The humble Radish is an incredibly easy vegetable to grow, as they tolerate most soil types and are quick to crop (usually within three weeks). They're delicious eaten raw, offering a fiery burst of flavour to salads. There's a wide variety of cultivars to choose from too, ranging from near spherical red-and-white roots, to long, thin white radishes, also known as mooli.
These are a versatile if not unusual vegetable, technically a fruit really. The spaghetti squash is an oblong seed-bearing variety of winter squash. The fruit can range either from ivory to yellow or orange in colour. The orange varieties have a higher carotene content. Its centre contains many large seeds.
Florence fennel, a wonderfully ornamental vegetable, is grown for its swollen leaf bases or ‘bulbs’ and edible leaves. When using in salads, the flavour can be improved by slicing the bulb and putting it in a bowl of water and ice cubes in the fridge for an hour. Steam, grill or boil the ‘bulbs’ and serve with cheese sauce or butter; infuse the leaves in vinegar or add as garnish to salad.
The Growing Season varies in different parts of the United Kingdom, but in Hatfield Peverel we are blessed with a milder climate and enjoy a longer season than many parts of the country.
In this section of the web site I have tried to separate the season out into monthly sections to help and guide you through the most popular tasks and crops regularly grown on the allotment site, but if you would like a feature made of a particular vegetable or task, please get in touch and I will do my best to add it to the web site for you.
Usually the risk of frost has passed by now, and with longer days there comes more sunshine and time to be in your allotment. If the weather is dry, then water your seed drills well before sowing any seeds – this way the young plants will develop a good root system.
Rhubarb is grown primarily for its fleshy stalks, technically known as petioles. The use of rhubarb stems as food is a relatively recent innovation, first recorded in 17th century England, after affordable sugar became available to common people, and reaching a peak between the 20th century's two world wars. Sometimes thought as a fruit it is indeed a vegetable
January is generally a very cold month with hard frosts freezing the ground and when the ground isn't frozen it is generally too wet to do much although there are no guarantees with British weather. Looking through my diaries, snow isn't that likely for a prolonged period but you never know.
We get a glimpse of the early signs of the arrival of Spring this month. The soil begins to warm up around the middle of February and we can see for the first time this year the buds beginning to swell on fruit trees and bushes. Overwintering vegetables begin to look less sorry for themselves and they start to produce new growth.
A roast dinner isn’t complete without roast parsnips – and they add a whole new dimension to stews and casseroles too.The good news is parsnips are easy to grow, need little maintenance and can be left in the garden until you’re ready to use them. Sow in spring and you’ll have parsnips in the autumn.
Now is the height of summer, the days endlessly long, temperatures usually at their peek and you should be reaping the rewards of your hard work in the preceding months. Watering in this month is crucial to stem off premature bolting, tomato blossom end rot and splitting skins.
Hopefully by now we are now standing on the threshold of Spring and the new gardening season. The days are beginning to lengthen and although it may not feel like it at times the temperatures are slowly increasing day by day. More importantly the longer days are the real trigger to new growth and you will find that with the help of a little protection you can really go for those early sowings