Vegetable Gardener, Belinda Stride, On The Kitchen Garden
Guru for May is vegetable garden enthusiast, Belinda Stride. I particularly relate to her advice to not plant everything at the same time having once had to deal with a massive crop of runner beans. Chutney was the only, not very exciting, solution:
Belinda Stride on the vegetable garden in May
Seeds planted in pots or straight into the earth appear two to three weeks later. I am an impatient gardener starting far too early in the season and so get very disappointed when plants are a little slow to get going. Almost everything will germinate in May though, so now is the time to plant lettuce seeds, radishes, beetroot, carrots, and spinach directly into well dug soil. Don’t sow the whole packet but just a small amount of each and then in two weeks do the same again, then you will have a succession of produce through the summer. Start off your runner beans and french beans in pots and then transfer to the plot when they are about 4” high.
The broad beans I planted in November are doing very well and I expect to be harvesting them by the end of this month. The previous year’s crop was miserable due to the very cold conditions. Now I just have to keep the pigeons from gorging on them before we do!
In April I planted shallots which you can see in the picture as well as some mange tout which seem to do very well in my garden. Experiment with different seeds you will be amazed!
Having got through March and April with not very much in the garden to eat, May brings such promise. I grow parsley as a crop and we live off parsley soup (make as watercress soup) all April as well as purple sprouting broccoli. Now the first spears of asparagus are coming through …delicious. We rarely “muck about” with asparagus, just fresh with lots of melted butter (I also get the water boiling before I cut it so it looses none of its freshness). However, this is a lovely recipe that I use if friends come round.
If you are thinking of initiating a vegetable garden, go to this helpful post on The Middle-Sized Garden blog.
Recipe for Belinda Stride’s asparagus with prosciutto and creamy goats’ cheese sauce
Serves 4 as a starter; you are very likely to have some of the sauce left over – it makes a great dip
- 20 spears of asparagus
- 4 slices prosciutto
- 100gs soft goats cheese – Tesco spreadable works very well
- 100gs crème fraiche (full fat)
- small handful parsley, finely chopped
- small bunch of chives, finely chopped
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- Put asparagus in to a pan of boiling water for just one minute, drain and cool. When cool, wrap four spears in a piece of prosciutto and place in a roasting tin with a drizzle of olive oil.
- Fork together the goats’ cheese and crème fraiche, then beat in olive oil. Add parsley, chives, salt and pepper and lemon juice. Put into a pan and very gently warm, do not let it get hot.
- Put the asparagus into the oven at 180ºC for six minutes. Put on pretty plates and pour over a little of the sauce.