Posts Tagged ‘Winter Sowing’

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 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 🙂

Whilst all beans will have the useful trait of being Biological Nitrogen Fixers (Leguminous) for our soils (Bringing Nitrogen back into the soil naturally) which may have leached out trough heavy rainfall, for example.

The Broad Bean (Fava Bean) is particularly useful to anyone who prefers to ”model nature” (John Kohler’s words) and not rely on chemical non-natural based off the shelf products which, in the end, bring a negative balance to local ecosystems.

Broad Bean Plants

Broad Bean Plants

Positive Traits that make them so useful:

  • Tolerant of heavy soils (Clay),
  • Cold Hardy (not specifically needing be grown in a greenhouse or poly tunnel during winter),
  • Nitrogen Fixing,
  • Green Manure (Chop and Drop before going to seed / flower),
  • Some varieties are used as animal feed and forage,
  • Extremely easy to save seeds,
  • Vigorous growth and,
  • Fast germination too

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