Growing Vegetables, Month by Month
Finding it difficult to keep up with the allotment jobs every month? Here’s our monthly planner for growing vegetables on your patch.
January-FebruaryIt’s time for a rest indoors – and, with seed catalogues arriving on the doormat, the pleasurable task of choosing your year’s crops with a hot cuppa. If you’re desperate to get your wellies on, here are a few jobs that can be done this month:
- Sow celeriac, leeks, onions, or summer cauliflower in a heated propagator (but only if you won’t need the propagator for sweet peas in another month or two).
- If you have raised beds, cover one or two with glass and start some early broad beans, salad, beetroot, radish, or peas.
- Plant rhubarb crowns (ensuring that the soil is well-drained – add grit if necessary).
- Plant cloves of garlic (adding wood ash to the soil if you have any).
- If the conditions are mild, sow broad beans, onions, parsnip, radish and spinach outdoors (checking the seed packet for suitability).
- Plant Jerusalem artichokes (ideally in a fenced-off area so they won’t spread year after year).
- Chit your seed potatoes, when they arrive – a cool porch is ideal.
March-AprilNow the real work begins: you can start plenty of crops now, especially if you live in the milder South of England.
- Sow aubergines, peppers, tomatoes and chillies in a heated propagator. In April, sow squashes, courgettes and cucumbers in there too.
- If you have covered beds or a cold frame, start off beetroot, Brussels sprouts, autumn cauliflowers, celery, kale, and lettuce.
- Sow direct: hardy broad beans, cabbage, lettuce, bunching onions, parsnip, peas, shallots, turnips, rocket, and summer spinach.
- Plant summer cauliflowers.
- Plant garlic and onion sets.
- Plant out your chitted early and maincrop potatoes.
- Pull any remaining root crops and leeks (and heel them in if you need to).
May-JuneBy now, as the last frost date has passed, you can sow most crops.
- Sow almost everything – from globe artichokes, beetroot and broad beans to lettuce, onions, root vegetables, spinach and salad – direct into the prepared beds.
- Pot on the plants from your propagator (aubergine, squash, tomatoes and chillies). They can be planted out in June, preferably under glass to begin with.
- Finish planting your seed potatoes.
- Put pea sticks up for the emerging pea seedlings.
- Earth up the first growth on your early seed potatoes.
- Pinch out tomato side-shoots and the tops of broad bean plants.
July-AugustThis month you’ll start sowing crops for winter, but the main work is maintaining the crops you already have in the ground.
- You can sow almost everything – from globe artichokes, beetroot and broad beans to lettuce, onions, root vegetables, spinach and salad – direct.
- Thin out the rows of carrot, beetroot, spinach, turnip and swede.
- Plant your seedlings: Brussels sprouts, cabbages, calabrese, cauliflowers, and leeks.
- Weed everything, watching out for caterpillars and carrot fly. Look out for potato blight – if you see any, cut and burn the foliage to prevent it from reaching the potatoes.
- Pull up garlic and shallots when their foliage flops over.
September - DecemberWork begins to dwindle, but you’ll be enjoying a bounty of crops from autumn onwards. Put as much as you can into careful storage so that you’ll have homegrown vegetables for as long as possible.
- Cover raised beds with glass, and sow broccoli, cauliflowers, saladini, pak choi, lettuce, spinach and radish beneath it.
- In September, you can still sow spring cabbage, winter salad and radish direct in the ground for a few last crops before the frosts.
- Plant out autumn onion sets and garlic.
- In October or November, you can sow hardy broad beans and peas.
- Harvest remaining leeks, carrots, beetroot and parsnip – root vegetables can be stored in crates of sand in a cool shed.