What to plant in winter

How to grow broad beans and other winter crops

These broad beans could too be yours by next summer!

The nights are drawing in, it’s getting chillier by the day, and the last thing you want to be doing is toiling in half-frozen dirt – so with that in mind, here are some three suggestions for easy winter crops.

Broad beans
Brilliantly simple, you should see shoots about two and a half weeks in. By Spring you’ll have lovely beans. If the plants grow too tall they tend to split under the weight, so give them something to climb on – stick some posts or sticks into the ground. Check out the BBC’s handy guide to growing broad beans.

Onions
Always a great beginner crop and can be harvested early next year. Onion sets (think mini onion bulbs) are much easier to grow than seeds. Plant them just below the soil – the good thing about growing onions in winter is they have a much longer growing season, so they’ve got enough time to get nice and big. Try Radar sets, which produce mild white onions from late May onwards.

Garlic
Definitely the dummy gardener’s perfect crop. Again, you’ll want to use sets here – you could grow garlic from supermarket bulbs, but they might turn out diseased. Use a container at least 10 inches deep and plant bulbs, pointy bit up, at least two inches under a mix of soil and compost. They’re a low-maintenance plant, so only water when the weather’s been dry for a few days. You’ll be making garlic pesto by summer!

By Zing Tsjeng. Photo by John the Geologist via Flickr under a CC licence

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2 responses to “What to plant in winter

  1. Nice! I don’t have a veg space yet, but planning to get a big planter in Spring, so will try some of these next year!

    • I’m planning on asking for a planter for Christmas (weird, I know) because then I can sneakily make people bring it to me as opposed to lugging it home. The trials of gardening without a car to drive back from garden centres…

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