14 October 2016 By Jack Lindfield
Often people think of Autumn as a time to reflect on the highlights of summer and prepare the garden to rest over winter. It's time to make the most of the glut of crops we've tendered through the summer months; apples and pears, pumpkins and squashes galore! There's no reason for the garden to start hibernating just yet; be productive with vegetable growing by making the most of the autumnal months.
Down to the Roots
Eat Your Greens
Always make the most of growing undercover, whether it's a greenhouse, polytunnel or even just on the windowsill. Salad leaves are a great way to keep productivity flowing through the winter months and there's a huge variety of what you can grow.
Mustard leaves, salad rocket and baby lettuces can all be put in to the mix to create a fresh and colourful mixed salad, the best thing is to wait for a couple of weeks after the first crop and you'll get a second or even a third harvest from them. Though do consider re-sowing your beds or trays after a few cuts as the leaves can start to get a bit woody down the mid-rib and lose tenderness. You can also try breakfast radishes which mature really easily under cover, sow them direct in drills as you would salad leaves. If you haven't for a greenhouse or polytunnel, try planting winter lettuces outside and cover with horticultural fleece, a couple of good varieties include 'Winter Density' and 'Valdor'.
Courgette or Marrow?
The sun is sitting lower, the leaves are changing and autumn is really settling in, but rather than take what you can, turn over your plots and wait in anticipation until next year. Make the most of this time and the fruits of your labor will be greater than ever.
Jack Lindfield, Kitchen Gardener at The Pig in the Forest