This month has see our little garden go from tiny seedlings full of promise to bushy green plants laden with pods and flowers, shoots and fruits. We’ve been able to eat some things already but other plants will need more time before they’re ready to be harvested. I’m going to take you on a virtual walk around the edibles and show you what can be eaten right now.
Ready to Eat Right Now
Strawberries Just a month ago the strawberries were simply leaves and flowers. Over the last 10 days the burgeoning green fruits turned a deep red and we have had fresh strawberries every day. We grow the strawberries in window boxes so that mice can’t get to them. We’re tackling some tenacious black flies but otherwise the crop looks like it will thrive for another few weeks at least.
Lettuces The lettuces are still quite small but this makes them so tender. I have a few different lettuce leaves going on; spinach, rocket, mustard leaves and butter lettuce. I like plants you can take leaves off and the plant will grow new leaves so you get a continuous supply throughout the summer; these are often called Cut and Come Again plants.
Chives I simply love chives. They’re incredibly easy to grow, they come back every year and for a brief time they grow the most beautiful edible flowers that make both your garden and your dinner look wonderful. Evelynne loves being sent out into the garden with a pair of children’s scissors to get some chives. They are an allium so they taste like onions and are a fantastic garnish for all sorts of dishes. If you’re lucky enough to still have some flowers, grab yourself a bagel with a generous smear of Boursin then scatter with flowers.
Herbs The herbs are ludicrously happy at the moment thanks to the extra downpours we’ve had in June. Most herbs have a high water content so they’ve thrived in the warm rain. Mint is so useful at this time of year as the bright flavour pairs so well with salads and salsas, meats and veggies. Check out my recipes with mint here. Mint can grow out of control so keep it in check by putting big handfuls of leaves into a jug with water and a quartered lemon then chilling it for an hour before enjoying in the sunshine.
The sage leaves are humungous and their strong flavour is great with cream sauces. You can dry sage by tying it together then hanging upside down in a dry place. Dried sage is excellent for making stuffing during the colder months and it also makes my boot room smell good in the process.
Pea Plants The pea plants have gone bonkers in the last month. From the tiny little plants on the left to the 6ft triffids on the right it’s been a pleasure watching them grow. The plants are covered in pea pods that will swell as the peas grow inside but while I’m waiting for them to grow I can pick the leaves which are edible and taste amazingly like peas. The smaller leaves are tender enough to eat raw and the larger ones are good sautéed in a little oil.
Edible Flowers I love edible flowers, especially those that grow on herb plants because they have the most flavour. The picture on the far left is rosemary flowers which taste like floral rosemary. The pansies on the far right are so easy to grow and really versatile for savoury and sweet dishes. In the centre are my thriving nasturtium plants which will have glorious edible orange flowers later this summer. I use edible flowers in quite a few recipes.