The Edible Garden Series

The Edible Garden – BBC TV Series (2010)

Gardener, presenter and writer Alys Fowler attempts to avoid shop bought fruit/vegetables and live off her own home grown produce. Alys focus on different foods and show how anyone can grow, cook and eat from their own garden even if they live in a urban environment. It’s no easy task for her because she doesn’t want to turn her garden into an allotment  so she’s growing her fruit and veg among flowers. Peas and beans are prolific vegetables but they also look beautiful in the borders too. Alys also goes and makes delicious broad bean falafels and pea shoot cocktails and forages for willow to make plant supports. She has two new additions to the family, her chickens!

As with all of these types of programs their is an element of it being unrealistic and just for TV but it’s still worth watching for those that enjoy this type of thing. I’m sure as with everything you’ll learn a thing or two along the way.

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UK Aquaponics Gets A Boost From Government Agri-Tech Funding

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The first portion of funding from the governments £70 million Agri-Tech Catalyst, part of the UK Industrial Strategy for Agricultural Technologies, will support several projects likely to impact on the fresh produce sector. They (11 groups) will receive a total of £4m; £2.8m funding from government with £1.4m co-investment from industry. One of the 11 companies to recieve the funding one is an Aquaponics growing system.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: “This work is critical in supporting the UK’s Agri-tech Strategy and our commitment to establish the UK as a world leader in agriculture technology, innovation and sustainability.”

“GrowUp Urban Farms” will lead a consortium to build the “UK’s first (apparently) aquaponic urban farm”, to quantify the economic and environmental potential of the format. Others have done Aquaponics in the UK like Charlie Prices work back in 2008 with Aquaponics UK but it looks as though they are going to try and do it on a “farm” commercial space, I’ll keep an eye on this for the future.

That said its excellent news that fundings reaching aquaponics companies and it can be better evaluated. I feel the technology has got high potential here in the UK as arable land is very expensive here (£8,813 per acre, prices have trebled in last 10 years), being able to grow without soil is a major advantage their as it’s something you can use to literally grow anywhere from run down trading estates, old car parks and even on grounds that polluted.
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Astronauts To Grow Lettuce In Space Station

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Astronauts longing for fresh lettuce in orbit will soon have the chance to grow it for themselves: NASA is sending a mini-farm into space.

When the private spaceflight company SpaceX launches its next Dragon cargo mission to the International Space Station on Monday (April 14), the capsule will be carrying a small plant growth chamber built to let astronauts grow “Outredgeous” lettuce in orbit.

The goal of the Veg-01 experiment, nicknamed “Veggie”, is to see how well plants grow in orbit. If these early tests go well and the food proves safe, scientists hope to expand the menu.

“Veggie will provide a new resource for U.S. astronauts and researchers as we begin to develop the capabilities of growing fresh produce and other large plants on the space station,” said Gioia Massa, NASA payload scientist for Veggie, in a statement. “Determining food safety is one of our primary goals for this validation test.”

Space is at a premium on a spacecraft and also on the International Space Station, so the Veggie chamber is built to collapse for transportation and when it is in storage. When fully deployed, it’s about a 1.5-feet (X meters) long, making it the biggest such plant chamber in space to date.

A version of the chamber has been tested on the ground, where lettuce and radishes were successfully grown at the Kennedy Space Center’s space life sciences laboratory. Veggie was developed by Madison, Wis.-based Orbital Technologies Corp.

NASA’s Veggie experimental space farm is slated to launch on SpaceX’s Dragon capsule at 4:58 p.m. EDT (2058 GMT). Visit Space.com for complete coverage of the Dragon mission to the International Space Station.

LINK: http://www.space.com/25478-astronauts-space-lettuce-nasa-veggie-farm.html

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Tomatoes Seed Sales Rocket 40% With Heritage/Heirloom Tomatoes The Most Wanted

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Tomato seed sales rocket 40% with First World War varieties the flavour of the month – but gardeners fear EU clampdown

  •     Foodies and tomato lovers tiring of buying mass-produced supermarket varieties
  •     Most popular tomato seeds include varieties introduced before WWI, like ‘Harbinger’

Sales of ‘heirloom’ British tomato seeds are soaring as foodies and tomato lovers tire of buying mass-produced supermarket varieties and turn to home-growing.

Tomato seed sales were up 40 per cent in the 2013 season according to figures from The Organic Gardening Catalogue, which has specialised in supplying seeds – some originating from before World War One – to organic gardeners for 50 years.

Some of the most popular tomato varieties driving the demand include the ‘Harbinger’ (introduced in 1910), ‘Golden Sunrise’ (1896) and ‘Ailsa Craig’ (1925) in an ever-expanding range of more than fifty colours, shapes and sizes.

The demand for more flavoursome fruit and vegetables has expanded alongside British households’ growing fussiness over their groceries and the origin of produce.

But niche tomato varieties stocked by retailers like Waitrose and M&S are often expensive and sometimes disappointing in flavour.

Michael Hedges, managing director of Surrey-based The Organic Gardening Catalogue, said: ‘Tomatoes remain the most widely-grown crop for home growers in the UK, and we’re seeing an increase in interest in the old varieties, ideally suited to home garden growing.

‘They typically have thinner skins, rich flavour and a long harvest and ripening period. It would be hard to find anything like these in the supermarket.
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