Winter vegetable harvest
As well as Potatoes, there are still varieties of vegetables that can be planted now and harvested this autumn. Plant lettuces, spinach and rocket and get a fresh crop in roughly six weeks. To enjoy healthy salads throughout the summer why not plant a small batch every two weeks.
Other vegetables that can be planted now for an early autumn harvest are cabbage, cauliflower, leeks, purple sprouting broccoli, sugar snap peas and spring onions.
What to grow for winter
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, kale, leeks and parsnips are hardy vegetables and will stand through the winter. Leafy crops such as chard, parsley and rocket should also over-winter with a little protection.
Other crops such as carrots, onions, turnips and winter squash can also be grown to enjoy in winter if stored correctly.
When to sow vegetables for winter harvests
Spring and summer
Sow hardy winter vegetables such as sprouting broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, winter cabbage and leeks in late spring or early summer as they take several months to reach maturity. They stand well through frosty weather and can be harvested throughout the winter months.
Sow leafy crops such as chard, chicory, landcress and parsley in early summer for autumn harvests that can last into winter if they are provided with some fleece or cloche protection.
Late summer and autumn
Sow corn salad, land cress and oriental salad leaves such as komatsuna, mibuna, mizuna, mustard and rocket. These will provide cut-and-come-again leaves through the autumn, and winter if covered with a cloche, coldframe or fleece.
Potatoes can be planted in mid- to late summer for winter harvests.
How to grow vegetables for winter harvests
It takes a little planning to have enough vegetables for winter;
- Sow brassicas and leeks into a seedbed outside or into seed trays, cell trays or pots indoors
- Sow parsnips direct into the ground and be aware they may take several weeks to germinate
- Harden off seedlings raised in the greenhouse thoroughly before planting them outside
- Transplant seedlings to their final positions when they have formed small, sturdy plants with two or four pairs of true leaves (in the case of leeks, when they are pencil thick)
- Sow salad plants direct into the ground in summer in shallow drills that have been watered prior to sowing
- In summer, use space wisely by sowing or transplanting seedlings into ground vacated by early crops, such as broad beans or early potatoes
- Keep plants well-watered
- Hoe between rows regularly to keep them free of weeds
- Cover salads and leafy plants with cloches for protection before the frosts