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Growing winter vegetables allows you to extend the season, and many vegetables that can be grown in winter will produce earlier crops than spring plantings. If you were really organized in late spring/ early summer and have done your research, you will have already begun to grown winter vegetables! These will be well underway by Autumn and by then you would already have begun planting your winter vegetables outdoors and into the ground! Do not worry if it slipped your mind or you weren’t aware of this – there are plenty of tasty vegetables that you can grow in the winter months that can be still sown during Autumn.
Most winter vegetable plants cope well with cold winter weather, but if hard frosts threaten to show up, you can always throw some fleece across them to provide some extra frost protection. Most can be planted or sown directly outdoors to ensure that your winter vegetable garden is fully stocked for the next year.
If you have plenty of space, consider creating a permanent Asparagus Garden Bed! While asparagus beds can take years to establish and stabilize, each crown produces up to 20 spears each year and will continually produce for 25 more years! This crop is like trees in that it’ll take years for it to grow properly, taking up to 2 entire years before you can begin harvesting it repeatedly.
Broad beans can be harvested in the spring season around one month earlier than spring-sown crops. The “Aquadulce Claudia” Broad Bean variety is known as one of the absolute best you can plant for autumn sowings due to them being very quick to establish!
Garlic is incredibly easy to grow and there are lots of varieties to choose from. Like onions, these have a long growing season and will not be ready to harvest until the summer of next year, but the wait is very much worth it! The “Wight Cristo” Garlic is suited for most culinary dishes, if you enjoy the flavor of baked garlic, try the “Chesnok Red” Garlic variety. It’s delicious and has a very creamy texture.
Onions are easy to grow en-masse and will pretty much maintain themselves over winter. Onions have a long growing season and won’t be ready for harvesting until the summer of next year, so you will need to plan carefully as they will still be in the ground when you start planting other crops once all the snow melts. The “First Early” Onion variety is popular and reliable. If you are looking for a brightly colored red onion try the “Electric” Onion variety.
If you want an early crop of peas in the next spring season, plant pea varieties such as “Kelvedon Wonder” and “Meteor”. These are particularly hardy and will give you a great head start come next season! You’ll be the talk of the community when you start harvesting pea pods 3- 4 weeks earlier than all of the other growers!
Spinach is a great crop that will produce huge yields of tasty leaves. Early autumn sowing will keep you supplied with spinach leaves throughout the cold winter and with regular harvesting, it will continue to crop as summer rolls! Keep in mind that you should remove it’s flowers so it doesn’t begin to seed, that is if you do not want seeds.