A lazy gardener's guide to growing organic veg

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Indy Lifestyle Online

You don't need effort or money to grow your own food by the bucketful, according to a radical new gardening guide - in fact you don't even need a garden.

You don't need effort or money to grow your own food by the bucketful, according to a radical new gardening guide - in fact you don't even need a garden.

Washing-up bowls, laundry baskets, milk bottles and tin cans can all be utilised to grow pounds of fresh vegetables, according to John Yeoman, an organic gardener from the Chilterns. You don't get cold, dirty, tired or wet, he says, but your friends will be convinced you've got green fingers.

Mr Yeoman's home-produced new book The Lazy Kitchen Gardener offers a definite antidote to the Alan Titchmarsh-Charlie Dimmock style of energetic outdoor cultivation. "It's basically a gardening book for people who hate gardening, or who think it's too much work," he said yesterday.

"I'm the laziest man in the world and I decided to work out how to grow vegetables with very little work and, well, no gardening. I thought I would do everything Alan Titchmash and that woman would never dream of doing, like growing carrots in laundry baskets."

That can produce stunning results, he says. You fill a deep plastic laundry basket with a mixture of compost and sterilised soil, plant in two carrot seeds of a giant variety, leave it for five months and, hey presto, you have carrots in abundance, two of them 20 inches long and five inches wide. For lots of small carrots you need to use a shallow basket.

The trick can be repeated with runner beans in a baked bean can, he says. Take a 15oz can, remove the top and bottom, and put the resultant cylinder in a washing-up bowl filled with a mixture of compost and gravel. Plant your runner bean seed in the can, add a bamboo cane and you will produce an eight foot tall plant.

Mr Yeoman has a series of other tricks. He grows sunflower sprouts in a pagoda-arrangement of plastic bowls, and grows wheat and even grasses on his window ledge to make bread flower. He favours nasturtium leaves for salads and indoor dandelions for pot herbs. "My motto is to boldly grow where no man has grown before," he said yesterday.

Now 53, he is a former marketing guru who has given up a lucrative career to pursue his love of organic gardening full-time in Ivinghoe Aston, Bedfordshire. He says lazy gardening has two rules: 1) Sweat, toil and gardening should never mix; and 2) Let somebody else do the work you don't like.

The Lazy Kitchen Gardener is available for £11.95 inc. p&p from: The Village Guild Ltd, Freepost ANG 7357, Ivinghoe Aston, Leighton Buzzard LU7 9ZZ

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