vegetable import shortages

While national newspapers and broadcast media have been eager to highlight the shortages of imported vegetables, such as courgettes and spinach, from Spain and Italy this winter due to bad weather, an expert from a leading UK garden vegetable seed supplier believes the answer lies in greater reliance on seasonality and stored home-grown vegetables, which can be achieved for a modest initial outlay.

Rachel Cole of mail order seedsman D. T. Brown believes in the maxim ‘that to every vegetable there is a season’. She concedes it is almost impossible for Britain’s gardeners to harvest courgettes and difficult to produce spinach in January and February, but says the wealth of natural winter-croppers such as savoy cabbage, leeks, Brussels sprouts, parsnip and kale more than make up for an absence of natural summer-croppers.

Rachel is also an advocate of keeping vegetables as fresh as possible for as long as possible, and has conducted extensive research into this. “Most people know crops such as broad, runner and French beans are great for freezing, but did they know courgettes, spinach, asparagus, summer broccoli (calabrese), carrots and spring onions can also be frozen successfully for future use? In addition, onions, pumpkins, beetroot, potatoes can be stored cool and dry for many weeks to keep families supplied with delicious and inexpensive fresh vegetables”.

Growing vegetables from seed need not be expensive either. D. T. Brown offers a range of 24 of the most popular vegetable seeds for just 99p a packet. The range includes courgette Tuscany F1, spinach beet, carrot Nantes 5, cabbage January King, kale, spring onion White Lisbon and parsnip Tender and True. “Savvy vegetable growers know that, with a little planning, they can have fresh vegetables for much of the year at very little cost”, concludes Rachel.

To request a copy of the new Fruit and Vegetable Grower’s Seed and Plant Catalogue 2017, write to D. T. Brown Seeds, Bury Road, Newmarket CB8 7PQ, telephone 0845 371 05 32, or go online www.dtbrownseeds.co.uk

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