Ahhh, it is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas…
Christmas, of course, is an awesome time of year, and also one of the very best times to have an allotment.
There is nothing quite like sharing all your hard-earned produce with friends and family over a big celebratory feast. It is a special feeling and one to cherish.
I popped to the plot today to check on the veg that will be making its way to our table on Christmas Day, and I’m filled with contentment when reporting that generally, things are looking good.
With a little careful planning, an allotment can provide all the veg you need for Christmas dinner, whether the goodies come directly from fresh from the plot or the trusty store.
On the plot, we’ve got some tasty looking greens, especially the cavolo nero (pictured). This is a fairly new addition to my growing plans but I wouldn’t be without this now. Cavolo nero is sweeter than the other Winter greens and incredibly hardy to boot.
The cav nero’s sister plant, my curly kale is also looking good after surviving the Cabbage White onslaught. Again, this is very hardy and easy to grow, so long as you net well from the butterflies. I like to steam or boil the curly kale and cavolo nero together and squeeze lemon juice over the leaves before serving.
My Brussel sprouts are still a little small, but I’m not too concerned about this. I enjoy growing my own sprouts as this provides the chance to harvest before they get big. Don’t get me wrong, a big Brussel is okay, but a smaller sprout is that much sweeter, especially after we’ve had a few frosts.
Leeks are a favourite allotment crop of mine, and will definitely be on our Christmas menu. Aside from the flavour, the thing I love about leeks is that they will happily sit in the ground for as long as necessary, so you can pick them whenever you’re ready.
Parsnips are another Christmas staple, although mine are looking rather stumpy this year. I’m not sure I planted the modules deep enough in my garden raised bed. The ones down the allotment are suffering from the usual problems with the stony soil, so unless I can grab some extras on the fly tomorrow, I reckon there will only be token parsnip representation on the table on Thursday!
Of course, no Christmas dinner would be complete without the roasties. This year has been a bumper one for my potatoes, and between me and mum we took home 6 bags full, which have been safely stored in my shed for the last couple of months.
If stored correctly, potatoes will keep well into the New Year but perhaps the pertinent question is not about storage, but what makes the best roastie!
For me, the best of the roasting bunch is the good old King Edward. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t grown this ever-popular variety once upon a time. Their fluffy flesh makes the King Edward a roastie classic, and being a late maincrop, they’re just right for the Christmas dinner menu.
Whatever crops you’re dishing up on Christmas Day, I hope you have the best time and have enjoyed your allotment and veg patches as much as me during 2014.
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas,