Diary of a Rocket Gardener – tips for planting autumn veg

Well it is exciting times in my veg patch this week…I’ve cleared a whole load of space and planted some 100 autumn veg plants for what I hope will be a very veg heavy winter! Having grown a few things in the autumn and winter last year, I was determined to do things a little differently this year, and I’m hoping some of my own learnings might help some of my readers with their own veg patch planting. Here goes…

  1. Make some space for new plantings
    I found it was easier to pull up a few things even though I knew they’d keep growing for a little longer – I harvested whole spinach plants (made a lovely pesto!) and chard, and harvested my winter squashes which made loads more space. In the greenhouse I cut back all the leaves of my tomatoes which has cleared a surprising amount of space and let light in for me to plant seedlings in between.
  2. Try and group plants
    I’ve put all the brassicas together so that I can easily lay netting over the top to keep pigeons off. I’ve also put all the lettuces and leaves together so that I can pop fleece over them all on frosty nights later in the year. I think it’d also be a good idea to plant things together that are likely to keep growing into spring so that you can easily free up other beds for spring planted veg.
  3. If you have a greenhouse, use it
    For some bizarre reason I didn’t even think to use my greenhouse last winter, but it would have been so much easier – warmer and drier inside for me when I’m gardening, and warm and sheltered for my plants as well. This year I’ve popped a lot of leafy plants in there to grow and I think they’ll do really well.
  4. Be prepared
    Make sure your beds are dug over and ready to go before your plants arrive. It’s a nightmare trying to get it all done at once – clearing beds, digging them over, planting plants, watering them. Trust me. It’s better to get the beds sorted in advance.
  5. Give yourself enough time
    I’ve often underestimated the time needed to plant, but now I’m getting the hang of it. Don’t think you can plant everything up in a cheeky 20 mins before you’re due to leave the house. It usually takes me a couple of hours to plant up my Rocket Gardens delivery (I normally have around 100 plants)
  6. If you’re rushed, get the fleece out!
    I didn’t have much time yesterday to put netting over my brassicas or anything like that, so I grabbed sheet of fleece and just lay it right over the top of the seedlings. I can put up a proper pigeon-proof net at the weekend when I’ve got a bit more time.
  7. Don’t forget to have plant labels at the ready.
    If you’re anything like me then you might forget what’s what within a few hours of planting them, especially if you’re growing plants that you haven’t grown before. It’s much easier to pop labels in as you go along rather than trying to do it afterwards when you’ve forgotten who’s who!