Sunday, August 10, 2008

Winter Garden Seed Shopping

I had a plan all worked out for the vegetable garden next year. I had drawn a plan of it to scale, done the research, worked out what would go where, allowed for the perennials I want to put in, and everything. Can I find it now? Not a bit of it.

However, it may be as well, as I've started to think about what I could actually sow now for winter and spring cropping. Winter lettuces are one definite possibility - sowing now would mean I could harvest from October to May. "Winter Gem" is a variety that comes highly recommended. Thompson and Morgan don't seem to carry it, though, and they have the best recommendations on seed quality. They do carry the "Arctic King", and "Butterhead" varieties, though, and they seem to be pretty hardy. I'll try Butterhead.

Turnips and swedes will grow through the winter, certainly, but the only times I ever use the things are in stews. And there's a limit to the number of stews I can make. So they're probably not a going concern, unless some of my local readers will volunteer to take some of the things off my hands.

There's a breed of carrot called "Autumn King", which is specifically for autumn sowings, and could be harvested as early as October, if I plant now. Carrots are good filler for stews, pies, soups and so on, and can be grated into salads, so I reckon we'd have a use for them. T&M carry "Autumn King 2", so that gets added to the shopping basket as well.

Peas are very favoured, and an early crop next year would be very nice indeed. T&M are out of my preferred winter option, "Meteor", and don't seem to have any other autumn-sowing varieties. I'll have to look elsewhere for those.

For onions, which I'll always have uses for, I'm looking at something called a "Hi Keeper F1 Hybrid". Technical name, but it can be planted in September, and not thinned until spring. Ideal, so into the basket with that, too.

So lettuce, carrots, and onions, and I'll have to look elsewhere for peas. I seem to recall that some varities of potato might do for autumn planting as well - I'll have to do some more research.

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