April in the garden

IT’S April, and this month may hold some of the last few warmish days of the season, so it could be the last opportunity to soak up some warmth before winter sets in.

So, why not arrange some outdoor time on your patio with friends and family and surprise them by preparing some dishes, almost exclusively from your garden?

Right now you could be harvesting a host of herbs like thyme, parsley, marjoram and mint, to name a few.

The season for peppers, tomatoes and beetroot will soon be over, so use them.

Our monkfish recipe below calls for peppers, baby tomatoes, lettuce and some lemon, all of which could be plucked directly out of your garden at this time of year!

Harvesting directly from your garden is not only convenient but also has the added benefit of eating healthy, naturally grown fruit and vegetables in season and you’ll taste the difference.

Some harvesting tips to keep in mind before getting stuck in:

  •  Prolong your lettuce harvest by picking only the larger, outer leaves each time, allowing the inner leaves to keep growing.

  •  Tomatoes are ready to be picked when they’re uniformly red – just before they soften.
    •  Lemons, depending on variety and care should be available to harvest pretty much all year round, so keep your tree well watered, prune when necessary and protect it from pests to keep your bounty flowing.
      •  Peppers are a Catch-22 when it comes to harvest.
      • If you want numbers you should pick frequently and before they mature since they’ll keep trying to produce viable seed but if it is flavour you’re after you need to let them reach maturity before harvesting knowing you’ll have less but tastier fruit.

         RECIPE

        Monkfish Kebabs

         INGREDIENTS:

        •   600g Monkfish tail, cut into 16 equal pieces

        • 16 mini uncooked chorizo sausages
          • 4 tbsp olive oil
            • 2 large peppers, each cut into 12 pieces
              • Lemon wedges, baby tomatoes and lettuce
                • 16 metal skewers
                • PREPARATION:

                  • Place a piece of pepper, followed by a piece of monkfish, then a chorizo sausage, on a skewer, then repeat again, finishing each kebab with a piece of pepper.

                  • Brush the kebabs with a little olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
                    • Place the kebabs on a hot barbecue and cook on each side for about 6 minutes.
                      • Serve with the lemon wedges, baby tomatoes and lettuce. — Life is a Garden Campaign on behalf of the SA Nursery Association. For more information, visit www.lifeisagarden.co.za
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