What to grow in the colder months
Just because it’s autumn doesn’t mean you have to stop planting – growing winter vegetables is a very rewarding task!
By now you have probably harvested the last of the runner beans and tomatoes, so it’s the right time to remove any old vines, clear and fertilise the soil ready for winter planting.
- Vegetable plants which have been grown from seed are now ready for planting out – if you haven’t grown any, you can buy young plants instead. There are many varieties available including winter cabbage and Savoy, which can be cut for the table from January onwards. Purple sprouting broccoli and spring cauliflower are also very popular greens for cutting in early spring. Do not over fertilize the ground for these plants or they will bolt to seed.
- Autumn onion sets and shallots are also available to buy now for planting out. There are many different autumn onions, including the Japanese varieties, and we also sell red skinned and pink skinned onions which are fun to grow for a change.
- There’s a winter variety of broad beans called Aquadulce which is a good choice to plant now. This is hardy for the winter and will provide an early crop next summer.
- If you have a greenhouse or cold frame, you can sow winter varieties of salad crops, including the Little Gem lettuce or a variety called All The Year Round,. Use the leaves in your winter salads with shavings of root vegetables such as parsnips and carrots for a seasonal flavour.
- Greenhouse growers can also experiment with many other crops, even strawberries. But remember the flavour in winter is very much diminished without the sunshine.
- Seed potatoes can be grown in a bucket or container – these won’t produce a huge crop but just enough for a meal or two at Christmas or New Year. And there’s nothing like home grown potatoes!
Enjoy your winter vegetables – and before you know it we’ll be talking spring planting again.