WITH the gradual move from winter to spring we can now see some of the new British grown seasonal vegetables appearing on the stalls and shelves of market stall holders, greengrocers and supermarkets.
My favourite spring vegetables are purple sprouting broccoli and spring cabbage but there are still plenty of British grown root vegetables to be had, particularly as the seasons are running rather late this year, so, if you like carrots, parsnips and swedes, you may still be in luck.
Forced rhubarb is still available for those that love it and it will not be too long before the first natural season rhubarb will be available from our gardens.
Winter grown lettuce and the first of the spring spinach are around, although I prefer summer grown lettuce.
Over the next month, look out for asparagus, new potatoes, strawberries, spring cauliflowers, mushrooms, chicory, celeriac and the first radishes of the new season.
Whilst you are out shopping, ask the stall holder, greengrocer or supermarket manager to ensure that you are informed of the country of origin of all your fruit and vegetables, to give you the option to choose British grown produce and support our growers – Fair Trade for British Growers as well as those in other countries.
Your fruit and vegetable diary:
Fruit – Plant a crab apple tree such as Malus Golden Hornet or John Downie now to provide fruit for crab apple jelly and to help pollinate the normal apple trees in your neighbourhood. Look out for some of the more unusual super fruits in garden centres and catalogues – Goji berries – Lycium barbatum, Chokeberries – Aronia spp, Chinese Gooseberry – Physalis edulis, Cranberries – Vaccinium spp and Japanese Wineberries – Rubus phoeniculasius.
Vegetables – if you are fond of beetroot, sow half a row now and then sow the other half in about three to four weeks time. Summer cauliflowers can be sown under cold glass now or outdoors in a week or two for harvesting from July onwards. Summer cabbages can be treated in the same way. celery is one of my favourite vegetables, both cooked and raw and you can sow it now under cold glass for planting out in May. Sow tomatoes and peppers under heated glass now. Sow some of the quick salad leaves such as land cress, rocket and lettuce directly into open ground now and sow extra short rows in between other slower growing crops.
To search out an available allotment for you and your family, visit www.kirklees.gov.uk and search the alphabetical lists for Allotments, or contact Malcolm Peaker, Secretary of the Huddersfield Allotments and Gardens Federation on 01484 653282.