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After many years abroad, Jane Chitty and her husband came to settle in Somerset where they transformed an overgrown allotment into a harvester’s heaven


My husband Bryan grew up helping his grandfather to grow vegetables at the family home in Sussex (during the 50s) when they frequently used sewerage sludge as a fertiliser – and they both thought nothing of pulling out a carrot and munching on it.

I was brought up in Kenya with a climate that encouraged those wonderful fruits like paw paws (papinos), granadillas (passion fruit), bananas, pineapples and cape gooseberries. In later years, Kenya was to become an exporter of flowers and vegetables to other parts of Africa and beyond – with remarkable success.

When we were first married, and living in Kent, we had a happy time with our own small garden, complete with herbaceous border, veggie patch and even a greenhouse for the tomato plants.

Then followed many years spent in South Africa where we had different conditions to contend with in our gardens: sometimes severe drought, other times a sub-tropical climate in the Eastern Cape while it was a Mediterranean-type climate in Cape Town. Added to that was time spent with our daughter in Southern California where we helped her to create a garden. She has recently had to change it all to cope with increasingly very dry conditions.

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About Kitchen Garden Magazine

In this month's issue of Kitchen Garden ... - Offers & giveaways worth £2672 , including tickets to Blenheim Palace & Gardens - Runner beans - Hanging baskets - Gutter gardens - Be a blueberry smoothie with advice from our fruit expert - Plug those gaps with our young plant buyer's guide - Yes you can! Pick health-boosting harvests in just 4 weeks - Shady characyers Vag that loves the dark side - Save 10% on products - 6 great recipes fermenting masterclass -Spinach made simple