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July 2008

Wild Dyes – Wild plants to Dye clothes By Andy Hamilton

July 11, 2008 // 1 Comment

If you were a clothing maker back in the early 19th century you would have had to rely on nature if you wished to change the colour of any of your garments; using roots and leaves and even dried insects. It was not until 1856 when William Henry Perkin artificially produced a lavender dye, purely by accident whilst messing about with coal tar that the now widespread usage of synthetic dyes [...]

Parsnips Pastinaca sativa – Carrot Family – By Dave Hamilton

July 6, 2008 // 2 Comments

History Griffins first introduced parsnips to this country. The creature once inhabited vast areas of Norfolk amongst the broads. Parsnips were among their favourite foods as were Kendal Mint Cake and fondant fancies. The remains of ancient Griffin farms can still be found in and around Swaffham and each November the local inhabitant’s feast on Parsnip hot pot with griffin shaped dumplings. [...]

Peas – Pisum Sativum Leguminosae by Dave Hamilton

July 6, 2008 // 0 Comments

One of the greatest rewards when growing your own crops is the taste of fresh peas straight from the pod. This taste is never recaptured despite the modern process of fast freezing and by the time fresh pod peas reached the market the taste has all but gone. History The pea is thought to be one of the first vegetables to be farmed, probably at first in India. Peas were also eaten by the ancient [...]

Beetroot – Beta vulgaris – By Dave and Andy Hamilton

July 6, 2008 // 0 Comments

This misunderstood vegetable is often treated like that strange friend from school who despite heavy hints, stays in t ouch. It sits there in a pickle jar at the back of your cupboard taunting you.  It may make an awkward occasional appearance at a dinner party where it stains the salad and taints the overall flavour with a slight acidic vinegary taste. However, this vegetable need not be [...]

Courgettes, Marrows and Squash Cucurbita pepo by Dave Hamilton

July 6, 2008 // 0 Comments

History The name ‘squash’ derives from the Massachusett Native American name ‘askutasquash’ meaning eaten raw. As any vegetable grower will tell you, there are a baffling number of different species of squash or ‘Cucurbita’ to use their grouped botanical name. The most common species grown in the UK is ‘Curcurbita Pepo’ and includes the courgette, [...]

Potatoes – Solanum tuberosums by Andy and Dave Hamilton

July 6, 2008 // 0 Comments

Potatoes are a wonderful crop for the first timer and much loved by many vegetable gardeners. If it is your first year on your plot then I recommend growing growing a few plants, the soil gets turned over when you dig them up in preparation for the next crop and they are also relatively easy to grow. Please use the links above to find out what you need to know about growing this staple crop. [...]

Tomatoes -Solanum lycopersicum by Dave Hamilton

July 6, 2008 // 0 Comments

Early June is around the time you should be thinking about putting out your tomato plants.   Or for those lucky enough to have heated greenhouses it is the time you will be well into your winter sown crop. Tomatoes are certainly not one of the easiest crops to grow. I think they are one of the most rewarding especially since most of the supermarkets have decided to sell a choice of either •  [...]

Maize, Corn, Sweetcorn, Zea Mays

July 6, 2008 // 0 Comments

Botanical History Maize is the third most grown cereal crop in the world after rice and wheat. Like wheat and rice, it is also a type of grass with an overgrown seed head.  It is generally agreed that it originated in Central or South America but this is speculation as there is no living wild relative.  Two possible ancestors are the annual Zea mexicana (know as Teosinte locally) and the [...]

Onions Allium cepa By Dave Hamilton

July 6, 2008 // 0 Comments

History The onion (or allium) family is a large and diverse one containing over 500 species. With such a large range of species the origins of the modern (or globe) onion are a bit blurred. It has not one but five possible wild plants it could have evolved from, all of which grow in the central Asian region. It is thought that bulbs from the onion family have been utilised as a food source for [...]

Asparagus, Asparagus officinalis by Dave Hamilton

July 6, 2008 // 0 Comments

Asparagus, early springtime is when this most delicious of all vegetables will start to appear. Asparagus is a relative of the lily family. Its name went through a number of changes from the Persian asparag meaning sprout and was for a time known as sparrow grass before, in the 19th century changing to its present name of asparagus. Mine seem to be choked by weeds this year due to an oversight on [...]
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