A large audience attended the February meeting to hear one of the Association’s own members, Jeremy Arthern, give us the benefit of knowledge and expertise gained over 50 plus years of growing vegetables. Taking a quotation from Kipling– `I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who` – Jeremy used this as a framework to provide a wealth of information on all aspects of vegetable gardening. He not only told us why we should be growing our own vegetables and where we should be growing them, he also gave useful tips on what vegetables we might grow and how to grow them. Helpful advice was also given about when the various activities should be carried out to get best results.
Key points from his talk were the satisfaction to be had from growing your own, not least because of the freshness and flavour this provides: vegetables can be grown in the smallest of gardens using grow bags, containers and even the flower beds! Using a propagator and growing under glass are good ways of getting things started and making the most of the growing season. What you grow will in large measure be determined by how much space you have but if this is limited go for the things that you enjoy and which are suited to the conditions you have for growing them in. Do not make the mistake of growing too much – a packet of lettuce seed goes a long way – so only plant enough for your needs. Good soil preparation, using the right compost and feeding crops are important to get best results. Garden pests can be a nightmare but there are lots of things you can do to combat these.
At the beginning of his talk Jeremy said the only advice he would not be giving was who should be growing vegetables. He left that up to the audience to decide but, in conclusion, he said he now expected to see a bumper entry in the vegetable section for this year’s Biddenham Show (on 9 September). I think he clearly meant us!
Peter Carter, February 2012