Winter gardening in July ?

It might seem like the oddest thing to do on one of the hottest days of the year in Ireland and it was gorgeous by the way but today I started thinking about my winter garden and start the new set of seedlings off.

Winter gardening is a challenge but certain vegetables will grow through winter you just have to pick the right ones.

  • Winter Lettuce.

Winter lettuces are cold-hardy varieties, ideal for sowing after mid-summer. Provided they are given a bit of protection from frosts in a poly-tunnel, cold frame or cloche, you will be able to harvest right on through the winter.

  “Winter Gem” is a good variety for sowing September – March, and harvesting October – May. With it you might just be able to enjoy a salad in the snow.

  • Turnips.

Turnips also known as Swedes, are versatile late vegetables high in vitamin C and fibre. They are also quick to mature and both their roots and green tops are edible. My suggested late turnip variety is “Purple Top Milan” for sowing outdoors up until the end of August, and harvesting from the end of October onwards. Think of how good those sweet turnips will taste in a winter stew.

  •   Carrots.

There is still time to sow carrots outside allowing pulling as tender specimens in autumn or as frost-sweetened beauties in winter. I suggest the variety “Autumn King 2” for sowing in August and harvesting as early as October. Its long tapering roots are full of flavour and very high in vitamin A.

  •   Peas.

For an extra-early crop of peas in spring you can sow a round seeded variety outdoors now, and also in September and October. I suggest the hardy dwarf variety “Meteor” which crops well even in exposed situations.

If you are growing and harvesting peas at the present, it may seem that they will never stop cropping, but believe me they will. So think ahead and get started on sowing for next years crop.

  •   Onions.

Sow seed straight into soil now, and again in September for early spring salad onions or scallions as I call them. The variety I suggest is “White Lisbon” as it is tolerant of a cold winter, should one arrive. Pop the seeds in now, and you could be frying up a pan of these green onions this Christmas.

  •   Chard.

Also known as everlasting spinach or beet spinach, this is not really spinach at all. It is actually a form of beet, whose leaves can be used as a “cut and come again” vegetable with the same edible properties of true (harder to grow) spinach. I suggest you sow the variety “White Silver” for high fibre leaves over winter and through to next spring. 

  •           Cauliflower  

The variety I have is called “Snowball” – how cute is that ? I can be seeded now and again in October personally I love a good cauliflower cheese so I can’t wait to pick these 

  •  Brussel Sprouts

These can be started in May/June for crops throughout winter we have a variety called “Delicious Red”  which turns an intense purple/red colour with the first frost. 

pots labelled for winter

So there we go, that’s lettuce, turnips, carrots, peas, onions, cauliflower , Brussel sprouts  and beet spinach just to name a few of the vegetables to keep your garden and your plates full over the months to come. 

So start planning now if you want veggies all year around  🙂

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