Even though the colder months of the year are now ahead, it is still possible to continue with your gardening, because even in the winter months some vegetables do great. They get the head start and are ready sooner in the spring to enjoy. It is important to plant the items that you intend to grow before the ground gets too hard to dig. Alternatively, you can use raised beds or containers for growing your vegetables. It is important that you have considered the needs of the plant; some plants like a layer of mulch in the winter. This helps to reduce the weeds and it also allows extra nutrients to get into the soil as it breaks down. If the weather is dry it is important to water your vegetables, especially if they are in containers.
Some of the best plants to grow this winter include:
- Onions, these are a great vegetable to grow over the winter. Ensure that you prepare the soil before the ground goes hard and before the first frost. Choose a spot that gets great light even in the winter months. Choose your sets carefully and plant them out according to the guidance on the packet. Don’t forget to mulch the area and if there is no rain, water weekly for the first couple of weeks. Harvest the onions in the spring.
- Spinach is great all year round but it does well-grown in the winter too. Plant out and protect with a cloche or straw if you are not in a mild climate. It is possible to pick when the leaves are the perfect size and this if often right through from October right through until spring the following year. Make sure you have plenty of organic matter in the border because this reduces the bitterness that is sometimes associated with spinach.
- Bean sprouts, these are great grown any time of the year; literally, place damp kitchen paper on a plate and place the seeds on top. When they start sprouting then start eating and enjoying.
- Garlic is great for growing in the garden, but you need to consider the area for planting carefully. If your garden becomes water-logged in the winter you might choose to grow your garlic in pots, it is easier to protect these in the cold weather too. Plant them like onions and they will be ready to harvest in June.
- Cabbages are a great vegetable that you can grow all year round; plant them out when established until they are ready to harvest. It is important to watch out for pests.
- Broad beans are great for growing outdoors if the gardens sheltered and the ground doesn’t get water-logged. If you are in a colder area you could try covering them with a cloche or fleece to protect them from too low temperatures. You can plant them out from November and expect to start harvesting these in May.
- Carrots, some varieties of carrots grow well over winter but must grow in a greenhouse, making the harvest early in the New Year.
- Pak Choi, again this will grow well over the winter if it has protection, harvest the leaves as and when you need them.
Preparation For Your Vegetables
Preparation is the key to growing any fruits and vegetables; it doesn’t matter if you are growing plants in containers, raised beds or in a vegetable plot. It is important to know the requirements of the plants and providing these so they are able to give you a bumper crop and help reduce the costs of buying green groceries. Gardening in the winter is a great exercise and whilst it might be cooler, it does mean some of the jobs that you put off in the gorgeous summer we have had because it was just too hot, there might still be time before the weather gets too bad, to complete.
Growing vegetables doesn’t just have to be a summer past time, finding the vegetables you like to eat is important too, there is little point growing something if you dislike it. Choosing the plants and seeds that you are going to use is important; check they are not the old and outdated stock that the garden centre is trying to get rid of.
Therefore, there is still time to enjoy your garden and the vegetables you can grow no matter what the season.