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Haynes, Bedfordshire

43 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 02 March 2012

Peter Gibbs chairs a gardening debate in Bedfordshire. Joining him on the panel are Matthew Biggs, Pippa Greenwood and Chris Beardshaw.

Matthew Wilson reports on the progress of the Olympic park and Matthew Biggs investigates italian vegetable varieties

Produced by Lucy Dichmont
A Somethin' Else production for BBC Radio 4.

  • Before


    The Olympic site in its early development stage.

  • After


    The planting scheme - as reported on by GQT over the past two years - is spectacular transformation!



    This is usually eaten with Parma Ham, Parma onions and sometimes with parmesan shavings.

  • Questions discussed:

    1. What can replace my dead sun-berry in a shady spot?
    2. I am keen to grow South African Proteas. Would they survive the UK winter?
    3. How do I propagate a magnolia by layering?
    4. How can I use coal ash in the garden?
    5. How do I divide an Aspidistra?
    6. How can I get rid of invasive Acanthus?
    7. How can I reduce noise to create a ‘quiet garden’?
    8. How do I create a ‘leaky pipe’ watering system?
    9. Why did my granddaughter’s butternut squash fail?
    10. Should I buy tools from house clearance sales?

  • Italian varieties of vegetables discussed:


    SAN MARZANO (Naples) - the classic cooking tomato. Dry, meaty, thin skin and hardly any seeds inside. GREAT for soups, sauces, cooking and freezing but overall for making passata.

    COSTOLUTO FIORENTINO (FLORENCE)- ugly, misshapen, horrible hard stalk in the middle. Guess what? Delish. A 'proper' tomato.

    COSTOLUTO DI PARMA (PARMA) - this is usually eaten with Parma Ham, Parma onions and sometimes with parmesan shavings.


    SCAROLA VERDE - actually an endive but looks like frisee lettuce. This is not bitter, not tough but sweet and crunchy like a lettuce, but can be sown during the summer for harvest till end Dec.

    Lettuce MERAVIGLIA D'INVERNO SAN MARTINO - winter marvel of Saint Martino from the San Martino valley. Sow it from Aug to Dec and harvest protected but unheated till End of March!

    Basil BOLLOSO NAPOLETANO - large basil with blistered leaves. This variety is only found in Naples and is highly prized for its flavour. Wrap the large leaves around mozzarella balls and drizzle with olive oil.



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