Gardening with Children

School Zone

Sow and Grow vegetables now to give you crops from Autum into Spring

Date Posted: 15 September 2015

Now is the time to start planning and planting your school garden for the autumn, winter and spring so that you will be picking crops throughout the year.
One of the first jobs is to harvest any vegetables that are ready; this will make room for new crops and will also prolong the harvesting of certain crops e.g. Courgettes, Marrows, French and Runner Beans. Tidy up and weed your beds (add this to your Compost Bin), dig over the soil and fork in some Organic Fertiliser a week before planting. It is a good time to invest in a new Compost Bin or add to your existing one if yours has reached full capacity.
Potatoes should all be ready to dig up (if they have flowered) to minimise damage use a potato harvesting scoop. First and SecondPotato Growing Bag 40 Litre Earlies need to be eaten once harvested but main crop varieties can be stored if they are not damaged or diseased. Once the foliage of maincrop potatoes turns yellow or brown cut all the foliage down to ground level, leave for 10-14 days then dig up the potatoes, leave to dry for several hours then put into Hessian Sacks and store in a cool, dark, dry, frost free place, check them regularly and remove any that have gone bad.
Plant potatoes now
It is possible to harvest your own new potatoes at Christmas or in the New Year, these are called second cropping potatoes. To ensure a harvest for Christmas they need to be planted by the end of August but they can still be planted in the next few weeks for a New Year crop. Your seed potatoes need to be planted in large pots or growing bags in good compost, water them in and place somewhere warm and sunny, watering again when dry. When the weather turns cold bring the bags/containers inside (Porch, Greenhouse, Polytunnel) to protect from frost and harvest once the foliage dies back.
Onions and Garlic should be ready to harvest, carefully lift by placing a fork/hand fork under the bulbs and then leave them on the soil to dry off, move them somewhere warm and dry to completely dry out. Store in boxes, nets or in plaits in a dark, cool dry place.
Plant Onions and Garlic now
There are varieties of onions that can be planted in September/October these are called Japanese (overwintering onions) and will give you an earlier crop next year than spring planted onions, don’t plant them in the same bed where onions have previously been planted.
Garlic needs a long growing season and can be planted in September/October, bulbs from supermarkets are usually varieties bred for warmer climates and often don’t do as well buy bulbs from garden retailers.
Brassicas: If you have young plants that you have grown from seed or bought from the garden centre they need to be planted out now in organically rich and limed soil so they get off to a good start for a winter/spring harvest. Protect plants from insects, birds and rabbits with Enviromesh.
Leeks: Plant seedlings in beds 15cm apart make a hole with a dibber 15cm deep and drop the seedling into the hole then fill with water to settle in.
Vegetables to sow now 
Winter Salad Crops/Leaves
Plastic Cloche Tunnels
Ideally suited to Raised Beds, protect young plants from slugs with Slug Gone and cover with a cloche or polythene cloche film. If you are limited for space, try growing them in a cold frame. Water seeds after sowing, but don’t over water afterwards and keep beds weed free.
Spring Onions – One of the best to grow is White Lisbon (Winter Hardy) a quick cropping hardy variety, sow seeds September/October for a spring harvest.
Radish: Sow September in rows.
Spinach (Baby Salad Leaf varieties): Sow September, harvest leaves when small from October-April.
Lettuce (Winter varieties): Sow September, harvest October-April.
Lamb’s Lettuce: Sow September, harvest November to January.
Endive (Broad leaved varieties): Sow July-September, harvest September-November.
Pak Choi: Sow September for late Autumn winter harvest perfect in stir fries or steamed.
Rocket and Mixed Salad Leaves (Winter Blend): Sow September and pick leaves when young.
Broad Bean: In sheltered, mild areas sowings can be made in October/November for picking early June.
If you have any empty beds sow Green Manure (Mustard, Clover, Rye Grass) these plants will grow over winter, suppressing the weeds and then in spring dig them into the soil to add nutrients and improve the soil structure.
School Autumn/Winter Garden - Vegetable and Salad Plants
If time is limited and you are keen to get your Autumn Winter crops planted and off to a good start why not consider getting a School Autumn/Winter Garden - Salad and Vegetable Plant Pack delivered to your school, each pack contains the following organic plants*:

Mixed Autumn/Winter x 20
Rainbow Chard x 10
Cornsalad x 10
Spinach x 10
Red Russian Kale x 10
Carrots x 10
Spring Green Cabbage x 10
Calabrese x 10
Spring Onions x 10
Tatsoi x 10
Land Cress x 10
Giant Red Mustard x 10
Mizuna x 10
Cavolo Nero x 10
Winter Green Cabbage x 10
Rocket x 10
Chicory x 10

Packet of Broad Bean Seeds

as well as instructions on planting and growing.
Ready grown plants avoid the uncertaintity or growing from seed and make the planning and maintenance of the vegetable plot much easier.
* The contents of this garden may vary slightly depending upon the season

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