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What to Plant Now? A Busy Bee Guide to Planting Vegetables and Herbs in the UK and Recipes for Each Season.

Updated: Mar 8

Welcome to the blooming world of Busy Bee Gardening! 🌼🏡 In the rhythmic dance of seasons, our green haven becomes a canvas for nature's vibrant palette. 🎨✨ This guide is your ticket to a year-round symphony of colors, fragrances, and the delightful hum of pollinators.



Spring 🌱🐝


Early Spring Planting Guide:


Groups:


Leafy Greens (Lettuce, Spinach, Kale)

Root Vegetables (Carrots, Radishes, Turnips)

Herbs (Parsley, Chives, Cilantro)


Why:


Early spring provides cooler temperatures, ideal for the tender growth of leafy greens and root vegetables.


Herbs flourish in the mild climate, establishing a robust foundation.


Companion Planting:


Plant leafy greens with carrots to maximize space.


Keep herbs near vegetables like tomatoes and peppers to enhance their flavors.


Late Spring Planting Guide:


Groups:


Warm-Season Vegetables (Tomatoes, Peppers, Cucumbers)

Legumes (Beans, Peas)

Herbs (Basil, Mint, Oregano)


Why:


Late spring introduces warmer temperatures, promoting the growth of heat-loving crops.


Legumes fix nitrogen in the soil, benefitting neighboring plants.


Companion Planting:


Plant basil near tomatoes to improve their flavor and deter pests.


Allow legumes to grow near other plants to enhance soil fertility.



Spring Delight Salad 🥗


Ingredients:


Lettuce (harvested in spring)

Radishes (sown in early spring)

Chives (perennial)

Mint leaves (perennial)

Lemon Balm leaves (perennial)

Dill (sown in early spring)


Dressing:


Olive oil

Lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste


Instructions:


Sow radishes and dill indoors in March, then transfer them outdoors in early spring.


Harvest lettuce, radishes, chives, mint, and lemon balm when they're at their freshest.


Mix the chopped lettuce, sliced radishes, and chopped herbs in a bowl.


In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper for the dressing.


Drizzle the dressing over the salad just before serving.


Enjoy the crisp freshness of spring in every bite! 🌱🥗



Summer 🌼☀️


Early Summer Planting Guide:


Groups:


Summer Squash (Zucchini, Yellow Squash)

Herbs (Rosemary, Thyme)

Berries (Strawberries, Blueberries)


Why:


Early summer sustains the warmth necessary for summer squash development.


Herbs like rosemary and thyme thrive in the increasing sunlight.


Berries benefit from the longer days and moderate temperatures.


Companion Planting:


Interplant herbs among vegetables for natural pest control.


Allow strawberries to spread as ground cover to suppress weeds.


Late Summer Planting Guide:


Groups:


Fall Crops (Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage)

Herbs (Dill, Sage)

Root Vegetables (Beets, Carrots)


Why:


Late summer planting ensures a harvest in the cooler fall months.


Herbs like dill and sage can be preserved for later use.


Root vegetables thrive as the weather begins to cool.


Companion Planting:


Plant aromatic herbs near cabbage family plants to deter pests.


Interplant root vegetables with leafy greens for efficient space usage.


Note: Avoid planting crops susceptible to pests and diseases together. Rotate plant families each season to maintain soil health.



Summer Garden Pasta


Ingredients:


Cherry tomatoes (harvested in summer)


Basil (sown indoors in spring and transferred outdoors in late spring)


Garlic (wild garlic foraged in early summer)


Zucchini (sown indoors in spring and transferred outdoors in late spring)


Pasta of your choice


Olive oil


Parmesan cheese


Salt and pepper to taste


Instructions:


Harvest cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and fresh basil in the peak of summer.


Forage wild garlic in early summer for added flavor.


Cook the pasta according to package instructions.


In a pan, sauté chopped garlic in olive oil until golden.


Add sliced zucchini and halved cherry tomatoes. Cook until tender.


Toss in cooked pasta and fresh basil. Mix well.


