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Vegetable shortages – eat seasonally!

Cavolo nero and Red Russian kale

Cut air miles and eat our own growers’ produce

While I don’t miss courgettes and lettuce in February, it appears shortages of imported vegetables from Spain and Italy due to bad weather are causing consternation among the chattering classes.

I’m all for DT Brown’s advice to rely more on seasonal produce and stored home-grown vegetables – give me neeps and tatties or pan haggerty (Northumbrian casserole with meat or cheese, potatoes, and root veg – many variations) over a salad any winter day.

Rachel Cole, of mail order seedsman DT Brown, believes in the maxim ‘that to every vegetable there is a season’.

There are a wealth of natural winter-croppers such as savoy cabbage, leeks, Brussels sprouts, parsnip and kale to eat.

Rachel said: “Most people know crops such as broad, runner and French beans are great for freezing, but did they know courgettes, spinach, asparagus, summer broccoli (calabrese), carrots and spring onions can also be frozen successfully for future use?

Store your own winter veg

“In addition, onions, pumpkins, beetroot, potatoes can be stored cool and dry for many weeks to keep families supplied with delicious and inexpensive fresh vegetables.”

DT Brown’s seeds are a bargain – its range of 24 of the most popular vegetable seeds are just 99p a packet, including courgette Tuscany F1, spinach beet, carrot Nantes 5, cabbage January King, kale, spring onion White Lisbon and parsnip Tender and True.

“Savvy vegetable growers know that, with a little planning, they can have fresh vegetables for much of the year at very little cost,” added Rachel.

For a copy of the Fruit and Vegetable Grower’s Seed and Plant Catalogue, write to DT Brown Seeds, Bury Road, Newmarket CB8 7PQ, telephone 0845 371 05 32, or go online www.dtbrownseeds.co.uk.

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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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