My Top 5 Vegetables To Sow For Autumn And Winter NOW.
It's a cruel thing that in the sweaty, bikini clad heat of Summer (yeah, right - I live in the UK!) you have to start sowing the seeds of an Autumn / Winter harvest or you'll be stood shivering in your garden in your PJ's come December wondering why you have no food.
At this time of year your garden sits on a knife edge - on one side, summer abundance; juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers and buttery green beans. On the other side, blight, wilt, mould and all sorts of gross, slimy leaves. So, trust me on this one: now is the time to sow your Autumn and Winter garden to ensure the abundance continues long after your tan lines have faded.
The main reason we plant our cold hardy crops now is that the light levels during the colder months are too low, and it's too cold, to promote plant growth; so we plant now so our plants have time to grow to maturity before the first frost, after which their growth slows to a crawl, with the occasional growth spurt on warmer days. In this way our garden becomes a living larder - holding the living, fresh food for us until we're ready to eat it during those cold months. Additionally an amazing change happens after that first frost - the plants turn some of the starches and bitter compounds in their leaves and roots to sugar which acts as a natural antifreeze. That's why you will NEVER taste a carrot so good in Summer as you will in Autumn.
So if you want to grow the tastiest food ever - grow an Autumn / Winter garden.
Without further ado, here are my 5 favourite vegetables to sow now for Autumn and Winter harvests:
Despite its fragile looks and clever supermarket marketing to make lettuce salads a 'summer lunch', Lettuce does best in cooler weather. If you cover the bed with an agricultural fleece to protect the leaves from winter rains, hail and the worst of the frost you can have lettuce all throughout the cold season. Different lettuces have different levels of cold tolerance. So grow a good mix like THIS and see what does best.
Two for the price of one! Herbs are one of the most cost effective crops to grow since they are SO expensive in the shops!
Both Coriander and Parsley are shockingly cold hardy, despite their frilly, fragile looks. I love to harvest them by the fistful, chop them as finely as possible and toss them through a warm rice salad with squash, raisins, chopped, dried apricots and a big dollop of yogurt or sour cream.
With their bold, punchy flavours herbs are also some of the most nutrient dense crops in our garden. Grow them year round both outside and inside.
If you think you hate Beetroot, do me a favour. Grow Beetroot for Autumn, taste it after the last frost and get back to me. With the starch to sugar effect of frost Beetroot becomes candy cane sweet; sweet enough in fact to eat raw, sliced translucently thin with a peeler.
I grow Detroit 2 for its natural sweetness and reduced 'earthy' flavour. Try it.
I loooove spring onions! Whether chopped finely into a salad or tossed whole into a stir fry, their onioniness is intensely delicious. Another surprisingly cold tolerant crop, if you sow them now they'll be full size by the time the first frosts hit.
White Lisbon is a great beginner variety of Spring Onion.
Where would nutrition experts and influencers be without Spinach? Ubiquitous with health and wellness, this hardy leaf can help keep you healthy all Winter long! Sow now and you'll be tossing handfuls of healthy greens into smoothies, salads and soups with abandon! Sow it now and sow plenty of it, you wouldn't want to run out!
If you feel a bit overwhelmed by all that and need a quick and easy solution, our Autumn / Winter Instagarden packs contain all of the above, plus full growing instructions, raised beds, soil, the lot! Check them out.
So there you have it! My top 5 veggies to sow now for an Autumn / Winter harvest! Don't forget to tag us in your garden pictures on instagram @growyour groceries and share them to our Facebook Page!
Remember, you CAN grow your own groceries! x