Now that the weather is turning colder and the days are getting shorter, that’s no reason to forget about your vegetable patch! It’s time to start to prepare and even harvest crops for all your delicious winter time recipes! There are still plenty of jobs to do out in the garden, especially if you don’t want to ruin your autumn harvest and are hoping for some early crops next year.
When the hard frosts start, it’s time to harvest winter cauliflowers and cabbages. Your brussel sprouts should also be looking good. Don’t save them all for Christmas Day! Did you know you can also eat the small ‘cabbage’ at the top of each plant too?
It’s also time to dig up your carrots. The traditional way to store them is in sand or peat. And keep an eye on the vegetables you already have stored. Check potatoes to make sure they’re not rotting.
Everyone knows that a roast dinner isn’t complete without roast parsnips – try adding them to soups, stews and casseroles too. Parsnips are more than happy to stay put but if the weather gets really icy, do cover them with fleece otherwise you’ll find them impossible to dig up. The roots are ready to lift when the foliage starts to die down in autumn; use a fork to carefully lift them.
Protect cauliflower heads by folding over the leaves to keep them a lovely clear white.
Cover your brassicas (kale, sprouts, broccoli and so on) with netting to protect against pigeons. They’ll grow increasingly cheeky as the weather grows colder!
Now is the best time to plant your garlic. They benefit from a period of cold, which prompts growth later.
Sow broad beans for an early summer crop and autumn sown plants are less attractive to blackfly.
Hardy varieties of pea, such as Meteor, can also be sown now for harvesting in June.
What’s happening in your garden? What have been your most successful crops this year and what are you looking forward to next year?