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May 9, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Vegetables of the month – red spinach & radishes

2015-03-26, Radishes - Sparklers & White iciclesApley Walled Garden’s Head Gardener Phil Allen has just sent me through some background on his 2 chosen vegetables of the month which are red spinach & radishes. Throughout the year, Apley Walled Garden supplies Apley Farm Shop & The Creamery Café with as much of its fruit & vegetables requirements as possible, keeping food miles to a minimum.

Red spinach: The dark red leaves are packed with iron, iodine, carotene, folic acid & chlorophyll. Amusingly, Popeye’s propensity in eating spinach boosted sales by one-third in the early years of the 1930s.

The Radish: Radishes originated in China or Japan when they were longer & wider than the current varieties. However they were appreciated in ancient Egypt & in ancient Greece. According to Pliny the Elder, a radish modelled in gold was dedicated as a votive offering at the Temple of Apollo. Athenian adulterers ran the risk of rhaphanidosis or radishment (we’ll not add any more detail there !).

The button sized radish we eat today seems to have arrived from Italy in the late eighteenth century. These were soon taken to heart & grown on a large scale. London alone had over 4,000 hectares (around 10,0000 acres) of market gardens in the early nineteenth century, none of which survive today. However radishes, asparagus & strawberries still come up at Brompton cemetery, which stands on the site of an older market garden.

Not only is Apley Walled Garden offering gardening courses & continuing private tours this year, we also welcome pre-booked school visits & grow to order for chefs.

The next Apley Walled Garden Beginners’ Gardening course is Wed 27 May (it’s always held on the last Wednesday of the month, March to October, so the last will be Wed 28 Oct).

The Apley Walled Garden Three season gardening course is on Wed 17 June (Summer). Don’t worry if you missed the Spring course, nor if you can’t make the Autumn date (Wed 14 Oct).

The gardens are strictly private but are open for private, pre-booked tours (min 10 people) from March to October. Call 01952 730 345 for more details or email to book your course or tour places.

To get a taste of the knowledge Phil Allen imparts, listen again to his latest BBC Radio Shropshire interview, by clicking HERE. His next time on air will be when he is participating in BBC Radio Shropshire’s Gardeners’ Question Time on Sun 31 May, 12-1pm.

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