In the hungry gap and winter

For anyone who isn’t aware, the hungry gap is the time, around April in the UK, when it is almost impossible to get food out of the garden. As the weather warms, the plants that were providing food in the cold begin to put their efforts into flowering to produce seed. The seeds planted in the spring have not yet had enough time to grow. Also stores of potatoes and squashes from the previous autumn will have run out. You could imagine that before the global movement of food or artificial light and heated greenhouse growing that this period is what drove many people into pickling and preserving stuff. The cavelo nero and swiss chard produced masses of flowering shoots earlier this year which were actually very tender and tasty. As long as we kept harvesting them – they kept sending out new shoots, albeit thinner and thinner ones.

Over the winter itself the actual leaves of the cavelo nero and swiss chard kept us going, along with the perennial kales, purple tree collard, winter purslane, rocket and three cornered leek also providing good bulk. It was quite a leafy green affair though and we only managed to get enough for around 4 side dishes a week. The watercress could be eat upon occasion too and sorrel only disappears very briefly.

There were also a few tubers to harvest in the winter – Chinese artichoke, Jerusalem artichoke and yacon.

I’m afraid I have no photos of these plants actually in April. I only decided to start a blog in June and luckily for me I took these to send to my grandma in Liverpool because she couldn’t believe that I had anything to eat in the garden.