One of the greatest satisfactions for any polytunnel gardener is being able to feed family and friends with the healthy, fresh produce that you have grown. A polytunnel will introduce you to the joys of eating seasonally and will allow you to grow some crops all year round. Christmas can be a time to show friends and family how well your growing efforts have gone throughout the year – harvesting Christmas dinner from a polytunnel can be a fantastic way to do just that. June may seem a little too early to be thinking about our mid-winter feast. But planning ahead in June for Christmas dinner is essential if you are to feed Christmas dinner to your family from your polytunnel.
Planning Ahead in June for Christmas Dinner
Polytunnel gardeners who want to grow and eat their own produce year round soon grow used to the necessity of planning ahead. In order to enjoy a mid-winter bounty, you will have to think about planting crops for winter eating at the very beginning of the summer. While June is a time of abundance in the polytunnel, and it can be easy to become complacent, sowing now can help you to make sure that you have plenty of food from your polytunnel at the darkest and coldest time of the year.
Planning for Christmas Potatoes
Potatoes are a staple of Christmas around the UK, and while we may be used to storing older potatoes for Christmas dinner, Christmas can also be a time for new potatoes! By planning ahead in June for Christmas dinner and planting potatoes at this time of year, we can enjoy fresh new potatoes at a time of year when usually we would mostly be relying on foods we have stored. Christmas potatoes are a treat that only those with a polytunnel are able to enjoy.
Planning for Christmas Greens
In addition to growing Christmas potatoes, polytunnel gardeners can also make sure that they have a range of delicious mid-winter greens to enjoy. In June and July, it is time to consider sowing seeds for these winter vegetables.
Brussels sprouts are one of the traditional Christmas foods and, love them or loath them, many people believe that Christmas dinner would not be the same without them. If your sprouts are ready a little too early for Christmas, you can blanch them and freeze them right away and keep them on ice until the big day. But time it right and you can enjoy Brussels sprout harvested fresh from your polytunnel for the big day.
Other green options when planning ahead in June for Christmas dinner include winter cabbages and kale. All of these brassicas can provide plenty of food over the winter months and their varied appearance means that they can look good together on your festive table. Headed cabbages can be cut as required, while leaves of kale can be removed from plants as and when they are needed.
Whatever else you may eat for your Christmas dinner, your polytunnel can be used to provide all the vegetables that you need to accompany your main dish. Let us know whether you are looking forward to your polytunnel-grown Christmas dinner in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.