Don't hibernate just yet: head outside! Planting garlic, beans and peas now will hopefully ensure an earlier and better crop next year. It may look like they're not doing anything over winter, but that's OK – too much growth and they'll be susceptible to frost.
Around now is your last chance to get garlic in to the ground (or your pots!) – go on, do it this weekend. Next year, as you sink your teeth in to warm, crusty bread drizzled generously with homemade garlic oil you'll be so glad you did! What's more, your garlic bulbs will grow larger if you sow now than if you wait until spring.
As well as this, starting beans and peas now means that you can harvest earlier in the spring than if you wait, and will be able to start cropping before aphids wake up to do their damage.
Read on to learn what you should be doing now to ensure successful crops next year, whatever your growing space.
In your small urban space:
Make sure your cut and come again and perennial salad plants are well weeded and even cover them with a homemade cold frame. This will reward you with very early salad plants in Spring (see lead picture).
Individual garlic cloves can be planted in 6cm pots. Keep in an unheated greenhouse, a coldframe, or somewhere sheltered from the worst the weather has to offer.
Broad beans and peas can be sown in small pots, and moved to larger ones in the spring.
In your garden:
To sow garlic dib holes and set cloves 5cm deep, or plant in more shallow holes and cover the bed with 3cm of compost or well rotted manure. Space the rows 30-40cm apart, with cloves at 12-15cm intervals along the rows.
Broad beans should be sown in rows 40cm apart with seeds placed in 5cm deep holes, 10-15cm apart.
Emily Ingham is a former environmental consultant, and used to write for Permaculture magazine on issues relating to environmental legislation and policy.
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