Now that the lawn mower is safely stored away for winter you still have a few mild weekends ahead to spend time preparing your vegetable boxes before it gets too cold to potter outside. Putting in the hours now will allow you to produce brilliant home grown vegetables in the months to come.
Start by sowing modules of seeds in a cold frame or greenhouse which can be planted as mini plants in a month or so time. A cold frame is a fantastic item that protects your plants and seedlings from cold weather and frost. If you do not have either a cold frame or green house you can sow your vegetable seeds instantly outside as long as you cover them with fleece or perforated polythene. Remember to protect your young plants from pesky bugs within the garden that will try to eat your vegetables before you can! Most slugs and snails will be hibernating at this time of year but some will still be around.
Top veggies to grow in the winter months:
- Broad Beans
Autumn is a fantastic time to sow broad beans for one it prevents nutrients leaching through fallow soil which would cause the structure of your growing beans to deteriorate. Numerous other benefits of sowing in the autumn instead of the spring include your crops being ready to eat a month early than spring crop and also they do not suffer from black fly.To ensure that your crops don’t suffer if they grow to tall in the winter and suffer from exposure to winds use canes or sticks and string to secure your plants. Super Aquadulce and Aquadulce Claudia are excellent varieties to plant now.
A common myth with Asparagus is that it is a hard crop to grow; this however is not the case as long as you keep your asparagus bed weed free. Asparagus can be planted out and grown during the autumn but do bear in mind it takes two years for this crop to be ready.
A great vegetable that is enjoyed so much more during the winter months! Start sowing the seeds towards the end of October. If you do sow your seeds directly into the ground plant them closely at about one inch apart. Plant in groups of three lines all 12 inches apart which will form thick rows. To speed up germination put your pea seeds on to a wet kitchen towel and sow when the roots start to develop.
Remember with this plant it’s not only the peas that you can enjoy….. pea shoots can be added into stir fry’s or salads and are absolutely delicious.
Quite possibly the easiest autumn vegetable to grow! Firstly plant each individual clove 2.5 inches deep in light soil and a lot closer to the surface if the soil is heavy (Regardless of your earths density the clove should always be at least one inch below the surface).
Be it red, white, yellow, spring onions or shallots, whichever your preference all can be grown at this time of the year. Electric is a good red set, Radar for yellow and Shakespeare for white. For Shallots try Jermor these can be planted now at the end of autumn or alternatively wait until December or January. Onions are a great crop to grow all year round as they store and preserve so well.
Really hardy varieties such as Meraviglia d’Inverno San Martino can be grown during late autumn. Sow your seeds under fleece or a perforated polythene sheet. Once established you will be able to pick leaves through the winter. Winter Gem is also a good variety that can be sown in a cold frame right through the winter until January.
Riccio d’Asti and Merlo Nero are two varieties that can be sown until the end of October. One great advantage of sowing spinach in the autumn is that it reduces the chance of it bolting.
- Sugar snap peas
Not commonly thought of for planting at this time of the year. Snow Pea Gigante Svizzero are a variety that will produce a small crop early next year if sown now.
- Spring Cabbage
Plant each one 12 inches apart and earth up the soil around the stems after they have began to establish themselves in order to help protect them against the cold. In really cold or icy conditions fleece or cloches can help. Thin early plants for spring greens and then leave the rest to heart up.
Check out Jacks garden store for great greenhouses, vegetable boxes and cold frames to grow your winter veg!