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Think of curry spices and you are whisked to tropical climes. Yet you may be surprised ho many spices can be grown right here – in your own back garden! Benedict Vanheems shares his pick of the crop to turn up the heat and flavor

Some of us are born to love curry – and I’m one of them. In fact, I could happily eat curry at any mealtime. I’ll ’fess up right now: there’s been many a time I’ve tucked into last night’s takeaway curry for an indulgent though admittedly unconventional breakfast.

Cooking curry is like culinary meditation: perfecting the spice blend, lovingly caressing it with the wooden spoon then serving it up with all the trimmings, from chutney to raita. Each warming, taste-exploding mouthful is a joy, a welcome contrast to our sometimes stuck-in-a-rut repertoire.

What you may not appreciate is just how many of the essential spices that make a curry can be grown right here in good ol’ Blighty. Imagine snapping off a thumb of your own ginger or grinding up a stem of lemongrass from the garden. It’s all do-able – and here’s how.

Select pieces of ginger with at least one growing point


Ginger forms the starting point to just about any curry, whether Indian, Thai or Chinese. It’s also fantastic to grow for a pep-in-yourstep hot drink; together with a squeeze of lemon it will settle the stomach and get you going first thing in the morning. At the very least a few home-grown plants will yield a harvest of leaves to give a warming flush of flavour to home-cooked curries.

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About Kitchen Garden Magazine

In this month's issue of Kitchen Garden... - Win gardening goodies Instant garden borders & more worth £1325 - Curry night grown by you - For the love of veg 10 pages of red hot growing advice - 27 big crops for tiny plots - Veggies from a jam jar - Prepare for spring 3 pages of essential top tips - 10 ways to boost your harvest - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall