When planting the vegetable garden, it's really tempting to fill it up straight away with rows of vegetables of all kinds. However, it is really worth planning ahead and making the space to ensure you have a supply of vegetables throughout the year. The tricky time of year to cover is over winter and during spring. Here are my top tips for being able to cook up home grown meals during this part of the year.
GROW VEG THAT STORES WELL.
Grow early vegetables in small batches that can be eaten straight away, but later crops should be grown in bulk for storing through the winter. Select seed carefully for this to be sure the varieties you are growing store well. Vegetables such as carrots, beetroot, parsnip, onions, garlic, potatoes and squash all store well and, of course, when cooked up, make fantastic, hearty, traditional winter food, such as bakes and slaws.
GROW VEG TO MAKE PRESERVES
Anything that can be made into preserves is also worth growing in bulk. Ketchups, sauces, chutneys and pickles are all great ways to enjoy and make a gift of home produce over the winter months and beyond. For these, grow tomatoes, chillis, onions, beans and root veg, for example.
KEEP VEG GROWING OVER WINTER
There are, of course, a few vegetables that can be grown right through the winter and it is really worth making sure to keep space saved for them to go in. Make sure as well to make a note in your calender not to forget to sow them as they tend to be sown after the main rush of vegetables seeds has passed by. Over wintering vegetables include brassicas, such as sprouts, cabbage and sprouting broccoli; leeks can be grown both for late autumn and winter or to mature during the 'hungry gap' in spring. Winter salads can include hardy lettuces, grown under cloches or fleece and also much hardier 'lamb's lettuce' and wild rocket, which need no protection at all.