Autumn is a great time to start sowing seeds in your garden. The cooler temperatures and increased moisture make it an ideal time for many plants to germinate and establish themselves before the harshness of winter. By sowing in autumn, you can have a head start on your spring garden and enjoy an extended growing season. In this article, we will explore some of the best plants to sow in autumn and how to prepare your garden for success.
1. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, and kale thrive in the cooler temperatures of autumn. These plants can be sown directly into the ground or in containers. They require well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight to grow. By sowing these seeds in autumn, you can have a bountiful harvest throughout the winter months.
- Lettuce: Choose varieties like ‘Winter Gem’ or ‘Arctic King’ that are cold-tolerant and can withstand frost.
- Spinach: ‘Bloomsdale’ and ‘Tyee’ are popular spinach varieties that do well in autumn.
- Kale: ‘Winterbor’ and ‘Red Russian’ are hardy kale varieties that can withstand cold temperatures.
2. Root Vegetables
Autumn is also the perfect time to sow root vegetables such as carrots, beets, and radishes. These plants prefer cooler temperatures and can be sown directly into the soil. They require well-drained soil and regular watering to grow properly. By sowing these seeds in autumn, you can harvest them in early spring.
- Carrots: Varieties like ‘Nantes’ and ‘Chantenay’ are suitable for autumn sowing.
- Beets: ‘Detroit Dark Red’ and ‘Golden’ are popular beet varieties that can be sown in autumn.
- Radishes: ‘French Breakfast’ and ‘Cherry Belle’ are fast-growing radish varieties that are perfect for autumn sowing.
Many herbs can be sown in autumn and will provide a fresh supply throughout the winter months. Herbs like parsley, cilantro, and chives can be sown directly into the ground or in containers. They require well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight to grow. By sowing these seeds in autumn, you can have fresh herbs for your culinary creations all year round.
- Parsley: ‘Italian Flat-Leaf’ and ‘Moss Curled’ are popular parsley varieties that can be sown in autumn.
- Cilantro: ‘Slow Bolt’ and ‘Calypso’ are cilantro varieties that do well in cooler temperatures.
- Chives: ‘Common’ and ‘Garlic’ chives are hardy varieties that can be sown in autumn.
4. Flowering Plants
If you want to add some color to your garden in spring, autumn is the perfect time to sow flowering plants. Many perennial flowers require a period of cold stratification to germinate, and sowing in autumn allows them to fulfill this requirement naturally. By sowing these seeds in autumn, you can enjoy a beautiful display of flowers in your garden the following spring.
- Poppies: ‘Flanders’ and ‘Iceland’ poppies are popular varieties that can be sown in autumn.
- Lupines: ‘Russell Hybrid’ lupines are stunning flowers that can be sown in autumn for a spring display.
- Columbines: ‘McKana Giants’ and ‘Songbird’ columbines are beautiful flowers that thrive when sown in autumn.
Preparing Your Garden
Before sowing your seeds in autumn, it’s important to prepare your garden properly. Here are a few steps to follow:
- Clean up your garden: Remove any dead plants, weeds, and debris to create a clean and tidy space for sowing.
- Amend the soil: Add compost or well-rotted manure to enrich the soil and improve its texture.
- Remove summer crops: If you have any summer crops still growing, harvest them or remove them to make space for your autumn sowings.
- Water the soil: Before sowing, water the soil thoroughly to ensure it is moist and ready for planting.
Sowing seeds in autumn is a great way to extend your growing season and enjoy fresh produce and beautiful flowers throughout the winter months. By choosing the right plants and properly preparing your garden, you can have a successful autumn sowing. Leafy greens, root vegetables, herbs, and flowering plants are all excellent choices for autumn sowing. Remember to prepare your garden by cleaning up, amending the soil, and removing any summer crops. With a little planning and care, you can have a thriving autumn garden that will bring joy and beauty to your outdoor space.
Vegetables for winter and spring harvest, sow and plant in early autumn
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