Winter vegetable gardening
Some people might wonder what is there to do in winter vegetable gardening. Well first I like the planning of the next season. What goes where. You see I like to rotate my vegetable growing, this means that no vegetable will grow in the same area year after year. This prevents a build up with pests and diseases and is very important if you grow organic vegetables like I do.
I grow Winter onions also known as Japanese onions. I have been looking at various places including ebay and vegetable seed companies. We plant a lot of onions around 800 sets – this will keep us going all winter and spring. The whole point for us is to grow enough so the onions lasts us as long as possible. We plant the onions in November so they are going to be planted this week. At the same time I will also be planting garlic.
At the moment we are letting the chickens out in the garden they can clean up and slugs that are around. They love to make a mess everywhere but are very cute. They love it when we dig in to the raised beds and they come running over to eat the worms. That’s not so good but we hardly have a slug in the garden, which is great.
I am cleaning the garden generally but also around our raised beds we have 14 raised beds of different sizes, I cut things back that need cutting back such as the asparagus, pull out the weeds and put away the runner bean canes.
This is a very important part to the winter vegetable garden to do all this at this time of the year – mainly because under all the debris that is lying around you will get slugs, snails, pests and diseases and these will harm your vegetable crops come the Spring time. Also you will need to clean out your tunnel or greenhouse for the same reasons. A bit of work now and you’ll be well a head in the Spring time and your garden is less likely to suffer from pests and diseases and it will then reward you with better crops.
Another great thing to do for your winter vegetable gardening is to start to look what vegetable seeds you can buy for the next season. I can browse for ages looking at the different vegetable seeds available.
I try and stay with my tried and trusted vegetables:
- Broccoli – Purple and White Sprouting
- Broccoli – Romanesco
- Kale – Cavolo de Nero
- Peas – Sugar-snap
- French Beans – Climbing and Dwarf
- Broad Beans
- Salad leaves
- Runner Beans
- Swiss Chard
- Chicory – Pan di Zucchero
- Fennel – I grew one bulb
- Salad leaves
- Mooli – Japanese Radish
- Tomatoes – Outdoors
That’s quite a list – 32 different vegetables, I never realised I grew so many different vegetable varieties. It’s a good job that we do love eating vegetables, which is just as well!
I also grow asparagus and artichokes, but the asparagus are in one raised bed and they will stay there for 10 years. Artichokes are also very easy to grow. And once they are established they keep producing baby artichoke plants that you can take of and replant.
Like I said above we continuously try and rotate the vegetables so that the vegetables don’t go in the same raised bed of the previous year. Sometimes it doesn’t work but most of the time it works really well.
Also in the winter vegetable gardening – we start digging in compost and manure if we can get it. Often it’s possible to go and get bags of horse manure from someone who keeps a horse. They will usually give it for free though I know people who charge around £1 per compost sized bag.
Horse manure is well worth getting and your vegetable garden will defiantly be more productive if you add manure and compost. It’s also worth adding manure or compost to any rhubarb plants you might have. They are a very hungry plant and they need to be well fed.
Don’t worry if you haven’t got manure or compost. You can buy chicken pellets in garden centres and these are also a great way to feed your plants as well as feed the soil.
So overall winter vegetable gardening is all about cleaning out and thinking about what you want to grow and what you will give a miss. Happy winter vegetable gardening to you all.