Many vegetables, annuals, biennials and herbaceous can be grown from seed outdoors and as long as the soil is warm and moist seeds will quickly germinate.
The first sowing of summer salads can start now. Lettuces, rocket, endives, cress and radishes. Root crops of beetroot, turnips, carrots and parsnips, spring onions, leeks, swiss chard and leaf beet. The list of lovely vegetables to plant now, although not endless, is quite extensive.
Tomatoes are one of the favourites which most people grow. They enhance meat and fish dishes as well as being a staple salad addition. A fresh tomato salsa is easy to make and can be used as a side dish for grilled food, on steamed fish or roast chicken. Perfect for a summer day dish, take a few slices of grilled bread, rub with a clove of garlic and top with tomato salsa.
For the salsa chop tomatoes and onions, add shredded coriander and basil. Place in a bowl and season with sea salt and fresh black pepper. Mix together with extra virgin olive oil, cover and leave for 30 mins and voila! Super summer salsa.
Herbaceous seeds can be planted directly into the ground in April. These include: Achillea, Hollyhock, Aquilegia and Campanula but half hardy annuals should be sown under cover.
Popular and colourful Cosmos, Nasturtium, Lobelia and Antirrhinum can be started under a cloche or in a cold frame.
Flowers have been used in cooking for thousands of years and were first recorded in 140BC. Many cultures incorporate flowers into their traditional foods.
A flower strewn midsummer salmon
Spread butter over a filleted and boned piece of salmon. Place marigold, nasturtium, cornflowers and flat leaf parsley onto fish. Put 2-3 tbsp dry cider in a roasting bag with he salmon and cook for 20 minutes in an oven preheated to 180C. Remove from oven and rest then serve with new potatoes and green salad.
Have you any recipes to share with us?