Secret Garden Club

Nothing tastes as good as your own sun warmed freshly picked homegrown tomatoes

This years veg planting was about giving my fantasy garden at least a starting chance and actually sewing and growing the seeds I’ve bought over the past couple of years. As well as the seed packets that have tempted me with their pretty pictures, there are several left over from my allotment days.

Give them the best chance of flourishing

I decided to bravely make space in my very small north facing garden for growing tomatoes and chillies in containers. Brave because of remembering my past disasters with tomatoes down on the allotment. To give myself a better chance I went along to an afternoon at the Secret Gardening Club. It was a really inspirational session with  Zia May talking about growing mediterranean veg and Kerstin Rogers aka Ms Marmitelover cooking up a storm with the produce.

So many varieties to choose from

Having an expert like Zia on hand to answer your questions about horticultural woes is a real treat as she has some great organic solutions for helping prevent tomato blight without resorting to dousing the plants with chemicals. Most important, use fresh sterilised compost as old stuff tomatoes have died in will contain mold spoors. Another trick she demonstrated was grafting. Now this might sound a bit fancy, in the complicated realms of rose cultivation but hang in there, it’s a very easy brilliant idea giving your tomatoes a better chance of survival by grafting a delicious tasting tomato plant onto a tough disease resistant root stock. As Zia chatted Kerstin cooked.

Plant demonstrations completed we sat down at a table in a cosy recipe book and crockery lined  room, eating amazing food, sweet peperade with just a hint of sour verjuice, wonderful melt in your mouth saffron spiked ratatouille with thick sumac yogurt. Following a traditional recipe from Amalfi, the star of the meal had to be the pudding, aubergines stuffed with ricotta and glace fruits in a rich chocolate sauce, an adventure well worth taking.  Inspired and informed, now I feel I have a far better chance to get my tomato plants flourishing over the summer months.

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