Winter veg and fertiliser
I would like to plant some form of green vegetables through the winter months, but wonder whether I should first apply fertiliser to my soil
Firstly it’s great that you are pleased with your raised beds and that your potato crop was a success. We have lots of raised beds here at Stephanie’s Kitchen Garden and I must admit I find gardening with them so much easier.
As this is your first year with the raised beds I’m assuming that the soil you used is new this year? If you used a good balanced soil with added organic matter this should be sufficient to grow some winter crops. You may want to give the soil a boost before planting by applying a general fertiliser such as Fish, Blood & Bone. We prepare the soil in the Kitchen Garden in late autumn/winter for the forthcoming growing season by adding in well rotted manure.
In future if you regularly top up your beds with organic matter (in the shape of home-made compost of well-rotted farmyard manure), prepare the ground properly for the forthcoming crop and generally feed and care for your plants well then you shouldn’t have any problems growing a real mix of plant groups in your raised beds.
We are growing several winter vegetables this year in Stephanie’s Kitchen Garden namely Sprouting Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Kale, Leeks, various types of cabbages, cauliflower & parsnips. I think the best approach for you is to grow what you like to eat and grow what you have space for. Winter vegetables do tend to take up space in the ground for quite some time so it’s best to grow in modules and plant out when you have harvested your summer vegetables.
You have to be quite organised for growing winter vegetables and get sowing early – you will have missed the window for this as seeds should be sown from March-June depending on type of vegetable you are growing. If you want to grow winter vegetables this year I think your only option is to buy plug plants, it may be too late to buy from garden centres but vegetable plug plants are still available online. I can recommend the Organic Plants website www.organicplants.co.uk.
If you are quick you may have time to grow a crop of carrots, beetroot, Oriental Greens, Spinach, Lettuces, Spring Onions & Radishes. Seeds can be sown direct in to your beds.
We also give lots of useful advise in our link 'How to' with all the different vegetables listed there.
Don’t forget pest control too. If you decide to grow Brassicas you will need to net your brassicas to protect against the cabbage white butterfly laying eggs – they will devour young plants very quickly. Harrod Horticultural have many netting choices available to protect your valuable crop.
Good luck with your winter vegetables, if there is anything we can help you with on the netting side please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Lynn Burton - Horticultural Advisor & Kitchen Gardener