Weston gardener's advice to get your overwinter vegetables planted
Mid October is a great time of the year for planting your overwinter vegetables, the ground while cooling still has a level of latent heat which will allow the root system of your vegetable plants to become strong enough to endure the winter temperatures and weather conditions. So in between clearing the leaves from your lawn, patio and paths, time needs to be made to prepare the soil for our over wintering vegetables.
With the weather in October becoming more and more inclement choosing a day to take on working the soil may be problematic. You’ll find you’ll need to be ready to work as soon as the weather and conditions allow.
Try to avoid digging the soil over after heavy rain as you’ll find after 10 minutes your arms have decided to go on protest and will want to just hang limply by your side.
Anyhow onto the task in hand, I’ve chosen to plant some Broad Beans, Garlic, Shallots and Spinach.
The varieties chosen are: Aquadulce Claudia – Broad Beans, Wight Cristo – Garlic, Onion Electric Shallots, Perpetual Spinach – Spinach.
Here comes the hard work. To begin with clear your vegetable beds of any dead or finished plants.By doing this you stop any pests from overwintering in your veg bed and you prevent them from re-infesting your vegetable plants next spring.
Using a spade dig down to about 30cmor 12 inches and turn the soil over. Take your time with this as it can be hard work especially if you have heavy clay like soil. Once you’ve finished digging over your veg bed use a fork to then break up the large clods of soil. Next we can mix some Growmore into the soil and if you have a heavy soil, then mix in a good quality multi-purpose compost as well. Use the fork again to mix this in.
It is really important at this point if you haven’t already to stop for a cuppa and a chocolate hob nob. The antioxidants and tannings in the tea will speed up muscle recovery and the biscuits will re-fuel the body. None of that is proved yet but I believe it true.
You’re never going to be able to level the soil of like you can in the spring as you’ll struggle to get the soil to a fine tilth, so as best as you can try to rake the soil level and accept the lumps and bumps.
Run a piece of string from one end of the vegetable bed to the other which you will use as your planting line. It’s easier to follow the straight line of the string than trying to follow a furrow in the soil. Remember to clearly write on your plant markers exactly what you’ve planted on each row.
That’s it really just follow the instructions on the back or side of the plant packets and get them planted. A neat well looked after vegetable garden for me is just as beautiful to behold as a colourful flower garden.
Because my body is a temple I’m going to plunge myself into an ice bath now in order for the lactic acid to leave my body just like an Olympic athlete, that is with just the one exception – hot water.
Nobody needs to see a hyper thermic prune!
More by this authorSpalding Today Columnist