Back to your roots 

Let’s be honest, no vegetable garden is complete without your roots. Mine is no exception to this rule.


Roots play a vital part for me when growing, both aesthetically and necessity. Nothing beats the excitement of not knowing what you’ve grown until you pull them. It’s a lottery without the risk.


After downscaling from a quarter plot, space has now become a valuable asset. Where I would normally grow a few varieties to try them out I now have to get my best bang for buck.


Based on this a few varieties have shone through. My goal this year is to get the best crop I can in the space I have available.


So let’s have a look at the varieties I have chosen:


Beetroot – Only one variety has ever been good to me here. Good old ‘Boltardy’ Beetroot. First sowing for me will be April direct. This beetroot has never bolted on my plot, even after a fortnight of dry spells with no watering. Space wise any beetroot can be grown very close together or spaced apart depending on how you like them. For me it’s small sweet beetroot no bigger than a golf ball. They can tolerate a bit of shade but for best performance full sun is required. And best of all the leaves are great to eat too. A perfect crop.


Carrots – Nante’s Out of the two types I tried, these were the only carrots I grew with good results. First sowing in April under cloches. Not so much a long carrot, Nantes’s have given a reliable crop of good size roots around 6” in size. They also have proven to be quite resistant to carrot root fly, much more so than my resistafly. I find these are best germinated when placed on soil surface and covered with a small dressing of seed compost. They have taken a few weeks to get going but have always cropped.


ParsnipsGladiator The only parsnip I have tried growing and I’m glad to say they all germinated. Sown in February, I simply place on soil surface and cover with a bit of leafy brash chippings. 100% germination rate and they are simply sow and forget. Parsnips do best when left to their own devices. Last year on an undug bed, one grew to a mere 1ft in length with no problems. A good variety for beginners.


Onions Turbo (Sets) A new one for me this year. In Previous years, onion harvest were very hit or miss often producing average to poor yields. This time around I’m starting them in spring. First sowing is mid-February followed by another sowing mid-March. After a little research, ‘Turbo’ stood out due to its heat treatment process which helps prevent bolting. I will be keen to test this out this year. Sown direct in February I’m hoping for a crop around July – August.

So as you can see not many varieties. This is my less is more approach. I will be sowing in succession to ensure I have enough supply for the upcoming season and will cover how I preserve my gluts in a future post.

As a personal note, I have focused more on getting the best performance so for me these varieties work. All links to the seeds have been placed there with no obligation to purchase from the suppliers and are not affiliated links. These are available from a vast majority of suppliers, so buy from who suites your needs.


The Master Crafter – LolDeanTimber


Dean and Liam Stanborough, a father and son, family led business.

LoldeanTimber started as an idea from the love of wood and being able to create useful, innovative and bespoke products for all our customers.

every one of our handmade products we use; From our poultry perches, to our garden trugs to our trough planters.

We have supplied personalised garden trugs all over the Uk and have sent a few to the USA.

It fills us with enormous pride seeing our trugs being shown off with so many gorgeous homegrown harvests.

I (liam) was never very interested in veg, until Dad (dean) started growing tomatoes and peas in the garden and I tasted a pea straight from the pod and I was won over from then.

I would always watch river cottage and dreamt of the life that Hugh Fernley Whittingstall was living.

We grew more and started to consider becoming self-sufficient.

First stop was chickens and we have been making chicken coops for customers for years.

So, we decided to build out ‘Cluckingham Palace’ and soon enough our girls were laying their eggs.

We’ve always had a keen interest in cooking so it goes hand in hand with our allotment growing, cooking dishes, preserving jams and sauces, even making our own elderflower wine and apple cider from all our homegrown produce.


We have expanded our growing area over the last couple of years by relocating up to Norfolk.

Which allowed us to expand loldeantimber and push on with our business and create more exciting products.

Also, allowing us to expand the amount of chickens we have. And adding ducks to our smallholding
we have even hatched a few of our own chickens fertilised eggs.

We purchased a polytunnel to match our ambitions of growing more veg and creating more exciting dishes and sauces so we can feed not only us but give them as gifts to our friends and family to get their feedback on the food we make.
We love taking our nephews and niece for a walk down the garden and picking some of our plot produce that they helped us plant.
so they can see what they planted is what they grew and be able to eat what they grew and learn about each veg and how tasty it is.
They have always been brought up around the chickens, playing with them indoors when they were just chicks to playing outside in the garden feeding them and collecting their eggs.

We built our own compost bins last year and fill them through the year with food scraps, and chicken and duck manure which acts as a great fertiliser so will be using all our well-rotted down compost on our raised beds this coming year.

Very much looking forward to growing as a business and as a self-sufficient family for many more years to come.

Guest Author: Liam Stanborough is a master craftsman specialising in creating some of the best trugs in the business for that perfect personalised touch. You can find his excellent work on Facebook or Twitter