THE Fernhurst Horticultural Society held a fully-booked vegetable growing workshop in John Pretty’s village centre garden.
In his weedless vegetable garden, where he is almost self sufficient, he was growing tomatoes, onions, potatoes, shallots, parsnips, lettuces, beetroot, various brassica, French beans, broad beans and runner beans, peas, courgettes and leeks, as well as mint, parsley and other herbs. He even had room to grow teazles for the finches.
Being a countryman John knew a variety of good ‘tricks’ to encourage seeds germination, stay slug-free and reduce carrot fly and black fly infestation. He explained his use of Gromore when digging, companion planting, lime to prevent slugs, sharp sand and eggshells for the same reason, good supports for brassica and beans. He disliked chemicals and encouraged natural predators to kill bugs.
John took the members and friends through the gardening year, surprising many by planting potatoes in the ground in February, and planting all seeds in the ground before pricking and planting out.
The morning finished with coffees and homemade cakes and the handing out of many excess plants from John’s garden.