Save your winter crops

Save your winter crops

Save your winter crops from becoming frozen so solid in the ground they're impossible to harvest by using the old technique of 'heeling in'.

This works really well on leeks, but it's also great for your Christmas dinner parsnips and celeriac. Start by digging up your whole crop on a mild day when the soil is easy to work, lifting the whole plant out of the ground roots and all.

Then choose a sheltered spot, preferably not far from the back door so you don't have to trudge down the garden to fetch your veg indoors for cooking. Weed and roughly dig it over.

Make a v-shaped trench, about a spade's depth and as long as you need. Then lay your leeks, parsnips or celeriac packed close together, with their roots in the trench and their heads poking up out of it.

Heap the soil loosely back over the roots and water. And that's it – they'll be quite happy like that for a couple of months.

If it really turns bad, add a layer of straw over the top to stop the snow settling. The soil stays loose enough for you to pull your veg out as you need them right through winter – whatever the weather.