Gardeners Question Time at The Edible Garden Show

We had a great day out at The Edible Garden Show this weekend. Stoneleigh Park was the perfect setting to welcome thousands of grow-your-own enthusiasts to learn from the experts, check out all the new equipment available, taste some fantastic food and meet some furry and feathered friends that could certainly take our self-sufficiency  up a level.

We had downloaded the programme before we arrived and so headed straight to the Experts Theatre to hear James Wong present ‘Incredible Edibles’.

James encouraged us to re-think what we were growing at home and presented a whole load of alternatives to the usual spuds & sprouts ranging from Cocktail Gooseberries to rainbow coloured Sweet Potatoes. Something that I’d never considered before was to start growing the world’s most expensive commodity, Saffron, literally worth it’s weight in gold!

Crocus Sativus has to be the singularly most worthwhile crop that can be grown by UK gardeners,’ said James ‘for by planting up a bed the size of the average dining table just once, you will get a constant supply of the world most expensive spice every year for at least the next 10 years, producing more than the average family can eat.’ This sound like a worthwhile switch! James went on to say ‘Compare that with onions, which you need to sow and plant every year, are incredibly cheap to buy and widely available and you can see why I feel there simply is no contest.’ Thanks for this James, we’ve just ordered 30 bulbs to plant in August!

After wandering around a few stalls we made our way over to the Acorn Suite for the recording of Gardeners Question Time ‘Grow Your Own’ special. I had submitted a question about the new Humbug Pear that we’ve just planted here at Hen Corner and we took our seats waiting for Eric Robson (pictured left) and the team. Out of the 200 people in the audience, mine was one of the eleven questions chosen – so do tune in to Radio 4 FM on Friday 25th March, 3pm, to hear the advice of Pippa Greenwood, Anne Swithinbank and Bob Flowerdew.

Of course we were really pleased to see that chickens feature in this show, and when Eric asked the audience how many of us garden with chickens there were quite a lot of us with our hands up!

As we made our way back into the show I was determined to find those chickens that were referred to. As a city gardener, I assumed that the Smallholders Marquee would be a bit beyond us, but lo and behold, this is where we found a beautiful collection of not just chickens, but pigs and goats as well. I’ve often dreamt of having a goat (in our London terrace garden?), that constant supply of milk for cheese making….. but daily milking? Maybe not! Fortunately,  our day finished with a cheese making demonstration in the Cookery Theatre by Paul Peacock.  He used bottled milk (from a cow) and lemon juice to separate the curds and whey. Can we really try that at home? Maybe we can use our cider press? I’m certainly going to give it a go…

Thanks, Edible Garden Show, we’ve had a great day that’s been encouraging, entertaining and inspiring. We are so glad that you are making plans for next year already, 16th – 18th March 2012?



  1. I loved James’ talk too 🙂 And I hope they air your question about the Humbug pear, it was one of the most interesting ones!

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