It is hard to imagine the warmth of spring with there still being a slight chill in the air, but it will soon come around and we love being prepared! Whether you are a regular gardener or fancy your hand at growing your very own crops at home, we have a few recommendations of crops that can be sown now in order for them to be ready to plant out in the spring.
At all of our hotels, April and May are the busiest months in the kitchen garden, as this is when we are harvesting the last of our winter crops such as kale, sprouting broccoli and cavolo nero, as well as planting out our summer crops. Our gardeners work all year round and preparation is key, some of what will be ready in April and May will have been from items sown at this time of year.
Here are a few of our suggestions to get you started in your garden this month…
Onions and Garlic
We love onions and garlic at THE PIGs, there are very few crops that are more versatile and useful, they can be added to an endless list of different recipes. From homemade curries and chillies to stews and pies, having your own homegrown garlic and onion in your garden will come in handy! You can plant your onion and garlic sets either in the autumn or the new year, by planting them now, you will have a good crop to harvest by the middle of summer-ready to get cooking.
Lettuce, Beans and Peas
You can also get going with some early sowings of lettuce, beans and peas and you’ll be greeted with attractive flowers when the calendar resets in a couple of months time and plenty of fresh crops. Did you know the appropriately named Arctic King and Winter Gem lettuces are specially bred for their resistance to cold? Meaning now is the perfect time to plant them! At this time of year, broad beans can be sown indoors in February ready to be transplanted outside in the early spring to yield crops at the end of spring. If you have room inside perhaps on a windowsill, why not start to grow some broad beans?
We love growing herbs because they are so simple to grow, herbs are a great starting point for anyone who is inexperienced with growing at home. They can be grown inside from your windowsill. They will bring beautiful colours and fresh flavours into your kitchen and provide fresh greens all year round. For tips on growing your own herbs at home, read our beginners guide here.
Finally, one of our favourite crops to grow at THE PIGs are chillies, and now is the time to get your first chillies of 2021 sown! Chillies appear in a wide range of recipes and are a fascinating crop to grow at home for all of those new recipes that you are planning to try out this year! We grow several species of chilli and the first we will sow are the Capsicum chinense, these will be sown in the last week of January and we expect these to be ready to harvest mid-late summer onwards sowing them this early allows a long growing season, which should lead to more fruit ripening before the end of the season. Did you know that you can have some control over the heat of your chillies by controlling the watering? Chillies that have been allowed to dry out more will generally be hotter than those who have been over-watered. We get some of our seeds from Sea Spring Seeds, buy your own here.
We hope you find these tips useful and would love to see your very own homegrown crops, please use the hashtag #homegrownspring to show us your amazing progress!