Veg­eta­bles to plant in au­tumn

Au­tumn plant­ing for win­ter and spring har­vest.

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Bras­si­cas are ex­cel­lent win­ter crops. Cauliflower prefers tem­per­a­tures be­tween 15 and 20℃. When tem­per­a­tures are too high, the curds are loose and plants may bolt, so in warmer cli­mates, the ideal plant­ing sea­son is late sum­mer and au­tumn. This gives young seedlings the warm con­di­tions they need to get started in life, with cooler weather as the cauliflow­ers ma­ture. Re­cently, how­ever, new heat tol­er­ant cauliflow­ers have been in­tro­duced which will make plant­ing time less crit­i­cal. Most va­ri­eties are ready for pick­ing about 4 months af­ter plant­ing. In a warm cli­mate, plant­ing a batch of seedlings each month in March, April and May should keep you in cauliflow­ers from June through till spring.


These bras­sica crops are eas­ier to grow than their cauliflower cousins, but they en­joy the same con­di­tions. By plant­ing a va­ri­ety to suit the sea­son you can have cab­bages in your gar­den all year round. Sprout­ing broc­coli will keep pro­duc­ing suc­cu­lent side shoots well af­ter the main head has been picked.


Spinach grows best with cool, moist roots, good drainage and plenty of com­post and fer­tiliser. The tasti­est, most ten­der spinach is that which has been al­lowed to grow steadily with­out set back. Win­ter grown spinach is es­pe­cially sweet.


It is easy to grow sil­ver beet for pick­ing all year round in mild cli­mates, and for at least six months in colder cli­mates. For a year round sup­ply, plant in au­tumn and again in spring. Sil­ver beet will bolt to seed in hot dry con­di­tions. It thrives with am­ple mois­ture and fer­tilis­ers high in ni­tro­gen, such as blood and bone.


In a warm cli­mate, beet­root can be sown di­rectly into the soil any­time from Au­gust right through to March, and makes an ideal vege for the win­ter gar­den. In cold cli­mates beet­root it is sown in spring for au­tumn har­vest.


Cel­ery hates tem­per­a­ture ex­tremes. In warm cli­mates, mid-au­tumn to win­ter plant­ing avoids the heat of sum­mer. In cold cli­mates it is best planted in late sum­mer or spring. It will grow in part shade and thrives in moist but well drained soils with lots of com­post and ma­nure. Sheep pel­lets or well-rot­ted chicken ma­nure are ideal. Cel­ery is a fan­tas­tic veg­etable to have on hand for soups and casseroles and dark green cel­ery is great for cook­ing. If you want to grow it to eat raw, the stems are sweeter when ‘blanched’. This in­volves block­ing the light, eas­ily done by wrap­ping the stems with news­pa­per 2-3 weeks prior to har­vest­ing.


Plant seedlings or sow seed di­rectly into the soil, thin­ning to about 15cm spa­ces. Keep the soil moist, es­pe­cially in the early stages of growth. If you want white stemmed leeks, mound the soil up around the plants as they grow. Spring onions are a quick and ver­sa­tile crop. They can be roasted whole and eaten as sweet ‘baby leeks’.


Eaten fresh and young or with their outer skins re­moved af­ter cook­ing, broad beans are a gourmet's de­light. The leafy top shoots are nice in stir-fries and the beans are ready for pick­ing three to five months af­ter sow­ing. In windy ar­eas plants are best sup­ported with stakes and string. Be in to win Yates new ‘Hughey’ broad bean seeds. En­try de­tails on page 30.


Peas are grown from seed sown di­rectly into the soil. Sow­ing is timed to pro­vide the cool soil for ger­mi­na­tion while avoid­ing frosty or hot dry weather dur­ing flow­er­ing time. This trans­lates to au­tumn sow­ing for warmer cli­mates, and spring sow­ing for colder cli­mates. Al­ways buy fresh seed to avoid dis­ap­point­ment. A crumbly well-drained soil bed is im­por­tant.


For a con­tin­u­ous sup­ply sow car­rots every 3-4 weeks. In cold cli­mates, sow your last batch of seed 2-3 months be­fore likely frost. Whether you dig your own, or buy bags of grow­ing mix, good soil is key. It should drain well and be of a loose, even tex­ture. Re­move clods and stones as these lead to mis­shapen car­rots.

Sow seed onto damp soil then wa­ter gen­tly. Keep the seed beed free of weeds and wa­ter as nec­es­sary to keep it just moist. Use a very soft spray hose at­tach­ment or wa­ter­ing can to avoid wash­ing the seeds away. Car­rot seedlings ger­mi­nate within two to three weeks. Once the seedlings are 3-5cm tall, sac­ri­fice a few seedlings to make room for oth­ers to grow. Leave about 2-3cm be­tween each seedling. As the plants grow, thin them some more.


to get the best au­tumn growth. Be in to win Phostro­gen fer­tiliser. En­try de­tails on page 30.

Broad beans

Use in­sect mesh to pre­vent pests lay­ing eggs on bras­si­cas. TIP

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