When will your veg be ready?
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.
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’.
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.
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.