The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Perennial vegetables: Tree cabbage

Posted in Vegetables | 16 comments

Perennial vegetables: Tree cabbage

Recently I visited a small and very good privately owned local nursery. Even though it was a weekday, there were quite a few people browsing. I always enjoy chatting to the counter staff  if it’s quiet. These people know what exactly is passing through their tills and are often more straightforward than management. I was at the end of a long snakeing queue so I jumped in. “How’s the grow your own stuff going this year?” “OK but not a patch on last year. Of course we’re selling loads of tomato plants as usual.” I was stunned....

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Grow Comfrey to give your garden a real lift year after year

Posted in Vegetables | 11 comments

Grow Comfrey to give your garden a real lift year after year

  A few years I wrote about rocambole and a few weeks later I discovered that it was actually growing in my garden. A colleague in London had given it to me on a plant swap and described it as “White bells that smell of garlic. Weird!” I felt such a fool. I’ve had a longing to grow comfrey in my garden as it appears to be such a useful plant. The leaves can be made into a fertilising tea – high in potash, nitrogen and loads of other trace elements that the exuberant roots find deep down in the soil. This tea is a wonderful free...

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Investing in perennial vegetables for the hungry gap: Sea Kale/ Seakale/ Crambe maritime

Posted in Vegetables | 6 comments

Investing in perennial vegetables for the hungry gap: Sea Kale/ Seakale/ Crambe maritime

  Many years ago, when I was just a newbie herbaceous gardener a friend came to stay with her mother. Her mother bought me the book The Victorian Kitchen Gardenby Jennifer Davies. As I wasn’t actually planning to grow vegetables at the time it was put on my books for later shelf. I had no idea that suddenly it would come into its own this year. Here I found details of making hot beds and so much more. OK Victorian kitchen gardens were labour intensive but I do have time on my hands and if you cut out things like expensive hothouse boilers,...

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Egyptian walking onions

Posted in Vegetables | 9 comments

Egyptian walking onions

  “Look the Egyptian walking onions have arrived!” I was opening an envelope that had dropped through our letterbox. Danny looked bemused. “In Finland they are called Air onions.” “You didn’t get them sent all the way from Finland did you?” Panicky cash strapped yelp. “Well yes. They were cheaper than buying them in the UK – including postage.” “But do we need them?” “Yes. These are perennial onions. Once you plant them you should have them forever.” “Ahhh.” The word perennial brings out the purr in D.  I...

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