WANT to impress your guests with a festive meal you have grown in your garden?
Samantha Jones, gardening expert at MyJobQuote.co.uk, has shared her top tips on growing the key ingredients – from spuds to sage, your Christmas dinner table is bound to be bursting with fresh flavours.
The ultimate Christmas dinner table – and it can be totally home-grown too[/caption]
It might be a little too late for this festive period, but follow these tips and your Christmas 2022 will leave everyone speechless – after all, nothing tastes as good as home-grown food.
No Christmas dinner is complete without a pile of roasted potatoes – it’s arguably everyone’s favourite part of the plate.
‘’To grow your own,” Samantha explains, ‘’you’ll need to plant the potatoes in a deep (at least 15cm) tub of multi-purpose compost in late April or early May.
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”Let them stand in a cool, partly shaded position until they resemble chitted potatoes, i.e., when about half of the tubers have shoots and the remainder have swollen and formed buds.
”The following two months can be spent enjoying the leaves, the flowers, and the young fruits.”
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Can’t imagine your dinner plate without leeks?
Consider yourself lucky – Samantha reveals that growing them isn’t that hard either.
‘Growing leeks is not too difficult, but you should sow your seeds from mid-March to mid-April so that they have time to grow properly before the winter frosts arrive.’
‘Great for flavouring stews and casseroles, they require a container that is about 18 inches deep,’ adds Samantha.
Just as important as golden spuds, glazed carrots are another key ingredient we can’t imagine Christmas without.
To grow these nutrition powerhouses, the expert tells us to sew the seeds in late September or early October – this gives the plants enough time to grow to a good size before Christmas.
”Rooted vegetables such as carrots should be planted in a 30cm-by-30cm deep box approximately one month before the forecast last frost,” she adds.
When it comes to soil, Samantha explains: ”Soil compost should be prepared during the previous months and allowed to settle, taking care that the soil is not too heavy or too light.
”At least a third of the compost should be fork dug for drainage.”
”The rest of the compost should be sieved to a maximum three mm particle size and mixed with grit or sharp sand from your nearest builder’s merchant so that it absorbs water but still maintains good drainage.”
This beloved addition to the roast chicken or turkey is relatively easy to grow but, according to Samantha, can take a little while.
”Sage is a slow starter from seed, so it’s best to start sowing in April to guarantee Christmas flavour.
”It is very easy to grow and prefers a well-drained compost with some moisture and can grow in a container placed in either a sunny or shady position.
”It is an excellent companion plant for other kinds of herbs like thyme, parsley or oregano as well as any vegetable plant or tomato plant.”
And last but not least – cranberries.
Bursting with flavour and rich in vitamins, these nutritious berries ”grow like weeds”.
”They make excellent barriers between other plants you want to protect, like lettuces.
”They’re easy to grow in large pots.”
To reach the perfect acidic soil – cranberries love this – Samantha suggests mixing in pine needles or oak leaves with the compost.
For watering, simply collect rainwater in a water butt or bucket.
Get gardening to make sure your next Christmas dinner is home-grown and bursting with fresh flavours.
Meanwhile, this mum’s revealed how to cook a 3-course Christmas dinner with all the trimmings & bubbly for £4 a head.
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Want to win the race? Here’s what you need to know when pulling Christmas crackers.
Nothing tastes as good as home-grown potatoes[/caption]
You might get a little dirty – but it’s definitely worth it[/caption]