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View of allotments with healthy soil and lots of vegetables growing View of allotments with healthy soil and lots of vegetables growing

Second Spring

By Sara Venn

Last week we heard this phrase for the first time, coined by the great folk at Vital Seeds and in all honesty, thought what a joy it was.

In March and April, or what will now be called First Spring, we are crazy busy sowing seeds and preparing our gardens and growing spaces for summer crops but what about autumn, winter and even next spring? When do we sow the seeds for those seasons crops to ensure that we, as much as possible, have fresh, well grown and local veg for as much of the year as is possible? Well the answer is now, or Second Spring!

Of course lots of people assume that there is no growing or gardening to do between October and March but of course this period is actually one of the busiest in the garden. Soils need improving, manure and compost needs adding, hard fruit needs pruning and it’s the perfect time to mend beds and create new ones, so it’s a good idea to get ahead with plans for overwintering crops now, in order to be able to plan the work for winter and know what needs doing.

So what is there to plant now? Well of course the summer tomatoes, squashes and aubergines will soon be harvested and those thrilling crops will be over but as autumn turns cooler we need veg that goes with stews and casseroles and now is the perfect time to sow those and get them to be good, big plants before they get planted out over the winter. Sowing in modules now and potting on into 9cm pots prior to planting out will not just ensure they are big plants that can just get on with it once they are planted out, but will also mean they can be left outside to germinate, and grow on so they’ll be used to coping with weather once they are planted out.

Kales, cabbages, winter lettuce and salad crops such as corn salad and chicory, oriental greens, turnips and spring onions can all be sown from late June and well into July and even early August to ensure a successional cropping throughout autumn, winter and into spring and keep those gardens filled with beautiful, delicious produce for the community in which we grow.