While we may well be into the hungry gap now, with winter crops finished and spring crops not quite big enough, there are still a few things around for a healthy meal. The overwintered salads are just about still going, although many have been pulled out now as they have bolted; perennial herbs such as lovage, chives and sorrel are tender and delicious; the overwintered chard in the tunnel has a new lease of life; and the early spinach planted in the tunnels a month ago is coming on well and ready to be picked.
I was given some dried elephant garlic bulbs just before Christmas, and we whacked the cloves in the small Acorn tunnel to see if it would do anything: and now it looks great! We will start picking and selling it as fresh stem garlic next week; it’s gorgeous milder flavour makes it perfect for using raw if you’re brave enough; otherwise lightly cooked or stir-fried, or used in pasta dishes. It’s also known as ‘wet’ garlic when picked this way and chefs love it – not to be confused with ‘wild garlic’ or ramsons, which are the broad-leaved plants with white flowers that adorn woodland floors and verges at this time of year, and have a less refined flavour. Try chopping fresh garlic into a salad with some spinach too for a feel-good spring treat: delicious with Tracklement’s mustard ketchup thinned with oil as a dressing, available from Hartley Farm Shop along with our produce!
Just came across this, and had to post & share: these pics by Amber Locke are amazing! When I have my enormous dream Veg Shed/Barn/Foody house/kitchen, I will plasted these prints all around the walls. It’s enough to give your New Year resolution of eating lots more lovely fresh fruit & veg a mega morale boost – if you’re making yummy gorgeous raw salads like this, who needs rubbishy old chocolate & processed carbs!
Just a short note in praise of the wonderful Oriental leaf that is mizuna: I’m cutting this patch for the third time this season, and it’s still plugging away at growing (slowly now) despite the low light and temperature levels. Three cuts already, hurrah! The pak choi (tai sai) was pretty good grow-wise too, but most was ravaged by caterpillars. After cutting back though the next lots of leaves look pretty good. The mustards (Purple Osaka and Red Frills) have grown well too; but most other things are being pretty slow… (they did go in late though).
I’ve made a good dent in the celery in 5-Penny tunnel, and hope to have cleared most of it soon, so I can bang in some brassicas, which will then be ready to cut when spring’s warmth shows up (seems a long way away today, brr). The celery has done well this year, so I’m planning to do a bit more next year too. Frogs and toads love the cover as they hop around underneath the canopy, and it’s great to have crops other than winter salad available at this time of year.