As unrealistic as it may seem after the last month’s weather, we are hoping that spring will soon be with us. There are a few Narcissus starting to flower and the snow drops are putting on a lovely show. This all means that we need to start preparing for the season ahead in the vegetable garden. Early sowings of kale and savoy cabbages are the start of the New Year for us.
With an acre and a half to fill and demanding chefs to keep happy, it is vital that we are well organised with a sowing diary to ensure an even supply of vegetables throughout the year. The new seed catalogues are always something to look forward to and something exciting to read over the Christmas period. With both myself and the chef being the proverbial ‘kid in a sweet shop’, the seed order is long and varied. Old tried and tested varieties are joined by new ones promising bigger, tastier, more disease resistant vegetables. This year we are trying for the first time, on chef’s request, Chinese broccoli and I am particularly excited by a groovy new rocket variety with rein venation in the leaves.
If the seed catalogue is exciting, just imagine the arrival of a large box packed full of all the goodies we have ordered. This one delivery is the bulk of the vegetable seed but there are other smaller orders from different companies still to come including our potatoes, this year in three colours, and onions, including the giant ‘showmaster’ which were such fun last year. Resisting the temptation to sow them all at once, each packet is dated for 2014 and then carefully stored awaiting the warm spring days when the sowing calendar becomes really busy.
Words by Helena, photographs by Martin