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Winter salad leaves

A wide range of salads can be grown outdoors for a winter harvest provided they are protected with cloches or frames in cold weather. They include baby-leaf kale and Oriental brassicas such as mizuna.

	Pick mizuna and other Oriental leaves for winter salads or stir-fries.

Pick mizuna and other Oriental leaves for winter salads or stir-fries.

Kale

All kales are tough and hardy, and will withstand most winters. Harvest the leaves and boil, steam, or stir-fry them, or add them to hearty winter soups and stews.

Chicory

Forced "chicons" of Belgian or Witloof chicory are a valuable salad crop this month. Grow them as new shoots from roots lifted and replanted last autumn, and blanche them under lightproof covers.

Brussels sprouts

Sprouts should be still available for harvesting if you planted out a late batch in June or July the preceding summer. Pick them one by one as they mature or uproot the whole stem and use the sprouts as you need them.

Sprouting broccoli

Early varieties of purple sprouting broccoli are sown the preceding summer for a harvest in the following spring. Pick the spears regularly to stimulate the growth of new shoots.

Parsnips

If the weather turns very cold, protect parsnips by spreading a 15cm (6in) thick layer of straw or bracken around them. If you don’t harvest them now, they should last until next month.

Winter cauliflowers

Cauliflowers will have stopped growing by the time you pick them, and should keep for a while after harvesting, especially if you leave some of the outer leaves in place around the heads.

Swedes

This month, you should lift any swedes that you’ve not yet harvested. Though they are fairly indestructible, they will become too coarse and woody to eat – if they haven’t already.

	Lift the last of your swedes now. They won’t really last any longer.

Lift the last of your swedes now. They won’t really last any longer.

Leeks

Leeks should survive even very severe winters. Lift them only when you need them, as they don’t store for long once they are out of the ground.

Endive

Cut whole heads of winter-hardy endive or pick a handful of leaves as and when you need them. If covered with frames or cloches, the plants should continue to survive all but the very lowest temperatures.

Winter cabbages

Either leave hardy winter cabbages in the ground until you need them or cut them and bring them indoors for storage. Hang them up in a cool place.

Celeriac

Lift celeriac as and when you need it. Trim, scrub, and peel it carefully, as the tangle of roots often harbours slugs. Once cleaned up, celeriac is delicious boiled, mashed, or roasted.

Jerusalem artichokes

Lift the last of your Jerusalem artichokes now. Any left in the ground after the end of this month are likely to sprout new shoots and begin growing again.

Vegetables

Brussels sprouts

Cabbages

Cauliflowers

Celeriac

Jerusalem artichokes

Kale

Leeks

Parsnips

Sprouting broccoli

Swede

 

Salads

Chicory

Endive

Salad leaves

 

 

 

Text and photographs copyright © 2010 Alan Buckingham.

 

Allotment month by month by Alan Buckingham, front cover thumbnail Allotment Month by Month
(Dorling Kindersley, 2009)
Grow Vegetables by Alan Buckingham, front cover thumbnail Grow Vegetables
(Dorling Kindersley, 2007)
Grow Fruit by Alan Buckingham, front cover thumbnail Grow Fruit
(Dorling Kindersley, 2010)