In the Winter Garden...

I haven't written much about the garden lately. Partly because it's been such a busy time in the garden that I haven't been taking many photos and also because the garden isn't at it's most beautiful at this time of the year, so the few photos I have taken are a little uninspiring.

But the last few months (April - June) are some of the most important in the garden, preparing for the cold winter and early spring months ahead. 

Savoy cabbages

Late autumn is all about planting in preparation for winter and early spring. The idea is to get the little seedlings in the ground before it gets too cold and they refuse to grow. I've been planting lots of leafy and salad greens, herbs, brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale), peas and root crops.

Brussels Sprouts growing beautifully

mmmm, Red Russian Kale

Not all crops need to get in before the cold sets in, alliums (onions, leeks, garlic) and broad beans can still be planted until the end of the month with out too much problem. But I expect that by the end of June I will need to plant any new seedlings under plastic cover to protect them against heavy frost and to warm the soil a little.

 Chervil and Coriander Seedlings

  Witloof Endive, Lambs Lettuce and Mixed Lettuce Seedlings

I'm a real fan of guild planting, grouping plants together in a way that benefits each plant and makes the most of the available ground. An simple example of this is peas, bok choi and radish. I've been planting bok choi seedlings and sowing pea and radish seeds all together. The bok choi grows as the seeds germinate. The radishes grow much faster than the peas and by the time the peas need more space to grow the radish and bok choi are ready to come out. More radishes can be sown at the stage as their deep roots won't bother the peas a great deal.

Pretty bok choi all in a row

The bok choi, pea and radish guild