What's in season: January

Leeks ready to be used in the NT restaurant kitchen at Stourhead, Wiltshire

With the hustle and bustle of Christmas now just a memory (and an extra notch on the belt), it's time to look forward to a new year.

No doubt you've made plenty of resolutions - perhaps to be more self-sufficient or to be greener. Look no further than our guide to seasonal living this month.

This month, we're talking leeks

  • The leek is the national flower of Wales, worn with pride on St David's Day. It was first worn by Welsh soldiers to distinguish themselves from their Saxon enemies on the battle field.
  • Hippocrates, the father of medicine, prescribed the leek as a cure for nosebleeds.
  • Leeks are of the same family as onions and garlic but are much milder in taste.
  • It's reported that leeks were the favourite vegetable of the Emperor Nero.
So why not head in to the kitchen and cook up a storm with some lovely fresh ingredients - direct from your garden.
Follow our video recipe for chicken and leek pie:


Also in season

If you are not keen on leeks, don't worry - there are plenty of other tasty treats to be enjoyed this month:
Brussels sprouts, spring green cabbage, savoy cabbage. carrots, cauliflower and kale.

Jobs for the garden

January is a great time to prune back your fruit trees, and if you do it now, you will definitely see fabulous results later in the year. It's quite a quiet time on the harvesting front, but parsnips, swedes and other root vegetables should be good to go.
Tradition has it that you should start chitting your potatoes on Boxing Day, so if you're running a bit behind, now would be a good time to get them started. Chitting is the process of encouraging seed potatoes by storing them in a mild climate with some sunlight.
Finally it's always worth digging over your plots ready for later in the year.