Allotments, kitchen gardens and veg patches in the UK now start their growing season earlier and finish much later . Even crops that are traditionally grown under cover can find themselves outside in the fresh air.Far more tomatoes crop reliably outdoors and melons too are coming out of the glasshouse.
Seed catalogues already provide kitchen gardeners with a lengthening range of tomato cultivars such as ‘Tornado’, ‘Roma VF’ and ‘Marmande’, and melons such as ‘Ogen’, ‘Sweetheart’ and ‘Galia’ to tempt them, plus there are are lots of chilis,sweet peppers, aubergines to choose from.
British plant breeders are selecting specifically for the warming UK conditions, and trialling cultivars sourced from milder climates to see how they perform in UK gardens. This gives an ever-expanding choice of a range of unusal crops. Who would have believed a few years ago that UK gardeners could grow sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) .
Seeds of Italy has more than 500 Mediterranean vegetables, many of them heirloom or regional cultivars new to the UK, and also supply fruit trees.
Thompson & Morgan has new aubergines and new blight-resistant potatoes – ‘Sarpo Axona’ and ‘Sarpo Mira’. The company also offers cuttings or ‘slips’ of three cultivars of sweet potato, and many ‘heritage’ tomatoes and chillies.
Tozer Seeds breeds specifically for UK conditions, and trial cultivars from the Mediterranean. They offer an increasingly large range of sweet corn, and have seen a huge increase in the popularity of their ever-widening range of chili peppers. Their new butternut squashes ‘Hunter’ and ‘Harrier’ were bred to ripen fully in UK conditions.
OUTDOOR RIPENING FIGS IN AUTUMN ARE COMMON IN UK GARDENS
Adapting veg plots to less water
The main priority is to retain winter and summer rainfall. Achieving a high organic matter content in garden soil is vital to help reduce evaporation .Conserving soil water, mulching, using garden compost, green composted waste, chipped bark or woven plastic landscape fabric, are also essential.
Using collected rainwater and even recycled household or ‘grey’ water has to become the norm. Rainwater can be stored, but grey water is best used immediately – see the water pages on this blog for more information http://www.myclimatechangegarden.com/blog/where-can-i-buy-a-rainwater-harvesting-system