Winter veggie victories
As we begin the slope into the colder months, your gardening efforts shouldn’t disappear. If you take a long winter break, you’ll find that it makes it tougher to get back out the following year. Instead, you should stay active by growing some delicious vegetables that can withstand the winter. Here are five of the best winter vegetables to grow, courtesy of Suttons Seeds…
Peas are one of the easiest and hardiest crops in the world. If you sow them in autumn, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh peas in spring. You’ll want to plant your peas in moist, fertile soil that has plenty of compost dug into it.
Plant them 1” deep, 1” apart in three lines of 12” lengths – but ensure there’s enough space between additional rows. Around 18” should do the trick. You can harvest them in spring.
Beans are a great source of protein and are easy to grow. They’re good to plant in winter, as the low temperature stops nutrients leaching through fallow soil. You should sow them in autumn, choosing a well-drained site. Sow the seeds 2-3” apart and keep them moist, soaking them well unless there has been heavy rain. Sowing in winter helps prevent black fly infestation – but they need to survive winter so pay close attention to them.
Spinach is a healthy salad leaf that withstands winter well with proper supervision. If sown in August, you’ll need to create a fertile bed with plenty of room for plants to grow. Growing in a greenhouse or cold frame helps keep the plant healthy. Whichever method you go for, you’ll need to ensure your spinach has good ventilation.
If you’re new to gardening and want something easy to grow, Garlic is a good choice. It’s versatile and resilient. Plant the cloves individually at a depth of around 2.5” – but less deep if you’re using a heavy soil. Each clove should be at least a foot apart.
Like garlic, the onion family is hardy and is good to grow in winter. They can be harvested early in the year and you can experiment with shallots and spring onions too. You’ll want to sow them in autumn and keep a close eye, but most varieties can handle the cold.
So you’ve got your list of hardy winter vegetables that you can start sowing now – but there are some tips to keep in mind.
· Cover vegetables with carpet or something similar if snow starts to fall.
· Use compost to aid growth and start a new compost pile in winter as you start to cut and bin dead or dying plants.
· Dig and fork soil to keep it loose and breathing ahead of spring.
· You can add some store-bought shrubs to a garden to create winter interest with minimal effort.
There’s no excuse to stay indoors during winter. Keep your garden thriving and watch it bloom once spring rolls in!