Whether you’ve got acres and acres of garden, or simply have a few pots out on the balcony, there’s nothing quite like growing your own produce, and then eating the fruits (and vegetables) of your labour. Even if you can’t grow your own stuff, eating local is beneficial for the environment. Here, we’re going to tell you what to plant this time of the year, and what’s good to buy and consume.
There’s a definite chill in the air by now: winter is on its way. Though the types of produce you can grow in the UK now (compared to in the spring) is limited, there are some hardy species you can still be sticking in the soil. Between now and November is the best time to plant broad beans. It’s recommended you sow these in a well-drained area, in soil that’s dressed with potash fertilizer. If all goes well, you’ll have a lovely crop of beans ready to eat in early summer. Not all peas fare well in cold climates, but there are some which do; plant Douce Provence, Feltham First, Meteor or Pilot peas now, and you’ll be eating them in your soup come June. Like flavour in your food? Now is also the time to plant certain varieties of garlic: choose the likes of Vallelado or Flavour garlic to ensure they last through the wintry months.
What with all the roasts, stews and soups, we reckon this time of the year is one of the best for eating. If you can manage to buy local produce, either from the supermarket or from farmer’s shops and markets, you’ll be doing your bit for the environment. Pumpkin is popular right now: cook up a tasty soup, or bake a pumpkin pie while this winter squash is still in season. Just after Halloween is a good time to buy, as the price tends to go down. Two more winter veggies that make super soup are turnips and spinach. By the way, if you don’t already have a blender, get one! It’ll save you a fortune in the long run. To go with your Sunday roast, put beetroot, parsnip, squash and swede in a baking tin, and drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Chicory and celeriac are seasonal right now, and provide a nice twist to your trimmings. When making desserts, use cooking apples for pies and crumbles, and chuck in some seasonal redcurrant for tang. It’s the time for plums and greengages as: great cooked, or just throw a handful of raw ones in your lunch box. Carrots are in abundance as well. If you don’t like them generally, you can always cheat and make carrot cake!