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Winter Vegetables

December 11, 2015

A trip to the allotment for the first time in two weeks left me guiltily aware that a good three-hour session was long overdue. The wind had taken the covers off the Purple Sprouting brocoli bed and because of the mild, wet weather the weeds were having a field day. But although the Musselburgh leek bed looked more than a bit scruffy…


…once lifted they cleaned up and there will be lots more for the next few months. And a surprise row of Mustard Red Giant was looking very pretty and will be stir-fried with the spinach beet.


The Brussel sprouts are still the size of peas, so note to self, plant out in late spring next year rather than late summer. They won’t be ready until January but curly kale, cabbage and chard should be worthy of picking in time for the 25th.

DSCN5875Bright Lights Chard positively glowed in the winter sun…


The bulbs of fennel sown from seed just fourteen weeks ago are fattening up. These will be left to get a bit bigger then forked up if frost is forecast.DSCN5879

The cosmos, nasturtiums and marigolds are well and truly over but a small clump of wallflowers were blooming away-surely ten weeks early? Their lovely scent is so associated with spring that I have had to keep sniffing them.


The agapanthus Christmas decorations are coming on a treat and will be revealed next week !!


12 Comments leave one →
  1. December 11, 2015 10:01 am

    You have really fantastic winter crops. I only got my allotment at end April so hopefully next year I can be more organised.

    • December 11, 2015 10:45 am

      Hi Sandra
      The good thing about allotment gardening is that you learn something new and then you can put it into practice next year. That’s the satisfying bit plus of course the fresh air and exercise and the lovely produce.

  2. December 11, 2015 10:30 am

    Superb looking cabbage, Sue! Actually, it’s all looking good, so lovely to have loads to pick from throughout the winter. I don’t grow cabbage anymore because they always end up as slug fodder so I tip my hat to your fine achievement. I’ve just checked back and can see that I bought my brussels sprouts as plug plants from a local garden training scheme back in mid-May. Two of them have bulked up nicely and a couple more are pea-sized. I may have a go at growing leeks next year, I enjoy them so not sure why I haven’t grown them (space, probably!).
    It’s extraordinary what’s flowering now; I have cowslips flowering alongside echinacea, weird but much appreciated!

    • December 11, 2015 10:39 am

      Yes that splendid cabbage was the best of the row!! And do try leeks next year the earlier you sow from seed the better. You can see how scruffy they look in the ground but they were fat and healthy when stripped of the outer skins and tasted great.

  3. December 11, 2015 1:11 pm

    Well done on your winter crops, your allotment looks very healthy! We have Chard still going strong and although some outer leaves were slimy after the frost a couple of weeks ago, it still amazes me how tough that is.

  4. December 11, 2015 1:31 pm

    Next year I plan to pack cabbages in a short row and then to protect them really well. They are quite spread out this winter and it makes monitoring for slugs and aphids difficult. And since one cabbage every two weeks is more than enough a smaller patch will do.

  5. Lucy moore permalink
    December 12, 2015 8:17 am

    Superb veggies Sue! I didn’t realise fennel could be grown so late in the year.

  6. December 12, 2015 9:32 am

    Hi Lucy

    Well the surprise was how quickly the seed germinated and then grew to good size seedlings. I was initially growing fennel for the lovely flowers and leaves but seeing these healthy and compact bulbs I shall now use them. Then I’ll sow again from seed in April/May next year for cut flowers.

  7. December 12, 2015 12:18 pm

    That mustard red giant looks very attractive. Do you use it in salads or is it too bitter? Looking forward to seeing the decorations next week.

  8. December 12, 2015 1:03 pm

    It’s very pretty and hot and peppery so I prefer to wok it. But it can be used in salads where the beauty of the leaf is more visible and it gives a lovely kick.

  9. December 13, 2015 11:02 am

    Well done growing fennel, I’ve given up as my bulbs are never very fat plus I can buy locally grown ones very cheaply. I like mustard leaf and as long as it is very small I like it raw, I’ve not tried cooking it, I must give it a try with larger leaves.

  10. December 13, 2015 5:24 pm

    Yes a quick spin in hot oil retains the flavour of mustard leaf and adds a kick to stir-fries.

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