Thursday, 17 April 2014

The Hungry Gap

Posted by Rosie

This time of year is what vegetable growers often refer to as "The Hungry Gap".  Outdoor winter vegetables are just about finished, summer ones are not yet cropping and the stores are all but empty.  We have 3 rather sad pumpkins left, no potatoes, no onions and no outdoor leeks.  The remaining parsnips, kale and brussels have gone or are going to seed.  In the past this was a very bad time for people who had no shops supplying vegetables and fruit of every conceivable type all year round.  We take it for granted that we can have what-ever we fancy but this really is a new concept and in years gone by people often went hungry at this time of year.  They supplemented their diet with what they could forage for and would have preserved what they could in salt but pickings were meagre and stomachs were rarely full.

For those people like us here at Eco-Gites of Lenault who aim to be as self sufficient as possible the Hungry Gap is ameliorated thanks to 2 modern lifesavers - the polytunnel and the freezer.  The polytunnel brings vegetable harvests forward by several weeks and the freezer means we can preserve the excess harvest of one year to see us through until the following year.  We do not head to bed hungry.

When we sat down to our stir-fry last night a good chunk of the vegetables we ate either came from our polytunnel or the freezer.  Here's a taste of what we are currently harvesting:

Mange-tout



Peas (wish I had sown more as these have done very well this year)




Broad beans.  Shhhh, don't tell anyone but so far none have made it back to the kitchen as I have eaten them all straight from the pod!


  

Salad leaves including these peppery nasturtium leaves and their even more peppery flowers.

 


Add to these leeks, purple sprouting broccoli, lettuces, oriental greens and chard and we are not short of fresh veg.  The rhubarb is also going great guns outside and we still have plenty of last year's harvest in the freezer.  All I can say is we are very lucky to live in 2014 and 1014!

Are you harvesting anything right now?  Why not see if any of the other gardeners are who have linked up with Annie's How Does Your garden Grow linky over at Mammasuarus.


Mammasaurus and How Does Your Garden Grow?

35 comments :

  1. Thats so fresh! I got some free seeds actually and will start planting it soon! I hope that I am not too late in starting to plant them. #HDYGG

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    1. Good luck - do let us know how your seeds grow.

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  2. Polytunnel is the answer. Still dream of having one in the garden. Usually be harvesting cabbages and brussel sprouts by this time. Last year I was not organized, so only nasturtiums and fennel. Thank goodness for veg suppliers #HDYGG

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    1. I hope you get your polytunnel one day soon.

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  3. My parents have a poly tunnel in Cornwall and I'm always amazed at just how much of a difference it makes...come June time there's a lockdown ready for the village show in July...no spying allowed!! #hdygg

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  4. Love the idea of a blog for your gite. I'll keep you in mind for my next visit to France ;-)

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    1. Thank you Vanessa - we are open all year round but school holiday weeks do tend to book up fast if you need them.

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  5. I remember eating broad beans straight from the pod as a child in my parents garden! It never ceases to amaze me how garden flashbacks come back to me, I wonder if it's the same for everyone ?!

    I'm about to embark on growing a bit myself - I was going to wait till next year but posts like this have goaded me on to do it sooner!

    Thanks for joining in again xx

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    1. I definitely get garden flashbacks, things long forgotten come flooding back with a picture or a word that someone else has written. Glad my posts have goaded you ;). Looking forward to seeing the results.

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  6. haha we have the same problem with peas and beans in this garden too last year i made a double lot and still none got to the kitchen just love how ahead you are in the growing #hdygg

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    1. I have never had so much so early but the winter was mild this year and that helped.

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  7. You really are right about this time of year! We currently have nothing too harvest, but lots of things to come! We have so many seedings it won't be long until they'll want repotting. We've also got beans and peas that are ready to go in. We now have 4 rows of potatoes but are still waiting for any shoots, but we have a lot to look forward to! Hubby has said that he wants to invest in a poly tunnel for the winter x #HDYGG

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    1. Go for the polytunnel - you won't regret it!

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  8. yum! we planted some peas but they never took. and i have yet to plant the nasturtium seeds i have. they are delicious!

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  9. Wise to plan ahead for the hungry gap then! Sounds like you've plenty still being used and growing.

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  10. How lovely being able to pick it and cook it and eat it, all in one swoop

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  11. I think our saving grace at this time of year is how much there is to forage. I love wild salads and everything is at it's best around now.

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    1. Ah Andrea - one of the great advantages of living in Portugal!

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  12. A good point we do take our freezers for granted. Your crops look to be coming along nicely for this year. #hdygg

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    1. I would be so lost with our freezer ... well our THREE freezers ... and the fridge freezer in the kitchen!

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  13. Great photos. My garden is having a makeover so I dont have any veggies growing so far this year, and it feels odd. Never mind, next year xxx

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    1. Could you do a few bits in pots just for this year?

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  14. Poly tunnels are a godsend, I went into ours today and was amazed at such growth in a small amount of time. Mich x #HDYGG

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  15. brilliant, how lovely to have all of that growing! x

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    1. Thank you and it also means I have excess to sell to gite guests :)

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  16. Love this post - I really am wishing for a polytunnel. I keep telling myself that I'll get one and just keep putting it off. At the moment, I'm only harvesting early rhubarb, but have plenty of crops sown ready for later in the year...I just need to be patient!

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    1. Patience is a great friends to the gardener! But go and get that polytunnel NOW - you won't regret it!

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  17. Lovely, it all looks so healthy and lush!

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  18. I love this time of year, planting out, sowing more seeds. The hungry gap is a busy time ensuring we will have a a good harvest in late summer. I love broad beans, although it will be quite a while before they are ready. All your veggies look gorgeous.

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