Year-round salad and veg

Now is the time to sow for next spring, says Peter

Amateur Gardening - - Gardening Week -

“Spring cab­bage can grow well in com­post bags”

THIS is the week­end I have, for many years, sown sweet peas out in the open, on well­pre­pared ground to be cov­ered by cloches through the win­ter. Old habits die hard, they say, and on my first job in the early 1950s we would sow those in dou­ble rows, with win­ter let­tuce cropped in be­tween.

The let­tuce were Arc­tic King, a soft but­ter­head type, which can even be grown out­side with­out pro­tec­tion in milder ar­eas of the coun­try, and up­right cos type ‘Win­ter Den­sity’. Arc­tic King is still worth grow­ing and Let­tuce ‘Win­ter Gem’ is, in my opin­ion a bet­ter, more re­cent in­tro­duc­tion which should re­place Win­ter Den­sity.

Sown this week you will be cut­ting lovely let­tuce next May, re­moved well be­fore sweet pea plants need all the room and mois­ture. The lat­est cab­bage in­cludes Cab­bage ‘Caraflex’ F1 (EW King), a re­place­ment for Hispi (which the breeder has dis­con­tin­ued); Caraflex can be sown un­der glass now for early spring har­vest­ing. It has a slightly larger head than Hispi, is very fast grow­ing and also stands longer be­fore the pointed heads split.

All late sum­mer-sown, au­tum­n­planted cab­bage grown for spring har­vest­ing are best set out at 9in (23cm) spac­ing, so al­ter­nate plants can be cut as spring greens, leav­ing the rest to heart up. If you have a cold green­house or cold frame, it is much bet­ter to grow some of these greens and sal­ads rather than leave the space empty.

To­day the fash­ion is very much to­wards leaf sal­ads and stir-fry veg­eta­bles, many of which can be sown now for win­ter crop­ping. While most are pretty hardy – in­clud­ing mus­tards, corn sal­ads, land cress and kales – some over­head pro­tec­tion pre­vents the rain splash­ing soil up onto the fo­liage and helps to speed up re­growth for suc­ces­sive har­vest­ing.

Pointed-heart Cab­bage ‘Caraflex’ F1 can be sown in au­tumn and spring for an ex­tended crop­ping pe­riod. The heads hold­ing well be­fore split­ting

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.