Roger Phillips should have grown up hating foraging. As a boy during the war, he was sent to the safety of Hertfordshire, and one of his duties at his village school, as food was short, was to pick nettle tops every morning to be boiled by the cook for lunch. “There were lots of babies and our job as the older children, being six or seven, was to feed them the nettle pulp. It wasn’t flavoured or anything so the babies weren’t necessarily all that keen on it and usually blew it straight back into our faces,” he recalls. Not the most inspirational of starts and yet he has gone on to become one of Britain’s leading experts on mushrooms and wild food in general.
For anyone who loves to grow their own ingredients, star billing must go to your salads – surely the easiest of high quality harvests. In a previous article, we suggested some less familiar leaves and flowers to liven up your salad bowl – including mustards, nasturtiums and purslanes. So here’s round two – another batch of easy-to-grow leaves that will lift your salad mixes to the next level.
Nestled between John Lewis and Next in the heart of Exeter, an unassuming-looking office block is host to a surprising urban crop – gourmet mushrooms. What is more, they are being grown from the city’s waste coffee grounds, gleaned from the likes of Starbucks and Costa Coffee. Using vacant office space and vertical growing to produce a protein-rich crop could be a solution to the food challenges of tomorrow, discovers Lucy Purdy when she meets those at the Fungi Futures CIC.
Advertisement feature by Westbury Garden Rooms, Essex-based builders of bespoke garden rooms, orangeries, pool houses and roof lanterns, founded over 25 years ago, who share tips on how to plan gardens worth looking at from their rooms with a view.
The path of container gardening is paved with good intentions. It begins with gleaming specimens in shiny pots, but a walk down any street too often reveals only desiccated, overgrown and weather-beaten remnants of those former splendours. So here’s how to give your neglected pots a beauty overhaul to get them back in shape and set up good routines for the future.
Pruning often seems a rather daunting mystery and yet it is a skill that must be mastered, particularly in the small garden, if plants are to look their best and keep in scale with your space. Our simple guide explains what to do at this time of year.
Just 33 metres beneath London’s streets, under Clapham’s cocktail bars and relentless traffic, a subterranean farm is taking root. Using the latest hydroponic systems and LED technology, micro-salads are being grown in a network of forgotten air raid shelter tunnels, the leaves destined for the plates of the capital’s top restaurants. Not convinced about your food being grown underground? The entrepreneurial duo behind Growing Underground believe it’s a sign of things to come -the “agricultural revolution” of the future.
What a difference a year makes! Last year it rained for the UK’s only national garden show dedicated to fruit and vegetables, at Stoneleigh Park. This year the event moved to the Alexandra Palace in London and not only did the sun came out, the show also had the seal of royal approval with a visit from Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall.