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2 May 2016

Seasonal challenge: On the plot

Pickings are slim on the plot at this time of year. It really is the hungry gap, when last year's crops are bolting and sowings from the autumn or early spring are tantalisingly but not yet ready. At the moment, we have the last of the purple sprouting broccoli (it wouldn't make it into the greengrocers on size grounds, but we don't have to factor-in the labour costs of picking the stuff), plus we have the last of the spinach (which is desperately trying to bolt). We have some hardy overwintering lettuces which are either too bitter for the rabbits & pigeons to bother with, or like the Japanese Mustard pictured, they're a little bit too spicy for the native wildlife. We have some new growth herbs - parsley, parcel, fennel, sweet cicely, Greek oregano, sage & rosemary. But my favourite thing at the moment is the elephant garlic. You're supposed to grow it for its over-sized but surprisingly mild bulb, but we started growing it ornamentally for it's lovely tall allium flower, having seen this done at a garden called Sticky Wicket in Dorset. At this time of year, the elephant garlic stems are growing like miniature leeks, and as we've got so much of it, I'm cutting the stems to use as an over-pungent leek or a rather mild garlic. You couldn't really make a whole meal with these ingredients, but they're quite strong-tasting additions which can enliven some blander veg.
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