Keep calm and carry on cropping
Make the most of your plot by squaring up to the cold and, come the new year, you will be digging in to the best, freshest healthiest food “Pikant” boast smaller bulbs with reddish skins and have good bolting resistance. They’re grown from baby onions called sets – start planting by removing the loose skin at the top so the hungry birds can’t grab them.
A sheltered spot in well-drained soil is best as damp soil can cause rot.
Plant each set 3cm deep with a good layer of mulch on top. Tasty onions should be ready to crop in late spring.
Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin C, K and A – vital for bone health. This clever crop, which has varieties such as “Palco” or the winter-hardy “Atlanta”, will give optimal growth as the chill sets in.
Good air circulation will stop mildew and a fleece covering will provide protection.
If the soil dries out, spinach will go to seed too quickly and turn bitter, so be generous when watering. With adequate protection from slugs and snails, you will have tasty leaves in about six weeks.
Now is also the perfect time to be planting containergrown fruit shrubs and trees in your garden.
That way, they will be able to mature over winter and provide a healthy crop when summer arrives.
Opt for early cropping varieties of raspberries such as “Glen Moy”, which bears heavy crops of mediumto-large berries with a lovely flavour. Other fruit bushes to plant now
include my favourites, red currents and gooseberries, which will display a succulent spring harvest. To plant fruit trees, begin by thoroughly soaking the root ball so it is well-hydrated before planting out. Next, use a spade to dig a hole that is about three times as wide as the tree’s root system. Loosening the roots will encourage them to grow further, rather than circling around the base. Finally, water thoroughly and, for best results, apply mulch on top to keep soil moist and roots protected. If your tree is top heavy or planted in a windy spot, use a short stake leaning into the prevailing breeze at a 45-degree angle. Winter cropping is a rewarding pastime, providing you with a workout and an abundance of nutrient-rich yield to devour.