Finish with a generous drizzle of olive oil, grated Parmesan, salt, and pepper.


Indulge in the flavors of summer with this garden-inspired pasta! 🍅🌿



Autumn 🍁🍂


Early Autumn Planting Guide:


Groups:


Cool-Season Greens (Arugula, Swiss Chard)

Herbs (Chives, Parsley)

Alliums (Garlic, Onions)


Why:


Early autumn provides a return to cooler temperatures, ideal for cool-season greens.


Herbs can be planted for fall harvesting and overwintering.


Alliums benefit from fall planting, establishing strong roots before winter.


Companion Planting:


Plant garlic and onions among other crops to repel pests.


Mix chives with carrots to improve flavor and deter pests.


Late Autumn Planting Guide:


Groups:


Perennial Herbs (Rosemary, Sage)

Cover Crops (Winter Rye, Crimson Clover)

Bulb Flowers (Daffodils, Tulips)


Why:


Late autumn planting focuses on long-term and soil-enhancing crops.


Perennial herbs establish roots before winter for early spring growth.


Cover crops prevent soil erosion and fix nitrogen.


Companion Planting:


Plant perennial herbs near garden borders for a protective barrier.


Cover crops contribute to soil health and can be turned under in spring for added nutrients.


Note: Late autumn is also a time for garden cleanup and preparing the soil for the next growing season.


Consider mulching to protect plants from winter frost.



Autumn Harvest Stew 🍲🍂


Ingredients:


Butternut squash (harvested in autumn)

Carrots (sown in spring and harvested in autumn)

Leeks (sown in spring and harvested in autumn)

Potatoes (harvested in autumn)

Rosemary (perennial)


Broth:


Vegetable or chicken broth

Salt and pepper to taste


Instructions:


Harvest butternut squash, carrots, leeks, and potatoes in autumn.

Chop the vegetables into bite-sized pieces.

In a large pot, combine the chopped vegetables.

Add enough vegetable or chicken broth to cover the vegetables.

Season with salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary.

Simmer until all the vegetables are tender and flavors meld.

Warm your soul with the hearty goodness of autumn! 🍁🍲



Winter ❄️🎄


Winter Gardening Activities:

  1. Tool Maintenance

  • Clean and sharpen garden tools.

  • Oil metal parts to prevent rust.

  1. Indoor Gardening:

  • Start seeds indoors for early spring planting.

  • Grow herbs or microgreens on windowsills.

  1. Soil Enrichment:

  • Add organic matter like compost to the soil.

  • Consider cover cropping to prevent soil erosion.

  1. Pruning:

  • Prune dormant trees and shrubs.

  • Remove dead or diseased plant material.

  1. Wildlife Support:

  • Install bird feeders for winter bird visitors.

  • Create shelters for beneficial insects.

  1. Garden Infrastructure:

  • Check and repair garden structures (fences, trellises).

  • Clean and store pots and containers.

  1. Rest and Rejuvenation:

  • Take a break to rest and recharge.

  • Reflect on the past gardening season.

  1. Winter Harvest:

  • Harvest winter crops like kale, Brussels sprouts, and carrots.

  • Continue harvesting herbs if they're still growing.


Remember, winter is a crucial time for gardeners to prepare for the upcoming growing season and take advantage of the quieter months to plan and enhance their gardening skills.



Winter Root Vegetable Mash 🌿🥔


Ingredients:


Parsnips (harvested in winter)

Turnips (harvested in winter)

Potatoes (harvested in winter)

Thyme (perennial)

Butter and milk (for creaminess)

Salt and pepper to taste


Instructions:


Harvest parsnips, turnips, and potatoes during the winter months.


Peel and chop the root vegetables into even chunks.

Boil the vegetables until tender.


Mash the cooked vegetables, adding butter and milk for creaminess.


Season with fresh thyme, salt, and pepper.

Embrace the comforting flavors of winter with this root vegetable mash! ❄️🥔


A few links to help you get started:

Seeds:

Tools:



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