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Not too Late for Vegetables

by Malachy - Horticulturist CountryLife Dungarvan | Aug 05, 2016
Cabbage can be planted now

There is a lot of activity going on at the moment in the garden, particularly in the vegetable garden if the past few days in CountryLife are anything to go by anyway. We have been inundated with customers looking for advice. It seems many people have started to harvest potatoes and other crops from their vegetable gardens and suddenly find themselves with lots of empty space on their hands.

Luckily it is not too late to get crops into the ground for a late autumn harvest or even for an early spring harvest next year. Many people new to growing their own food are often surprised by the sheer amount of different vegetables that you can grow right up until the first frost (or in some instances even through it) each year.

growing salad leavesOne of the first things I suggest to gardeners is to plant more salad crops. At this time of the year the soil is warm and many salad leaves will still germinate and be ready to harvest in only a matter of weeks. Spring onions can still be planted too and harvested this year. At the moment we have two varieties in stock. ‘White Lisbon’ can be sown anytime between March and October and will be ready for harvesting in 4-6 weeks. While the variety ‘North Holland Blood Red’ can be sown between March and September and as the name suggests produces blood red spring onions.

growing small carrotsIf you are looking for some carrots to grow you can consider a variety called ‘Early Nantes’. This variety produces small carrots which if you plant now you can be harvesting in October and into winter. You can also still plant broccoli until September with crops normally only taking about 12 weeks to mature and be ready for harvesting.

Legumes make another great quick maturing group of crops that I often suggest to customers at this time of the year. As the soil is still warm pea and bean crops will mature in only a matter of weeks. It is good to remember too that with peas you can also grow them for their young shoots which made a great addition to salads.

Of course one of the most popular late autumn or winter crops to grow is cabbages. Two varieties that are proving popular at the moment are Winter Jewel and Durham Early. Winter Jewel is an open leaf cabbage that can be sown between July and August for harvesting next spring, normally between April and May. Durham Early is a soft cone shaped cabbage which is great for anyone who is not fond of tougher dark green cabbages. This variety can be sown until September and is normally ready to be harvested in April the following year.

Before you go about planting any crops it is important to prepare the site in advance. This involves digging over the soil with a fork, removing any debris left from your previous crop and working in some fertiliser if you wish too. I do this after I have harvested any crop in my vegetable garden, apart from when I harvest legumes. When my pea or bean crops are finished producing I simply cut the stems off at ground level and leave the roots in the soil. By doing this you are helping to add nitrogen to your soil as the roots of legumes produce little nodules of nitrogen which will be released back into the soil if you let the roots decompose into the ground. 

Written by Malachy

Here to help! - remember if you have any questions feel free to pop into one of our garden centres or you can contact us on our Facebook and Twitter pages and email us at: hello@countrylife.ie

Malachy's Bio 
I have been gardening since I was 5 years old when my mother gave me a part of our garden as my own. I have studied horticulture in the National Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin and was a winner in the young horticulturist of the year competition. I have worked in Several plant nurseries and garden centers such as Mount Congreve in Co. Waterford. My special interests are plant propagation and Cacti!