From plot to pot: Why buy fresh herbs when you can pick them right outside your back door?

Carolyn Hart selects eight chefs' favourites to start growing now

Patatas bravas

Serves 4-6

Growth potential: As the ground softens up and temperatures become less harsh, it's time to get those early crops bedded in

There's little advantage, unless you are a commercial grower trying to catch an early market, in sowing crops too soon. But if March is kind and the soil warms up and dries out you should this month be able to sow broad beans, cabbage and calabrese, chrysanthemum greens, curly endive, kale, land cress, lettuce, spring onions, parsley, parsnips, peas, radish, spinach and plenty of cut-and-come-again crops: mizuna, komatsuna and red mustard, mibuna, oak-leaf lettuce, saladini, pak choi, rocket and Texsel greens (a type of brassica). Cut-and-come-again crops do well in large tubs. So do land cress, radishes and parsley. The rest produce the best crops in open ground.

Celeriac remoulade with speck

Serves 4

Beef stew with blue cheese dumplings

Ingredients to serve 4

The Life Kitchen: Corn and haddock chowder

Ingredients to serve 4

Moroccan meatballs

Serves 6

Penally pudding and broiled mushrooms: the origin of Darwin's diet is unveiled

This month will see the publication of a collection of recipes by a highly unlikely celebrity chef: Charles Darwin's wife, Emma.

Spanish crisp cauliflower

Serves 4 (as a starter or a side dish)

Cod, potato and leek soup

Serves 4-6

Salt cod fritters

Serves 4

Roast cod with cockles, cider and parsley

Serves 4

Mutton broth

Serves 4

Whipped potatoes with chanterelles

Serves 4 as a starter
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