The Climate Emergency is a global crisis, but the pandemic has also taught us that we need to think local and this is a vital tool in the climate war.

Few of us appreciate the full impact of the food we eat on climate change. It’s reliably estimated this accounts for 25% of global carbon emissions.

I’m not surprised when you take account of producing artificial fertiliser, constructing agricultural equipment and transporting produce across the globe.

We can’t have much effect as individuals to mitigate this, but a sea-change in everybody’s attitude makes a massive difference. Imagine if we all went back to eating locally produced, seasonal and sustainably grown food.

Gardeners can all start by growing some or most of their own fruit and veg. I’m lucky and have enough space to keep home-grown food on our plates throughout the year, but why not get in on the act with as little as a window box. Thanks to the lockdown, GYO has become more popular, so if you’re new to the game, keep at it!

Trying some summer fruit and veg always pays dividends, especially when you see it is much tastier than anything you would buy. And there’s no carbon footprint.

Soon we may face the delightful dilemma of having a glut: more courgettes than you could ever eat, or runner beans coming out of your ears. But don’t panic. Just prevent the problem from getting out of hand in the first place.

Baby veg are delicious and quite rightly in vogue. You probably won’t have more than one or two courgette or cucumber plants, so pick small and check daily that some monster marrow isn’t lurking beneath a leaf.

The same applies to runner beans, these prolific climbers that always outgrow the frame. Picked small and often you’ll keep on top of them. Frequent picking also forces a plant to produce a larger harvest.

But if some beans get away, leave the pods to swell and pick the smaller ones. And by starting this early in the season, you’ll have enough shelled beans for a meal or two. You have a more manageable harvest and, believe me, shelled beans are great.

I take this a step further by growing more runners than we could ever eat fresh and have lots of shelled beans for the freezer.

Freezing is the simplest way of preserving surpluses, but it doesn’t work with everything.

Vegetables with a high moisture content, like runners, sugar peas, brassicas, tomatoes and courgettes lose their bite and become rubbery. So let seed-producing legumes do their job or render down others, like courgettes or tomatoes to a purée, then freeze.

If you grow herbs but don’t have space for fruit and veg, freezing also provides the answer. With dill, coriander leaves or parsley, cut whole branches,

then freeze.

Or turn the spare room into a farmhouse kitchen. Pick thyme early in the day before the sun dries off essential oils, and hang in a cool, dry room.

A humid kitchen would actually be a rotten choice. And leaf celery or parcel adds flavour to plain old salt.

Fermentation is another age-old method of preservation. Wild yeasts abound and readily convert sugar into alcohol, so I happily use tame yeasts to transform currants, plums and apples into pretty palatable wine. Any other fruit would also do.

And lacto fermentation works well with lots of different fruit and vegetables.

By adding the correct proportion of salt in a sealed container, lactic acid bacteria convert

sugars to acid, adding fruitiness, acidity and umami. It’s brilliant: cabbage or chard stems and mini beetroot are transformed into delicious pickles.

Plant of the week

Nicotiana x sanderae bloom for weeks and are short and branching, no staking required. ‘Perfume Bright Rose’ has beautiful pink flowers that still look good after rain and wind.