Archive for the ‘Winter Sowing’ Category

We’re starting to gear down a bit now as we start seeing Summer receding day-by-day, Hopefully you got some of your late Summer sowings in and as we move closer to Autumn, you can still and do still have quite a large selection of greens to grow over Autumn and over-wintering to spring! This year I will try my best to grow as much as what’s manageable.

SeptSo get  connected to your local Streetbank / freecycle or similar site to see if anyone has some fleece / cloche that they could give away or go to your Garden center if you need to fix some dinks in your polytunnels or greenhouses – and get your seeds ordered! …

 

 

mini polytunnels for vegetables

Mini-Tunnels for Vegetable Growing In Colder Weather

 

Remember, some Skip-Raiding (foraging in Industrial Waste bins and dumpsters for salvageable and recyclable materials) could  get you some used Free window panes which you could use to build a cold-frame.

Outdoors

  • Spring cabbage (early September, warmer areas only)

  • Winter salads and greens including winter lettuce, endives and oriental vegetables

  • Bunching onions (early September)

  • Broad beans and hardy (round seeded) peas to overwinter (from mid September)

  • Kale for small leaves in salads

Greenhouse / Polytunnel

  • The hardier oriental greens such as; choy sum, komatsuna, mustard greens, mizuna, Tsoi Sim and chinese cabbage.

Notes:

  • I find Broad Beans started the previous year tend to get far less black fly than Spring-sown beans, they may take about a month to sprout if sown later than September but they always come up in the end, if direct-sown, I recommend laying chicken mesh on top until you see them germinating – once they are large enough, you can carefully lift the chicken mesh up until they have all popped through, they will likely need some support structure like a bamboo cane
  • Spring Cabbage should be far less affected by Cabbage Butterfly so it’s always good to try if you have trouble growing Brassicas in Summer.
  • This year (2018) is the first year that I grew Garlic in Spring instead of the previous November (’17), this was purely because I forgot to – what I did notice is not only smaller bulbs but also quite a lot of disease / pest activity, so in conclusion, get your growing bulbs ready maybe in October

 

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This is just to clarify between the different Pea varieties you buy from Seed companies which you can view in the September Growing Calendar, which includes Pea types for overwintering…

Round and Wrinkle Skinned Peas

When to Sow Round and Wrinkle Skinned Peas

Peas are normally sown as Spring and Summer crops, that would be mostly Wrinkle Skinned varieties but in some parts of the world where a winter is expected, Round Seeded peas can be sown in September for overwintering, this gives an extra early crop when the weather changes and starts getting warmer. These plants will have larger well established root systems and so, have a head-start over their Spring-sown counterparts!

Wrinkle skinned varieties should be sown in Spring, along with other Round skinned varieties for your Summer cropping.

 

July and August Vegetable Sowing calendar

I know I have been late this year posting some of these sowing calendars, there is still plenty of time to keep your vegetable plot productive over the upcoming Winter well into the Spring, this time of the year albeit cold, is a great time to be growing as you are not as suffocated with jobs once you have cleared away all of the dead summer crops and finished the basic after summer jobs, there is less watering that needs doing and not as many pests around – plus I love being outdoors when it’s cold! There’s nothing like fire-boiling a pot to make yourself some fresh brew even perhaps a nice Hot Chocolate!

Outdoors

  • Final sowings of root crops including carrots, beetroot, turnips (until mid-July)

  • Winter radishes and swedes

  • Dwarf french beans (up to early July) in warmer areas only

  • Oriental greens (mizuna, mibuna, komatsuna, etc) and turnip greens

  • Lettuce, moving over to winter varieties by late August, rocket, cress, endive and salad radishes

  • Swiss chard & leaf beet such as perpetual spinach

  • Chive and Chicory

  • Fennel

  • Spring & Chinese cabbage (from late July)

  • Bunching and spring onions

Polytunnel / greenhouse border:

  • Chervil & Coriander

  • Salads, particularly in later summer as other crops finish.

Under Cover outdoors:

  • True Spinach (Winter Spinach)

I have been meaning for ages to post some photo’s from the last season, with the recent chilly weather, this couldn’t have come at a better time to post!

