Gardening expert reveals his top tips on growing veg at home

Gardening is an easy and enjoyable pastime that you can do alone or with members of your household, and growing your own fruits and vegetables also lets you avoid those busy supermarkets at the same time. 

Instead of sitting in front of the TV, why not get out in the fresh air, learn a new skill and improve your mental and physical health, all while growing food for your friends or family!

YouTuber Tony Smith recently shared some of his green fingered wisdom with Yahoo UK, telling us everything we need to know on how to get started in the garden.  

Tony Smith’s YouTube channel teaches you all the gardening hacks you need to get growing.

Tony covered a range of topics including how to plant potatoes in a no-dig garden, grow black tomatoes, and why something as simple as a piece of copper can keep those pesky slugs from devouring your cabbages. 

Tony says: “We are living in really strange times, this pandemic has affected us all in so many different ways and gardening has seen a resurgence.”

“There are a lot of people who can’t go to work but can get in their gardens, they can put food on the table when it’s scarce because of COVID.” 

“Planting food from seeds to put on your plate, there’s nothing better than that.”

Tony shows us around his breathtaking allotment in the North East of England by the coast, and explains how following a few simple steps can help you get the garden of your dreams. 

He explains how five years ago he started making videos to show his mother how things were getting along in the allotment. 

His mother is too old to work in the garden so he wanted to make sure she was up to date on its progress, and turns out so did his viewers, thus his YouTube channel was born. 

Each episode focuses on a different kind of growing in the allotment, using no-dig raised beds, a polytunnel and protecting your plants from weeds and insects. 

Tony says: “It makes you feel a lot better than when you came. You leave feeling like you’ve achieved something. All the pressures, the worries of the day are just lifted.”

As if Tony wasn’t giving us enough garden envy, he gives us a guided tour of his three bee hives.

Bees are a massively important part of a garden’s ecosystem, they naturally pollinate your flowers and vegetable plants, and best of all they produce delicious honey – another reason not to go to crowded supermarkets. 

Tony explains how to grow potatoes in a no-dig garden using plastic tubs of compost topped with a bit of straw to prevent weeds getting in. 

He says: “There’s nothing better than coming up to a greenhouse or polytunnel or a garden and cutting vegetables that you can take home and say you grew that. It’s just a fantastic feeling.”

Tony built raised beds in his allotment himself.

Tony gives us

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Kitchen Garden: More than just a little bit of veg | The Canberra Times

whats-on, food-and-wine, susan parsons, kitchen garden

Robin Hall was introduced via a photo (sent to us by his friend) of Robin’s head next to a two kilo head of broccoli head. A modest man, Robin said he grows “a little bit of veg” so a visit to the garden in Gilmore was a big treat. Born in Sydney, Robin has been in Canberra for 20 years. He and his wife, Joanne Hall, have lived in Gilmore for eight years on a site chosen for its sunny, north-facing flat block. One side of the no-dig veggie patch is ground level and the other area is 400mm above ground. The first thing Robin did was to plunge his hand into the black soil and wriggled his fingers until he was down to mid-forearm level. He purchases cow manure, one cubic metre at a time and composts everything, with a wood chipper used at home for prunings and everything that is cut back. He has a compost heap plus manure from the chicken coop. There are four handsome brown chooks, purchased from Bellchambers. The Halls have lost more than a dozen chooks to foxes but have now solved the problem, closing a tiny gap in the roost. Rows in the vegetable garden include chest-high broad beans and snow peas, cabbages, pumpkins, beetroot, carrots, lush coriander, radishes, onions, garlic, lettuces and kale. Robin said had many heads of broccoli this year that were more than a kilogram in weight. These are lightly steamed in one centimetre of water or eaten with a white sauce and cauliflower or added to a dry stir fry pasta vege mix. Robin unwrapped growing leaves from the last cauliflower then pulled it from the ground, captured by our Canberra Times photographer. In the sunroom trays of seedlings are growing from seed indoors before planting out, to spare them from voracious slaters. Small pots of beans, cucumbers and tomatoes among them. Robin’s latest online order was for bags of certified potatoes which are waiting to sprout before planting. They include Purple Congo, Nadine, White Star, Pink Eye and Pontiac. Both Joanne and Robin love cooking. Their recipes are from everywhere but Joanne’s Italian background does have an influence. She was born Giovanna but was encouraged at school to change to an Australian version so children could relate. Joanne said each evening they pick the ingredients for that night’s dinner. A favourite is raw grated carrot with grated beetroot, garden greens particularly French sorrel, rocket, coriander, parsley and very finely sliced kale with La Barre extra virgin olive oil and vinegar with a “mother”, fermented sediment in the bottle (sold at delis and some supermarkets). Joanne also uses apple cider vinegar with “mother”. Another simple dish is boiled home laid eggs with raw cashew pieces lightly cooked and currants to which you can add a piece of beef or chicken. She makes plum jam from their homegrown fruit, and green tomato chutney, and makes three-layered sponge cake with passionfruit icing. There

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