I have had a poly tunnel on my plot for a couple of years but have never tried growing over winter. I have had really successful crops of tomatoes and chillies over the summer but I am keen to see if my poly can be equally productive during winter. I chose 5 plants to try out: Mizuna, Spinach, Pak Choi, Choy Sum, Chop Suey Greens.
The seedlings are currently looking very happy, although the spinach had a very poor germination rate leaving me with only 3 seedlings. The seeds were sown in organic seed compost in a bright shed and then placed out into the poly once they germinated. I am using a capillary matting technique to ensure the seedlings are kept moist from below, as I don’t visit the allotment as frequently this time of year. My next step will be to thin out the seedlings and wait until they have 2 sets of ‘true’ leaves before planting them into the ground in the poly.
I’ll post an update so you can see how I’m getting on, or join me in trialling growing winter greens yourself. If you’ve already had experience growing over winter, then comment with any advice to share.
Think your planting season is over? Think again! As well as spring bulbs, hardy annuals such as Calendula (pot marigold) and Nigella (love in a mist) can be sown now for early flowers…it’s always nice to have some colour to look forward to.
You can also get going with veg: plant Japanese onion sets and garlic from mid-September, and also spring cabbage, but protect it from late butterflies and pigeons with fine netting over a frame.
If you’re feeling energised, you can also trim any hedges now to avoid doing it in spring. And don’t forget to start saving seeds – collect into paper bags and put to dry thoroughly; remember to label and date!
If you missed last month’s seed saving workshop, more detail on seed saving can be found on the Seedy Sunday website.
…well, unless you’re a die-hard picnicker, that is!
Sunday September 20th sees in the Autumn Equinox, and to celebrate we’ll be saving seeds and picnicking with highly acclaimed cook Caroline from the Brighton Food Partnership, who’ll see what she can make from our crops.