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The Country Enterprise Handbook
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Growing vegetables
...Timing your veg
...In heavy Soil
...In light Soil
...With Organic Manure
...Seaweed
...Cultivating
...Ditches
...Irrigation
...Your enemies & friends
...After germination
...Overworking
...Presenting the product
...Specialist veg
...Sprouts to Endive
...Eggplant to Salsify
>..Sea Kale etc

Sea-kale, like asparagus, requires a permanent bed; as with chicory, you grow the root in the ground, lift it and then force succulent young shoots to grow. You can eat the unforced green leaves, using them as you would spinach; the blanched stems should be boiled in acidulated water and served with butter or a sauce.

All the different types of spinach are worth growing; you can have some of at least one variety available all year and good-looking fresh spinach sells well.

Pumpkins are great fun to grow and very decorative they always look like great big plastic monsters lurking in the vegetables and there seems to be a returning enthusiasm for using them at Halloween. This year we saw a lot imported from Spain and they were astonishingly expensive, compared to the price fetched by a similar vegetable, the marrow.

There are other exotic squashes and continentals and Americans certainly use them far more than we do. All the odd-shaped tomatoes are worth growing for a specialist market, in particular the really giant ones: they were fetching twice the price of their humbler cousins this summer.

Well, that is a list of the more unusual vegetables. No doubt we have left many out. Add to them all the standard vegetables, like carrots and onions, and it goes to show what an enormous choice we could have available in Britain.

Remember, any kind of root vegetable has a very limited life if you wash it to improve its appearance. Interestingly enough if you wash it you are theoretically carrying on a different business from simply growing and selling produce and could require a change of use planning permission. Farm gate sales of home-grown vegetables and fruit often leads on to other things and many smallholders happily sell oranges and plastic-wrapped cucumbers that clearly were never grown on site. In an area where planning officials are plentiful this can lead to conflict.