Choosing the Right Site for Autumn Planting

I’m not quite ready for autumn planting yet as I’ve still got plenty of crops growing in the beds that I want to use over the winter months. I reckon it’ll be another couple of weeks before they are empty and ready to be planted up again. I do have some space elsewhere in the veg garden, but I won’t be planting there this autumn.

I’ve learnt over the last few years that it is important to choose the right spot for autumn planting. My veg garden is on a slope in a dip, and surrounded by tall trees. This means that as the sun gets lower and lower, the beds at the bottom of the slope spend more and more time in the shade. In the summer, the same beds are in full sun all day, but in winter, they will be lucky to see a full hour of sunshine.

That’s why I’m waiting for the upper beds to empty out of summer crops before I plant. I can be more confident that they will get a good dose of winter sun when the sun does shine, and this will help them to grow faster and stronger.

If you haven’t grown before in autumn and winter, I’d really recommend having a look at your plot now to get an idea of where the lower sun will hit the soil. Choose that spot to plant your plugs and you’ll probably find you have better growing success. It’s easy enough to make a guess, simply by looking at the sky around you and imagining the sun tracking a bit lower – where will it be blocked by buildings and trees? Which beds will that affect? Where else gets better sunlight? Can you grow there instead, perhaps in pots or planters?