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Barnsdale Gardens is Britain’s largest collection of individually designed gardens based in the East Midlands.  One of the 38 gardens on show is the wonderful Kitchen Garden which is both decorative, highly productive and a fine example of how plants are put in very close together and all the work is done from the pathways.

Nick Hamilton owner of Barnsdale Gardens highlights the varieties below as his Top Five Winter Veg which would be the perfect addition to any home garden.

Brussels sprouts – Generally eaten over the Christmas period, but if you grow your own then you could harvest this vegetable from August to at least March. As a child, I remember them as having a bit of a bitter, old socks taste, but those days are well and truly gone with the modern varieties being sweet and flavoursome. In order to get the continuity of cropping to give the longest harvest period I only need to grow two varieties, ‘Nelson’ and ‘Red Ball’.

Kale – A well-known superfood that not only gives us something to eat but, if you select the right variety, a very beautiful and interesting addition to the ornamental winter garden. I like to grow a variety called ‘Redbor’, which is widely available, but I do not grow it in the veg plot, preferring instead to move it around my ornamental borders. The reason I do this is because ‘Redbor’ has the most wonderfully deep coloured, red leaves that enhance in colour with the colder winter temperature, but then are elevated to another level during frosty weather.

Chard – A hardy, leafy leaf beet this is an excellent substitute for spinach. I have been bought up to try and eke out the most from everything in a garden, so choosing a variety that gives ornamental interest as well as excellent production is an absolute bonus. Such a variety is Chard ‘Bright Lights’, which comes up as a mixture of different colours of leaves in shades of yellow, green and red, all with a prominent white mid-rib.

Jerusalem Artichoke – What a fantastic winter veg to grow! I love it not just because it is adaptable in the kitchen but also because it is a tuber that is perfectly hardy, so can be left in the ground all winter and dug up as and when required. I grow a variety called Fuseau because it is less knobbly than others, so easier to peel. It does like to spread, so I control it by growing mine in containers that I sink into the ground and then lift when needed.

Leeks – I can’t imagine a winter without leeks adorning the culinary delights that appear from my kitchen. This year I have grown the varieties ‘Winner’, ‘Pandora’ and ‘Jolant’, which will give me a continuous harvest from August until April. Something my taste buds and stomach are very grateful for. We do have a couple of problems to deal with however, which is why we grow them, from sowing until the end of the crop, under an insect-proof netting to prevent attack by leek moth and/or Allium leaf miner.

There’s plenty to see and do all year round at Barnsdale Gardens!