If you like the sound of serving up your own home grown vegetables for Christmas day dinner, then see what garden experts say you should be planting now.
Serve up a truly homemade feast this Christmas!
We may think of Christmas food as lavish and indulgent, but the meal itself is a celebration of vegetables, with traditional sprouts, carrots and potatoes being key players, backed up by a host of other crunchy goodness.
But what and when can we start growing now and more to the point, just how easily can it all be done? We’ve got top UK garden and food experts to share their advice for a truly festive feast.
Wendy Bowen, Head of Marketing Chelsea Physic Garden, London’s oldest botanic garden said: “Carrots: These love a sandy or free draining soil, carrots grow to full size in 12 – 16 weeks but more slowly in colder weather. You could always grow through the summer and freeze.
What about when the cold weather sets in, what could we grow then? Wendy said: You may like to try and make your own cranberry sauce! Cranberries like very wet or soggy soil so perhaps easiest recreated in a container using ericaceous compost. Fruit can be harvested in autumn and the fruit stored in fridge up to two months in tightly covered container”
Although half the nation may hate Brussel sprouts it wouldn’t feel quite the same if we didn’t have them on the big day, but do we still have time to grow our own?
Food expert, Mark Diacono, who is appearing at Malvern Autumn Show said: “It’s a little late to sow Brussels sprouts and purple sprouting broccoli, but you can still get seedlings of the latter from www.organicplants.co.uk – get them in, water well and you’ll have cut and come again broccoli for your Christmas dinner. Midsummer is a good time to buy one litre herb plants – I’d suggest rosemary, thyme and sage to go with the roasties, the bird and in the stuffing respectively.”
For those of us running a little behind don’t worry as there’s still time to plant as Sarah Francis the Product Manager at Arbordeck shared with us, she said: “When it comes to Christmas dinner, if you’ve just started planning to grow your own, unfortunately you may have missed the boat on a lot of your favourite produce. The likes of the roast potatoes and parsnips will now have to be an added item on your shopping list if you haven’t already planted your crop, with only new potatoes still standing a chance if you plant them now. However, they will be susceptible to slug damage so be sure to grow them in big containers or sacks to protect them.
Luckily, July offers you a ‘last-chance saloon’ for certain root veg. If you want to grow your own carrots, opt for the Chantenay variety and sow them thinly. Since we’ve had quite a dry summer, you’ll have to add compost to soften the ground, but a portion of these carrots honey glazed really can step your Christmas dinner onto a new level.”
From potatoes to Brussel sprouts, it won’t be hard to show off and impress family and friends with what you have been able to dish up fresh from your garden this Christmas.