The UK is the best country in the world at sowing in spring and the worst at sowing seasonally, say seed company Franchi Seeds. We even cover up our allotments in the winter, when there is so much more we could be harvesting. Here, they tell us what to sow for an autumn and winter harvest in your plot or pot!
Franchi Seeds packets are also licensed to display the Vegetarian Society Approved vegetarian and vegan trademarks.
Sow: April to September
Just one of our seed packs can make up the equivalent of 40 salad bags you buy in the supermarket! The trick is to sow a pinch every month from April to September in a pot or handkerchief-sized plot. A handy tip is to have two on the go, one for growing and one for eating.
40 day Brocoletti (also known as Broccoli Raab or Cima di Rapa)
Sow: May to August
This Puglia speciality is often eaten cooked and seasoned with Orechiette pasta and chilli. They only take 40 days from seed to plate and can be sowed from May right up until the end of August. They are delicious thrown on to a pizza, used on pasta or simply cooked and drizzled with olive oil.
Cavolo Nero Kale
Sow: May to July
Originally from Tuscany, this vegetable has been popular in the UK since Victorian times, when Brits on the ‘Grandi Giri’ (Grand Tours) would bring the seed back from the region to grow in their walled gardens. Coming from the Apennine mountain region, it is winter hardy and delicious. A typical brassica, you can sow from May to July and harvest till March.
Radicchio Rossa of Treviso
Sow: July to September
You will recognise these red and white stripy leaves from your salad bags. They should be sown from July to September and will grow green until the weather turns colder. Then, they will start to turn red and will become sweeter and lose their bitterness. These seeds come from the Dolomite so needs sub-zero temperatures to mature, just like Brussels sprouts. They are delicious chopped and pan fried in olive oil with a pinch of salt, or is great in a risotto.
Olive Leaf Rocket
Sow: May to September
This easy to grow salad can be sown from May until the end of September. Rocket by name, rocket by nature: it grows very quickly and has beautiful leaves which look like olive leaves. Enjoy it in your salad, or pair it with toasted pine nuts to dress up your cheese plate. Olive leaf rocket is also great for making pesto, just replace the basil with a couple of handfuls of your crop!
What else can I grow?
If you’re planting in the autumn, there is plenty you can grow. From August to September, you can sow radish, peas and sugar snaps, rocket, parsley, radicchio, broad beans, garlic, spinach, and lambs lettuce (corn salad). Alpine lettuces, like ‘Meraviglia d’Inverno San Martino,’ can be sown as late as December in a cold frame or cold greenhouse.