Winter is no time to settle down when it comes to growing produce.
Here are our top 3 picks for your winter garden menu!
Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)
Plant: Asparagus crowns autumn to winter or plant anytime.
Grow: All climate zones but not as productive in warmer climates. Asparagus is a long-lived perennial edible to 1m that will clump out over time. Sunny location.
Cultural tips: Soil must have good levels of organic matter and be free draining. Fertilise throughout the growing season.
Harvest: Avoid harvesting the spears for the first 2 years. This allows strong growth and a better, bigger harvest in future seasons. Note: you will need to allow some spears to grow and produce ferny growth to help feed the crown when the plant dies down in winter.
Jerusalem Artichokes (Helianthus tuberous)
Plant: Tubers from autumn, winter and spring.
Grow: These herbaceous perennials will grow happily in all climates except the tropics. The plants are fast growing and will reach a height of 1.5m+ and produce yellow sunflower like flowers. If you want larger tubers you are best to cut these flowers off at the bud stage.
Cultural Tips: Full sun. They are very hardy and grow in most soil types except waterlogged. They will benefit from the addition of organic matter such as Rocky Point ActivGrow Soil Improver at planting. They can also be grown in pots.
Harvest: Tubers will be ready to harvest 5 months after planting. They are approximately 5cm in width and 10cm in length. You need to cook them, either roasted, steamed or boiled.
Eat as you would potatoes.
Turnip (Brassica rapa)
Plant: Autumn and winter. Turnips are a root-crop and are best grown from directly sowing seed in the garden or pots.
Grow: Turnips are a biennial grown as an annual in all climates. They are grown for their edible white roots and are similar in size and shape to a beetroot.
Cultural Tips: Full sun in free draining soil with a pH of 6-7. Good levels of organic matter such as ActivGrow Soil Improver should be incorporated into the soil before planting. Avoid animal manures or heavy soils, as this will cause the turnip roots to fork.
Harvest: Salad turnip varieties can be optimally harvested in 4-6 weeks. Larger varieties such as, ‘Purple Top White Globe’ will take around 8-10 weeks. To prepare, peel the tubers and either steam, boil, roast or mash. You can also eat the young foliage.
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