Exploring the wondrous foods grown in the UK

The Independents gardening writer Emma Townshend has been exploring the wonders of growing your own food and discovered that the UK has more to offer than just the old World War II staples.

She writes that while things like swede potatoes, white cabbage and Brussels sprouts are all still popular, there is a plethora of other choices open to those who want to make full use of their allotment, garden or greenhouse.

"Allotment holders are increasingly busying themselves with luxury crops such as cavolo nero (the black kale beloved of Italian chefs including Giorgio Locatelli), French sorrel and fabulous Communist heritage tomatoes from Eastern Europe," she writes.

"Whats more, Franchi Seeds of Italy is the trendiest seed catalogue in town, featuring not just rare Italian veg nurtured by generations of Latin housewives, but also exclusive recipes by the River Cafes Rose Gray and Ursula Ferrigno."

A greenhouse can be a great place to begin growing your own food, especially in winter. Tomato plants and peppers grow especially well under glass.