In this feature, Daniel Nowland explains why soil is so important to the food system we all rely on, and the threats that it faces in present times.
Grow your own
Rhubarb has an amazing flavour spectrum – it’s sour and acidic, but when balanced with sweetness, it’s tart and refreshing all at once.
I’m writing this on 29 February, that strange extra day that’s shoehorned into every fourth year to make the calendar year and the earth’s celestial year align with one another.
February often gets a bad rap, but unfairly so, in my opinion. Yes, it’s still winter and yes, it can sometimes be dreary, but prolonged periods of cold are so rare these days that the season is seldom actually as bad as we expect.
The Western world wastes three times the amount of food needed to feed the planet’s hungriest people. From our farms to our supermarkets, tonnes of perfectly edible food ends up in landfill, while statistics suggest that the average family in the UK throws away £700 worth of food a year – that’s £12 billion nationwide.
There’s always a lot to do in December, but not much time in which to do it before the Christmas holidays begin. Short days and grotty weather don’t help matters. Ideally, I’ll have finished weeding the vegetable beds by then, so that in January I can concentrate on mulching them.
Every month has much to recommend it, even November, although I can’t imagine many people would declare it their favourite.
Jam making is not just for experts. You don’t need fancy equipment to learn how to make jam – just a couple of ingredients and a few nifty tips.
October is a month of unstoppable transition. There’ll even be a few summer crops still doggedly carrying on but ripening ever more slowly.
In September, the trees and hedgerows are bursting with seasonal sweet and savoury treasures, from native fruits to big, beautiful autumnal squash.