This is the perfect season for getting your plot in order for the year to come. Crisp, sunny days can be spent planting and pruning – and in more inclement weather, why not retreat to your potting shed or the nearest comfy chair? Catalogue in hand, you can transform your gardening dreams into reality, as you place seed and plant orders for the warmer months ahead.
More fruit and veg advice:
- Your winter fruit and veg jobs
- Five favourite winter vegetables
- How to winter prune apple and pear trees
Winter fruit and veg inspiration
With their rich flavours and robust growth, hardy brassicas are the backbone of the winter plot. Make sure you are the sole recipient of their harvests by netting them against marauding wood pigeons. Crinkly-leaved ‘Traviata’ is my benchmark Savoy cabbage, and I’m never without cauliflower ‘Triomphant’ and kale ‘Nero Di Toscana’. Remember, as well, to eat Brussels sprout tops as an appetiser before the individual buttons swell. I promise they are utterly delicious.
Plant fruit trees
Planting something in your garden that delivers harvests for years to come is an incredibly exciting prospect. Nurseries can help you select the best varieties and rootstocks for your location and needs – and a sheltered, sunny position will encourage abundant and well ripened fruits. As you sink your spade into the earth to prepare the soil, just think of baskets brimming with apples, pears, cherries and gages – I find it an excellent motivator!
Crops in store
Well stocked winter stores hold the key to generous home-grown recipes during these otherwise leaner months. Whether you hoard root crops such as beetroot, carrots or celeriac in boxes of sand, potatoes in sacks or onions in ropes, do keep regularly dipping into these stashes, not only for the kitchen but also to check for rots and rodents.
The winter greenhouse
While it’s tempting to use your greenhouse to store barbecues, bikes and garden furniture for the winter, think of it instead as a huge cloche for many delicious winter vegetables. Hardy crops like rocket, coriander, radicchio, mustard, chard and kale – plus many more – will thrive if planted as plugs. They just need a little warmth at their roots. I find my heat mats provide this easily, and so I’ll be enjoying leafy harvests all winter long as a result.