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Gardening on the Menu in North Yorkshire

PUBLISHED: 00:00 26 June 2017 | UPDATED: 09:11 26 June 2017

Jill and Martin Fish at Thornycroft

Jill and Martin Fish at Thornycroft

Martin Fish

One very knowledgeable couple put their heads together to make the most of their garden

The vegetable plot at ThornycroftThe vegetable plot at Thornycroft

So when are you going to write a book? It was a question that at first just made Martin and Jill Fish smile because they hadn’t given the idea much thought, if at all. ‘But so many people kept asking,’ says Martin, flicking through the newly published Gardening on the Menu, written with his wife Jill. His mind is already on volume two.

It was an obvious thing to do together. Martin is a professional horticulturalist, garden writer and broadcaster. Jill, a former infant teacher, is a cookery writer who loves to make the most of the fruit and vegetables they grow in their North Yorkshire garden.

Everything was at their green fingertips – Martin’s many years of writing about practical gardening and Jill’s cookery writing plus her collection of family recipes all quite naturally came together over one winter. ‘There were times when we did wonder what on earth we had taken on. It was quite intense but it was a case of just getting on with it,’ says Jill.

The 300-page book is a practical guide to more than 25 different fruits and vegetables Martin and Jill have enjoyed growing in their three quarter-acre garden and eating as a family over many years and still do today. Some are eaten fresh and others stored or preserved. Martin includes easy-to-follow advice with tips on getting the best from your crops and there are 100 recipes from Jill, including the toffee apple pie that launched her cookery writing career 10 years ago.

Ask Martin about growing organically and he will not lecture. ‘I would never tell anyone what to do. I will only pass on what I know works really well.’ He uses as few chemicals as possible and his growing tips throughout the book reflect good practice and common sense that help to keep soil and plants healthy.

Gardening expert Carol Klein explains what makes Gardening on the Menu different to every other grow and eat guide. In the book’s foreword she writes: ‘Good gardening and good cooking should not be slaves to fashion, they rise above trendiness and though Martin and Jill’s book is bang up to date, the quality of their knowledge and their ability to transmit it will be relevant indefinitely. You’ll read these pages and think just as I have: “Thanks Martin. That’s a better way to do that. I’m going to do it like that in future…and thanks Jill. I can’t wait to taste that!”’

There’s a chance to visit Thornycroft, the Fish family garden on July 23rd when it is open to the public from 11am-4pm as part of the National Open Garden Scheme. Martin will be there to answer your gardening questions. Other visits by appointment can be made too. Visit martinfish.com for more information.

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