Broaden hori­zons

Cut­ting edge veg grow­ing with Gar­den Or­ganic

Country Smallholding - - On Course -

Part of the fun of fruit and veg­etable grow­ing has to be the op­por­tu­nity to try out new and ex­cit­ing va­ri­eties of pro­duce to grow at home. So often, though, even if we’re rel­a­tively self-suf­fi­cient on our veg patch, more ex­otic herbs and spices still need to be bought in as an ad­di­tion. Ac­cord­ing to the well renowned folk at Gar­den Or­ganic, this need not be the case. So if you fancy widen­ing your hori­zons, this unique course be­ing held on Thurs­day July 26 at their gar­dens in Coven­try is cer­tainly well worth a look.

Led by Dr Anton Rosen­feld, who has worked at the or­ganic cham­pi­oning char­ity for 14 years, the day is de­signed to show you how to grow many wider veg­eta­bles, herbs and spices not com­monly as­so­ci­ated with be­ing grown in the UK. As Gar­den Or­ganic ex­plains: “In the last 50 years our culi­nary hori­zons have broad­ened to en­com­pass a wide range of cul­tures. How­ever, it seems that our grow­ing skills have lagged be­hind our cook­ing habits.”

The course is de­signed for those with some de­gree of pre­vi­ous gar­den­ing know-how (although you don’t need to be es­pe­cially sea­soned to ben­e­fit) and passes on the ex­per­tise gleaned from Gar­den Or­ganic’s work with im­mi­grant com­mu­ni­ties around the Mid­lands. As such, all the plants cov­ered have a proven track record of grow­ing in the UK, many of which can also be nur­tured out in the open, without the need for a poly­tun­nel or green­house.

Pre­vi­ous at­ten­dees have said how well­paced the day is, with lots of in­for­ma­tion cov­ered in an in­ter­est­ing, in­for­ma­tive and en­joy­able man­ner. It’s also a great op­por­tu­nity to visit the char­ity’s show­case cen­tre at Ry­ton Gar­dens in Coven­try and to see first-hand the ex­otic gar­den they have there in prac­tice.

Cut­ting Edge Veg starts by look­ing at some of the chal­lenges as­so­ci­ated with grow­ing non-traditional crops be­fore launch­ing straight into a look at ex­otic legumes, cu­cur­bits, tu­bers and roots. They pack in a lot of in­for­ma­tion in a rel­a­tively short space of time, also cov­er­ing un­usual herbs and spices, mak­ing garam masala, sow­ing haloon and tak­ing African kale and lemon­grass cut­tings. Seed sav­ing is also cov­ered, and at the end of the day you can

go home armed with a va­ri­ety of fact­sheets and the in­spi­ra­tion, con­fi­dence and know how to give some­thing new a try.

Course leader An­thony has oo­dles of ex­per­tise in grow­ing ex­otic crops both home and abroad and one of his ca­reer high­lights over the years has been his in­volve­ment in the Sow­ing New Seeds project where they worked to un­earth many of the ex­cit­ing foods grown by eth­nic com­mu­ni­ties across the Mid­lands - ex­pe­ri­ence that is at the heart of this course and as An­thony ex­plains: “It is a priv­i­lege to share the wealth of knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ences held within the di­verse com­mu­ni­ties that make up our so­ci­ety and pass it on to oth­ers at­tend­ing this tan­ta­lis­ingly in­ter­est­ing day in July.”

ABOVE: Anton Rosen­feld



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