Gardening at harvest time

There are lots of vegetables to pick, as well as some to plant and prune.
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Make the most of the sunshine and mild weather, by doing the garden chores before the nights begin to draw in. It’s time to harvest much of the produce you have been cultivating, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t work to be done to keep other crops growing, and prepare the ground for planting vegetables that will grace the Christmas dining table.

We take a look at what vegetables you should be planting, which you should be harvesting, storing and preserving to see you through winter, and fruits that need pruning this season. As crops come to an end, clear the greenhouse and veggie patch ready for new plants.

What to sow / plant out

  • Potatoes, carrots, turnips.
  • Onions.
  • Peas.
  • Calabrese broccoli, cauliflower.
  • Winter salad – lettuce, spring cabbage, Chinese cabbage, pak choi, mizuna, chard, spinach, lamb’s lettuce, land cress and purslane.
  • Plums, peaches, strawberries.
  • Prepare ground for red, black and white currant bushes, and grape vines.
  • Parsley, rosemary, thyme.

What to harvest

  • Potatoes, turnips, beetroot, oriental radishes.
  • Onions, spring onions, shallots, leeks, garlic. Ripen onions by bending over the plant tops.
  • Gourds, squashes, pumpkins, marrows, courgettes.
  • French and runner beans.
  • Cabbage, calabrese broccoli, cauliflower.
  • Lettuce, rocket, oriental leaves.
  • Tomatoes.
  • Cucumber.
  • Sweetcorn.
  • Artichokes.
  • Peppers, aubergines and melons from the greenhouse.
  • Apples, pears, raspberries, blackberries, loganberries, plums, peaches, nectarines and apricots. All perfect for making delicious jams and chutneys!
  • Herbs for drying or freezing.

What to feed

  • Onions.
  • Cabbage.
  • Jerusalem artichokes. Give them plenty of water too.

Tomatoes. Also, pinch out side shoots and remove yellow leaves, until the cold weather comes, then ripen them indoors. After that, stop feeding tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, aubergines and melons, and water them less.

What to prune & propagate

After fruiting, prune strawberries, raspberries and other cane fruits.

Prune red, black and white currant bushes, blackberries and gooseberries. To propagate, take cuttings, and layer blackberries, loganberries, tayberries, blueberries, bilberries and cranberries.

Prune apple and pear trees trained as cordons, espaliers or fans. Support branches carrying lots of fruit. Tie shoots.

Layer figs to propagate. Tie shoots.

Propagate peaches.

Take cuttings of herbs like basil, bay, chives, coriander, lavender, mint and parsley, to grow in pots. Collect seeds from herbs such as fennel for sowing or storage.

Cut down asparagus foliage, and earth up trench celery to blanch it.

What to protect

Look out for creepy crawlies! Apple trees need to be protected from winter moth caterpillars, while brassicas including cabbages, calabrese broccoli, cauliflower and sprouts are at risk from caterpillars, and pigeons too. Use netting, and spray cabbage.

Beware of blight on potatoes and tomatoes.

Protect gooseberries from sawfly and mildew.

The weather can also be a problem. Cover carrots, courgettes and salad with cloches or horticultural fleece. Stake tall brassicas against wind. Protect mature cauliflower curds from sunlight by tying together the leaves.

Last modified: December 30, 2020

Written by 4:18 pm Gardening