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LIVING IN THE GARDEN: Grow your own recipe for health.

Byline: HOWARD DRURY

REMEMBER the days when you were told to eat those yummy home-grown greens? Well, we're turning back the clock. Seed company Thompson and Morgan has been carrying out research into which vegetables offer us the healthiest lifestyle.

Together with Cancer Research UK, they've come up with a Healthy Eating pack containing seeds of five different vegetables and fruits that help us to stay fit and well.

Eating just five portions of the right vegetables could reduce your chances of getting cancer by 35 per cent, and other diseases can be held at bay, too. Growing your own fruit and veg is not only healthier, but you also have control over exactly how they're grown and what they're being treated with.

The Healthy Eating pack contains carefully selected fruit and veg -Broccoli Annual Sprouting, Brussels Sprouts Topline F1, Carrot Healthmaster F1, Pepper Californian Winder and Tomato Harbinger.

Clare Dixey, of Thompson and Morgan, says they'll sell the pack at pounds 2.99 with 50p being donated to Cancer Research UK, and that it will be available in garden centres in the next few weeks. The T&M experts are tops when it comes to growing fruit and veg, and there's a host of new ideas on the way.

Seedsman Colin Randall tells me there are 14 blight-resistant potatoes in the company's catalogue, including Oria, Valor, Sprey, Romano, Remarka, Sante, Appell, Amour and Druid.

But new for 2004 is Sunset, an early maincrop that's bred from farmers' favourite Desiree and has long oval tubers, red skin and pale yellow flesh ideal for baking, roasting, mashing or for chips.

The advent of disease-resistant cultivars is a boon for gardeners, and there's hope that we may soon have blight-resistant tomatoes, too. The breeders are working miracles and already have tomatoes like Ferline, which is new for 2004 and is at least resistant to fusarium and verticillium wilt.

Other new veg include a British-bred soya bean called Ustie, which isn't genetically modified yet is ideal for our climate.

Best sown under glass in April for planting out once the ground has warmed up, it's pestand disease-free, making it a bonus especially for organic gardeners.

Like your chilli peppers hot? Then you must try Hot Pepper Tepin, a newcomer that originates from a wild Mexican shrub.

I'm told it may possibly be the hottest pepper in the world and, although germination is said to be slow, plants crop well from an early sowing even in the Great British weather.

Other new veg for 2004 include Parsley Big Mountain, which boasts long, strong stems and tightly-curled leaves. It stays green when cut, unlike supermarket parsley which goes an insipid yellow even before you buy it.

To learn more about Colin's new vegetables, get a copy of Thompson and Morgan's seed catalogue this autumn by calling 01473 695 224 or click on website www.thompson-morgan.com

CAPTION(S):

SUPER FOODS... Clare Dixey with some of the disease-fighting produce
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Aug 3, 2003
Words:493
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