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  • Writer's picturegardengateproject

A time to catch up

Updated: Mar 1, 2023

During February, the weather is generally too bad for us to work on the land. It’s a time for catching up with preparatory jobs. We’re busy digging out the compost heaps, repairing structures, paths and tools around the garden, pruning trees and ordering from seed catalogues as we plan the year ahead.

This winter, at the time of writing, has so far proved relatively dry and quite mild. However, it’s worth a thought that a heavy frost or a full-blown repeat of last year’s ‘Beast from the East’ can still set back the early signs of spring. Nevertheless, as the days lengthen and it becomes warmer, the wildlife in our woodland begins to awaken. Clusters of snowdrops and bright yellow winter aconites push through to decorate the ground and cheer the spirit.

In the flower beds, it’s time to trim back and tidy last year’s faded seed heads to make way for new growth. Whilst in the vegetable garden there’s a healthy crop of colourful, visually interesting and above all tasty and nutritious summer-sown brassicas to harvest. This year we’ve grown Purple sprouting broccoli, Romanesco cauliflower and Cavolo Nero, some of which we used this week to make delicious ‘Greens on Toast’ for lunch. All in all, it’s a month to stir our gardening energies for the busy time to come.

Recipe: ‘Greens on Toast’ (Crostini di Cavolo Nero)


· Large bunch of Cavolo Nero with the stem removed

· 4 Slices of sourdough bread (or similar)

· 1 Clove of Garlic, sliced

· 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus an extra drizzle

· Juice of half a lemon

· Salt


1. Cook the Cavolo Nero in boiling salted water for 3-5 minutes until tender drain thoroughly, then roughly chop.

2. Lightly grill the slices of bread on a grill pan. While the bread is grilling, gently sauté the slices of garlic in olive oil until soft but not coloured. Add the Cavolo Nero and sauté for a minute. Squeeze over lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

3. Top toast with the Cavolo Nero, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve.

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