Tuesday, 23 January 2018

5 Fresh Foods In The Garden - January

Despite the weather being decidedly wet and blustery, then freezing and blustery, then very wet again, I'm pleased that I've managed to get outside for short periods without getting soaked through. 

Most days I have been able to harvest something from the annual vegetable beds to use in the kitchen.

So, here are my five most harvested foods for January 2018.

1. Leeks
I grew three different varieties of leeks this year, to give us some security should one variety go too seed too soon. 

There are Autumn Mammoth, American Flag and one other variety, sadly, I can't remember the variety and unlike me, I didn't record it in my gardening journal.

2. Parsnips
These were grown from organic seed, the variety is Tender and True. This year I spaced the seeds much further apart than I have done in the past, giving fewer roots of a much better size. You can see very clearly on these roots where the growth changes after a few inches of nice straight growing; that's where the wood chip and compost growing medium in the raised bed meets the dreadfully poor soil that was in the field when we moved in. Hopefully this will improve year upon year as the topsoil is rebuilt.

3. Purple Sprouting Broccoli
I grew two varieties of purple sprouting broccoli this year in the hope that one would be ready to be harvested earlier than the other and that's exactly what has happened - hooray! We've been enjoying the purple sprouting broccoli for almost eight weeks and the second bed, the seed packet informs me, should be ready to harvest in February and March.

4. Fresh Herbs
The bronze fennel has braved the weather and the fresh growth is now around eight inches high, certainly enough to pick a little to add to dishes like omelettes and sauces.
The thyme and marjoram which I have growing under cloches, looks fairly scruffy and ragged, but I'm harvesting a little at a time from them.
The evergreen herbs like rosemary and bay add their warming presence to dishes and the sage, although looking very weather beaten, is still just about useable.

5. Cabbages and Kale
We have plenty of Cavello di Nero kale, January King and Savoy cabbages as well as spring greens. Other than the Savoys, I've grown most of these brassicas to give to the birds, as an additional green during the winter months while the grass has stopped growing. We eat just a little kale as we are not fans, but I enjoy Savoy cabbage on a regular basis.
I think the key to enjoying brassicas is to find the way to cook them so that you enjoy them. I dislike soggy cabbage, while friends of mine won't touch it if it still has a crispiness or bite.