It's that time of year again. The plots are dug, weeded and ready to go. Salad greens and tomatoes on the kitchen window sill are coming on nicely. But I find it useful to pick brains before I can successfully pick food! Last year, I got some excellent advice from British Red about Early Nantes carrots which saw us provided for from June though until last week,so I will be planting those again. This year I am seeking more advice as to the best varieties of easy-care food vegetables to plant this year. Failures last year were sweet corn and parsnips. I am thinking runner and french beans, courgettes, mange-touts, potatoes, parsnips, spinach and maybe swiss chard, but I am really seeking suggestions for easy care food varieties suitable for a small garden. I'm not really a lazy gardener, but I do go away from my garden for long periods while I am in France. This means I have to be careful about planting, thinning and harvesting times. So I am seeking plants and varieties that can look after themselves to a large extent and which will crop over a long period, and hopefully through the winter.