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

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. P ...

14th June 2015

The Elder is the Lady's tree

"Elder is the Lady's tree - Burn it not or cursed you'll be" 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

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 not yourself. My new neighbour i ...

30th May 2015

Banned from the garden!

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

End of the hungry gap

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

Frost - or no frost?

Apple Blossom 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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