The future looks green and we are all being encouraged to live in a more sustainable, eco-friendly and responsible way, which is why we feel sure that a few of you have allotments or at least window growing boxes in place already! If you do, congratulations! Professional gardeners the world over are saluting your fantastic efforts to grow your own food, but do you know what you should be planting for the cooler months? We do!
Come with us now, to discover all the wholesome treats that you should be growing this winter, to keep your kitchen fully stocked and your family fit and healthy!
Let's start with those burly basics that always come in handy, shall we?
1. Onions and shallots.
Onions enjoy a long growing season, so while they won't be ready for harvesting until summer, if you plant enough now, you can stock up for the whole year ahead! Look for strong varieties, as that way, you won't need to use too much to get all the delicious flavour in your cooking!
Just like onions, which it is kin to, garlic is easy to grow but takes a while and won't be ready for use until next summer, but what a treat to have your own, ready to pluck in the garden! Once planted, it will need little ongoing care.
3. Spring onions.
Spring onions are wonderful, as they grow fairly quickly and make a delicious accompaniment to winter salads. They are also useful in soups, which we all know are a staple of winter lunches!
There are a few crops that really do come in handy, including:
A perpetual crop, spinach can be cut and will regrow quickly, offering a constant supply of delicious greens throughout winter. As an added bonus, it is also very simple to freeze, meaning that if you have a glut of extra leaves, you can stash them away for when you need them in the future.
5. Broad beans.
Planted in autumn, grown through winter and harvested in spring, broad beans are a great filler vegetable that works well in stews and soups, or even as a side dish, on their own with a little salted butter! You'll need to watch out for mice with this crop, so think about adding holly leaves to the base of your plants, as a natural deterrent.
Peas are very similar to broad beans in that they can be harvested in spring and really pad out a meal to perfection. They are also prone to little furry thieves trying to snaffle them before you do, but some simple deterrents will have you enjoying these sweet little green orbs before you know it!
Asparagus is a luxury crop, but it is also one that needs a lot of nurturing to get to a harvestable stage, so don't expect to plant, grow and enjoy within a short amount of time. In fact, you could be looking at two growing cycles, but surely the promise of delicious and tender spears of your own will be enough of an incentive to get started this winter?
Of course, not all crops are able to withstand the colder temperatures, so you will need to grow a few things in the greenhouse, including:
8. Winter salads.
Salad leaves are definitely not just for summer, as you can add hot additions to make nutritious and delicious meals. Not only that, but winter salads are a replenishing crop that keep growing back! What great value for money, as well as a simple thing to grow!
Who doesn't love fresh and crunchy carrots? If you plant in early November, you could be enjoying your own by July, depending on the varieties that you select. By growing them in a greenhouse, you won't need to worry about rabbits or other cheeky little garden pests either!
10. Pak Choi.
An amazing source of vitamins A and C as well as calcium, iron and folic acid, Pak Choi is such a versatile leafy green that you'll be spoilt for choice as to things to do with it! Great in salads, curries and stews, it has a subtle but delicious flavour and is a piece of cake to grow too.
For more growing inspiration, take a look at this Ideabook: Ever wanted your own herb garden at home?