Drought Tolerant Vegetables bundle

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Drought tolerant vegetable bundle

The Environment Agency Drought Group has warned today that the UK is at risk of prolonged drought conditions which could last into next year. With climate change in mind, I wanted to feature a few varieties which whilst not bulletproof, will certainly tolerate dryer conditions.

Swiss Chard – Rich in iron, potassium, Vits C, K and A, Chard is a very underused and underrated vegetable in the UK. In the US it will grow in zones 3 – 10 (13 being the hottest) and that is thanks to its very long roots. Prefers 70% to full sun and is totally delicious. Blanche the meaty stalks and fry in butter, when almost cooked sprinkle with parmesan. Great served with fried eggs…

Tomato Plum  - If you look at the attached image (taken in my Zia’s ‘Orto’ in the Veneto), THAT is how a San Marzano SHOULD be matured. This variety hails from a very hot Naples and does best when largely ignored, water occasionally especially at first. The roots will dive deep into the soil and the plant will focus on ripening its fruits. In Italy its common to leave the whole plant to die with the tomatoes on to ripen them, though I’d imagine some raised eyebrows on some UK allotments at the sight of dead plants!

French Beans  - French beans are surprisingly drought resistant and don’t need watering as often as your courgettes where the leaves droop as soon as they get thirsty. In full summer heat they will develop quickly and are effortless to grow, hence Jack in the Bean Stalk of course! Climbers are more productive than dwarf and delicious for multiple sowings from Spring through to the end of July and versatile in the kitchen, boiled and served hot to bean salads, stews and casseroles. They can also be pickled and ‘canned’.