Extend your vegetable plot season

There was a time when I wondered why us gardeners worked so hard planning, preparing and tending our patches for rewards that last less than half the year (May to October). I would put it down to our passion for gardening. I now know that I got completely the wrong end of the stick, gardens are to be treasured, enjoyed and harvested throughout the year. With careful planning and preparation, you can have bountiful produce from the garden all year round.

Autumn is a key time to sow winter salad and crops for spring and early summer, usually I just sow broad beans and garlic. This year Suttons seeds website has inspired me to be more adventurous.

Broad bean, ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ is a delicious variety which harvests earlier than spring sown broad beans. Sow them directly into your vegetable bed and unless we have an extremely cold winter it should have no problems, if we do have that suspected freeze this year I’ll pop fleece over it for a bit of protection. Garlic seems to thrive on a cold spell and my autumn sown garlic is always a much heartier and healthy crop than weedy spring grown specimens. Plant the individual cloves pointy end up, 5 cm deep and approx 15 cm apart.

Garlic and broad bean seedsGarlic cloves and broad bean seeds

Planting broadbeansPlanting the broad beans, giving them plenty of spacePlanting garlicPlating the garic clove, 5 cm deep, pointy end up

The Sutton seed selection includes spring or salad onions, ‘White Lisbon’ which is winter hardy and should be ready in March and April. Peas, ‘Douce Provence’ is recommended for autumn sowing and hopefully we’ll get an early crop to look forward to in May. For the first time I am going to try and grow winter salad, instead of resorting to bags of super market salad. I am trialling the salad leaves outside and in the greenhouse; it will be interesting to see how they compare. I have sown a spicy oriental salad leaf mix which is advertised as ‘Speedy veg, ready in three weeks’, a leaf salad mix and Italian salad leaf mix, both come in seed tapes which are another first for me. They are easy to sow and I’ll be interested to see if the germination and growth is better with the seed tape spacing than my normal seed sprinkling method.

Autumn veg seedsMy autumn Suttons seed selctionAutumn sown peasSowing peasLeaf salad in seed tapePlanting the seed tapeOutside autumn veg sowingsMy outside autumn sowingsAutumn salad sown in the greenhouseAutumn salad sown in the greenhouse

I look forward to seeing the progress over the coming weeks and months.

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