What to grow and how to get the best results
With autumn drawing near, now is the perfect time to prepare for a season that’s bursting with potential. In September the ground is still warm so it’s a good time to try some late sowings and it’s also when the UK’s biggest campaign dedicated to organic produce takes place.
From cupboard staples like garlic, onions and shallots to the more exotic pak choi, early autumn is the ideal time to grow tasty vegetables.
Here, The Greenhouse People share the tips and tricks every gardener should know to make this autumn as plentiful as possible.
We all know spinach is bursting with iron, but it’s also a fantastic source of other vital nutrients like magnesium, an important mineral for bone health and maintenance, and potassium essential for helping to maintain blood pressure.
Luckily, with the right know-how, you too can grow these nutritious greens at home. The trick is to plant spinach as early as possible in autumn to help them reach maturity before the temperatures drop too much.
Spinach can be grown in a greenhouse or even a conservatory and it’s advisable to put a protective cloche around the plants in the day and a horticultural blanket at night to help them thrive.
Finally, adding a thick mulch around the base of the plan will keep the surrounding soil warm.
Garlic, onions and shallots
Garlic, onions and shallots are all members of the same family and these clever kitchen staples will virtually look after themselves over winter, to be enjoyed in summer.
When it comes to watering, give them plenty until November time when you should start reducing the amount of water until early spring. A well-textured soil with incorporated bulky compost will hold on to enough moisture to see the crop through winter.
Garlic, onion and shallot bulbs thrive in open and sunny sites. If exposed to sub-zero temperatures, there is a risk of bolting which means that plants produce flowers at the expense of harvestable bulbs.
A relatively undemanding crop that gives good yields; the perfect choice for beginners.
Pak choi is an oriental vegetable also referred to as Chinese cabbage. It makes a great addition to stir-fries and is a perfect meat accompaniment. The other good news is that it’s a cool-weather plant, making it a great candidate for your autumn vegetable patch.
For optimum results, it’s best to plant pak choi seeds in moisture-retentive soil. You should also ensure you keep the plants well-watered throughout the growing period.
It’s also a good idea to keep an eye out for pests which love this Chinese cabbage like flea beetles, aphids and cabbage worms. Either pick or hose them off regularly.
Fortunately, pak choi is fast-maturing so you should be able to start harvesting the young leaves after as little as 30 days.
Kale was once hidden away in niche health food stores but it’s now experiencing its heyday.
Rich in antioxidants, kale is a wonderfully versatile crop that can flourish in most conditions. It’s also less prone to attracting pests and developing rot diseases than cabbage and broccoli, making it an ideal veggie for gardening novices.
To get the best out of these vibrant flowers, you should plant bulbs around two to three times their depth, facing upwards, in enriched soil with compost or manure from the previous season.
Summer is slowly fading, but it’s not all doom and gloom. With these handy hints and a fresh outlook, you could soon be on your way to reaping the many rewards this autumn has to offer!