13 January 2015
Vegetable Seeds for Sowing Through the Winter
Although the middle of January doesn't sound a promising time for sowing seeds, there are vegetable seeds that you can sow this month and also in February and March, though you will need a greenhouse or polytunnel for protection.
There are a few things that you can sow right at the end of the month - particularly if you live in a warmer part of the country and have a greenhouse or polytunnel.
Round seeded (as opposed to wrinkle seeded) peas can be sown from late January onwards in pots or trays before being planted out when conditions are more favourable.
Winter salads and oriental greens can also be sown at the end of the month to plant outside under a cloche or mini-tunnel in due course.
Some of the hardy salads and oriental greens, such as mizuna, pak choi, winter varieties of lettuce and mustard greens can be sown from the end of the month in warmer parts of the country.
February is the middle of winter, but at least the days are getting a little longer.
Round seeded (as opposed to wrinkle seeded) peas can be sown this month in trays and pots, while winter salads & oriental greens can be sown for planting outside in March, protected by a cloche or mini-tunnel.
Tomatoes, peppers and aubergines can be sown in pots or trays and kept somewhere warm such as a propagator or airing cupboard. Remember that they will need somewhere warm and light to grow on.
In warmer areas, carrots can be sown in a polytunnel for an extra early crop.
Anything can happen weather-wise in March. The soil may be starting to warm up by mid March – or it may still be frozen solid. It could be reasonably warm or your garden could be covered in snow. However by April, in much of Britain, the main spring sowings should be getting under way. Let your sowing be guided by the weather.
Out in the garden you could be making the first sowings of beetroot, turnips, carrrots & parsnips. You could also be sowing mangetout & podding peas & broad beans - although these often do better started in pots or trays.
Now is the time for the first sowings of summer salads such as lettuces, endive, cress, rocket and radishes, and for brassica crops for eating this summer & also through into the winter – e.g. kale, summer and (early) winter cabbages, brussels sprouts, purple sprouting broccoli, calabrese and cauliflowers.
If you have slug or weed problems, then you may be better off starting all of the brassica crops in trays or modules, planting them out when they are better able to withstand them.
In trays or pots somewhere warm (germinator/warm airing cupboard etc). Bear in mind that they will need somewhere warm & light to grow on
You can continue sowing tomatoes, peppers and aubergines, keeping them somewhere warm. Celery/celeriac can be started but will need heat to germinate.
Courgettes, squashes, cucumbers and melons can now be sown, but not too early or they may grow too large before the weather is good enough for them to go outside.
If you have a polytunnel or unheated greenhouse, you can sow summer salads, french beans if you would like an early crop, and herbs such as parsley, coriander and basil.
Whatever you decide to sow, I hope you are successful.