Valentine's Day is here again, and whilst the shops may be heaving under the weight of red roses and chocolates, it's also a great time to get hot and spicy on the windowsill or in the greenhouse with the first sowings of this year's chillies..... These red devils can vary widely in the time it takes for them to germinate and produce fruit, (depending upon the variety), so getting a head start makes sense.
It's all too easy to forget the power of scent at this time of year, something we might more usually associate with high summer and the heady scent of roses. But mid-winter can offer up some of the most seductive and powerful scents we could wish for in the garden. Here are three of my favourite.
Terracotta rhubarb forcers will give you an early crop of tender stems.....but a simple bucket would work just as well.
For tender stems, exclude the light from the newly emerging stems of rhubarb. Mulching around the pot with straw will help increase the temperature inside the pot, helping to speed those shoots along.
Microgreens are the seedlings, usually consisting of the first pair of seed leaves, of various vegetables and herbs. Beloved by chefs for enhancing the visual appearance, texture and taste of dishes, they are also a great way to get an extra veg hit in the darkest days of winter. They're high in carotenoids, vitamins C, K and E according to US research published in 2014. So with a nod to good health, Veganuary and the purse strings, I've decided to try out Johnsons Microgreens growing kit.