Some people talk about ‘resting’ the soil over winter, however the soil doesn’t rest in nature. It is a living community and although growing slows down, it still happens. You don’t have to abandon your garden in winter, there are plenty of vegetables to grow that will let you to extend the season and close the hungry gap a bit.
There are a number of hardy vegetables that can be grown over winter that will give you early veg in spring and some like kale, winter cabbage and brussel sprouts that can be harvested in winter.
Quite a few vegetable plants are really hardy and will withstand cold temperatures but it is a good idea to use mulch or fleece to protect them from frosts and keep them cosy.
Here are some veg to plant in autumn:
Onions and Shallots
Winter onions are big old hardy vegetables that do most of their growing in the winter months. Some are called “walking onions” because they produce a top bulblet that will fall to the ground and replant itself, ‘walking’ around the garden. It’s best to use onion sets, the little pre-grown bulbs.
Garlic is best planted in autumn as it enjoys a good frost. It can go in the same bed each time as long as you add some good manure or compost. It can be planted in spring, but you will get much better bulbs if you plant in autumn. Interplant with strawberries for happy companions, you’ll be amazed at what the garlic does for the strawberries!
For an early crop of peas next spring, sow them in autumn. Use a ’rounded’ variety as they are very hardy and will give you a head start next year. The leaves are delicious in salads.
There are quite a few winter salads that you can grow either indoors or in the green house. They are so easy to grow, it would be rude not to!
There are some varieties of carrots that can be sown in November for a spring harvest. They are best kept in the greenhouse or under cover. They can be grown in pots.
There are some varieties of cabbage that can be grown over winter, they are much less susceptible to cabbage whites and slugs and are delicious around Christmas time!
I’ve never planted asparagus before because it takes several years to establish and I’ve been too impatient to wait. However, each asparagus crown will produce many spears and will continue cropping for 25 years, so it’s worth the wait. There are some autumn planting varieties.
If you sow broad beans in autum, they can be harvested up to a month earlier than spring sown plants. You can also eat the tender plant tips in spring – they are delicious just wilted with a little garlic and butter.
Plant these hardy little onions in autumn ready for a spring crop. They are easy to grow from seed.
Perpetual spinach is an excellent ‘cut and come again’ crop that produces beautiful tasty leaves. Early autumn plantings will keep you supplied with tender young leaves throughout winter. Keep harvesting it so that it will continue to crop well into summer. Remove the flowers so that it doesn’t go to seed.
Pak Choi can be used for salad leaves, or the stems can be used in stir fries. It can sown in autumn under cover in autumn.
To grow leeks to over winter, sow seeds 8-12 weeks before the first expected fall frost.