The Garden
& Kitchen

For May, 2024

Our ethos is very much about sustainable produce and supporting local Sussex farms. Why not try some family activities at home and grow some veg this year and use it in family meals!

Summer’s on its way

As bulbs fade and herbaceous borders grow in leaps and bounds, it is now clear that summer is approaching.

Sowing and planting out bedding can begin, depending on when the last frost is in your area, and you can take softwood cuttings.

It’s also time to let the lawn grow long and get a buzz from seeing all the insects that arrive to feed on the flowers


    • Earth up potatoes, covering the shoots with soil as they appear
    • Sow sweetcorn in deep pots, so the young plants are ready to transplant into the garden in June
    • Start sowing dwarf and climbing French beans, as well as runner beans, directly outdoors in warm weather
    • Pick rhubarb stems as they develop, and water plants with liquid feed
    • Start hardening off tender young plants, such as tomatoes and courgettes, ready for planting out in mild areas
    • Sow batches of salad leaves and stir-fry crops every few weeks to provide continuous pickings
    • Thin out seedlings, like carrots, from earlier sowings to ensure you get healthy, strong-growing plants
    • Remove all strawberry runners, so plants put their full energy into fruiting
    • Keep plenty of fleece handy to protect young seedlings or fruit blossom, if late frosts are forecast
  • Water thirsty crops such as tomatoescucumbers and courgettes regularly as the weather starts to warm up
  • Tie the stems of indoor tomatoescucumbers and aubergines to canes as they grow
  • Check plants regularly for pests, on shoot tips and the underside of leaves, and treat with biological controls if desired
  • Take cuttings of woody herbs such as hyssoprosemary and thyme, and root in pots of gritty compost
  • Keep pricking out seedlings as soon as they get their first true leaves, to avoid overcrowding and fungal diseases
  • Start to harden off tender plants and bedding, ready for planting outside after the last frost
  • Transplant tomatoes into growing bags or large pots, and tie their main stem to a cane or vertical wire for support

Crab Linguine with chilli, garlic and parsley

Serves 4

Our family has a cottage on the Isle of Wight and this is a firm family tradition this time of year, even with my son who is now four years old but has been eating this since he was a year old. The sea serves the same crab in Sussex and it’s beautiful! A simple and quick family meal but also works for a lovely ladies lunch or kitchen supper with friends.

500g linguine

4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 red chillis finely chopped- lower to one and deseed if you are not a chilli heat fan

4 garlic cloves finely chopped

200g brown crab meat and 300g white crab meat or two whole cooked crabs picked

A large splash of white wine

Juice of one lemon

A large handful of flat – leaf parsley finely chopped

Step 1

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the linguine, stir well so it doesn’t stick.

Step 2

While the pasta cooks, gently heat the olive oil with chilli and garlic, add the white wine and simmer. Take off the heat and add the crab meat.

Step 3

When the pasta has cooked, turn off the heat and lift the pasta from the water into the crab sauce. Add the parsley and season well, add more pasta water if needed, add the lemon and serve immediately.