Father’s Day Celebrations

With both Father’s Day and Youth Day falling on June 16th this year, what better reason to throw a family kitchen garden party? Take out a subscription to a favourite gardening magazine or visit an accredited garden centre for other garden gift ideas.

Turnip

What to plant

It’s time for planning and planting fruit trees and vines to complement the veggie patch – evergreen citrus trees for containers and screening; deciduous stone fruits for summer shade and winter sunshine; granadilla and grapes to cover a pergola or arch; avocado and nut trees if you’re fortunate to have lots of space. Remember that the sooner you get these fruit trees in the sooner you will enjoy their delicious fruit and nuts. 

Garden centres will stock seedlings of cold-weather vegetables like lettuce, beetroot, leeks, celery and onions for easy planting and quick results. Their seed racks are packed with veggie seed suitable for sowing now – look on the backs of these packs for easy-to-follow growing advice.

In the kitchen garden

– Keep winter-time veggies fed, watered and mulched to ensure optimum harvests.
– Sow broad beans, sugar snaps, and peas in a sunny part of the garden. Get cool-looking tee-pees for tall peas to twine up or plant them in hanging baskets to create cascades of deliciousness.
– Make regular weekly or monthly sowings and plantings of Swiss chard, kale, cabbages, pak choi, lettuce and broccoli to ensure a continuous supply of healthy goodies through to the end of spring. These all grow happily in a pot on a sunny patio or balcony too! With the cold winter months fast approaching now is the time to plant vegetables in the garden which can be used to make delicious soups. Try leeks, cauliflower, onion to mention a few.

ParsleyHarvest and enjoy

Vitamin-rich lemons and grapefruit are ripe and ready for picking and juicing. The ‘pizza’ and ‘casserole’ herbs (parsley, sage, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, chives) are perennials and should survive winter in most parts of the country.

Leafy winter greens are delicious cut into fine ribbons, stir-fried with a few black olives and chopped chilli, and topped with chopped fresh garden herbs. The leaves of Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and turnips are especially flavourful but remove the less tender centre rib of the leaf before slicing and cooking (your compost heap or worm farm will thank you for those tid-bits).

Recipes

Veggie of the moment is Swiss chard – two vegetables in one!

– Shred the deeply crinkled, dark green parts of the leaf, fry gently in butter, stir in a little cream and a scraping of nutmeg and serve with scrambled eggs for a light lunch.
– Steam the long, firm white stalks, drizzle with garlic butter, smother with grated cheese and serve as out-of-season asparagus.

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