What to sow from autumn through into winter

Although the main sowing times are springtime and then late summer, there are quite a few things
that you can sow in the autumn and winter-time, particularly salad leaves and greens

If you have a polytunnel or greenhouse, you will be able to grow more things. If not, you might want to consider investing in some fleece, or even better a mini plastic tunnel (cost about £20) to keep the cold winds off your tender seedlings.

plant pictureORIENTAL GREENS - milder greens for salads, or tasty mustard greens
There are a whole range of remarkably cold hardy oriental greens.

Many are good both in salads and cooked - try Pak Choi, Mizuna, 'Pe Tsai' Chinese Cabbage, Mibuna, and Mispoona, all of which can be sown from June through into the winter. We keep sowing small batches every few weeks right through until March, starting a new tray each time we plant out the previous ones into our polytunnel.

If you don't have a greenhouse or tunnel, Mizuna (for salads) and Komatsuna (cooked) are the hardiest of the mild tasting leaves.

Mustard greens are even more hardy than the milder greens - which means that they will keep on growing new leaves even in the worst of weather. Raw they are spicy - so although its nice to put small quantities raw in salads, they're mostly used cooked. When you cook them the heat disappears, leaving a rich, full flavour, with just a little spicy zing. They are especially useful because they grow so well in cooler weather.

Kale is delicious sown in autumn in a polytunnel for tender baby leaves. We particularly recommend Nero de Toscana for this use, although all the kales will do well.

Winter lettuce are particularly cold-hardy, selected for low light conditions. Ideal if you have a polytunnel and want winter salads - or outdoors under a cloche or mini-tunnel. Try Winter Marvel and Reine de Glace which can be sown right through into November, starting again with new sowings in January if you can sow under cover. We also start sowing leaf lettuce varieties like Australian Yellowleaf from late February for early crops.

plant pictureLand Cress (Barbarea verna) is great in salads but can also be eaten cooked as 'creasy greens' or as a pretty much identical substitute for watercress in soup. It is sown in autumn & grown over winter, its a great addition to winter salads!
Also try 'Bianca Riccia da Taglio' Salad Endive, which is hardier than lettuce, and has pretty pale green leaves with a good non-bitter flavour, it can be sown spring, summer or autumn.

Broccoli Raab is related to turnip - but is grown like broccoli & produces delicious sprouts like a slightly spicy flavoured sprouting broccoli.
Thinnings are also excellent in salads or stirfries. Sow late summer and early autumn for harvest just 40 days later, then start sowing again from early Feb with some protection.

Only for those with a polytunnel, but if you do, and are in a warmer part of the country try a very early sowing for super-early carrots. We sow 'Giant Red' Dark Orange Carrot in late January.

Sow round seeded varieties in September and October for an extra-early crop in spring, or from January onwards. Try Glory of Devon as a dwarf variety, or Serpette Guilloteau if you prefer a climbing pea.

plant pictureBROAD BEANS
can be sown in September/October in milder areas to overwinter, as well as in springtime. Field beans are hardier again and will overwinter well in most parts of the UK, they make delicious beans smaller (and we find more tender) than a regular broad bean, but with the same flavour.

We don't supply garlic to sow, but you should still be planting it now - November is ideal, although you can plant any time up until early spring.