When will your veg be ready?

South Wales Echo - - Your Garden -

THIS long-han­dled bulb planter by Kent and Stowe will take some of the pain out of plant­ing over au­tumn. With no bend­ing or kneel­ing, it will cre­ate holes large enough for even the big­gest bulbs. It even has a depth mea­sure­ment so you can make holes uni­form. Avail­able in good gar­den cen­tres or £32.99 at ama­zon.co.uk

How do first-time veg­etable grow­ers know when their au­tumn pro­duce is ready?

HAN­NAH STEPHEN­SON of­fers a guide to four of our favourites.

WIN­TER TURNIPS

ALL turnips pre­fer a cool cli­mate in an open area with plenty of rain­fall in a sunny spot.

The slow-grow­ing win­ter main­crop types, sown be­tween July and mid-Au­gust, in­clud­ing ‘Golden Ball’ and ‘Green Globe’, should be lifted gen­tly with a fork be­fore they reach ten­nis ball size. If they get any big­ger than a sat­suma, they will be­come woody and flavour­less.

AU­TUMN AND WIN­TER CABBAGE

VER­SA­TILE and un­der­rated, as well as be­ing to­tally hardy, brav­ing cold and freez­ing weather and re­main­ing rel­a­tively un­af­fected.

Good va­ri­eties in­clude ‘Tun­dra’, a Savoy cabbage ready from late au­tumn on­wards and ‘Jan­uary King’, which has at­trac­tive, red-tinged leaves.

To pro­tect cab­bages from wind and frost in au­tumn, earth up soil around the base of each plant and re­move dead leaves when they ap­pear, to stop any rot spread­ing. You know they are ready to pick when the cen­tre tight­ens up and forms a solid ‘heart’.

LEEKS

A GREAT al­lot­ment crop, can be sown in spring and har­vested from Septem­ber on­wards, right through au­tumn, win­ter and early spring. Start har­vest­ing a few at a time to use when you need them by us­ing a fork pushed down deeply into the ground next to the leek to ease it out.

MAIN­CROP BEET­ROOT

IF you’ve sown your beet­root in June for a main­crop for har­vest­ing from Septem­ber on­wards, you can lift main­crop beet­roots now for stor­ing in­doors. Don’t let them get any big­ger than a ten­nis ball or they will taste woody. When lift­ing, use a gar­den fork to loosen the soil, tak­ing care not to dam­age the roots. Try not to break the tap root or the veg­etable will bleed, and twist the leaves off to around 2.5cm-5cm above the root to stop bleed­ing.

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