A quick look at the next few weeks

We’re now well and truly in the midst of harvest time, with spaces cropping up all around the veg patch as more veggies reach the end of their season. As spaces open up, autumn plants can go in, but not for very much longer….

How much more time do I have to plant?

We normally say until mid to late October, depending on how much longer this mild weather lasts. Bear in mind that temperatures at night start to drop now, and daylight hours are rapidly decreasing (sorry, but it’s true) and the sooner you can get your plants in the ground, the better. They will be able to take advantage of this last burst of warmth and sunshine to get their roots well established and put on a little growth to stand them in good stead for the winter ahead.

What can I plant now?

You can plant a range of autumn veg and herbs to grow over the next few months:

  • Kale – Curly Kale, Cavolo Nero and Red Russian Kale are all very hardy and will withstand even the heaviest of frosts. They will also keep you going for many months to come, with lovely leaves right through the winter.
  • Turnips – Get them in the ground now and you might get a harvest by Christmas.
  • Broccoli – plant now and you can expect to harvest it in early-mid spring.
  • Pak Choi & Tatsoi – these oriental leaves grow really well at this time of year, great for stir-fries!
  • Spring Onions – get them in the ground now for an early spring harvest. Another good one for stir-fries.
  • Spinach & Chard – much like kale, these are hardy and will keep you going for months.
  • Cabbage Greens – winter greens and spring greens are great cabbages to grow over the winter.
  • Winter Lettuces & Salad Leaves – there’s a surprising variety, including wild rocket, mizuna and land cress. Delicious salads for months to come.

What should I do if I don’t want to plant anything else?

We recommend adding a layer of compost or well-rotted manure to empty beds and then covering with black polythene for the winter. This will replenish the soil and keep it free from weeds and diseases for you. Pots can be emptied of compost (just add the compost to the compost pile so that it can be recycled) and put away for the winter.

What can I harvest now?

This really is the peak harvest time, so you’ll have loads to harvest now, from beans, leaves, sweetcorn, courgettes, tomatoes and chillies to potatoes, leeks, celeriac and parsnips. You should leave winter squashes to fully ripen before harvesting them (the stalks will dry out and the skin will harden). Borlotti beans can be left to dry out fully on the plant, so don’t harvest them for a few more weeks.