08 March 2018 By Tash Ellens
Spring is shaping up, we can already see the changes happening - the sun is on its way, the rain and snow is clearing and our seedlings are beginning to mature.
We also have exclusive insight into the kitchen at THE PIG from Chef Director James Golding.
As Head Gardener, Ryan Mills takes us around the tasks for March, James has a few flavour hints up his sleeve.
Potting up - side shoots from tomatoes for an earlier crop, rooted purple sage herb cuttings from autumn, blackcurrant cuttings from winter pruning and edible flower cuttings, a staple for THE PIG.
Notes from the chef: Each edible flower we grow has its own characteristic. For example, Borage has a delicate oyster flavour so we tend to pair it with fish and shellfish. Marigolds are slightly bitter, so work well with my home smoked salmon as we use a semi sweet cider dressing and pickled cucumber. The flowers from tangerine sage work really well on brûlées and desserts, as do the fabulously coloured cornflowers!
Harvesting - baby fennel plants, bright and spicy brassica mix and Oxalis (a purple leaf false baby shamrock) leave for garnish.
Notes from the chef: Oxalis leaves work particularly well with chargrilled mackerel dishes, the sour taste of the leaves cuts through the oily fish and complements the smoke from the chargrill.
Succession sowing - our baby leaf tray require consistent attention to provide produce for the kitchen, they include; Beet Bulls Blood, Red Veined Sorrel, Red Russian Kale, Bi-coloured Shiso, Nasturtium Blue Pepe and Salad Shungiku Chrysanthemum Greens. Whilst the daylight hours are slowly beginning to extend, we have been using overhead lights for 12-hour light availability.
Cuttings - we have been taking Sea Kale root cuttings to increase stock plants.
Notes from the chef: Sea Kale is one of my all-time favourite vegetables, the season is very short so we prepare and serve it simply with lemon brown butter, sweet brown shrimps and when it's gone, it's gone!
Maintenance - we have been giving the glasshouse a deep clean including scrubbing the windows, floors and benches. This kills any bugs and chances of disease from the previous growing season. We have also been checking water levels of plants and are beginning to think about nutrition and feeding schedules.