Do you want to stop rats eating your ripe corn cobs? Fix a paper plate under the lowest cob on the stalk. Have you grown too much parsley? You can fry it with other greens for a ‘green pot’.

And another great tip is that parsley only grows for two years then needs replacing. This is when you can take out parsley's carrot-sized roots and use them for making stock.

All these fun facts and top tips and much, much more are contained in Magic Little Meals, by Lolo Houbein and Tori Arbon. It is both a cookbook for gardeners and a gardening book for cooks.

More than 50 fruits and vegetables are detailed in this book, giving growing advice and handy hints, and finishing off with recipes for magic little meals, from snacks and finger food, to soups and salads, to stews and curries.

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How to eat artichokes

The book is more of an engaging conversation that an instruction manual. Take the first page. There we learn that now is the time to plant seeds for globe artichokes and, over the years, if you keep dividing them, you’ll have quite a handsome hedge that produces brilliant, lilac, thistle-like flowers.

Or you can eat the fruit before it flowers and relive an ancient dining experience. This falls into the category of slow food rather than a quick snack. Once boiled whole, the authors suggest you pluck off a leaf at a time, dip it in a sauce and eat. Go round and round the globe and the leaves get sweeter and more tender the closer you get to the heart. Lift off the heart’s silky seed stem cap, then place the heart on your tongue. It will melt.

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How to cook homegrown

As well as all the info on vegetables, there is a section on herbs and spices that will enhance your produce, mysteries of your kitchen pantry explained and a truckload of recipes from all over the world.

Another top tip from the book is to get down and dirty in the garden. It's fun and rewarding. Be smart and saucy in the kitchen with your rewards. It’s so satisfying.

Happy gardening and happy eating!

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Start a vegetable garden

Raised vegetable gardens

How to grow fruit and vegies in small spaces

Jenny Dillon Jenny Dillon is the garden editor of Better Homes and Gardens. Her passion for gardening began in her mother’s huge vegetable patch and orchard in the country and now extends to the challenge of city plots, where the constraints are countered by the delights.
  • Food
  • Garden