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Try Growing these 10 Varieties over the Autumn & Winter Months
1. Broad beans
These are good to sow in autumn as they will be ready a good month earlier than those sown in April, and they don't get black fly. Put in canes and string if necessary to tie them up to make sure they don’t split if they grow too tall.
If you pick out some tops to cook before the pods are formed you will delay pod production, which can help stagger your crop. Small pods are delicious cooked and eaten whole .You can also cook the broad bean tops which are delicious wilted with butter.
Asparagus varieties are now available for autumn planting, which helps them establish that bit quicker.
3. Peas and pea shoots
For a late spring crop, it's worth trying sowing seeds now, especially in mild areas. If you sow direct into the ground, plant them one inch deep and relatively closely at about one inch apart, to make up for a higher loss rate. Plant in groups of three lines all 12in apart to form thick rows, and make each thick row 18in apart.
With peas, don't forget the pea shoots are tasty: just pick off
the tips and add to stir fries and salads for that intense, delicious fresh pea
flavour. Meteor is a first early variety and overwinters well. To speed up
germination, put seeds on a wet kitchen towel on a plate and sow (in modules) when
the root starts to develop.
This is the easiest crop to grow. Plant the cloves individually to a depth of 2.5in deep on light soils and a lot less deep on heavy soils, but always a minimum of one inch below the surface. The distance should be about one foot apart each way.
5. Onions & Spring onions
There are quite a few varieties of Onions from sets that can go in now ;try Electric, Radar and Shakespeare. Grow onions now and they can be harvested earlier on in the year. Sow some Spring onions now try White Lisbon Winter Hardy as this, a good one.
6. Winter lettuce
You can still sow really hardy varieties and plant it out under fleece or a perforated polythene sheet. It can be picked right through the winter and in milder winters it can left it unprotected once it establishes. Winter Gem is a good new variety and can be sown right through the winter till January in a cold frame.
7. Lambs lettuce
This is a good salad bowl filler: it’s easy to grow and useful for bulking out the salad bowl. It doesn’t need high light levels, tolerates low temperatures, and can be sown up until the end of October outside; it can be picked until December or into the new year with some fleece or with milder weather.
Spinach is very popular now, often used in salads . We pick it younger and just wilt the leaves rather than ruin it with overcooking. Useful varieties that will tolerate being sown now until the end of October are Riccio d'Asti and Merlo Nero .The big advantage of autumn sowing is that there is no tendency to bolt.
9. Sugarsnap peas
Sugarsnap peas are highly versatile and you get far more of that great fresh pea flavour than you do from just using the pea. Although not usually known for sowing now, if you choose a variety such as Snow Pea Gigante Svizzero (Seeds of Italy) you can get slow growth (as with all the peas) over winter to produce a crop of smallish, edible pods earlier next year.
10. Spring cabbage
If you ring around your local garden centres, you might well find some spring cabbage plants left. Plant 12in apart each way and earth up the soil around their stems after they have got going to help them against the cold. If it gets icy in colder areas, fleece or cloches can help. You can thin early plants for spring greens and leave the rest to heart up. Watch out for pigeons.