independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

'I like striding about in wellies, feeling like a farmer's daughter'

Where do you GIY?

I have an allotment I share with friends, and a south-facing town garden in Bristol.

Why do you GIY?

Partly I just enjoy striding about in wellies feeling like a farmer's daughter, but I also think that organic growing and cooking from scratch might just save the world.

What do you grow?

On the allotment it's all the usual annual veg, but at home I am experimenting with forest gardening in a formal, ornamental setting, so it's lots of trained fruit and nut trees and perennial vegetables.

Your favourite veg to eat/grow?

Broad beans, I think, though they are a bit hit-and-miss for me. I must try harder. Tomatoes too, of course, when I can get them to grow.

Your least favourite veg to eat/grow?

I love basil, but I can't get it to grow. I've really, really tried.

Your favourite GIYing moment each year (and why)?

I love everything about winter squash; their colours and shapes, the packing of a whole season's worth of sunshine into this beautiful, storable shell to put on a shelf until deepest winter. So picking and laying the squashes out for curing in the weak autumn sunshine has to be the peak for me.

Your most useful gardening tool (and why)?

I use a push mower for the lawn and I am a big fan. I like the sound it makes, and getting the job done under my own power, plus it is a particularly lovely cut.

Our finest hour in the veg patch was when . . .

We just came third in our allotment show, 'Mixed veg basket' category. Tragically pleased with ourselves.

Which 'Good Life' cast member are you? Tom, Barbara, Jerry or Margot?

She wasn't much into growing I suppose, but Margot got the best dresses and by far the best lines.

• Lia Leendertz is an award-winning garden writer who writes regularly for 'The Guardian', 'The Telegraph' and 'Gardens Illustrated', and is a columnist for the Royal Horticultural Society's magazine 'The Garden'. She has written several books on growing your own, including The Half Hour Allotment, a guide to managing a plot alongside a busy life.

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