Hungry Gap May

flowering broccoli

When veg gardeners talk about ‘the hungry gap’ it’s right about now, when there’s very little, if anything to harvest. The over wintering crops such as leeks, brassicas and parsnips have either been fully harvested by now, or if not, have started to set flower. The crops in storage have mostly been used up, and what’s left is deteriorating fast (unless preserved in vinegar or a freezer). But the crops sown this year are not quite ready yet, hence once-uopn-a-time, pre 24 hour opening supermarkets and year round veg, people relying on seasonal crops had a small gap between crops. I doubt they really went hungry, I’m sure they were more canny than that.

It’s probably a slightly different time for everyone depending on what you’re growing, but it’s where we’re at (except of course for the freezer full of broccoli, parsnips and last years blackberries).

The purple sprouting broccoli pictured above is far from purple. It has shot to the opposite side of the colour wheel, and is now a shock of the brightest lemon yellow. It would look lovely at the back of any cottage garden border. Unfortunately this has now been relegated to the compost bin, in order to dig and prepare the bed for leeks.

massive leek

leek for seedTalking of leeks, we had some enormous beauties towards the end of it’s season, but we’re now down to the last few, which are far from their best. One lonely sole has been left in the ground to provide some leek seed for us, though typically it’s not showing much sign of flowering just yet. They flower when you don’t want them to, and vice versa.

shallots garlic

The alliums for this year are coming on well, but the garlic won’t be ready until late June/July, and the shallots and maincrop onions a bit later, depending on the weather.

broad bean bed

new broad bean

Some of you might be lucky enough to be harvesting broad beans already, but not us. The new ones I bought on discount (see previous post) have at least turned a pathetic looking row into a full bed. They were crammed 3 to a pot, so I had 18 in all for my bargain 99p, but they don’t look too happy right now, and I’m really not sure how they’ll fair. The ground is very dry and they’re very weak, so despite giving them virtually all I had in the water butt, they are going to have to toughen up from their cosseted garden centre upbringing so far, if they’re going to survive. I’m just hoping some root space, some surprising bank holiday sunshine, and the bit of seaweed feed I gave them will perk them up.


And of course you may well be harvesting asparagus now, if you are more organised than me and planted it 2 or more years ago. Our new crowns have started shooting, some very fine and wispy shoots that were a nightmare to photograph up close on a breezy day. Thankfully all 5 crowns have sprouted shoots.

About the only thing we have to harvest are the herbs. The oregano on the plot is doing well, and in my back garden I have a huge bunch of curly parsley that has been growing since last spring. I’m finding an excuse to add chopped parsley into every dish I can, it’s not my favourite herb, but it’s very good for you, full of iron, which is good enough for me.

So, the grass path is growing like mad, the weeds are growing, my carrots and beetroot have germinated, but I’m guessing it’ll be June at least before I get a first proper harvest. It’ll be very welcome, whatever it is, once it comes. Is anyone harvesting anything else right now?


  1. It certainly is the hungry gap – we’re in the same boat as you – just a few Leeks left. It feels odd to go down to the plot and return empty handed – but before we know it we’ll hopefully have the inevitable glut on our hands. It’s feast or famine really, I’m not sure we’ve mastered year long crops quite yet 🙂


    • Yes, I think we’ve yet to master that too. It is usually all or nothing for us. I’m a bit rubbish at successional sowing as well, but never mind.


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