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Plan ahead for winter by growing a range of robust crops so that even when the weather is bleak, there’s something tasty to harvest or bring out of storage.
Most vegetable gardens can accommodate winter crops. Some vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, take up a lot of space for a long time but are still well-worth the investment. Choose an open site with free-draining soil, cultivated thoroughly prior to sowing or planting and enriched with organic material.
Where ground is in short supply, containers will support a few plants. If a greenhouse or polytunnel is available, it can be used to over-winter some crops and start others off early. However, heating greenhouses for year round harvests is rarely efficient.
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, kale, leeks and parsnips are hardy vegetables and will stand through the winter. Leafy crops such as chard, parsley and rocket should also over-winter with a little protection.
Other crops such as carrots, onions, turnips and winter squash can also be grown to enjoy in winter if stored correctly.
Sow hardy winter vegetables such as sprouting broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, winter cabbage and leeks in late spring or early summer as they take several months to reach maturity. They stand well through frosty weather and can be harvested throughout the winter months.
Sow leafy crops such as chard, chicory, landcress and parsley in early summer for autumn harvests that can last into winter if they are provided with some fleece or cloche protection.
Sow corn salad, land cress and oriental salad leaves such as komatsuna, mibuna, mizuna, mustard and rocket. These will provide cut-and-come-again leaves through the autumn, and winter if covered with a cloche, coldframe or fleece.Potatoes can be planted in mid- to late summer for winter harvests.
It takes a little planning to have enough vegetables for winter;
As with any vegetable growing, there are a number of things that can go wrong;
Crop rotationGrow your ownPotatoes: growing for the festive seasonRHS video: vegetable seed sowingRoot vegetables: storingStarting an allotmentVegetables in containersVegetables for exhibitionVegetables: growing for springVegetable seed: sowing
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