Don’t lose your planting momentum. There are plenty of veggies to sow and plant in late autumn to harvest in winter and spring. Here are our top six veggies to plant in May and why we love them! Remember to liquid feed regularly every 7-10 days (we recommend Harvest) to keep veggies growing through the cold weather.
All the brassicas grow well through winter, but broccoli in particular is going to give good results from a late autumn planting. Start with seedlings, choosing either a sprouting form or one such as Green Dragon that produces a main head alongside smaller side shoots. There are also purple broccoli (such as Purple Sprouting) for something that looks a little different.
This is a crop to keep growing all year round. It is quick, easy-to-grow and foolproof. There are many different types of lettuce including loose leaf types, semi-heading types including Buttercrunch, heirloom varieties, Iceberg types, which have crisp hearts, and Cos – so take your pick! Lettuce can be grown from seed, or for a faster result especially while it’s cold, look for seedling punnets at your local Flower Power Garden Centre. If you can’t decide which lettuce to grow, select a punnet of mixed heirloom varieties for a harvest of different colours, textures and tastes. Begin to harvest the outer leaves of non-hearting or loose-leaf varieties in around 6-8 weeks. Hearted lettuce such as Iceberg can take up 20 weeks to harvest.
These staples of the kitchen are a long-term commitment in the garden as they take up space for many months, but they are an exciting and rewarding crop to grow. Choose white, brown or red varieties. Onions can take 24-30 weeks to harvest and are ready when the bulb is visible at soil level and the tops are starting yellow and to fall over. Pick as you need, or harvest the entire crop and store in a cool, dry spot.
Sow and stand back. Yes, rocket is fast and easy to grow from seed, and it does indeed take off like a rocket! Home-grown rocket brings extra flavour to salads and sandwiches. Excess can also be harvested to use in pesto. If some plants are left to go to seed, rocket can self-seed so you are never without it. The variety with narrow green leaves known as wild rocket is the easiest to grow. A few leaves can be harvested as soon as the plants are well-established. Rocket grows all year round.
A favourite with kids and grown-ups alike, these yummy greens grow well through the cooler months of the year. For a fast crop, sow snow pea seeds with something for them to climb on such as a tripod. Use twigs placed around the plants to encourage them to get climbing where you want them to grow. Expect to start harvesting pods shortly after the flowers appear, or in around 8-10 weeks from sowing.
This veggie (also known as scallion or shallot) has all the benefits of growing leeks but is much faster to harvest. Spring onions have onion-flavoured stems that are chopped into mashed potato or scattered over omelette, soup or salad. They can also be used instead of leek in leek soup – you just need more plants. A punnet of seedlings yields a bountiful number of plants. To plant, prepare the soil to remove weeds, lumps and stones, then make a shallow planting trench. Soak the punnet in a seaweed solution so they are easy to separate and to reduce transplant shock. Lay the seedlings along the trench, back fill with soil to cover the roots and water well. They’ll soon stand upright and start growing. Spring onions are best harvested when the stems are pencil thickness, but they can be allowed to keep growing.