Champion crop

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The Independent Online
"You seem to have had difficulty producing a good crop of calabrese," writes Mr Higginbottom from Bakewell in Derbyshire. Too right. "It grows well for me," says Mr H, "if I raise it in trays of a rich compost I make myself and prick it out at a generous spacing in a cube of compost.

"The seed spacing is 1.5in each way in boxes 6in deep, I space at 6in each way. The compost is 75 per cent rotted beech and oak leaves, 25 per cent sharp sand, Vitax Q4 and seaweed meal at 1lb apiece per four bushels, plus 5lb of limestone dust. This is mixed thoroughly. Root development is rapid and vigorous. Feed twice with seaweed extract, the last feed the night before you plant out. Plant at 2ft each way. A deeply dug soil with old muck worked into the top 12in gives the best results. The crop is plentiful and worth eating."

Mr Higginbottom must be a king of the vegetable growers. There are too few people who measure out their lives in bushels.