The nights are drawing in and the days are getting cooler but there’s still plenty you can sow and grow in the colder months.
The information below is for everyone from the south of England to the north of Scotland. Growing conditions can vary dramatically across the country, and also even within a locality.
If you are new to growing and are unsure about exactly what to do when, try asking other vegetable growers nearby. And be guided by the weather and soil conditions.
Garlic – requires a cold spell to form a good bulb, and can be planted from September to December. Choose a variety such as ‘Flavour’ for late winter and early spring planting.
Broad beans - can be sown October to November. Try a variety such as Aquadulce Claudia.
Outdoors with protection 🔗
Lamb's lettuce or corn salad – can be grown in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse throughout the winter. It is a very hardy winter salad with a soft texture and mild flavour.
Winter lettuce - Use a winter variety such as Rouge d'Hiver, Winter Density or Winter Crop, for harvesting in November and December. Or over wintered to crop in early spring.
Indoor sowings 🔗
Geraniums, antirrhinum (snapdragons), lobelia and begonais - can be started off in a propagator in December/January.
Sweet peas – start them off in loo rolls on a sunny windowsill October to November or January to April. Pinch out growing tips to stop plants becoming leggy.
Chinese leaves – can be sown with some protection, and all will crop more generously under cover. If you’re not sure what you like, try Oriental Saldini - a mixture of various greens.
Tender vegetables - such as chilli and aubergine can be started off indoors in January but will need a light box due to low light levels. Turn regularly to ensure even growth.
Microgreens including small herbs – can make delicious garnishes and salads through the winter. Try mustard, Swiss chard and radish and snip when a few centimetres high. You can also grow spices such as mustard and fenugreek, brought from wholefood shops.
Bare root fruit, trees/hedging – can all be planted provided the ground isn’t frozen.