Thing’s that I have been up to regarding preperations for the upcoming season both in the garden as well as on the allotment include Fruit tree grafting (attaching other varieties of Apple for example onto an existing tree making the tree dual / tri fruiting). Digging and maintaining Bean trenches (I will be sure to create a post on this in the future), planting loads of Garlic, Developing Two (2) yes, T W O new Hugelkultur (Hugel Mounds) that are reasonably sized and now I can say that I have good experience with Hugel Beds after creating four over the last 3 or so years.

This last summer wealded a big increase in dry bean production, I like to grow runner beans both for fresh pods but also for the dry beans, some people may say that this is impossible in the UK climate, I say don’t listen to them! It is possible with certain varieties …

The harvest photo is of the best single harvest I had during the whole summer, unfortunately I got Tomato blight so my ‘Purple Ukraine’ variety suffered before they were ready to harvest 😦

SONY DSC

All Organic Permaculture Allotment Harvest 2017

I also, at some point during the hectic busy summer I had, managed to go around counting the amount of Perennials I have on site. Including tubers which re-sprout if you leave one in the planting space, I counted 22 species and this excludes the fruit bushes I have waiting planting! The compost bins have had a good part of my attention as I would really like to completely become self sufficient in terms of compost either by Summer this year or next Spring, this has included turning regularly and continual adding of some fresh greens to keep the worms fed, a compost bin can do with additional insulation this time of year and I highly recommend a black bin liner placed over the opening before putting the lid back on, this seals the heat in.

Finally,a large section that was overgrown with bind weed was lasagne / sheet mulched in preperation for a dedicated berry / fruit area.

This is just a quick one to remind everyone that Summer is not the only time of year to grow vegetables for yourself and family, many leafy crops can be sown now or soon for over-wintering or supplying fresh greens during the cold months!

beets

Leafy Crops for Winter Vegetable supply

Some plants are intended to over-winter so that in spring after they have been spending the last few months establishing an extensive root network, they take to the new warm weather and pump out loads of delicious crop for us well before the Spring sown annuals are even out of their nursing trays! However, there are plants that will also supply food during the course of Autumn and Winter …

  • Garlic:

There are quite a few things you can plan for now, the best time to sow Garlic is in November as this ensures larger bulbs. There are specialist companies that provide Garlic via online mailorder but you could also just try a small patch of store bought cloves to see how they do! All 50-60 of the Garlic I grew this year were from Fruit and Veg shop bought bulbs, they did okay in my opinion. Plants which can follow Garlic include Tomatoes and even Pumpkins in the place of the harvested bulbs, I do however advise my readers and followers to research more options if possible …

  • Broad Beans:

Broad Beans ‘Flava flava’ can be sown September / October to over-winter for an early harvest in Spring, this mostly means that they should not be heavily affected by Black Aphid as Spring sown plants usually are. You can plan another Summer crop to grow in the place of the Broad Bean plants which you will remove after harvesting the bean pods, this is known in Vegetable Gardening as ‘Catch Cropping’ – effectively using a space for more than one crop over one year / season period.

  • True Spinach:

True Spinach, as opposed to other similar plants such as Perpetual Spinach (Another one to sow before Autumn for possible winter harvest) or Leaf Beet can be sown early to mid August for possible Autumn harvests (depending on your climate), anything sown later will mostly provide good yield in early Spring.
Similarly, Swiss Chard or Rainbow Chards should supply leaf and stalks in Autumn and perhaps Winter as well.

  • Round Seeded Pea varieties:

Round Seeded Peas (there are two types of dry seed, Round and Wrinkle Seeded) Round seeded varieties are hardier and the dry seed does not have any signs of a wrinkled skin. These can be sown September / October for an early harvest in Spring or in January onwards if you missed the Sept / Oct sowing period.

