Now in its 90th year, Lasher Tools is a proud manufacturer of quality hand tools that are built to last for many happy years of gardening and DIY projects to come. As part of its birthday celebrations, Lasher is offering Edgars Club readers nine tips a month, with advice on gardening, home hacks, maintenance and more. Whatever your gardening requirements, Lasher has a tough reliable tool to get the job done right. This month we look at nine easy vegetables to grow this autumn for a bumper winter harvest.
The EcoBarrow is a durable all-rounder for transporting garden soil and rubble.
Contrary to popular opinion you don’t need a large space to grow your own vegetables over the winter season. Many vegetables will flourish in pots or containers. And if you keep it relatively small, you can create a simple raised bed by placing cinder blocks next to each other to make a square or rectangular planter. Use the easy-to-manoeuvre Ecobarrow to transport potting soil to the new bed and plant the holes in the cinder blocks with marigolds, for an attractive border that will also act as a natural insect repellent.
We’ve chosen the following nine vegetables because they hardy, easy to grow, prolific and brimming with goodness.
Kale is a current favourite on the health food scene, with good reason. This low-calorie vegetable is packed with vitamins, antioxidants and nutrients including magnesium, calcium and potassium. What’s more, it’s one of the easiest vegetables to grow from seed. Use your Lasher hand fork to loosen the surface of the soil, scatter seeds evenly and loosely cover over. Water every second day until the seeds spout and thin out once they have their two main leaves. No need to throw the sprouts away, rather add them to a soup or salad.
#2 Gem Squash.
Gem squash needs a fair amount of space to grow and can become quite unruly, but if you’ve got a boundary wall in a sunny position and are prepared to put up some trellising, you will have an abundance of squashes for the entirety of the growing season. To keep the growth in check and improve the quality of the gems, pinch off the tips of the plants. When watering, try to avoid wetting the leaves as they are prone to mildew and once the fruit begins to form ensure it’s well supported to prevent it from snapping off before it is ready for harvest.
Even if you have a small garden, you can enjoy an abundance of fresh young peas, by simply planting seeds around vines or saplings that have lost their leaves for the winter. The stems will provide support for the peas and by the time they begin sprouting in spring, your peas will be dying down. Take a spade and dig the pea plants into the soil to give your vines a nitrogen boost.
#4 Winter gem lettuce.
Lettuce is a satisfying vegetable to grow in pots. The trick is not to pick the entire lettuce for a single salad. Rather plant multiple lettuce seedlings and use the “cut and come again” method of harvesting. Simply take your secateurs and cut individual outer leaves of your plants at their base and leave the inner leaves to continue growing.
#5 Spring onions.
Spring onions are a relatively quick growing and versatile crop to have in your garden almost all year round and are a tasty addition to soups and stews. The magic of spring onions is that you can keep the same plant growing all season. Instead of pulling the entire plant out by the roots, rather snip the plants off close to the ground so that the roots remain intact. In this way, it will sprout a new stem and continue growing.
#6 Pak Choi.
Pak Choi is a relative newcomer to the South African garden, but this delicious vegetable is quickly becoming a popular winter crop. The young leaves can be picked for use in an oriental salad mix or the plant can be allowed to mature and chopped into a stir fry for a hearty iron and folic boost.
#7 Swiss Chard.
Choose a variety like Bright Lights if you want to add a splash of colour to your vegetable garden or follow the small gardening trend of inter-planting seedlings between your decorative flowering plants. Swiss Chard is exceptionally hardy and can grow year-round through heat, drought and cold. Use the “cut and come again” method to keep the plant going for longer. The tender young leaves can be used in salad, while the tougher older leaves are good in stir-fries.
Radishes are an excellent addition to any garden. They are small and quick growing which means you can plant them between other plants in pots or the garden. You can roast them, poach them in butter or slice them raw for a zesty addition to a salad.
Garlic is becoming quite pricey, which is surprising because it’s an incredibly easy bulb to grow. Next time you buy a bulb from the greengrocers, keep a couple of cloves back and plant pointy side up in a sunny position. The cloves take quite a while to grow into fully formed bulbs (you’ll know they are ready when the shoots begin to flower), but once you’ve established a corner to grow your garlic, you’ll have a fresh crop every year.
Get your garden going.
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