Grow Your Own Christmas Dinner!
Just after Christmas may be the last time that you want to think about the next Christmas, but what if you could have a Christmas dinner full of home grown delicious vegetables?
If you act early in the year, the next Christmas dinner you make could have a personal touch to impress the family and make the festive season extra special and your Christmas meal even more satisfying with your own produced veg.
Even if you don’t like sprouts, is it really Christmas without them? Sprouts are best started in a seed bed planting the seeds 1cm deep and at least 15cm apart. After around 6 weeks the plants should be growing well and be around 15cm tall, at this point they can be moved to their permanent position. They will do best in a sunny spot with some organic compost added to the soil. Water them every two weeks during dry periods, and watch your sprouts appear!
Time to Plant: February - April
Time to Harvest: October - February
Parsnips are closely related to carrots, so if you have previously grown carrots then parsnips should be no trouble. As they are a root vegetable they will need an area of deep soil and they will do best in a sunny spot. Grow them around 15cm apart and keep them watered during dry weather. Once the leaves above the surface start to die down, the parsnips are ready to harvest. They can then be picked as and when required over the autumn and winter months.
Time to Plant: March - May
Time to Harvest: October - December
To harvest potatoes in time for Christmas you need to plant second crop potatoes, and the easiest way to grow these is in containers. Either use 30cm pots to grow one plant per pot, or use a larger container to grow a few plants in one. Add around 10cm of compost to your pot, place the seed potatoes in and cover with another 10cm of compost. Keep them well watered and as the stems grow, add more layers of compost to keep them covered until the container is full. If it gets frosty, move the containers to a greenhouse if possible, or wrap the containers with cardboard or bubble wrap to help protect them from the frost. When the leaves start to turn yellow, the potatoes are ready to harvest, this is around 12 weeks from planting. They will stay fresh if left in the ground in the cool conditions, so pick them as and when needed and fresh in time for your Christmas dinner.
Time to Plant: August - September
Time to Harvest: November - December
Fancy serving a homemade cranberry sauce made with home grown cranberries? The easiest way to grow cranberries is in large pots, ideally around 12 inches, and they prefer acidic soil or compost. The soil needs to be kept moist, and watering using rainwater rather than tap water will help to keep the soil acidic. Cranberries can be picked around late September to mid October and then its time to make your jars of cranberry sauce. The crop of cranberries will increase in the second and third years.
Time to Plant: January - April
Time to Harvest: September - October
After a year of carefully looking after your vegetables, Christmas dinner will be a real treat with an extra special touch! Let us know how you get on!