My top 3 winter vegetable plants
I love growing my own veg, from the classics to the more unusual. The offer of an HTA voucher was too good an oppourtunity to miss, so I thought I’d take you through my top 3 winter vegetable plants that I am planning on planting this year.
While the wait is sometimes a good thing, I’m quite a fan of buying veg as plants. Planting from seed I just find too space consuming and labour intensive. I also like the ‘bang’ of a newly planted out veg plot when it is newly full of green. Buying vegetable plants is also a good idea if you are thinking of growing your plants in pots.
My top 3 winter vegetable plants:
This is also known as Claytonia or miner’s lettuce. I eat it crunchy, straight from the plant. You can boil it too, it tastes a bit like spinach. The back of the label says to grow in a slightly shady area. This seems to be about right in my garden (slightly shady all over!) The purslane likes to be kept moist and needs a cloche when it gets particularly cold. I tend to grow the more tender winter vegetables in pots so that I can move them into my greenhouse if the weather is looking bad. I treat the winter purslane as a ‘cut and come again’ and prefer the smaller, more tender leaves. I usually find that the purslane is a good cropper and I eat from my plants will into the new year. Once the plants begin to flower, I pull them up and chuck them onto the compost heap.
This is another salad plant that I grow as a ‘cut and come again’, but it is delicious so makes its way onto my list as one of my top 3 winter vegetable plants. Mizuna can be pricey in the shops, but is so easy to grow and feels a bit of an exotic plant choice. It has quite a peppery kick and really changes up a winter salad. It tolerates quite a lot of the UK winter, but is better off in the greenhouse during the really cold snaps. The mizuna comes with the recommendation to ‘water when the soil is dry, preferably in the early morning’. I have no idea why there is this instruction, but it seems to work! I start to harvest the leaves when the plants are around 4 inches tall. The books say that mizuna can be kept in the fridge for a few days, but I’d say to only cut them just before you want to eat them to really taste them at their best.
The third and final veg to make it onto the list of my top 3 winter vegetable plants is the broad bean, mmm! I think I have left the best to last. They are so easy to grow and absolutely wonderful to eat. I never have a problem with my favourite variety, ‘Aquadulce Claudia’. Again, I buy the broad bean as a plant and pop straight into the ground in the late autumn or winter (Nov-Feb). I like to build a tunnel for them to grow in to keep the birds off and to protect them during the frosts. Sometimes I make a second planting in February to extend the season of my favourite vegetable!
I have really enjoyed taking you through the list of my top 3 winter vegetable plants. Here is to some delicious home-grown veg!