Sunday 23 December 2012

The Christmas-week garden

In my garden in Christmas week there is not much growing right now - just a few "old faithfuls"...

In the rain-saturated raised beds the soil looks black, but the vegetables are resolutely green: Brussels Sprouts, Cavolo Nero, and Purple Sprouting Broccoli, with Endives and Radicchio underneath.

The Cavolo Nero plants are looking quite depleted now. In this next photo you can see that the middles of them are bare, with old scruffy leaves down below, and tufts of small young leaves up above. This is because the best leaves for use in the kitchen are the middle-sized ones.

Like these...

Underneath the tall brassicas there are still plenty of good Radicchio (albeit very rain-soaked ones).

That particular one has some very ratty leaves round its periphery - many of them full of slug holes - so I have cropped the photo to make it look more presentable! (You know me...) I haven't altered the colour though. It is an amazingly deep crimson colour. Very hard to photograph, I might add, with the leaves so shiny with the rain!

I have lots of Curly Endives too, though of course their growth has slowed a lot.

There are plenty of Parsnips left still (though there will be fewer after Tuesday), but they show little evidence of their presence, since most of their foliage has died down now. It wouldn't be a problem in my small garden, but allotment-holders would be well-advised to put in some tall sticks or something just to mark the location of their parsnips just in case we get snow. Mine are immediately to the right of the cloches in the photo below.

Spectacularly unimpressive, eh? But let's wait until tomorrow, when I dig them up and see what's underneath...

The few lettuces I have under the cloches are not looking very happy. They are not really growing - just surviving - and actually a couple of them have succumbed to rot. These days the air is permanently wet.

Did I mention that it has been raining...? This year we will be having a WET Christmas, not a WHITE one.


  1. Goodness, it is a very tidy plot Mark, it is putting me to shame.

  2. Your winter endives look good,I must try growing some, although my Californian mix:mustard,land cress and rocket seems to be standing up to the cold weather well.
    My camera seems to deal with reds very well(ruby chard stems) but struggles more with whites(parsnips)and yellows(butter beans).
    Because the Cavolo Nero are so plentiful on the allotment I'm now cutting whole heads rather than depleting them leaf by leaf.The tufts of younger leaves can be cooked whole without removing the stem.

  3. We will be eating plenty of salad this Christmas as Martyn is confined to cold food!

  4. That is what happens to my greens when I grow them under plastic. They eventually rot out as it is always damp under it. But I'm guessing those parsnips will be wonderful. I think I'm going to bring some squash and some Boston Baked Beans for Christmas.

  5. It all looks good to me. Any vegetables that you can still grow in the winter are wonderful! I am going to have to try parsnips again, I am sure I just didn't cook them to may liking.

  6. We really need rain here so it is hard to read about wet Christmas'. Anyway have a lovely day and I hope the parsnips are fabulous!

  7. You've still got more growing than I have. Hubby's just set off for the allotment, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my three measly parsnips have grown well underground, though I admit to buying some, just in case. Have a very merry Christmas, Mark. I hope you enjoy spending time over the holiday period with your lovely family, and especially your grandaughters.

  8. I Hope the parsnips were Devine. I love parsnips and will try growing them myself soon.


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