Monday, 11 October 2010

Autumn Planting and Winter Veg

It wasn't until I got an allotment that I realised you could get fresh vegetables around the year and since then I've become a real winter veg grower. Last Christmas Eve we picked carrots, leeks, parnips, kale and cabbage from our allotment for Christmas dinner, the Christmas potatoes were a disaster though. The key to growing vegetables all year round is being organised. In the spring, I sowed the summer cabbages, then autumn ones, followed by winter savoys and then in the summer I planted the spring cabbages, but I think they got eaten by slugs.

In the autumn it's time to plant the spring bulbs, broad bean aquadulce and onion-senshyu. I had already planted the daffodils for my cutting flower bed and today was the perfect weather to finish my autumn planting.

Last year the broad beans suffered badly from the cold winter and had all died by the start of the growing season, so this time I am taking precautions and over the next couple of days I'm going to plant some more in my mini greenhouse and I've also put a note on my calendar to plant some seeds on the first Sunday in February.

I always wondered about the old boys at the allotment and their obsession with planting in rows. They measure, they mark out, they place string and look on in distane at my more natural approach of what must look like complete chaos. However I've been watching and noting with interest, how much easier it is to hoe between the rows and easier to spot which are the seeds they have planted and which are weeds. Little by little, I am starting to plant in blocks and rows and today I even measured between the onion sets, although I'm not entirely sure the rows are straight.

Only one curly kale plant survived the attack of persistent slugs this year but this one is doing well.

The most success I've had with winter veg to date though is rainbow and rhubarb chard. It is so pretty and the slugs and snails don't appear to like it. I plant it straight into the ground at any point from early spring right through until the end of August. The plant pictured above was planted at the end of last August. It survived the cold winter and snow, nestled amongst the fennel and has really started to grow over the last couple of months. We eat the leaves and the stems until the frost or the snow causes the plant to die back temporarily but it grows again as soon as the weather warms up and provides early spring veg. It really is a star amongst vegetables, healthy and delicious.

1 comment:

  1. Its so lovely to read your blogs, they bring me into a beautiful world of nature, friends, family, and I see things that are overlooked most of the time. I would just love all your articles in a book that i could carry round and just look at whenever life gets me down. You are one in a million Susie and a fabulous writer !xxx


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