I am totally in tune with Chiltern Seeds mantra to grow something new from seed each year and have been dipping into their catalogue for a long time. So it was in keeping with this philosophy that I bought a packet of seeds for a strange crop called Cucamelon from a new range by Sutton Seeds two years ago. Those cucamelons did phenomenally well, both in the garden and in the greenhouse and I found that I was continuously picking and sharing these novelties around. (Unfortunately I’ve yet to find anyone who actually likes them much, in spite of the many chefs that allegedly seek them out).
I returned to the same ‘Homegrown Revolution’ range when I was looking for interesting Christmas presents for gardening friends. After all, who wouldn’t be tempted to try growing liquorice or black tomatoes or electric daisies or callaloo. Hence, I’ve been considering getting James Wong’s book Homegrown Revolution for a while now.
Then, recently, I read a newspaper article by James Wong explaining both the dusty flavour of beetroot (a chemical call geosmin) and how to choose varieties and alter growing conditions to minimise this. Since I had grown and found I disliked ‘Chioggia’ intensely, but really loved ‘Burpees Golden’, this was very interesting stuff. In the article the taste of a number of beetroot varieties is described in terms of a sliding scale of earthiness to sweetness. Oh joy, it was presented in tabular form and appealed to the scientist in me. A book with such clear tables and diagrams, explaining the reasons behind the flavours of particular crops, presses all the right buttons for me. So when I went searching for books by Mr Wong on Amazon I may have accidentally bought more than one!
They arrived today and now I feel like a child in a sweet shop. I can’t decide which to read first and have consequently already read bits of both. But that is the joy of their format, you can dip in and out and I foresee many happy hours doing exactly that.