Autumn might be on its way, but there’s no need to stop growing vegetables! With the soil still warm and several weeks to go before the weather turns really cold, seeds sown now will grow quickly, giving you harvests through autumn and even into winter if grown in a greenhouse or polytunnel. Dig in some garden compost or well-rotted manure to replenish your soil, and get planting! Here are five of our favourite vegetables to grow in autumn.
5 tasty vegetables to grow in autumn
- Radishes grow fast and can be ready to harvest in 4 weeks from sowing, so they’re ideal for a quick autumn crop. Sow the round red varieties in pots so you can bring them indoors if there’s a sudden cold snap, or sow winter radishes like the popular Japanese radish (Raphanus sativus ‘Longipinnatus’), also known as daikon or mooli, which grows well in cool temperatures. The peppery roots are delicious raw or cooked, and don’t throw away the leaves – they’re edible, too! When young and tender, they’re good raw in salads and pesto. Mature leaves can be steamed or sauteed, which gets rid of any bitterness.
- Japanese turnips (Brassica rapa Akana Group) are also quick-growing and can be sown outdoors in early autumn and harvested while still small for tasty, tender, sweet flesh. You can also grow them in a greenhouse for a later harvest. Use the young leaves as turnip greens.
- Hardy spinach varieties like Spinach ‘Giant Winter’ will grow all through winter in a polytunnel or outdoors under the horticultural fleece, giving you harvests of cut and come-again leaves until spring. Enrich the soil with plenty of well-rotted manure or compost before sowing, and space the plants well to allow air to circulate, reducing the risk of downy mildew. Sow in late summer or early autumn for a late autumn harvest, with a second sowing to overwinter for harvesting in spring.
- Kale is one of the classic winter crops and will cope with even the coldest winter weather. It’s slow-growing, so it needs to be sown in early summer, but you should be able to find seedlings in garden centres now. Plant in well-drained soil that’s had plenty of organic matter dug in and harvest through winter – regular picking will encourage more leaves to grow. You may need to net the plants to protect them from birds.
- For winter salads, sow hardy varieties like lamb’s lettuce (Valerianella locusta) or Oriental greens like mizuna and mibuna, which grow well in cooler conditions. Planted in a polytunnel or under cloches, they’ll keep you in salad leaves all winter. Iceberg lettuce ‘Winter Gem’ also grows well under glass, and its compact size means you could even grow it in a pot on a balcony.
Enjoy harvesting your own home-grown vegetables and salads all winter with seeds and seedlings from our extensive range. Visit us today and get sowing!