So what would the “take home” message from Heligan be. I’m not sure that I care for the impression the expression gives – as if all the love and care and experience we encountered in our five days there could be pre-digested and regurgitated into a sentence like philosophical bird vomit. But we definitely found things we wanted to remember and try for ourselves when we got back to the allotments, and here are some of them:
- We must try seaweed mulch on our alliums and asparagus
- We must take open pollinated ‘heritage ‘ vegetables more seriously – too many modern F1 hybrids are suited to mechanical harvesting and long food miles rather than flavour
- We must learn more about seed saving. The initial success we’ve had with coriander is encouraging
- We shouldn’t abandon digging without some trial plots to compare. They double dig one huge plot each year with nothing but long handled Cornish spades, and add nothing but well rotted manure to the trench.
- We must stop shoving as many brassicas as possible into a bed because we’re short of space. (note to self!)
- We must relate growing, cooking and eating as closely as possible
- We must resist the temptation to purism. Just as not everything that’s new is better, neither is anything automatically better because it’s old.
- We should be grateful for the fact that we’ve got two people to manage 250 square meters and they’ve only got six to manage ten times as much.