The warmer months are typically reserved for spending time in the garden, but with plenty that can still be sown and grown during autumn, the UK’s leading garden centre retailer, Dobbies, is on a mission to help keep us inspired.
With endless benefits, growing your own has become even more popular this year, with unprecedented searches online at dobbies.com. Seed sales at Dobbies have significantly increased as has demand for strawberries, herbs, fruit trees and soft fruit. In addition, according to Google1, ‘How to’ terms saw a year on year growth of 270% online, with ‘Grow Your Own’ seeing the most rapid rate of growth.
Supporting the campaign by the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) to #KeepBritainGrowing, Dobbies’ Horticultural Director, Marcus Eyles, shares advice on what can still be planted this autumn, both indoors and out.
Growing your own produce has endless benefits and there are a number of fruit and veg that don’t require much space at all, sitting happily in pots and containers on patios or in windowsills.
With the colder weather setting in, sun loving herbs like Basil, Dill, Chives and Parsley can be grown inside, meaning a fresh supply of homegrown herbs for winter soups and stews. Place in a sunny window, give them plenty of water and you’ll soon be reaping the benefits of your very own indoor kitchen garden. Greenery is also a quick way to refresh a kitchen shelf of empty windowsill.
Outside, there’s still plenty you can plant now to give your plot a head start next spring. Vegetables to start growing at this time include tasty onions, delicious garlic and zingy rhubarb – plant them all now to guarantee a bumper, early crop next spring. Another vegetable to get established over the winter months is certain varieties of broad beans.
GYO, what to get planting now:
- Broad beans – one of the easiest veggies to grow as the seeds are big and easy to handle – this also makes them perfect to try with children. You don’t need any special kit either – just a bare patch of earth is all that’s needed to get a crop underway. Broad Bean ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ seeds sown in October or November will form sturdy plants before the cold of winter sets in, meaning they will be ahead of those sown in spring. The seedlings will survive the winter, grow as temperatures rise and produce an early-summer harvest. Sow two rows quite close to each other, around 20cm, the plants will support each other as they grow. These would need to be protected and work best in a more sheltered, southern garden.
- Garlic is easy to grow in the garden and autumn is the best time to get planting, October is ideal. Garlic needs very little water, so don’t worry if conditions are dry. In fact, too much water can cause bulbs to rot. Planting garlic in October will produce the largest cloves next year. Add grit to the bottom of planting holes if you have very soggy or claggy soil – this will stop cloves rotting. Separate bulbs into cloves and plant them in rows in the sunniest spot you have. They should be ready to dig up in July. Don’t worry if you haven’t any room in the ground – it will do perfectly well in a container, meaning you can grow it on a patio.
- Onions – look out for autumn onion sets, which get established over the winter months. Plant now for a guaranteed crop in June. Onions have a long growing season and will require very little maintenance, looking after themselves over the colder months.
- Peas – there is a delicious variety of Pea called ‘Meteor’ that hardy enough to sow outdoors now. They will establish well over the winter and give you a tasty first early crop next year
- Lettuce – for a super early picking of lettuce next year then sow the ‘Arctic King’ variety in October and you’ll have fresh salad leaves straight from your garden in spring.
GYO kitchen inspiration:
- Blitz fresh beans in a blender and combine with grated parmesan and olive oil – delicious spread on chunky homemade bread.
- Garlic is one of the most versatile ingredients around, adding a delicious flavour to roasts, sauces, casseroles and more.
GYO Kitchen herb garden –
Perfect additions to Christmas stuffing or as a few sprigs in a botanical cocktail, it’s easy to grow your own herbs inside. They need sunshine, regular watering and protection from the cold – always think, warmth and light!
Step by step –
- Choose your favourite herbs like Basil, Dill, Chives and Parsley that are all really useful to have to hand over the winter months.
- Pick a planter to suit your space – a recycled tin can be upcycled or choose an indoor window box or pretty herb pots that can often be bought in sets of 3. Make sure you pick the sunniest windowsill or use an indoor growing light.
- Put a few crocks (broken terracotta) in the bottom and half fill with loam-based compost, mixed with a couple of handfuls of perlite for extra drainage.
- Sow one variety to each pot or you can put three varieties in a window trough. Make sure you don’t forget they are by adding a nice hand-written label.
- Cover the seeds lightly with vermiculite or a fine layer of the compost.
- Water regularly and watch them grow.
Top tip – Pick your herbs regularly and they will keep growing. Why not also pot up some hardy herbs like Thyme, Rosemary and Sage to grow on inside for the festive season.
For more expert growing and seasonal advice, listen to the Dobbies’ podcast: https://www.dobbies.com/content/podcast.html
Find out more at www.dobbies.com
1 Research undertaken by Dobbies via Google Trends