Joy Larkcom, proclaimed by the Observer 'the queen of vegetable growing', transformed the experience of growing vegetables in Britain--and indeed can be said to have played a large part in changing the whole of the British attitude to vegetables. Among many innovations she introduced saladini and bags of mixed salad leaves, and popularized the practice of cut-and-come-again.
All this, according to Joy, stemmed from the Grand Vegetable Tour she undertook with her husband, Don, and their two young children in the 1970s, travelling around Europe by caravan. While Don did the cooking and taught the children, Joy bicycled off to find out everything she could about how people were growing vegetables and to collect seeds of rare varieties. The tour led to books (famously Grow Your Own Vegetables) and a lifetime of garden writing.
The articles published here, for the first time in book form, are selected from that life's work. They describe not just her adventures on the Grand Vegetable Tour--from a rollicking evening's dancing after husking maize with French farmers to visiting ancient Portuguese gardens excavated in sand dunes--but many other experiences, including life at the small experimental market garden she set up in East Anglia on her return; her travels in China and Japan in quest of oriental vegetables; and the creation of a new 'retirement' vegetable garden at a farmhouse on the west coast of Ireland.