Down on the Allotment

Matron grows vegetables and fruit in a Hampshire garden. I've been growing veggies since I was knee high to a grasshopper. Some traditional varieties and old favourites as well as new ideas. I share my garden with my allotment assistant Daisy the Labrador. On Twitter as @MatronsVeggies

Thursday, April 09, 2009

What's in Your Hungry Gap?

This time of year is what vegetable gardeners call 'The Hungry Gap'. Most of your Winter crops have gone, your leeks, parsnips and other root crops, and the Spring sowings have not yet reached maturity. This is the one part of the growing year that I try to plan for. I went out onto the patch today to see what I could find. This spinach I planted last year as a catch crop and ground cover underneath my tomatoes. It has lasted through the Winter and has put on a fantastic growth spurt. Another wonderful thing is that Buddy loves spinach! He gets a spoonful of cooked spinach with his evening meal!
Rhubarb this year is going to be amazing! This is just running away at the moment, best to be eaten this time of year while it is fresh. A little later in the Summer I find it gets more acid and a bit tougher.
The very early broccoli 'Rudolph' has all finished now, but the maincrop broccoli is still going. Cut a spear in the morning then the next day two will have taken it's place. It reminds me of the Disney film Fantasia where Mickey Mouse is the sorcerer's apprentice and breaks his broom in half in order to do twice the work!
Just like the spinach, this 'Ruby Chard' was planted last Summer, I need to weed and feed it and it will be coming into its best in the next couple of weeks. I bought this seed in Poland last year, it is completely hardy and tastes wonderful.
So pleased to tell you that I just have 5 Bramley Apples left in storage. What a great success story. I am going to make an apple pie this weekend. Not just any old apple pie, but 'Debbie's Mom's Apple Pie'.. on my recent visit to the USA we swapped state secrets! I gave her the recipe for 'Spotted Dick'..a British National institution. A fair swap?
Finally, let me show you my Birthday prezzie. Posted to me via a great company Plants4Presents , this pineapple plant arrived at my front door. I hope to be able to keep it warm enough and this may grow into something edible. I do have a couple of small pineapple plants from the Azores, which I managed to keep through the Winter but they do not have flowers yet.
What's in your hungry gap? Tell Matron.


At 7:18 PM, Anonymous Karen said...

Hey, so cool that you swapped secret recipes with your friend while you were here. Another NW tradition coming home to Matron-land! I hope you get to eat that pineapple (and replant the crown for a new one), what a neat present. I always have gaps, but right now I can harvest some arugula, a bit of rather bitter (because of being frozen so many times) merlot lettuce, some verrrrry spicy mustard greens and a couple of edible flowers for salads (spring pansy volunteers and a few weedy violets).

At 7:31 PM, Blogger Shaheen said...


That pineapple plant looks amazing.

At 7:47 PM, Blogger Celia Hart said...

I don't think you'll go hungry ;-)

That pineapple is fabulous!!!!


At 9:26 PM, Blogger Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I've never heard of a hungry gap. I don't have a whole lot happening in the veggie garden yet, but I did spy some sprouts today. The chard is pretty enough to grow even if you couldn't eat it. I love the red!

At 8:09 AM, Blogger Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Let's see: radishes, lettuce, rocket salad, some leeks, chard and rhubarb too. Not to mention loads of herbs. So I won't starve just yet. Love that pineappleplant, one of the bestest gifts anyone could have IMO. ;-)

BTW Tara loves her veggies too: broad beans, french beans, spinach, rocket salad, asparagus and even a grape or two.

At 10:32 AM, Blogger Green thumb said...

'Hungry Gap' is a new and interesting concept for me. May be it is the climatic difference which is responsible for the absence of this entity from Indian gardening vocabulary.
You seem to be all prepared for the 'hungry gap'. The Spinach looks very Healthy; Buddy must be all set to develop some Popeye muscles:-)

At 2:32 PM, Anonymous kitsapFG said...

Definitely go through the "lean season" each year (same as the "Hungry Gap") and it is a challenge to have enough still going in March and April to fill in the very low food production of the early spring garden. Right now I have overwintered swiss chard and spinach, lots of lettuces (many varieties) in succession plantings, green onions, and up until last night... kale (finished it off).

Emerging and soon to be harvested - asparagus and rhubarb.

Love the pineapple plant!

At 4:36 PM, Blogger Dan said...

That broccoli 'Rudolph' is one hardy plant, I wondering how it would do in my climate. The broad beans are up to 100% germination this morning. It really is amazing how those big hard beans and turn into plants so fast.

At 6:47 PM, Blogger Kath said...

There s a kale called Hungry Gap I think.
I have chard and purple sprouting broccoli, mustard greens and my new Rhibarb is just ready for its first pulling in time for Easter Sunday lunch.

At 9:02 PM, Blogger Carrie said...

Our 'hungry gap' is HUGE! It being our first ever year at the old Allotmenteering we're still learning the hard way. We haven't anything to eat from the plot but Andrew is already on the case for that this winter! We've been a little fed up seeing other people still picking stuff!
Funny though, I still have loads to blog about, hehe.
Love your Pineapple, wow, want to know how that goes.

At 11:41 PM, Blogger Rob said...

That pineapple looks fun, I wonder if I got one I could kid the boss in to thinking I'd grown it! Better not as he might want me to grow more in years to come and that could become expensive!

At 7:14 PM, Blogger Hazel said...

I have been eating a heritage flat leaf kale (sutherland) since the end of January - it just keeps going, and is fabulously tasty! Sadly the leeks have run out, but I still have a few parsnips.

I guess the first of the 'new season' crops will be the broad beans - can't wait!


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