Welcome to our monthly gardening series. Every month we will be chatting to some of our favourite gardeners to find out what's happening in their allotments. Tune in for their top tips on what to plant, what to avoid, and how you should be using your produce in the kitchen.
For our February series we caught up with the wonderful chef and grower Xanthe Gladstone to get her input on gardening during the winter months, and what to look forward to as we move into Spring.
Q1. Whats in season and what should we be planting? What should we plant next month?
Right now we’ve got Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, parsnips, radicchio, Jerusalem artichoke, Savoy cabbage, and lots more. In the fruit department we’ve got lots of citrus like grapefruit and blood orange, and then we’ve also got Yorkshire forced rhubarb. So much to get excited about.
In February we should be planting all of our leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, and chard, and then also edible flowers. Tomatoes, chillis, and aubergines should be planted in late January or February under some heat.
In March there is so much to plant! This is the main planting month for the summer months. By now you should’ve done all your tomatoes, aubergines, chillis, etc. and in February all your lettuce, leafy greens, and edible flowers. March is for pretty much everything else: peas, beans, carrots, beetroots, Brussels sprouts, onions, garlic, shallots, potatoes. And if you missed the time to plant tomatoes and chillies, get them in now!
Jerusalem artichoke dip. So good! Peel and boil the Jerusalem artichokes and then blend them up with a bit of tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, and some ice cold water. I have this with homemade sourdough crackers!
Q2. Whats the best seasonal dish you’ve whipped up recently?
Q3. Whats the top tip you would give to someone looking after their garden at the moment?
Be organised and make notes of everything as you plant it. Label your seeds and just be as prepared as possible for the coming months when things will get much more busy.
Q4. What would you avoid planting and why?
I have had lots of trouble with growing broccoli as every year the caterpillars destroy it and I just haven’t found a way to stop them — so that’s the only thing I’d avoid planting again, I’ve finally learnt my lesson.
Q5. What’s your all time favourite thing to plant and why?
My favourite thing to plant is tomatoes. They are really high maintenance and require a lot of attention but the reward is worth it. I don’t think that there’s anything quite like a homegrown tomato that’s been warmed by the sun right before you pick it. It’s juicy and sweet and all you need is a good chunk of bread, good quality olive oil, and some salt and pepper to make a delicious lunch with them. Nothing compares!
To find out more from Xanthe or check our her recipes visit www.xanthegladstone.co.uk/.
Tune in next week to hear from Charlie, head chef at the amazing Thyme Hotel, famous for its sustainable produce and world class seasonal menus. Don't miss out!