September and October provide another planting opportunity, and you can load up your veg plot with things that will grow over the winter. Some will produce leaves for you to harvest over the winter, others will slowly grow and be ready for harvesting in early spring.
What to plant
There are lots of winter salad leaves to enjoy growing - land cress, mizuna, mustard leaves, winter purslane and a few others. You can plant winter lettuces and wild rocket too - these two will grow better if planted in a greenhouse for the winter, or you can cover them with a cloche for a little extra warmth and protection from frost. All these can be enjoyed as cut & come again from December onwards.
Spinach and chard can be planted now, and if it is mild you can start harvesting before Christmas, right through to late spring when they will probably go to flower. Winter green cabbages and turnip can be planted for a late winter harvest, usually in January/February.
Other plants can go in the ground now for a spring harvest - sprouting broccoli, spring onions and spring greens - expect to harvest these from March onwards. The broccoli is very dependent on the weather in your area, so may start sprouting in Feb, or perhaps not until April/May. Hang in there!
There are 3 varieties of kale to grow - Cavolo Nero and Red Russian Kale tend to grow quite quickly and are very hardy, usually ready to start harvesting a few leaves from each plant in late January/February. Curly Kale tends to grow a little more slowly, but you could happily pop it in the greenhouse to speed it along.
- Most of these plants are very hardy and can happily be grown outside during the winter. Try to keep them protected from hard frosts/snow with horticultural fleece or a cloche.
- If you do have a greenhouse, it is well worth planting the salad leaves and the curly kale under cover - they will grow faster and produce a longer crop.
- If you are worried about not having enough time to tend to your veg plot with the shorter days, bear in mind that plants require little attention during the winter months. There are fewer weeds and pests to contend with and you won't need to water them. We find that an hour at the weekends to harvest and check your plot is adequate.