For some time I have been dreaming of being self-sufficient in vegetable supplies during both the summer and winter months. In my experience, it is more than double the effort to achieve this in winter without any polytunnels and/or a greenhouse. I only have 5.1 meters by 6.1 meters of outdoor space to achieve it. (I’m hoping to invade a bit more space from Andrew’s pride and joy bowling green). However, a lack of space does not stop me from trying to get the best out of Phoebe’s Patch during winter.
To be able to enjoy some of my own grown produce during winter, there is quite a bit of planning and preparation to do in advance. Well in advance – when the sun is beaming down in July and August.
This is the first year that I am trying to be as self-sufficient as I can. I am an amateur and ask all the experienced growers out there to be gentle with me. I have prepared a list of vegetables which I may like to eat during the winter months (I don’t know how on earth I can tell what I want to eat in 4 months’ time especially as I do not even know what I would like for my dinner tonight!).
Here is my attempt to predict the future:
- Chinese Cabbage
- Moolies (These can be grown throughout the winter, but the growth gets very slow during December and January. In case some of you have never come across these before, this is a Far Eastern/Asian vegetable in winter. It is also known as winter radish. In Cantonese, we call them the white carrots. You can do all sorts with them including pickles and lovely paratha for your curries. We must do an article about this very nutrient-rich winter vegetable)
- Pea Shoots (February /March onwards)
I personally do not like Swede or Pumpkin so I have left these out. However, they are some of the most common winter vegetable plants you can grow during autumn winter. Go for it if you love them.
For Chinese Cabbages, Cabbages, Cauliflower and Spinach, I have been planting them every 3 weeks, I am aiming to have some of them well developed to survive the winter. Therefore, I will seed them in modules in July (which is now) and plant them in late August/September when the seedlings are big enough to handle.
You can even plant Cabbages and Cauliflowers in September/October. If the weather is mild, you will be able to harvest during December or January.
Stay tuned for Winter Vegetables Part 2.