  • Winter Lettuces:

There are a decent number of Lettuce varieties which are quite hardy not only in unheated polytunnels and greenhouses but also outdoors, the best place to look for seed of this sort would be a heritage / heirloom seed supplier as they are likely to stock a few varieties, buying a cloche or mini polythene tunnel won’t be a bad idea as it keeps the cold winter winds from harming your plants. Check Salad Endive out for a year round easy to grow crop, another favourite with some gardeners is Lamb’s Lettuce AKA Corn Salad, this is a great plant to grow in a self-seed bed (A bed where you allow the plants to self seed as to reduce your own workload and allow nature to decide the ”sowing date”.

  • Oriental Greens:

Many oriental leafy vegetables are good for growing and supplying a decent yield in winter, varieties such as: Mizuna, Pakchoi,Tatsoi, Mispoona, Chinese Cabbage and Mibuna are all good.

  • The Hot / Peppery Greens:

Mustard Greens are very hardy, Rocket salad (Arugula) are a great plant to grow late Summer onwards as  the cooler weather will decrease the chances of the plants bolting.
Another good All Year, easy to grow green is Land Cress, placed in this category as it is a little spicy.

  • Windowsill Plants in Pots:

I always say people MUST experiment!! A few years back I grew a couple Tomato ‘Minibel’ (Small Cherry like, Pot Bush Tomatoes) in Terracotta pots indoors on my sunniest windowsill. I got perhaps 20-40 small mini-cherry tomatoes off of each plant during the season in your typical English Winter!

This year I will be growing a Cucamelon (As well as two Minibels again) in a slightly larger Terracotta pot on the same windowsill although with a mini bamboo trellis frame to support this Cucumber relative (Climber) keep an eye or follow this blog to see the results.

I know this list can still be expanded … however, I got lazy 🙂

There a are a number of plants due for sowing in February, as well as some which show up in the Janurary list, these too can still be sown now …

baby-carrots

Young Carrots Growing In A Container

Indoors:

  • Round Seeded Peas (See explanation / description in January Sowing Calendar – Click Here),
  • Aubergines, Tomatoes and Peppers (Especially Aubergines, these plants really do need a good early start in order to have a chance of baring fruit in our climate), Peppers take long to germinate (Sometimes almost a month so going by what a general seed pack says will almost always spell disater) and Tomatoes can always do with an earlier start – just be sure to have a nice indoor spot for them to grow on in whilst waiting for the last frost date,

Outside (Polytunnel or Green house):

  • Oriental Greens and Winter Lettuce Varieties again for planting in March, (See varieties list in the January Sowing Calendar),
  • If you are in a warmer part of the country, Carrots can be sown inside Greenhouses and Polytunnels to produce an earleir Crop – you can consider these ‘Early First Earlies!’
    NOTE: I would still reccommend experimenting though, I have some carrots which were sown late outdoors with no cover at all and I am in what is considered a ”warmer part of the ountry” these Carrots have survived well on a windy site without top cover, albeit looking worse for wear, they are alive and will definitely improve when the weather gets better

Believe it or not, there are crops as well as other plants that can be started indoors in January in preparation for the upcoming growing season, some plants just need a very early start such as some cabbages as well as if you are growing Onions from seed.

onion-seed

Organic Onions Grown From Seed

Indoors:

  • If you haven’t got a problem with mice, you can start Round Seeded Peas now directly outdoors, if not, just grow indoors until large enough to go outside (Regarding Round Seeded, some peas are Round when dry, others are wrinkled when dry, the Wrinkled varieties are for later sowings),
  • Onion varieties from seed (most people grow Onion from sets, personally I like to know the level of ”Organic-ness” and don’t like growing from sets due to this,
  • Cabbage varieties such as Red Cabbages need an earlier start, refer to your seed packs,
  • Oriental Greens and Winter Salads can be grown again now (You can sow these in Autumn for growing in Polytunnels / Greenhouses) these plants will explode in Spring when the temperatures improve, still for growing under cover though … the varieties are as follows:
    mustard greens, winter lettuces, land cress, mizuna, mibuna, pak choi, mispooona & komatsuna.

Outside (Polytunnel or Green house):

  • The above mentioned Oriental Greens and Winter Salads can be direct sown in Polytunnels and Greenhouses / Cold Frames also

    Click Here for a previous post about starting Companion / Sacrificial Plants in January