A winter world of veg*

The garden is approaching the end of the growing season so now’s the time to put those hardy veg in to “overwinter” over the cold months and utilise your space to the max. The plants will make a start now, go dormant over the winter period then perk up in the spring, giving yourself a head start on the veg front next year. Vegetables like spring cabbage, kale, spinach, broad beans, peas, even lettuce (look out for a hardy variety like “artic king” at the garden centre) can be put in now for overwintering.

Last week I sowed some broad beans, onions and garlic. You can grow onions from seed but the most convenient way is to grow from “sets”, mini onions (think pickled onions in their skins!) that’ll save you time and effort. I got a bag of about 50/60 for £3, that’s well enough for yourself with loads left over to pass onto a gardening mate or two.

I prepared the area as per, taking out weeds, stones etc and made two rows about 10″ apart. I then sowed each set 5″ apart and buried them with about a quarter of an inch of soil above the top of the set to stop the birds and squirrels from having them. Don’t use force pushing them in or you will damage the sets. All you have to do then is watch for weeds and damage due to wildlife trying to rob them off you (you could even put a net over them on their early days if you’re keen!) and wait. Do remember to stick in some sort of plant label as you might forget. I do it all the time, that’s why I have a squash plant growing up some canes like a cucumber at the moment!

I’ve also started off some garlic. These are from a bulb not unlike the ones you use in cooking. Just carefully break it up and put the cloves in the ground instead of the pot. You don’t want to use any old one from the supermarket as you don’t know what variety it is and if it’s suited to you local climate so get especially for the plot from your garden centre. With planting just carefully put them in (flat end down) with about a quarter of an inch covering over the top so the birds can’t see them and space them about six inches apart. If you’re doing them in rows keep those about 10″ apart. There you go, how easy was that?

* An Englebert Humperdinck song no less!

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