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Friday, 2 December 2016

The Vegetable Plot - December

How keen have you been?

There’s a whole crop of vegetables in season this month and if you have the space and are really keen, you will have Brussels sprouts, celery, parsnips, celeriac, leeks, kale and cauliflower all lined up as Christmas fare.

If you’re growing under glass you may have lettuce, endive and chicory, radish and rhubarb to add to the spread. Then again, you might simply not have had the time but now you have, and you’re staring at an empty patch thinking there’s not a lot you can plant out.

Garlic actually benefits from a period of cold, which helps to promote its growth later on, but it doesn’t like to sit in water. If your soil is heavy and holds water, when you make the planting hole with your dibber, place an inch of sand in the base and sit the clove on top. This will give it good drainage and stop it rotting.

If you have a cold frame and an area you can keep frost free, or a greenhouse, you can sow onions in seed boxes or modules. Victorian gardeners used to make hotbeds by filling a wooden compost container with horse manure covered with a layer of soil, mushroom compost and grit and placing the cold frame on top. The heat builds up underneath and you can sow early carrots, spinach, lettuces and turnips. And it’s fun to do. 

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