my journey to health and well being via exotic destinations

Growing your own veg the Sarah Raven way



I don’t think my garden will look like this…

It was a rare warm spring day when I arrived at Sarah Raven’s Perch Hill Farm this week for a master-class in veg growing. The Sussex countryside was bucolic – gambolling lambs, forsythia bursting, hedgerows popping…and Sarah’s farm was beginning to sprout too.

This is her home and the experimental station if you like – most of all the other plants are grown elsewhere, so there are only 2 poly-tunnels and some show beds. Under cover she has her overwintering salads and some newly transplanted leaves of various varieties, while outside is the herb garden, more lettuces and leaves, artichokes and gorgeous euphorbia…plus some superb views.

We have built a raised bed at the back of our garden in a sunny spot and my plan was to grow various salad varieties, plus a few veg, not many as space is a problem. Well, plans are always subject to change…


Euphorbias in full bloom – I have this one

What is so useful about this course is that it steers you into maximum productivity and sensible choices for your garden. So out goes purple sprouting broccoli, cabbages and single crop items, in comes cut-and-come-again and yield per plant…


Sarah demonstrating the gutter technique

Naturally we all got so over enthusiastic that we bought far too many seeds (they last 2-3 years I tell myself and you need to repeat sow for leaves), but for the record I am planting  mizuna (Japanese type leaf, her no 1 choice), plus three types of lettuce: merveille de quatre saisons, solix, salad bowl, summer leaf mix; mustard greens; rocket; French sorrel;  cavolo nero, swiss & rainbow chard and some red spring onions; plus a couple of courgettes, romanesco, a tiny ribbed variety…

Then in flower beds I am sowing edible flowers with wild abandon  – calendula and viola, basils, lemon verbena, dill, garlic chives, tarragon & sage plus some lovely nicotiana and cosmos. All attractive to butterflies and bees. In pots three types of mint including Moroccan for tea…plus coriander and parsley, although some of that may pop into the beds too.  And samphire! needs watering with salt water obviously…I also learned  a new tip  against black spot and mildew in roses – plant salvia (sage) microphylla cerro potosi around the base of the bushes…I ordered 12!!!

As well as advice on what, we were advised on some very easy hows. The best tip was to plant your seeds in a gutter pipe. Once germinated and grown a bit you simply slide and plop them into place. Well, let’s see how I get on with that…I will share!

We had a most delicious lunch, all home gown, which inspired me even further to make more purchases on my return home as no plants were available on site. So the above is a mix of seeds, cuttings and plus plant plugs.

This summer Parkhill  Road will be a true garden of delight, all scented with fragrant herbs and glorious with vibrant primary colours – oranges, reds, pinks and of course greens. I will serve visitors with my tisanes and yummy salad leaves topped with edible flowers, complete with  tarragon dressing.

If you want inspiration go to Sarah’s website

My garden this spring! You can eat primulas by the way…

Author: vickyunwin

I am a writer and traveller. Our darling daughter Louise died on 2 March 2011, aged 21 ( and I started writing as therapy. We never know how long we have on this earth, so I live for every November 2013 I was diagnosed and operated on for a malignant soft tissue sarcoma in the calf, followed by 6.5 weeks of radiotherapy, so am embarking on a different kind of journey which you can follow here. I also have another site with my blueprint for health and well-being.

5 thoughts on “Growing your own veg the Sarah Raven way

  1. Reblogged this on healthy living with cancer and commented:

    I am sharing this post with my blog. The best thing you can do for your health is to grow your own organic leaves and veg, and top them all with edible flowers…watch this space for my progress! Enjoy!

  2. Dear Vicky,
    Beautiful plants and flowers. Enjoy your garden ! yours Kitty

  3. Very interesting! Look forward to getting some more tips…

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