Continuing our regular series of opening up our kitchen gardens, this month we take a look at what’s happening at the start of spring.
Just like February, March is a relatively sleepy time in our kitchen gardens. As we reach the end of the ‘hungry gap’, the time when many vegetables are overwintered, much of the activity is happening below the soil.
Next month, we’ll expect to see an abundance of new life and the garden beds burst with new greenery.
Sowing the seeds of a new season
For now, though, our gardening teams are busy sowing and planting ready for a new season.
If you visit any of our kitchen gardens this month, you’re likely to see vegetables being sown to add colour and flavour to dishes later in the year.
Beetroot and colourful chard have both been sown in March, along with kale and swede. New season kohlrabi, a member of the cabbage family, is also sown this month and will mature quickly, ready to make its way onto our menus at THE PIGs.
Potting up for the first tastes of summer
For many people, home-grown tomatoes have the defining flavour of summer. This month, our gardening team are working away at our nursey to pot up over 1,000 tomato and edible flower seedlings, ready for moving to our glasshouses at PIGs across the south.
Edible flowers, such as nasturtiums, will provide colourful garnishes and accompaniments to dishes, as well as adding zingy, peppery flavours.
To make your own piggy bits straight from our menu at THE PIG in Brockenhurst, take a look at our recipe for pressed PIG with pickled walnuts and nasturtium flowers.
Using sustainable cuttings
Throughout March, we’ve also been taking stock of our herb supplies. Any that didn’t survive the winter are replaced with cuttings of previous plants to ensure we have a consistent provision of our favourites.
Similarly, as we prepare for opening three new PIGs over the next year or so, cuttings of our existing herbs will be used to grow new plants and populate our kitchen gardens at our new locations.
Get growing your own
The start of spring in March is an excellent time to start sowing for your own kitchen garden, no matter how big or small. Salad leaves and herbs grow well in modest spaces, while plants like tomatoes will require slightly more room to spread out.
Take advantage of the new season and try something different, such as a blisteringly-hot variety of chilli, or tomatillos to use in Mexican cooking.
At THE PIG, we source many of our fruit and vegetable seeds from Dorset-based Sea Spring Seeds. We urge you to make the most of the new season and start growing something new ready to enjoy over the year.