Sargent gives peas a chance as former minister turns garden lore into book

Sat, Apr 21, 2012, 01:00

THE EXCITEMENT never ends in Balbriggan.

These days Trevor is up to his oxters in purple-sprouting broccoli, he has spotted the elusive little Blackcap flying into his kitchen garden and, like Prince Charles, he is a keen advocate of peeing on your compost heap.

We miss Trevor Sargent, the former leader of the Greens, one-time minister of state for agriculture and fervent champion of the home-grown spud (and other veg.) Although he has left politics this column likes to keep an eye on his popular blog: “Trevor’s Kitchen Garden”.

So we are delighted to give him a plug for his excellent new book on growing your own food. It was launched recently at a bash in Dublin by chef Neven Maguire. Cheesemonger supreme Seamus Sheridan laid on the nibbles.

Trevor’s Kitchen Garden, which is “a week-by-week guide to growing your own food”, is full of invaluable nuggets for the potentially green-fingered, no matter how small their growing space might be.

What to do if you spot a rat near your compost heap? Trevor knows.

When should you prune your plums or bottle your beetroot? He knows.

Are you aware Prince Charles made “an important contribution to the composting system of the UK Centre for Alternative Technology” when he made “a comfort stop” in the garden during an official visit?

Trevor is aware – and what’s more, he says there’s a plaque to commemorate the royal piddle. (Thank heavens we didn’t bring the Queen to the Bots.) Meanwhile, sea trout, mussels, cockles, turbot and sole are in season this month. And Napoleon Bonaparte is the founding father of farmers’ markets. (It’s not all about plants). The guide includes thoughts from other kitchen gardeners, including former president Mary McAleese and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, who is devoted to his oscillating hoe.

Trevor’s Kitchen Garden is published by Orpen Press and all royalties from sales are going to SEED (Schools Environmental Education Development).

As Sargent’s own T-shirt says: “Give Peas a Chance.”