GROW YOUR OWN FOR NEXT CHRISTMAS
by Northern Life
Although you can’t control what will and won’t be hitting supermarkets this winter, there are perhaps some gardening decisions that might make your life a little easier come Christmas 2022.
Likely the planting journey we are most familiar with is the lifecycle of the humble carrot. These versatile veggies are a staple for any roast dinner, so are essential for your Christmas plate.
Sow your seeds in the earlier half of the year, generally from around February to July, harvesting towards the winter. The later you’d like to harvest, the later you should sow, considering that carrots take around 12-16 weeks to fully form.
Carrot seeds are widely available – you can get these from your local garden centre with ease to kickstart your journey. They grow best in good light and fertile soil, sowing seeds thinly in deep rows fairly far apart.
Perfectly roasted, covered in honey and mustard, this side dish is often a family favourite. If you’re familiar with growing the common carrot, you should hopefully find the process of growing and harvesting parsnips to be fairly simple.
Start off in April for the best results, potting in open, well-lit spots. Spread the seeds thinly (with intervals around 15cm) and keeping the soil evenly moist at all times.
When you reach the autumn, get ready to pull your parsnips firmly out of the ground. Use a garden fork to initially ease, then continue to pull.
Save some tubers from summer, leaving them in a light, cool place so they can begin to sprout, ready for delayed planting.
Go for fast-maturing varieties, planting them in pots or bags full (about two-thirds) of compost so you’re able to move them inside, perhaps to a shed or greenhouse, when the air gets frosty.
Add potatoes over the compost, then blanket a little more compost over the top of them.Water well but allow to drain. Let the sprouts appear naturally in a sunny spot, then when they do add a little more compost and repeat throughout the process to prize out your taters.
The perfect pairing for our main dish is the cranberry sauce. The turkey is complimented by their sweet, tart flavour, so create a point of pride and try to make yours from scratch.
They are a long-lasting, spreading plant, so take the time to choose whether you want to grow lowbush or highbush. Cranberries are best planted in winter, so purchase your starters ahead of time from a local supplier. Or better yet, take a free cutting from a cranberry-growing friend. Water the bed thoroughly before growing, leaving it to drain a little. Place plants around 12 inches apart, and water again after potting.
Love them or loathe them, we can all accept they’re a classic.
While you may have missed the boat this year, get a head start for next year to avoid any more disappointment. Sow your sprouts outdoors in March and plant out in May to get your sprouts ripe and ready for November – when Sunday roast season begins.
Choose a sunny spot, sheltered from windy weather. Water well before and after re-planting, and when the time comes, collect the lower sprouts first by simply snapping them off.