The Best Vegetable Seeds For a Winter Harvest
With the wide variety of vegetable seeds on sale these days, anyone can now grow & harvest vegetables all year around with or without a greenhouse. Here at TheGardenShop,ie we want to make growing your own easier with our easy to follow growing guides. Here we outline some of the best vegetables to grow for harvesting in Winter & which vegetables you can grow to enjoy as part of your Christmas feast.
When to Sow Your Winter Harvest Seeds
To ensure your vegetables are ready to harvest in time, it is important to sow your seeds early. Generally you should sow your seeds no later than mid July, but this can vary so we have outlined the best sowing time for each seed variety below.
Before sowing, as ever, good ground preparation is essential. This should only be done in dry conditions, especially if you have a clay soil type. We have further guides on ground preparation in our How to Grow section.
Which Varieties to Choose
Beetroot. Variety to grow: Boltardy
All beetroot are really easy to grow. Boltardy is a little bit slower growing than most others so if you sow in mid July, you will have a harvest ready for late December. Beetroot are a great Winter vegetable as they don't require any cover or protection.Carrots. Varieties to Grow: Autumn King’ or ‘Chantenay’
There is a carrot for every season of the year & for a Winter harvest we suggest growing either Autumn King or Chantenay. Sow seeds directly outdoors in mid July. Sow seeds thinly. Autumn King carrots will require protection from mid October onwards. Cover rows using a mini cloche or tunnel. Chantenay is hardier and will only need protection in very cold Winters.
Lettuce. Varieties to Grow: All Year Round
Lettuce is best when grow in a greenhouse or polytunnel. This will allow you to grow many varieties as well as other salad leaves all year round. Sow continually from late Summer in a greenhouse for harvesting from early November through to January
Potatoes. Variety to Grow: Charlotte
Very popular choice for a Christmas Day spud. This salad potato with smooth, cream coloured skin is a second early with excellent flavour. We would advise growing this variety in a polytunnel from mid July for a Christmas Day harvest. If growing potatoes for a Christmas harvest you will need to stay on top of slugs & also protect crops from severe frost by covering with frost fleece on cold nights.
Just like lettuce, Kale can be harvested throughout year. This vegetable can withstand temperatures of -10°C is ideal for a Winter harvest & there are many varieties to choose from. We have chosen Lacinto as this variety sweetens with the onset of frost.
Late December is the harvesting time for Brussels Sprouts. As these are such slow growing vegetables taking up to 31 weeks to reach maturity, you will need to sow them no later than the previous April to ensure they are ready in time. Brussels are very hardy & easy to grow. They require good fertile soil & you will need to stake & support them by mid October as they get top heavy.