The weather is really starting to cool down. The crisp cool mornings and clear sunny days of autumn are a perfect time to be in the garden.
Growth is slowing down (and so is the germination of weeds thankfully). But it’s not too late to plant more crops in the garden if you’ve got space.
When planting in one bed, it’s a good idea to plant crops that have similar requirements. Here we’re planting a root crop bed. Firstly, we add a good amount of compost to the bed.
This not only raises the bed and improves drainage, but helps with soil structure and keeps the earthworms happy.
With root crops, it’s best not to have too much nitrogen in the soil (unless you grow beetroot for the leaves rather than the bulb). In our case we’re not going to add animal manures.
Phosphorus and other elements are more important to size up the roots quickly. Phosphorus is found in good quantity in Natures Organic Fertiliser which has seaweed, volcanic rock and worm castings in it.
The crops we’re planting here are Florence fennel, beetroot, kohlrabi and radishes.
Florence fennel is an easy-to-grow cool-weather crop that has a long tap root.
As fennel doesn’t grow well with other plants, we plant a row of flowers to separate them from the other crops. Cold-hardy dianthus is not only good for insects and colour, but is great added to a winter salad.
Kohlrabi is an old-fashioned vegetable that’s coming back into vogue. It’s a cross between a cabbage and a turnip – great raw in coleslaws or added to soups and stews. We’re planting the purple variety which looks like a funky alien spaceship when fully grown.
Radishes are the most nutritious of the root crops. They (like carrots) are best planted from seed. We sow quite thickly to ensure good germination and will thin them out as they grow.
Important as always to cover the bed with netting for the first few weeks to give the plants a chance to get established. Water well and if the weather stays fine, give them a second watering a day or two later.
Make the most of the gorgeous autumn days!
From Rob, Jan and the Team at OEG!