Of all the plants that are in my plot the veggies bear the crown

Of all the plants that are in my plot the veggies bear the crown
Written by MAGASIR

The productive garden can add tasty freshness to the festive table. As everyone is business chasing their tails round the house, I quietly slip off into the peaceful garden armed with my spade and collecting basket.

But what will confront me? As I’ve said before, I am no forecaster so writing this well ahead of publication I have no idea of ​​what I’ll find. Will rain be pounding on thawing ground, will it still be rock hard, a snowy paradise or the stuff of dreams – soft, friable and well-behaved?

I’ll discount the wet nastiness. After all, we never get that in Scotland, do we? So, I’ll start by pretending the weather has been smiling sweetly on me. Whatever the centrepiece of the feast will be, turkey, roast beef or the home-grown goose we’ll be having, much of the meal will be rich. I’ll be able to add some parsnips and carrots for roasting. I’ll slip the spade easily into the soil and prize out the best -looking roots I can find, leaving the stunted or multi-forked specimens for another day.

Leeks are a must for stuffing and I’ll add them to the basket, then, at the compost heap, I’ll trim off foliage and scrape away any soil sticking to my haul. For the stuffing, I’ll add a few floury Marfona potatoes from store. While I’ve got the tattie chest open, I’ll pick out some Mayan Gold potatoes: washed and cut long-ways they make brilliant wedges and, vitally on a busy morning, they need no peeling.

Back in the garden the sprout bed is patiently awaiting me. Freshly harvested home-grown sprouts are sweet and nutty and have none of a shop’s bitter, cabbagey taste that could put people off for life. My own sprouts can go that way by late January , so I avoid the problem by growing fewer plants or eating them more often when in good condition.

Looking out the window as I write, I’d expect frozen back-breaking ground on the festive morning. When hard weather is forecast, I always try to harvest and store some veg such as roots and leeks before the worst of the snow or ice . I pack in trays, using next year’s leaf-mould to keep everything moist and ready to use.

If you haven’t picked tomorrow’s sprouts yet do so now and put them in a cool place to defrost gradually.

All this assumes you’ve a big garden and a fair amount of storage space, but a small garden can also contribute to the feast.

The recent cold snap may have made this suggestion impossible, but check and see how the herbs are looking. If you grow rosemary, bay, sage and thyme they may still be fit to make an excellent edible centrepiece as table decoration. Long sprigs are easier To arrange and freshly-cut, they will release some fragrance.

After a few days, the leaves start to wither but you can then use them for flavoring later meals.

Plant of the week

Scots Pine, Pinus sylvestris, gives us graceful branches adorned with blue-green bunches of needles that hold up well to the dry atmosphere in our homes.

delicious pine fragrance, classic cones for decoration and sparky logs for a bonfire or woodburning stove. A beautiful and useful tree that has been sustaining us for millennia.

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