Unfortunately winter has arrived but fear not Little Growers has some helpful hints on what to grow and how to turn your produce into healthy treats to get you through these next few months!
Winter Crop Advice
While many gardeners consider winter to be a dormant time there is no reason that you can’t enjoy a fruitful and delicious garden even during the coldest months. Depending on your climate, you may also be able to grow these plants without heat in your greenhouse or even outside. You’ll want to make sure that your plants are growing at an appropriate temperature.(To make sure, you may want to purchase an inexpensive Min/Max thermometer.
Many seed companies provide seeds that are developed to perform especially well in the winter climate.
Consider trying these vegetables in your cold-weather polytunnel:
Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Fava Beans, Garlic, Kale, Parsley, Radish, Spinach, Swiss Chard and Turnips.
When growing in the winter, your plants are likely to have different needs than they would have during the summer. Drastically reduce the amount of water you provide; in most cases the first inch or so of soil should be dry before you water again. Also, because growth slows during the winter most plants will require only minimal fertilizer. Most plants will be just fine
without it provided that you have some good organic content in your soil.
While these plants may tolerate cooler temperatures, they may not tolerate low light levels well. Frequent cloudy weather may require the addition of a grow light.
Good luck over the next few months and please keep us updated on your progress.
Winter and Christmas Recipes
Here are three recipes perfect for winter crops and to bring cheer to both adults and children at this time of year!
1) Roasted Beetroot - *For the recipe in full click here;
Ingredients: 6 Unpeeled beets, 3 medium unpeeled red onions, 4 unpeeled whole garlic cloves, sprigs of thyme, 4 tbsp olive oil
For the glaze: Stock ,2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180C/360F/Gas 4.
Place the beetroot, red onions, garlic, sprigs of thyme and olive oil in a medium-sized roasting tray making sure that the vegetables are well coated in olive oil.
Roast for an hour and a half, until the beetroot feels tender. Peel and slice the cooked vegetables and put to one side.
To make the glaze, place the roasting tray on a medium hob flame and deglaze by adding approximately two tablespoons of stock, the balsamic vinegar and a teaspoon of chopped thyme
Bring this to the boil making sure to stir until the liquid has reduced to a syrupy consistency. Season.
Arrange the beetroot, red onions and garlic on a warmed serving dish and cover in the glaze. Serve immediately.
2) Vegetable Crisps - *For the recipe in full click here;
Ingredients: 1 Sweet potato, 1 Large carrot, 1 Large parsnip, 3 Small turnips, 2 Medium beetroot, 200g Butternut squash peeled, 1 litre Vegetable oil.
For the Spiced Salt: 1 tbsp Cumin seeds, ½ tbsp Sea salt, 1 tsp Smoked paprika, ½ tsp Black peppercorns, crushed.
Scrub all the vegetables except the squash, then, with a mandolin or food processor with a slicing attachment, slice all the veg into rounds 1–2mm thick. Slice the beetroot last and keep it separate. Set all the veg aside.
Toast the cumin seeds in a dry frying pan for 1 minute, then crush in a pestle and mortar with the salt, paprika and pepper.
Fill a very large, heavy-based saucepan one third full of oil and heat to 180°C (when a vegetable slice sizzles slowly). Line a large baking tray with kitchen paper. Fry small handfuls of each vegetable for 1–2 minutes at a time until they look frilly and begin to turn gold at the edges. (Fry the beetroot slices last, as they will dye the oil.) Remove with a slotted spoon, then drain on kitchen paper. Sprinkle with a little spiced salt; the crisps will firm up as they cool. They will keep in an airtight tin for up to 3 days
3) Nutty, Bacony Brussels Sprouts - *For the recipe in full click here;
Ingredients: 6 slices of bacon, cut into one-inch pieces, ½ cup chopped pecans, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, halved, ½ cup apple juice
Method: Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, until crisp.
Stir in pecans and garlic and cook one minute.
Remove bacon and nuts from pan, using a slotted spoon.
Drain fat from pan and return to heat.
Add olive oil and Brussels sprouts. Cook, stirring for 1 minute.
Stir in apple juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until sprouts are tender.
Gently stir in bacon and pecans and remove from heat.
Oldfield Infants School Update
Oldfield Park Infants School in Bath have been busy making great progress with their Little Growers project!
Their poly tunnel has been a brilliant addition to the school and has produced an impressive crop so far. They have grown; 10 tomato plants in an assortment of varieties which have all produced abundant fruit, 2 x butternut squash, aubergines, 2 varieties of cucumber producing numerous fruit and Various chilies and peppers. All the plants have been successful and the fruit and veg has been used by the school cook and either included in recipes or cut up and served as side dishes. We have been informed that the children are now far more inclined to try new things when they have grown the themselves, which is exactly what we are striving for at Little Growers! The raised beds have produced huge onions, sweetcorn, French beans, garlic, raspberries and strawberries. So a huge congratulations to Oldfield, keep up the good work and have a lovely Christmas!
Click here to head over to the Oldfield Park Infants School Photo/Video Gallery!
Maximum Yield Article
Maximum Yield is a UK Horticultural Magazine and Little Growers features in a three page article in the November Issue. We’re really pleased with the piece and are hopeful for the exposure it will provide to future schools and possible endorsement or funding responses. To view the article please see the Endorsements area of the Little Growers website, which can be found at the right hand side of the homepage!