Just a bit over a month ago we expanded our vegetable patch. Spring is in full bloom and the plants have enjoyed the warmer temperatures a lot. Here is a small update on what is growing in our garden right now and what we have been doing the past weeks to maintain it.
The most important thing to do at this time of the year is to keep the weeds at bay. Since we refuse to use herbicides we stick to the good old method of checking the garden every other day and plucking unwanted plants and weeds out. It might sound like a lot of work but if you keep at it you will only spend a few minutes weeding your vegetable patch out.
Another thing to remember is to check the plants. Did they like being relocated? Did the seedlings survive being planted out in the garden? Did the seeds that were sown directly into the soil start growing?
Make sure you remove all plants that died down and fill the gaps by either sowing the same plant again or going for something that fared well in your garden so far. Gardening is a lot of trial and error - don't let a few dead plants dishearten you.
Plants that thrived exceptionally well in our garden during the winter and this spring were the following.
Curly Kale: This one has been part of smoothies and juicing for months now and will soon go to flower. We will try to go with a type of kale that does well over summer to replace it.
Purple Russian Kale: Probably our best performer. Has been growing since last fall and keeps producing sweet, soft leaves.
Purple Sprouting Broccoli: My favourite winter veg, beautiful purple rosettes of sweet, succulent broccoli. We use it for anything, but please try this recipe if you have some fresh broccoli available - it is divine.
Sorrel: Beautiful red veined leaves which are quite tangy in flavour, goes really well in leaf salads and with lentils and beans.
Spinach: The type we use is called "perpetual spinach", it is not a true spinach but rather a member of the chard family. However this one never goes to seed and I have had plants of this type for several years before I have had to sow new ones. Tastes a lot like spinach and does really well in a pan with some garlic and olive oil.
Swiss Chard: My favourite vegetable to steam, has beautiful colour coupled with deep, earthy flavours. Try mixing it with very soft potatoes, garlic and olive oil for a little bit of Mediterranean flavours in your kitchen!
Keep in mind we live in southern England and the climate here is rather mild in the winters. I will be posting individual updates and info with recipes about each of those vegetables the following days.