Although we are still in August, September is edging ever closer and with that so is the cold and dullness of autumn and then yes I dare say it winter… When the transition happens in the UK the mower is usually stored away but your gardening doesn’t have to stop.
You should be packing your vegetable beds full of fodder to work with and pick over the winter months, keeping your garden going through winter allows not only a good hobby but also exercise and some much needed fresh air while also a nice home-grown produce to be proud of.
Right up until the end of October you can keep a good range of vegetables that can be sown to supplement leeks, parsnips and cabbages. I prefer to sow in modules in my greenhouse or even in my cold frame and like to plant out as mini-plants at a later date… This isn’t the case for my garlic, asparagus, cabbages or onion sets.
Today I intend on informing you about 5 vegetables that I love to grow in winter and you can to.
Peas and Pea shots
If this is you attempt at a late spring crop then you need to try sowing seeds; you need to sow especially in the milder areas of your garden. Most of you will be sowing directly into the ground, or I am assuming you will be? If so then try to plant them around one inch deep and around one inch apart, this will allow you to make up for the likeliness of a higher loss rate.
When it comes to planting in groups I would advise that you plant all in lines of three that are 12 inches apart allowing you to form thick rows; with this also make each row around 18 inches thick. When growing peas too many people forget how tasty the pea shoots actually are.
You can pick the tips and add them to all sorts of dishes such as stir fries and salads to add a delicious taste. If you are looking for a way to speed up the germination process then I would advise putting seeds on a wet kitchen towel on a plate and them sowing them in modules as the root starts to develop…
Spinach has become one of the most popular vegetables to gardeners in the modern era, it is such a gorgeous vegetable and if you pick it early and allow the leaves to grow it will be a perfect introduction into your meals. It’s nice with salads and it is very useful in varieties. These will tolerate being sown until the end of October; the main advantage of sowing in October is that there is not a tendency to bolt.
Onions, Shallots and spring onions
At this time of year there are many varieties of onions from sets that can now go in. This is without a doubt the easiest way to grow onions and it will also ensure you have the advantage of being able to harvest earlier on.
For different sets I would advise using Electric as a red set, Shakespeare as a highly reliable white set and Radar is the perfect yellow one. Many garden centres will have Shallots available for planting now and I would tend to plant them in December, usually after Christmas. However you can pop a few in and see if you can get them growing early.
There are a few reasons why I choose to sow my broad beans in autumn; firstly it stops the nutrients leaching through what would be otherwise fallow soil, which allows its structure to deteriorate considerably… Along with this I also have more time to focus on them than I do in the spring months.
It is also worth noting that because of this you can get them ready to be eaten a full month earlier than you will be able to if you sow them in April. I must advise that in the winter months you add canes or sticks to the beans if they grow anything over a foot high. This will ensure that they are not allowed to wave around in the wind and in result snap just above ground level.
One thing I love about broad beans is using the tops of them with wilted butter, they are absolutely delicious and anybody growing broad beans should be using them. Sometimes we need to stagger our crop, if this is the case then pick out some tops to cook before the pods are formed… This will also help to delay pod production while also making a delicious dish eaten whole.