The Sunday Post (Newcastle)

Now is the time to plant your nutritious green vegetables for a bumper crop over the winter


Now’s the time to start sowing cabbage, chard and leeks for tasty crops during the winter months.

The seeds will germinate quickly and you should soon have sturdy young plants that are able to withstand colder temperatur­es and lower light levels in the months ahead.

Some things, such as parsnips and Brussels sprouts, need a very long growing season and have to be sown in spring, but you should be able to find plants of these at your local garden centre or from seed companies online if you haven’t grown them yourself.

You still have time to sow turnips as well as oriental vegetables such as mizuna, which have a tendency to bolt if grown during the warmer months.

Kale is a favourite winter vegetable as it is tasty, packed with nutrients and completely weather resistant. Along with chard, it is also highly decorative. Like all brassicas, however, it is susceptibl­e to the attentions of pigeons, so it is worth covering it with fleece to prevent it from being shredded.

Find space on the vegetable plot for these late-season edibles by clearing away spent crops and removing every last fallen leaf, which would otherwise attract slugs and snails. Spread a fresh layer of compost over the soil and plant directly into this.

Try to avoid digging, as this will break down the soil structure, and also keep off the soil if you can as this could cause compaction. Everything removed from the plot, with the exception of anything that is diseased, should go straight into the compost bin. Meanwhile, if your tomatoes are showing no signs of turning red, then speed up the process by placing a few ripe bananas among the plants. Bananas give off ethylene gas – the chemical that triggers ripening – and it’s amazing how quickly stubborn tomatoes will start to colour up once exposed to it.

The process works for peppers and chillies too and it is worth rememberin­g that chilli plants are perennial and can be trimmed back then overwinter­ed on a warm windowsill indoors in order to give an earlier crop the following year.

 ?? ?? Fresh kale is versatile, tasty, packed with nutrients and weather resistant.
Fresh kale is versatile, tasty, packed with nutrients and weather resistant.

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