If you are vegetable grower, you are now likely to be enjoying the start of harvesting season, when so many of the plants you have nurtured throughout the year are giving back with abundant yields. But now is also a good time to start sowing seed for vegetables to grow and harvest over the winter and into early spring. There might not be as much choice, but there is in fact still plenty of choice, with a few interesting options you may not have considered before. Here we have listed 5 vegetables to sow towards the end of the growing season to stop your vegetable beds going bare as the cold weather hits.
Spring Onion White Lisbon Winter Hardy
Spring onions are useful little crops due to their quick turnaround time from seed to harvested vegetable. They also take very little space comparative to other vegetables and can be used to add extra flavour to so many dishes. As this particular variety is so hardy, it can be sown in late summer and into the early autumn for harvest early spring the following year.
Mustard – Brassica juncea
This annual herb is a hardy edible which adds a strong flavour to a winter salad or stir-fry. As it doesn’t need warmer temperatures to germinate, it is ideal for growing through the winter when so many other vegetables seeds would fail. The variety ‘Red Dragon’ is thought to produce particularly strong leaves in winter when grown from a late summer or autumn sowing.
Spinach – Spinacia oleracea
True spinach copes well in heavy frosts, and the leaves actually taste all the better for the cold. This can be sown as late as September for harvest through the winter and into the early spring. While this vegetable handles itself well in the winter, you will need to protect it from slugs and snails, who will leave it with holey-leaves if they get the chance. ‘Giant Winter’ is meant to be a particularly vigilant variety.
Carrot – Daucus carota var. sativus
As a root vegetable, carrots are natural winter-croppers. While their foliage may die back in very cold weather, the root itself will just sit in the soil getting larger until harvest. It is worth sowing additional batches of carrot seeds in late summer so that you can pull the roots up as and when you need to over the winter and into spring. The variety ‘Marion’ is meant to have a particularly long sowing period, going from spring right into October.
Lamb’s lettuce – Valerianella locusta
If your winters are milder, Lamb’s Lettuce is a great edible to add to your kitchen garden. During extreme winters, this plant is best grown under cover, or protected with a cloche. This soft, evergreen annual is a delicious alternative to lettuce during the winter, and can be sown late summer to early autumn for supply through the cold months.