Vegetable Gardening in Autumn

 The value of the vegetable garden in winter can be realised if we plan early. Winter vegetables like Cauliflower, Brocolli, Cabbage, Kale and Red Cabbage etc will all mature early if they are in the ground while the soil is still warm in Autumn. Thus, Brocolli planted in Mid-March will be ready for harvest by late June and Cauliflower a couple of weeks later. These same vegetables can be planted during winter's colder months for continuity, but it may be Spring before they are ready.

 Prepare the soil well with plenty of well-rotted compost, animal manure or 'Seamungus' pellets and add a good dressing of lime. Seeds can be started in the greenhouse or direct into the soil during March and early April. The use of 6 or 10 celled trays are especially useful as the roots will not be disturbed at planting. A small amount of Seamungus in the bottom of the hole can give plants that quick start. Forking in Neutrog's 'Gigantic' organic fertiliser through the whole bed once growth is underway is also worthwhile.

 Before any real cold weather, the White Cabbage Butterfly can be a menace and its caterpillars can literally destroy the whole plant. The best and safest insecticide is probably Mavrik but Cabbage Dust can also be used. Its disadvantage is that it has to be re-applied after rain.

 Autumn is also the best time to sow seeds of Broad Beans, which will grow through the winter and be ready in early October, as will peas sown in Autumn.