Following the recent high winds and torrential rain, it was a wonderful welcome relief to wake the other morning to a light frost covering the garden and surrounding fields, and more importantly, to blue skies and sunshine!
January as we all know isn’t the most inspiring month in the garden, but this rare glimpse of sunshine lured me outside to inspect things, and I was pleasantly surprised to find some small signs of life and change in amongst the drabness! Bulbs are just starting to poke their heads through in beds, and my beloved Hydrangea ‘Annabel’ are also in bud. Always a danger that these might get knocked back if we get harsh, cold weather over the next few weeks, but for now I am happy to enjoy that feeling of optimism for Spring!
My kitchen garden is my greatest pride and joy. Created with love (and backbreaking hours!) by my husband and I five years ago, when we designed and built our home and created the garden from scratch. Over the years we have slowly transformed what was a former equestrian site with little more than a sand school, water logged paddocks and a car park, in to the ‘young’ garden it is today. Still very much work in progress, but a satisfying transformation so far. The kitchen garden in particular has been the most rewarding of projects. It is a place where I go to completely de-stress and unwind, to be creative, and just ‘potter’. Yes, at certain times there is also a lot of hard physical work, but the reward of producing delicious, home grown organic produce for family and friends to share, is the ultimate prize as many of you will know!
Although I am a rather over enthusiastic grower of pretty much everything in summer, it was my resolution last year to concentrate more on winter vegetables which somehow usually pass me by on the sowing front. This year’s winter harvest is an improvement, and I am pleased with my current modest harvest of Leeks, Kale, Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Celeriac. The latter has proved to be the most surprising success, and I have been busy in the kitchen making delicious Celeriac soup and fresh crisp, tasty ‘Remoulade’ salad (a recipe from BBC Food). Delicious, and a lovely fresh and healthy post festive pick me up (or try Sarah’s Celeriac Salad with Apple, Pine Nuts & Prosciutto)!
Of course, the best form of ‘gardening’ on these often bleak, damp January days, is from the comfort and warmth of inside! It is a great antidote to January’s gloominess, and there is nothing more optimistic and inspiring than curling up with a pile of seed catalogues and planning for the coming Spring. This year I want to concentrate on growing some more heritage varieties, particularly tomatoes, and also add a few raised flower ‘cutting’ beds to the back of the kitchen garden.
Are you enjoying planning for the coming Spring? Do you have any new ideas to introduce to your garden too this year?
Wishing you a very happy new gardening year, and happy planning!
Thanks for reading,